On the third day of Christmas, there were sparkling sugared cranberries. You can use these sweet gems for your cake decorating or cocktail garnishing or snacking pleasure. This recipe may seem a little out of left field, but if you’re a fan of sweet and tart things, they’re delicious.

For sparkling sugared cranberries, the fresh cranberries get tossed into a simple syrup, then soak overnight. Then, it’s as simple as tossing the damp berries in sugar to get that frosty look. Voila! A gorgeous garnish for a cocktail, dessert, or just to snack on.

I used these sparkling sugared cranberries atop my Christmas Wreath Pavlova and garnished my Christmas Ornament Cocktail with them. They lend an instantly festive look to any cocktail, even if it’s not served in a clear glass ornament.

When I researched how to make these, I saw so many warnings. “Don’t add the berries to boiling syrup–they’ll pop.” “Don’t roll too many at a time–the sugar will clump.” Astoundingly, I heeded none of these warnings and they came out intact and clump free. So, here’s my shortcut.

Sugared Cranberries
4 from 2 votes

Sparkling Sugared Cranberries

These cranberries look like they've just been covered with frost and burst with a delightful sweet-tart pop.

Course Candy
Cuisine American
Keyword candied cranberries, sparkling cranberries, sugared cranberries
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 cups
Calories 433 kcal
Author Amanda



  • 2 cups cranberries fresh or frozen and thawed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar divided



  1. Combine water and 1/2 cup sugar in a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring to boil, stirring, until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Turn off heat.
  4. Add cranberries, stir to coat.
  5. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and cover.
  6. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
  7. Strain (reserving syrup) and arrange berries in a single layer on a paper towel lined sheet pan with a lip.
  8. Replace paper towel with a dry one.
  9. Sprinkle 1/2 cup granulated sugar over berries and shake sheet pan back and forth to roll berries in sugar.
  10. Let dry in a cool, dry place, loosely covered with foil or paper towel. Will keep like this for 2-3 days.
Nutrition Facts
Sparkling Sugared Cranberries
Amount Per Serving
Calories 433 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 6mg0%
Potassium 85mg2%
Carbohydrates 112g37%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 104g116%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 60IU1%
Vitamin C 13mg16%
Calcium 8mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Sugared Cranberries

These little gems will be getting lots of usage this #12DaysOfChristmas. Be sure to check back for dessert and cocktail ideas this holiday season!

10 thoughts on “Sparkling Sugared Cranberries for Cocktails or Desserts”

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  4. Toni,
    I love Stella Park! Her tutorial on macarons was epic. I used to not cream the butter and sugar for long enough–once I figured out what “light and fluffy” truly means, it was a gamechanger!

    I am so excited to see what cocktail the Wild Cocktailians come up with. Today’s recipe is a fun one. Those sugared cranberries are addictive! I’ve been snacking on them.

    Those maple cookies look fantastic. I love maple sugar!

    I’m laughing because I’ve wanted to make Beef Wellington for SO LONG! I was contemplating even doing a post on it! I always do a standing rib roast when I host (I use this recipe https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/rosemary-and-pepper-standing-rib-roast-with-two-mushroom-pan-sauce-236584) but we will be in Atlanta and my mother in law gets to choose the menu. 🙂

    I absolutely love oysters and must go to Seaworthy the next time I’m in town. Please let me know your favorites!

    Merry Christmas to you and yours. I love hearing from you–and be sure to let me know when you post the cocktail and I’ll share it around!

  5. Hi Amanda, great recipes! I re-visited Stella Park’s article on creaming butter & sugar–good primer for the holidays!http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/12/cookie-science-creaming-butter-sugar.html

    The wild Cocktailians will be using YOUR sugared cranberries in a cocktail –coming soon to our blog and FB! (I’m being a good girl until blood work tomorrow) Keep your eyes peeled!
    Can’t wait to make your pecan & lemon balls! If you’re looking for a different kind of cookie–Fine Cooking posted a lot of recipes and I made a batch of many of them. I really liked the Maple Pecan cookie recipe–I have Maple sugar so incorporated some of those.

    Finally, I’m looking forward to seeing what YOU’RE cooking for the Big day! We can’t decide whether Petite Standing Rib just the two of us) or these intriguing lil’ darlings from Fine Foods http://www.finecooking.com/collection/beef-wellington-ultimate-christmas-dinner?source=w5814enl&tp=i-H43-BC-5r9-IMQve-1o-PHEd-1c-ILFvh-filf0&sourcekey=w5814enl&utm_campaign=fine-cooking-eletter&utm_source=email&utm_medium=eletter&utm_content=fc_eletter&cid=22515&mid=271320782
    Merry Christmas to you and yours! Amanda your website is great and so are you! Keep ’em coming!
    PS in the spirit of Mobile and surrounding area SEAWORTHY has almost 14 different oysters from your area (Florida included) w a happy hour Mon-Fri. 1/2 off. In honor of your contributions and blog we feel its The Wild Cocktailians’ duty to review them ALL in your name!

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