Sugared Cranberries and Rosemary

Bright and sweet these sugared cranberries make for a beautiful decoration for your holiday creations. They also happen to make a really tasty snack. 

I have always wondered how they got cranberries to look like this. When I realized it is just simple syrup and then additional sugar I was glad they were so simple. What I found after making them is that they make a really tasty snack. Not only are they attractive but once you are done using them as a garnish they are very tasty. The amount of sugar on them helps cut the tartness but not so much that they are sickly sweet. Enjoy them to your hearts content. They also make a nice addition so some great holiday cocktails. 

In this recipe

There are only 4 ingredients in this recipe and one is water. The others are sugar, fresh cranberries, and rosemary. It is important to make sure that the cranberries are fresh and the rosemary is not browning at all. If the rosemary is already browning then the sugar syrup will help speed up the process and make your rosemary look bad. Frozen cranberries will not maintain their shape when thawed and they will release water which will prevent to sugar from sticking to them. 

Ingredients for sugared cranberries on a wooden cutting board
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Dipping the rosemary

When dipping the rosemary in he sugar syrup you want to make sure that the sugar has just dissolved and the liquid is a cool as possible. If the syrup has been brought to a boil it will need to cool all the way back down. This is because the heat will cause the leaves of the rosemary to turn brown as it starts drying. Not only will this prevent it from looking nice but it might cause the leaves to start to fall off. 

Equipment needed for sugared cranberries and rosemary
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Rosemary and cranberries drying on a baking rack
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Using the right fruit

One of the most important things when making this recipe is to make sure you go through the cranberries. I like to do this while I am rinsing off the cranberries. You want ones that are still firm and there are no soft spots. There are always some cranberries that have sides that are softer and while they are still good for cooking I wouldn’t use them for this. The reason for this is two-fold. Firstly, as the sugar completely dries on the cranberries the soft sides will cause it to break off. As you can see that will happen naturally when moving them. Secondly this could cause the skin to burst and leak juices onto other cranberries.

A bowl of sugared cranberries with rosemary around it
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Making the sugared cranberries

Once the rosemary is done you will want to bring the syrup to a boil and let it boil for a couple of minutes. This will remove some of the water allowing the syrup to coat the cranberries better. Once you have added the cranberries to the liquid you want to remove from the heat to help keep them from bursting. Then transfer them to a cooling rack. By letting them dry for at least a hour even more water will evaporate leaving a sticky layer that will keep the sugar from dissolving but still adhere to cranberries. 

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Looking for other holiday recipes?

close up of a bowl of sugared cranberries
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Sugared Cranberries and Rosemary

Cranberries and rosemary dipped in sugar syrup and dusted with sugar
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 191 kcal


  • Parchment lined sheet pan
  • Cooling rack
  • Heavy bottomed saucepan
  • Spiral/spider skimmer or slotted spoon


  • cup sugar divided
  • 4 cups cranberries fresh, rinsed and dried
  • 2 ounces rosemary fresh, rinsed and dried
  • ¾ cup water


  • Place the cooling rack on top of the parchment lined sheet pan and set it next to the stove for easy access.
  • In a heavy bottom saucepan add ¾ cup of sugar with the water. Heat on medium until all of the sugar melts and remove it from the heat. Dip the rosemary in the syrup to coat and then move it to the cooling rack. Continue with the remaining sprigs of rosemary.
  • Place the pan back onto the stove and bring the heat to medium high. Bring the syrup to a boil for 2 minutes and add the cranberries. Remove from the heat and stir to coat all of them evenly. This may need to be done in 2 batches. Using the spider skimmer remove the cranberries and place on the cooling rack.
  • Allow to dry for at least an hour.
  • Place the remaining sugar in a bowl and place the rosemary in the bowl. Gently scooping the sugar over the rosemary to evenly coat it. Shake off the excess sugar. Repeat with the remaining rosemary and then with the cranberries.
  • Can be stored in an air tight container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 191kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 0.2gFat: 0.2gSaturated Fat: 0.004gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.03gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.01gSodium: 3mgPotassium: 41mgFiber: 2gSugar: 46gVitamin A: 30IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 5mgIron: 0.1mg
Nutrition Disclaimer*
Keyword Brown Sugar, Cranberry, Decoration
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