Sparkling Cranberries – 101 Cookbooks

I’ve become convinced that these sparkling, sugared cranberries should be a part of every holiday spread. Sparkling cranberries glint and wink in the surrounding holiday lights, and lend a striking dash of red to the table. Another great thing is the way they effortlessly make the transition from savory course to sweet. So, for example, I’ve become fond of serving them as part of a cheese spread, but I imagine they’d be nice as the finishing touch on on a tart or clustered atop a crème brûlée or pudding of some sort.

Sparkling Cranberries: What Type of Sugar?

Over the years I’ve discovered this detail is key. I’ve experimented with a range of sugars with varying degrees of success. Some work better than others. In the beginning, I wanted to make them with a maple sugar coating – but the cranberries looked like they had been dropped in dust. The same goes for raw cane sugar, coconut sugar, and Rapadura. I gave up trying to do a less refined sugar version. On the other end of the sugar spectrum, extra-fine grain sugar didn’t work well either. The results were too clumpy. Essentially, the best way to get a good sparkling sugar crust on your cranberries is to first roll them in an slightly-chunky white sugar. The larger sugar grains retain structure despite the moisture from the simple syrup. Later in the process, toss them in regular, standard granulated sugar. The small grains of the granulated sugar cling to any spots that are still sticky from the simple syrup. 

Sparkling Cranberries

They are simple to make, but you need to do the first step the night before. I like to toss the cranberries in sugar the next morning, and off and on throughout the day so they have time to dry and crisp up.


There are endless ways to add layers of flavor to your sparkling cranberries.

  • Cardamom Sparkling Cranberries: In the comments Aimee mentioned, ”I made my simple syrup with cardamom sugar to give it even more of a holiday flavor.” This got me thinking, you could steep a few cardamom pods along with the water and sugar, and strain before proceeding with the rest of the recipe. And/or add a teaspoon of finely crushed cardamom to your sugar mixture before tossing with the cranberries.
  • Citrus Sparkling Cranberries: By introducing the zest of an orange or two to your simple syrup pot, you can infuse the simple syrup with notes of winter orange. Strain and proceed with the recipe.

Also, use the leftover simple syrup in holiday drinks and cocktails!

Sparkling Cranberries Recipe

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