These gorgeous, sparkling cranberries are the perfect appetizer or dessert garnish for Thanksgiving and Christmas! You don’t even have to make your own simple syrup (and risk popping your cranberries). This recipe is totally foolproof. 

The Easiest Sugared Cranberries Ever from The Food Charlatan

I was on TV last Friday!

And I didn’t die!

And no one ridiculed my eyebrows! At least not to my face. Which is all you can really hope for in life, right?

And here is the follow up clip at the end of the show:

(If these videos don’t work you can find both of them here)

After I got home from the station and had watched the clip myself, I got this text from Eric:

The Easiest Sugared Cranberries Ever from The Food Charlatan

Really, I don’t know how Eric could show his love for me more. When there is a choice between Karen and Star Wars, he will pick me every time. True love, guys.

The Easiest Sugared Cranberries Ever from The Food Charlatan

The Easiest Sugared Cranberries Ever from The Food Charlatan
High five, cranberries!!

So! Sugared Cranberries! I topped the Cranberry Custard Pie that I posted last week (and the pie in the video) with these babies, and let me tell you, they are amazing. The first time I tried these was a few years ago when I made these Sparkling Cranberry Brie Bites, which is sugared cranberries, brie, and cranberry sauce on a cracker. Soooo good.

The Easiest Sugared Cranberries Ever from The Food Charlatan

These cranberries are perfect as an appetizer or as a garnish to basically any holiday dessert. Or just as a snack all by themselves. Leave them on the counter and they will be gone in like a day and a half max. They are the perfect combination of tart and sweet. These would be a great addition to a cheese tray, or paired with candied nuts!

The Easiest Sugared Cranberries Ever from The Food Charlatan

The Easiest Sugared Cranberries Ever from The Food Charlatan

Most recipes that I’ve seen call for making your own simple syrup. If you are not careful, you can pop the cranberries when you add them to the too-hot syrup. Instead I soak mine in maple syrup. SO much easier! Either way you will have to soak them overnight. I tried it with the soak and without, just to make sure it was necessary, and unfortunately it is. The cranberries soak up the sugar from the syrup. Without the soak, they are edible but still too tart for me. After the soak they turn out perfectly sweet, with an awesome crunch from the sugar. Try these!

Do you guys give up? Or are you thirsty for more?
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The Easiest Sugared Cranberries

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 1 hour
Cook: 0 minutes
Chill Time: 6 hours
Total: 7 hours
Servings: 12 Servings
These gorgeous, sparkling cranberries are the perfect appetizer or dessert garnish for Thanksgiving and Christmas! You don't even have to make your own simple syrup (and risk popping your cranberries). This recipe is totally foolproof. 


  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries, cranberries
  • 1 & 1/2 cups maple syrup
  • 1 & 1/2 cups granulated sugar


  • Rinse the cranberries, discarding any that have become soft.
  • In a tupperware with a lid, stir together the cranberries and maple syrup.
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight, or 6-8 hours.
  • Place the cranberries in a colander set over a bowl so that the syrup drains off (save it for pancakes!)
  • Spread the sugar onto a rimmed baking sheet. Working in 2-3 batches, roll the drained cranberries in the sugar. Kids love this part! I love this part! Lick your fingers!
  • Let the cranberries dry out on the pan, or you can put them on a cooking rack so they get really crisp. Make sure none of them are touching each other.
  • Let them dry out for at least an hour, the more the better. Putting the pan in the fridge speeds this up.
  • Store the cranberries uncovered on a pan or shallow dish. If you cover them or let them touch each other, they will get soggy.
  • If you want to give these away as a hostess or neighbor gift, I recommend layering them in a tin lined with parchment paper. Put another layer of parchment on top before adding a second layer. Tell the recipient to uncover the tin as soon as possible.


