Sugared Cranberries for Your Holiday Cheese Boards

Posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2021 | By Nicole Easterday |

Sugared cranberries truly look like the type of vision that might dance through a child's head on Christmas Eve. They're a bright, festive red, they glimmer and sparkle, and they even appear to be kissed by frost. The best thing about them - they're so easy to make and hold up for a few days in the fridge. 

I'm obviously obsessed with cheeseboards and all the ways you can make food look stunning, and I also adore a good kitchen project, which is why it's surprising it took me so long to make these. I imagine it has something to do with the fact that they're so perfect for Christmas and that's my busiest time of year. There's rarely extra time for a fun project that doesn't involve sugar cookies. This year I anticipate making a LOT of holiday cheese boards so I could finally justify a 'business reason' for it and I'm so glad I did.

The recipe couldn't be more simple.

  1. Wash and dry cranberries.
  2. Make simple syrup

  3. Steep cranberries in cooled simple syrup for 10 minutes
  4. Dry cranberries for 1 hour
  5. Coat cranberries in sugar
  6. Dry for 1 more hour
    How to Make Sugared Cranberries
  7. Enjoy (maybe on a holiday grazing board?)!
    Holiday cheese board with sugared cranberries


Sugared Cranberries Recipe


  • 12 oz bag fresh cranberries
  • 2 cups raw cane sugar (to be used 1 cup at a time)
  • 1 cup water


  1. Wash and dry fresh cranberries.
  2. Make a simple syrup by combining 1 cup water with 1 cup cane sugar (or granulated if that's what you have) in a small saucepan. Heat on medium heat, stirring, just until the sugar has fully dissolved into the water. Remove from the heat and cool a bit (5 minutes is plenty).
  3. Add the cranberries to the cooled simple syrup and mix it up. Allow it to steep for 10 minutes. 
  4. Remove the cranberries from the simple syrup and gently toss them in a bowl of sugar until they're full coated.
  5. Lay on a sheet to dry for an hour. 
  6. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to four days.

Some notes:

Sugar - Cane sugar tends to be finer and I prefer the way it looks on the cranberries - it makes them look frosted instead of sugar-coated like granular sugar can look.

Lifespan - On day one, these cranberries are still a little dry inside (almost styrofoam-y) but by day 2 or 3 the inside begins to soften and become almost juicy, while the outside still looks perfect. This is actually my favorite point at which to eat them. By day 5, the sugar is pulling a lot of moisture out of the fruit and they start to sweat a little, destroying the illusion of a frosty surface. They're still edible and quite delicious, but at this point, when you touch them the damp sugar will wipe off.

I actually played with popping them back into simple syrup and repeating the process and it worked a little bit but they didn't look pristinely frosted the second time around. The sugar clumped more (see image below). Either way, don't throw them out at this point - Eat them they're delicious! They just won't give the same illusion on a board.

Making sugared cranberries