These easy sugared cranberries only require three ingredients to make, and are a gorgeous treat for the holidays! Use them in holiday cocktails as a garnish, add to a cheese board, or simply enjoy as is! Made with fresh ginger, these candied cranberries are super simple to make.
Right now you may be decking the halls, and your Christmas tree. So why not deck your drinks and pies too with a little sparkle as well? These sugar-coated cranberries have multiple uses. They make a perfect garnish for my cranberry gin cocktail, and are a delicious topping for baked brie.
The contrast of the tart cranberries with the sweet sugar is just perfect. And the ginger helps bring a little zip to the party. Your tastebuds will definitely do a little dance when you bite into one of these little gems.
Why this recipe works
- Minimal ingredients. Basically just 4 simple ingredients – cranberries, sugar, water, and ginger is all you need!
- Can be used in a multitude of ways. I’ll give you some wonderful ways to use these beauties from pies, to cocktails and more!
- Such a festive and beautiful treat. These sparkling cranberries are as beautiful as they are delicious.
Ingredients for these sugared cranberries
- Cranberries – I’ve only tested this with fresh cranberries, so I recommend using fresh vs. frozen cranberries
- Simple Syrup– I used white sugar in the simple syrup, and then coated these in superfine sugar. If you only have granulated sugar, I’ll show you how you can easily make your own superfine sugar so no needed extra trips to the store.
- Ginger – This is what makes these cranberries special! I used one knob of fresh ginger. This is optional though, so don’t fret if you don’t have ginger on hand. Alternatively, you can add orange zest to the sugar water instead.
Step-by-step instructions (overnight method)
Start by making a simple syrup, which is equal parts water and sugar. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cold water, and ginger and let it warm over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the water reaches a low simmer, remove the saucepan from the heat.
Pro Tip: You want to make sure to NOT boil the water as this can cause the cranberries to pop open!
Rinse 1 bag of fresh cranberries then place in a large bowl. Pour the syrup mixture over your cranberries. Cover and let the two get merry together overnight in your fridge.
The next day, strain the liquid from the cranberries. You can save the leftover syrup to use in cocktails.
Working in small batches, roll the cranberries in a shallow bowl of sugar. The best sugar to use is superfine baking sugar, which is just finely ground cane sugar. If you don’t have any, you can pulse a cup in a food processor till nice and fine.
Once the sugar cranberries have a nice coating, transfer to a parchment lined sheet pan. I like to use a slotted spoon to pick up small amounts and then place in a single layer to dry. Let them dry for about an hour before till sugar coating is somewhat hard. And voila, you have a perfect holiday dessert, beautiful garnish or just a great snack!
To make a quick batch in 2 hours
If you don’t want to let the cranberries soak overnight, you can make a quick batch in just a couple hours. Warm the sugar water as directed, pour over cranberries and add ginger. Then cover and let sit on the counter for 2 hours. By not chilling in the fridge, the warm syrup will soften the cranberries at a quicker pace. Keep in mind that the cranberries may not be infused with as much ginger flavor though.
Tips for making perfectly coated cranberries
- Fresh is best. I recommend using fresh cranberries, not frozen as they may not hold up once thawed.
- No superfine sugar, no problem. Make your own by simply putting granulated sugar in a food processor, or high speed blender and grinding it to a finer texture.
- Allow excess sugar syrup to drip off of cranberries. You want them moist but not dripping wet, otherwise it will make a gooey mess when rolled in sugar. Use a slotted spoon for this.
- No boiling! Do not boil the sugar water, or the cranberries will pop as you add them.
I recommend storing any leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to a week.
These don’t freeze well so it’s best to store in your refrigerator!
Enjoying these sweet holiday treats
There are so many wonderful ways to use these sugared cranberries! Here a few fun ways:
- A Tasty Snack! – Yup, just go ahead and pop these in your mouth for a healthy sweet snack this holiday season.
- Garnish A Cocktail – These look lovely floating around in a Cranberry St-Germain Spritz, or in my Pink Lady Cocktail.
- Go ahead and sprinkle them all over a Christmas Charcuterie Board for a garnish you can eat!
- Top A Pie – Sugared cranberries are always an easy way to decorate the top of a pie.
- Turkey Platter – Presenting the bird this year has never looked so pretty when you decorate the platter with some of these beautiful cranberries.
- On Top Of Baked Brie -Add a few of these on top of my rosemary cranberry Christmas Jam
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1 large knob of fresh ginger
- ½ cup superfine sugar
- Combine granulated sugar, water and ginger in a small saucepan and warm over low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, until your water just reaches a low simmer. Immediately remove from heat.
- Place cranberries in a large bowl, and pour syrup mixture to cover the cranberries. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
- Thoroughly drain cranberries over a bowl. If you wish you can reserve the steeping liquid (it makes a good cocktail syrup).
- Place superfine sugar in a shallow bowl, and working in batches, add cranberries. Roll them around the sugar until well coated, then transfer them to a baking sheet to completely dry, at least an hour. Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to a week.