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Sugared Cranberries

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5 from 1 vote
These 2 ingredient sugared cranberries are the missing piece for your Christmas (or Thanksgiving) celebration. Fresh cranberries, with a crunchy sugar pop!

When the holiday season rolls around, the first thing that comes to mind is this Sugared Cranberry recipe! They’re a stunning, sparkly treat that’s surprisingly simple to make (just 2 ingredients!) and adds a festive flair to any holiday spread. If you’ve never had them, Sugared cranberries are exactly like they sound – Made with fresh cranberries, a simple sugar syrup, and a final dazzling roll in granulated sugar, they are the perfect combination of tart and sweet and great on their own or served with turkey.

If you’re a bit extra and love all things glitz and glam, these sugared cranberries are for you! Seriously, they look like glistening, frosty rubies, and the best part is that you can eat them! What I love about this fresh cranberry recipe is its versatility. These Sugared Cranberries can be a standalone snack, a gorgeous garnish for desserts, or even a sparkling addition to your holiday cocktails. They are stupid easy to make, and the sugar coating crystallizes, giving the cranberries this crunchy sugar shell. For an extra touch of elegance, try using castor sugar for a finer, more delicate coating.

Recipe Overview

Cuisine Inspiration: American
Number of Ingredients: 2
Total Cook Time: About 15 minutes (including simmering and cooling time)
Primary Cooking Method: Simmering on stovetop
Dietary Info: Gluten-Free, Vegan
Key Flavor: Sweet with a hint of tartness from the cranberries
Skill Level: Beginner-friendly

Notable mentions

  • Just 2 Ingredients: This recipe is all about simplicity. With just fresh cranberries, water, and sugar! When cranberries are on sale, you can get an entire bag for 2 bucks!!
  • Ready in About 15 Minutes: From start to finish, these Sugared Cranberries are ready in roughly 15 minutes.
  • Eye-Catching Appeal: Not only are these Sugared Cranberries delicious, but they’re also incredibly beautiful. Their sparkling, sugary coating makes them real eye candy, perfect for dressing up desserts or as a standalone holiday decoration you can eat!
  • Great for Gifting: Packaged in a pretty jar or box, Sugared Cranberries make a gorgeous homemade gift. They’re a sweet way to share the holiday spirit with friends and family.

Ingredients to make Sugared Cranberries

  • Fresh Cranberries: The star of the show. Their natural tartness perfectly balances the sweetness of the sugar coating.
  • White Granulated Sugar: This is used both for making the simple syrup and for coating the cranberries, giving them their signature sweet crust.
  • Water: Used to create the syrup for simmering the cranberries, allowing them to soften slightly and become tender without bursting.

Optionally, you can use castor sugar for a finer sugar coating, which adds a delicate texture to the finished cranberries.

How To Make Sugared Cranberries

Getting Ready:

  • Prepare Cranberries: Begin by thoroughly washing and drying 4 cups of fresh cranberries. It’s crucial they’re completely dry for the sugar coating to stick properly.

STEP 1: MAKE THE SIMPLE SYRUP

Sugar and Water Mixture: In a saucepan, dissolve 2 cups of white granulated sugar into 2 cups of water over medium-low heat. Stir continuously until the sugar is fully dissolved to create a simple syrup.

STEP 2: SIMMERING CRANBERRIES

Cooking the Cranberries: Gently add the cranberries to the syrup. Let them simmer for 3 minutes until they’re tender but not bursting. The goal is to soften them slightly without them losing their shape.

STEP 3: COATING WITH SUGAR

  • Preparing for Coating: With a slotted spoon, transfer the cranberries onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them out evenly.
  • Sugar Coating Process: Once the cranberries are cool and tacky, roll them in ½ cup of sugar for coating. This can be done in a sheet pan or a large bowl to ensure they’re evenly coated with sugar.

STEP 4: SETTING THE CRANBERRIES

  • Letting Them Dry: Allow the sugared cranberries to sit until they’re dry, forming a crisp, sugary shell around each cranberry. Once they’re dry, they’re ready to serve or use as a decorative element.
  • Spiced Syrup: Infuse the simple syrup with spices like cinnamon sticks, star anise, or cloves for a hint of warmth and complexity. This works especially well for holiday-themed dishes.
  • Citrus Zest: Adding a bit of orange or lemon zest to the sugar coating can introduce a bright, citrusy note that complements the tartness of the cranberries.
  • Sugar Alternatives for Coating: For a finer or more textured coating, consider using castor sugar for a finer coat or coarse sugar for a crunchier texture.
  • Flavored Sugars: Experiment with flavored sugars for coating, like vanilla sugar, for an additional layer of flavor.
  • Alcohol-Infused Syrup: For an adult twist, add a splash of brandy or rum to the simple syrup. This gives the cranberries a subtle boozy flavor that’s great for holiday parties.

Tips for Making the Best Sugared Cranberries

  1. Gentle Simmering: When simmering the cranberries in the syrup, keep the heat medium-low and avoid boiling. You want the cranberries to be tender but not burst, maintaining their shape for a beautiful presentation.
  2. Cool Before Coating: Let the cranberries cool slightly and become tacky before rolling them in sugar. If they’re too wet, the sugar will clump; if too dry, it won’t stick.
  3. Even Coating: To evenly coat the cranberries in sugar, gently shake them in a bowl or roll them on a tray. This helps achieve that beautiful, frosted look.
  4. Use a Slotted Spoon: When transferring the cranberries from the syrup to the parchment paper, use a slotted spoon. It helps to drain off excess syrup and keeps the cranberries from being too sticky.
  5. Don’t Overcrowd: Spread the cranberries in a single layer while coating with sugar and drying them. Overcrowding can cause them to stick together.
  6. Be Patient: The drying process is crucial. Give the cranberries enough time to dry and develop a crisp sugar shell for the best texture and flavor.

