Sugared cranberries: easiest holiday dessert ever

A bright, beautiful addition to a holiday table, and about as easy as boiling water. Bonus: save the cranberry-infused syrup and drop a tablespoon of it into a glass of carbonated water for a quick cranberry soda.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Inactive time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
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Serves 16 people


  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 lb fresh cranberries


  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.
  • Dissolve 1 cup of the sugar into 1 cup water in medium saucepan. Bring to boil and let boil 5 minutes.
  • Add cranberries to boiling syrup and cook 60-90 seconds, stirring gently with a slotted spoon so that all the cranberries are completely coated with the syrup, then remove with a slotted spoon and place on the lined baking sheet (it’s ok if they’re clumped for now). It’s very important to get the cranberries out while they’re still solid and have retained their color; if you see the skin split on a cranberry, remove them all immediately.
  • Let the cranberries cool on the lined baking sheet for about an hour, until the cranberries are completely cooled.
  • When cranberries have cooled, put remaining 1/2 c sugar into a mixing bowl. Working in batches, gently detach cranberries from each other and roll in the granulated sugar, then place finished cranberries in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Calories: 37kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 24mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 17IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg

Kids’ Table

Does your young chef want to help out? Here are some suggestions of ways they can contribute, based on their skill level.


Sort the cranberries before cooking to make sure only good ones get used


Roll cranberries in the sugar in the last step


Do the whole recipe with adult supervision (boiling syrup is very hot)

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