Bright red and sparkling, Sugared Cranberries belong on every holiday table. Super simple to make and even simpler to pop in your mouth for a little sweet/tart snack. A stunning garnish to many holiday dishes and cocktails….almost too pretty to eat!

Sugared Cranberries in a white bowl with a red plaid napkin in the background.

Sugared Cranberries

I love sparkles….shiny, pretty, glittery things that make me smile. I’m like a bird, I’m drawn to tinsel, glitter, baubles and sugared cranberries. I’ve always had a thing for sugared fruit but always bought the styrofoam stuff at various home decor stores during the holidays. I think it’s beautiful…and magical.

It seems like such a great concept. Roll fruit around in a big bowl of sugar and then eat it….WHY NOT?

So, I finally did it. I started small but small is good. Really good. Like a box of natural Sweet-Tarts just waiting to be opened, these vanilla Sugared Cranberries are like natures holiday gift to you. These little gems are amazing and surprisingly addictive. I always see these in magazines as a garnish to much more complex recipes. But this Vanilla Sugared Cranberries recipe is so easy and you can make them up to 2 days in advance.

What are Sugared Cranberries

Sugared Cranberries are such a treat, they’re essentially candied cranberries and made much the same way you’d make other candied fruits. Dating back to, well, I don’t even know when….these little sparkling beauties were around before wax fruit was in fashion.

They’re fantastic for garnish cocktails, desserts or piled high in a bowl for a simple, yet festive, centerpiece. String them with some popcorn and hand on your treat for a simple decoration your cat will LOVE to nibble on. Or not.

Sugared cranberries on a cooling rack on a white background.

Ingredients For Sugared Cranberries

The ingredient list for sugar cranberries is short…..and sweet. I like puns. 

Cranberries – Fresh only, you need them to be raw and uncooked in order for this recipe to be successful. Discard any mushy or dimpled cranberries.

Water – Plain and simple.

Granulated sugar – I use white granulated sugar….I bet you have it in your pantry, right now. Don’t use caster or superfine sugar as it is too fine and will just melt into the syrup on the cranberries. You need the bigger granules to achieve maximum sparkle.

Vanilla – Vanilla extract is used for this recipe but you can totally skip it if you prefer. 

Sugared cranberries in a white bowl on a white background with evergreen fronds

How To Make Sugared Cranberries

  1. You start by making an easy vanilla simple syrup with sugar, water and…..vanilla.
  2. Toss the cranberries in the syrup and let them steep for a bit. But not too long or they’ll start to pop open. 
  3. Transfer the cranberries to a wire rack to dry.
  4. Toss the cranberries in the sugar.
  5. Transfer to a baking sheet to dry completely.

How To Serve Sugared Cranberries

Sugared Cranberries look spectacular in or around a cocktail….on top of a cake or cupcake, next to the turkey in a little glass bowl, on top of your spectacularly easy cranberry jelly or this gorgeous (and easy) cocktail. These NEED to be on your holiday table this year. I’m dead serious.

If you’re not making dinner this year and visiting someone else’s home for the holiday, take a little jar of these as a little gift. You know the person in the kitchen is a little stressed out, these will help calm the nerves….especially if you hand over a bottle of champagne or wine with them.

 They will love you forever…..and then burn the turkey because they chugged that bottle of champagne when nobody was looking. But that’s ok….we’re all there for the side dishes. Am I right?

Sugared cranberries in a weck tulip jar with a blue background.

More Easy Cranberry Recipes

If you like these easy Sugared Cranberries, make sure you try these AMAZING Cranberry Brie Bites!!!  They’re like little pillows of heaven. And super simple to make.

Or make the best ever Cranberry Sauce, it’s so easy and ready in minutes.


Sugared Cranberries in a white bowl with a red plaid napkin in the background.

Get the Recipe: Sugared Cranberries Recipe

Elegant and sweet, these Sugared Cranberries are lightly scented with vanilla.
5 from 2 votes


  • 1 cup granulated sugar plus extra for coating
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries


  • 1 saucepan


  • In a large saucepan, bring the water, sugar and vanilla to a simmer stirring until dissolved.
  • Turn off the heat and add the cranberries tossing with a wooden spoon to coat. Allow the cranberries to sit in the simple syrup for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.
  • Allow the cranberries to dry for 20-30 minutes.
  • Pour some sugar in a shallow dish and roll the cranberries in the sugar to coat completely.
  • Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment and allow to dry completely, approximately 1 hour.
  • Store in an airtight container for up to 48 hours.


Sugared Cranberries are best served within 3 days. 
Serving: 0g, Calories: 451kcal, Carbohydrates: 113g, Protein: 0g, Fat: 0g, Saturated Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 9mg, Potassium: 85mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 104g, Vitamin A: 60IU, Vitamin C: 13.3mg, Calcium: 8mg, Iron: 0.3mg