Ways to make this recipe more complicated:
Roll cranberries 3-4 at a time so that there is no chance of the sugar clumping.
Whirl your sugar in a food processor for a minute to make it superfine, or find some superfine (sometimes called caster or baking sugar) at the store. This will make it super sparkly!
Add a few teaspoons of orange zest to the sugar that you roll the cranberries in.
Add a slice or two of fresh ginger to the syrup and let it soak overnight, stirring a couple times if possible.


Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 218kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 115mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 50g | Vitamin A: 17IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Calories: 218
Keyword: Cranberry, Sugared Cranberries
Did you make this? I'd love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

Here are some ideas for what to do with Sugared Cranberries!

Sparkling Cranberry Brie Bites: <<if you only make one appetizer this holiday season, make this one! Everyone will say ooooh aaaah. Sub cream cheese, blue cheese, goat cheese….any soft cheese will do.

Sparkling Cranberry Brie Bites

And if you only make one pie this holiday season…make this Cranberry Custard Pie!! It’s the one I made on-air in the clip above. So good guys!

Cranberry Custard Pie from The Food Charlatan

Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies:

Cranberry Dulce de Leche Hand Pies from The Food Charlatan

Brown Butter Cranberry Tart:

Brown Butter Cranberry Tart from

Also, this has nothing to do with cranberries, but Halloween is coming up this weekend and I won’t leave you stranded! Check out these 10 Crock Pot Recipes for Halloween Night. Make-ahead ideas you can put together on Saturday morning, so that you don’t eat Butterfingers for dinner. (Not that I would judge you.)

10 Crock-Pot Recipes for Halloween from The Food Charlatan

More recipes you can use sugared cranberries with!

Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cake from Life, Love and Sugar
The Great Pumpkin Pie Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction
Soft Gingerbread Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Sugared Cranberries from Call Me Cupcake

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  1. I whirled these in the processor 3 or 4 times and used the orange peel. But my cranberries aren’t sparkly. They look like they have powdered sugar on them. I did soak them in pure maple syrup overnight and then rolled them a few at a time Which took forever. Just wondering what I did wrong?

    1. Hey Heather! I’m sorry they aren’t sparkly! That’s so strange that they look like they have powdered sugar? I’m not sure what went wrong!

  2. So hey, if you’re still tracking this thread, I have a question: Do you use pure maple syrup? 1.5 cups is a lot of syrup, and the pure stuff is pretty expensivo, so I just wondered if a person could substitute the cheap stuff. Thanks!

    1. Hey Alice! I did use pure maple syrup but the cheap stuff will tooootally work for this recipe. You’re just getting some sugar infused in those berries and any kind of syrup will work. Enjoy!

  3. I made these to top our cranberry-orange jello shots for Thanksgiving…and then ate all of the leftover sugared cranberries. These are amazing and easy. Everyone raved about them. Thanks for the recipe!

  4. You totally rocked your TV debut and gosh, more than Star Wars?? I doubt Chris would be able to say the same should the situation be reversed :) These cranberries are essential to every holiday celebration. You can also do this with honey and corn syrup – just gorgeous!

  5. AWWWW!! You are TOTALLY a natural Karen!! I’m so glad you got your chance to be on TV! One day when you’re big and famous, I’m going to say,”I knew her when…” And hope that you’ll feed me the leftovers after you film your segments. ;) The anchor is definitely right — you are such an amazing storyteller! You always have me in stitches! You’re hilarious! And so is Eric… That’s the sweetest thing ever for him to say he watched YOU more than the Star Wars trailor! True, unconditional love right there.

  6. Well that is about the sweetest text I have ever read! Oh men, I love how they show you they care. As if cranberries weren’t pretty enough, now you’ve gone and sugared them and made them even prettier! And tastier too : )

  7. Karen, that is SO awesome that you got on TV! ! You are such a natural! Definitely keeping this recipe handy for the holidays!!

  8. You did great on TV, total natural!! I was hoping you would show how to make these cranberries, because they are so pretty!! I would never guessed that they needed to be soaked. Thanks!!

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