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How to Make Sugared Cranberries

How to Make Sugared Cranberries

I made my first cheesecake from scratch this Thanksgiving and it turned out amazingly! It was beautiful and delicious and

everyone loved it so I felt proud considering I had never made one before. I wanted it to be special since it was for the holidays so I thought that covering the whole thing in bright, beautiful sugary cranberries was the way to go.

The printable recipe and instructions for making my Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Sugared Cranberries can be found over on my recipe site, Manda Cooks a Lot.

Making sugared cranberries is easy and you can add them to cakes, cookies or pretty much any dessert you want. These are great on their own too because there’s just enough sugary sweetness to control the pop of tartness when you bite into the cranberry.


  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • bag or cranberries (around 2 cups)
  • 3 cups of organic sugar (divided)

You’ll need to make a quick simple syrup by combining 1 1/2 cups of sugar with 1 1/2 cups of water. You want all of the sugar to melt so heat to boiling and quickly remove from heat. Pour the syrup into a container and add a whole bag of cranberries. Cover the container and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator to help reduce the tartness of the whole cranberries.

cranberries drying
Cranberries Drying

When you take the berries out of the syrup the next day place them on a wire rack over a bowl or dish to let the excess syrup drip off.  Strain the leftover syrup into a jar and you can use it in drinks or add it to other recipes. Wait 30 minutes to an hour before rolling the cranberries in the sugar.

I’ve seen a lot of recipes that use very fine sugar but I used an organic sugar because the crystals are a little bit bigger than a regular bag of sugar and I really like the way that the cranberries looked and everyone loved the way that they tasted.

Add a cup of sugar to a plate and put about 2/3 of a cup of cranberries in the plate at a time. It was easy to coat the cranberries just by shaking the plate from side to side. Add more sugar as you need it for each batch of cranberries and pour out any remaining sugar if it gets too wet or clumpy before adding another batch of cranberries.

Let the cranberries dry for at least an hour before adding them to your cheesecake or any other dessert.

If you’re just planning on snacking on the sugared cranberries you can leave them out for 4 or 5 days. Covering them or storing them in the refrigerator may result in the sugar coming off of the berries. I placed them on top of the cheesecake and then lightly covered them with foil in the refrigerator overnight. It resulted in a thin sugary crust between the berries and the cheesecake that make it look and taste pretty amazing. It was a nice effect that I didn’t expect.


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