Sugared cranberries are one of those fast, easy treats that look like they took a lot more effort than they did to make. (Don’t be intimidated by the times shown in the recipe—most of that is hands-off waiting time.)
They’re also a festive, pretty addition to your tabletop—almost too pretty to eat!
In my opinion, all three need to be enjoyed together as they give the perfect balance of savory, sweet, and tart to whet your appetite for the main course.
If you have leftover sugared cranberries, add them to sangria, other fancy cocktails, lemonade, or iced tea, or top off sweet treats like brownies, bundt cake, chocolate cake, or ice cream with a few berries.
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What kind of sugar to use
In this recipe, I went with plain ol’ granulated white sugar, as I find the finer grains stick better to the berries. You can also try raw cane sugar (turbinado sugar) or—if you really want to make them sparkle—roll your cranberries in a combo of sugar and edible glitter. They’d look so pretty on the table!
Sometimes I like to use coarse sparkling sugar (also known as sanding sugar or shimmer sugar) for a festive touch.
Can you use frozen cranberries?
I recommend fresh cranberries because they’ll keep their shape better. When thawed (and then heated), frozen berries will turn too soft.
This is truly a seasonal recipe to enjoy from October to December when fresh cranberries are at their peak in North America.
Sparkling Sugared Cranberries
Makes 2 cups
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
1 cup water
2 cups fresh cranberries
In a small saucepan over medium heat, dissolve 1 cup sugar in water. Stir in the cranberries until well coated, then turn off the heat and let steep for about 30 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cranberries to a wire cooling rack to dry, about 1 hour. They’ll be dry but tacky from the simple syrup.
(Reserve the syrup for use in other beverages. It can be stored in a lidded container for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.)
Roll the cranberries in a bowl filled with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, then let dry for about 1 hour before serving.
More cranberry recipes you might enjoy: