Cranberries Sugared and Sauced

I am a big fan of the cranberry. Probably because it’s super sour and definitely because it’s my favorite color and possibly a little because it floats, I just think cranberries are one of the absolutely best berries around. Add that POP! when it cooks, and there’s just nothing that can compare.

So on Thanksgiving and Christmas, I make sure to cook up a large batch of cranberry sauce and rush to get my share before my girls finish it up. This year, I discovered another treat, the sugared cranberry, that turned Thanksgiving into a mad dash to the last one. I’m posting both recipes here to aid you in your Thanksgiving cranberry dash.

I made a huge bowl of sugared cranberries on Thanksgiving morning. They’d soaked overnight, so that morning, I drained them and rolled them in sugar putting them on a rack to dry. Still wet, I tasted one. And another. Luci did the same. And Tiara. Soon the three of us were standing around our cranberries sort of like a new mom stands watching her newborn baby, but instead of quiet adoration, we stared in greedy salivation.   If one person was going to take one, we all would. By the time they were dry and moved to a bowl, their numbers were down by a 1/3.

And as soon as I snapped these photos, the three of us stood around the table and devoured the rest, one buy one until they were done.

Luci particularly loves the ones that pop in her mouth as she bites down. The sweet and tart contrast is delicious and they’re beautiful too.


Sugared Cranberries


  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries*
  • 1 cup superfine sugar (I used granulated sugar – it works, but isn’t as pretty)


  • Combine the granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat and stir it until the sugar dissolves completely. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat. (Low heat is important. If the syrup is too hot, the berries will pop and you’ll end up with cranberry sauce.)
  • Stir in the cranberries to the sugar mixture and pour it into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
  • Drain the cranberries (reserve the liquid to reuse if desired).
  • Put the superfine sugar in a shallow bowl. Place a few cranberries at a time in the bowl, roll to coat, then use a slotted spoon to move them to a drying rack. Repeat until all the berries have been coated in sugar.
  • Allow to dry for at least 1 hour before inhaling at a rapid pace. :)
  • Berries will keep for up to a week if stored in an airtight container in a cool place in a household with extreme willpower (not mine).

*The original recipe calls for fresh cranberries, but I find that frozen works better because the cold prevents them from popping in the syrup while soaking. I purchased fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked out any discolored or squishy ones, and then froze them. That worked very well.


Cranberry Sauce

It is difficult to ruin cranberry sauce and thus, there’s absolutely no reason to every buy it in a can unless you can’t get enough of that can ring shape and the strange noise it makes as it thlwoops its way out of the can and onto the dish. Yes, I know some people must have that “traditional” can of sauce, but this one is oh so amazing, it’s worth a shot. Truly. Your taste buds deserve it.

Make this ahead. It’s super easy, super fast, and will taste great a couple of days later, so save the time and have it ready in advance. Also, use this as a guide and tweak it. The most important thing is the ratio of cranberries to liquid and sugar. You can add other ingredients and use different liquids to change the flavor.


  • 1 cup ruby port or red wine
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 12oz bag of cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • The juice and zest or one clementine or 1/2 orange
  • 2-3 quarter-sized pieces of candied ginger, finely diced.


  • Combine the port, sugar, and cranberries in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Lower the heat, add the remaining ingredients,  and cook until the liquid is syrupy and some of the berries have popped, 20-30 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat, pour into a serving dish, and cool to room temperature before serving or storing in the refrigerator. For smoother sauce, press it through a strainer, then refrigerate before serving.


  • Instead of port, use orange juice. Try other juices or combinations of juices with other wines or clear liquors.
  • Reduce or increase the sugar slightly according to taste. Substitute honey or use brown sugar.
  • Add nuts, 1 t. vanilla, or other dried fruit or even a small amount of finely minced jalapeño for a kick.


About Tiffany

I'm eclectic. Sometimes that's a good thing because I can do bits of everything. Sometimes it's aggravating because I get distracted by so many amazing things. Mostly, I love photography and family, travel and writing, cooking, reading, art, and coffee. Sundays are church days to regroup and refocus. God's in charge here.

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