How to Store Sugared Cranberries

After the Sugared Cranberries have been coated and fully dried, store them in an airtight container. It’s best to keep them at room temperature in a cool, dry place. This helps preserve their crunchy sugar coating and prevents them from becoming too soft.

Shelf Life in the Fridge

While refrigerating Sugared Cranberries isn’t typically necessary, you can store them in the fridge if you prefer. In the refrigerator, they can last for about a week. Keep in mind that the cold environment might slightly change their texture, potentially causing the sugar coating to soften a bit.

Freezing Sugared Cranberries

Freezing Sugared Cranberries is generally not recommended. The freezing and thawing process can cause the sugar coating to dissolve or become sticky, which affects the overall texture and appearance of the cranberries. For the best quality and enjoyment, it’s advisable to consume them fresh or store them as mentioned above.

How to use Sugared Cranberries

  1. On Top of Desserts: Sugared Cranberries make a beautiful and flavorful garnish on cakes, pies, and puddings. Their tartness complements sweet desserts perfectly.
  2. With Cheese and Crackers: Serve these cranberries alongside a cheese board. The tartness of the cranberries pairs wonderfully with creamy, rich cheeses and crisp crackers.
  3. In Holiday Cocktails: Add a few Sugared Cranberries to your holiday cocktails for a festive touch. They work great in champagne or in a cranberry-based cocktail.
  4. As a Snack: Enjoy Sugared Cranberries on their own as a sweet and tart snack. They’re delightful and refreshing, perfect for a little pick-me-up.
  5. With Yogurt or Ice Cream: Sprinkle some Sugared Cranberries on top of yogurt or ice cream for a delightful contrast in flavors and textures.
  6. In Salads: Add Sugared Cranberries to your salads for a burst of sweetness and a pop of color. They pair well with leafy greens, nuts, and a tangy dressing.
  7. On Breakfast Dishes: Use them to top oatmeal, pancakes, or waffles for a sweet and tart addition that’s sure to brighten up your morning.
  8. In Baked Goods: Mix Sugared Cranberries into muffin or scone batter for a festive twist on your favorite baked goods.

Frequently asked questions

Can I use frozen cranberries instead of fresh?

It’s best to use fresh cranberries for this recipe. Frozen cranberries, once thawed, can become too soft and may not hold up well during the sugaring process.

My cranberries are not getting that frosted look. What can I do?

Ensure that the cranberries are tacky and not too wet when rolling them in sugar. Let them dry slightly after simmering. If they are too dry, the sugar won’t stick, so timing is key.

The sugar on my cranberries is dissolving. What caused this?

If the cranberries are too damp when coated with sugar, or if stored in a humid environment, the sugar can dissolve. Make sure they are dried well after simmering and before coating with sugar.

More Sweet 5 Ingredient Or Less Recipes

I want to hear from you! If you try this easy Sugared Cranberries recipe or any other of my 5 ingredient or less recipes on Dinner in 5, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! I read all the comments and respond!

sugared cranberries in a small serving ramekin next to a big bowl filled with sugared cranberries
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Sugared Cranberries

These 2 ingredient sugared cranberries are the missing piece for your Christmas (or Thanksgiving) celebration. Fresh cranberries, with a crunchy sugar pop!
5 from 1 vote
Author Jackie
Servings 16 servings
Course Dessert
Calories 132
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cooling/Drying Time 1 hour
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups fresh cranberries washed and dried.
  • 2 1/2 cups white granulated sugar 1/2 cup for coating
  • 2 cups water

Instructions

  • Wash your cranberries. In a large saucepan, dissolve 2 cups of sugar in water over medium low heat.
  • Add cranberries and simmer for 3 minutes until tender but not bursting.
  • Remove the cranberries from the simple syrup with a slotted spoon, gently tap or swirl the excess simple syrup off over the pot, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Let cool until tacky – about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Add the remaing 1/2 cup sugar to another parchment lined baking sheet and spread it out a little. Add a cup of cranberries at a time and roll them around until evenly coated. Let sit and dry completely.

Notes

  1. Gentle Simmering: When simmering the cranberries in the syrup, keep the heat medium-low and avoid boiling. You want the cranberries to be tender but not burst, maintaining their shape for a beautiful presentation.
  2. Cool Before Coating: Let the cranberries cool slightly and become tacky before rolling them in sugar. If they’re too wet, the sugar will clump; if they are too dry, it won’t stick.
  3. Even Coating: To evenly coat the cranberries in sugar, gently shake them in a bowl or roll them on a tray. This helps achieve that beautiful, frosted look.
  4. Use a Slotted Spoon: When transferring the cranberries from the syrup to the parchment paper, use a slotted spoon. It helps to drain off excess syrup and keeps the cranberries from being too sticky.
  5. Don’t Overcrowd: Spread the cranberries in a single layer while coating with sugar and drying them. Overcrowding can cause them to stick together.
  6. Be Patient: The drying process is crucial. Give the cranberries enough time to dry and develop a crisp sugar shell for the best texture and flavor.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cup, Calories: 132kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 0.1g, Fat: 0.1g, Saturated Fat: 0.002g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.004g, Sodium: 2mg, Potassium: 21mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 32g, Vitamin A: 15IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 3mg, Iron: 0.1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American

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