sugared cranberries and rosemary overhead on parchment paper (1)
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How to Make Sugared Cranberries & Sugared Rosemary

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The perfect garnish to add some sparkle and festive color to your Christmas desserts and Holiday boards! Use these candied cranberries and candied rosemary to decorate cakes, charcuterie boards, holiday cocktails, and more!

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how to make sugared cranberries and rosemary

I’ve been seeing sugared cranberries and rosemary all over Pinterest, and they’ve become a tiny bit of an obsession for me lately! Fresh cranberries and fresh rosemary shot straight to the top of my shopping list because I really wanted to give them a try.

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    I always let you all know if a recipe needs a bit of … practice, before getting the hang of it (pastry cream, I’m looking at you). But these sugared cranberries and sugared rosemary sprigs were nothing but smooth sailing, even on my first round making them!

    They make beautiful, show stopping holiday garnishes! (And when something looks this beautiful, you’ve got to take pictures to brag!)

    sugared cranberries and rosemary close up rosemary

    Tips for candying cranberries and rosemary:

    Dry well! For the syrup to stick to the cranberries and rosemary, it’s important to dry them very well before tossing in the syrup! I just like to place mine on a paper towel for a few minutes beforehand.

    Less is more. Don’t leave the cranberries or rosemary in the syrup for more than about 1 or 2 minutes. Since the syrup is hot, the cranberries could burst or the rosemary can wilt if left too long. They just need a few quick tosses, and they’re all set!

    Patience. Something I’m quite bad at! But it’s important to let the cranberries/rosemary dry for a full hour before tossing in the sugar. This helps the sugar stick to them, without getting soaked into them. For the perfect sparkle!

    sugared cranberries and rosemary syrup dried

    How many sugared cranberries and rosemary does this recipe make?

    The recipe amounts here are enough to make 3 cups of sugared cranberries or about 25 to 30 sprigs of sugared rosemary. But you can also make a combination of the two!

    This time around, I used this recipe to make a combination of 2 cups of sugared cranberries and 10 sprigs of sugared rosemary.

    sugared cranberries and rosemary tossing in sugar

    What to do with leftover syrup:

    After all is said and done, you’re going to have a bit of syrup leftover from candying the cranberries and rosemary. My absolute favorite way to use the leftover syrup is to sweeten drinks! It makes a fantastic sweetener for holiday drinks, and I love using it to sweeten lemonade.

    You can also use the syrup to:

    • brush on cakes (it makes them super moist!)
    • sweeten whipped cream
    • drizzle on yogurt parfaits
    • sweeten oatmeal
    • make other candied treats (like candied almonds or candied pecans!)
    • use it in place of maple syrup on French toast or pancakes!

    But the list is endless! So use any of these ideas or get creative!

    sugared cranberries and rosemary in sugar bowl

    How long do sugared cranberries and rosemary last?

    For storage, these sugared treats will last for up to a week stored in an airtight container in the fridge. The cranberries and rosemary don’t fare too well when frozen, so I would steer clear of it.

    If you find the cranberries/rosemary sprigs have soaked the sugar in and they’re not as sparkly, you can just reroll them and they’ll be as good as new!

    sugared cranberries and rosemary tossed in sugar in bowl

    If you liked this recipe, check out some of these other festive recipes!

    gingerbread cookies
    simple powdered sugar icing/glaze
    cinnamon swirl wreath bread
    sugar cookies
    Danish butter cookies

    Sugared Cranberries and Rosemary Recipe

    The perfect garnish to add some sparkle and festive color to your Christmas desserts and Holiday boards! Use these candied cranberries and candied rosemary to decorate cakes, charcuterie boards, holiday cocktails, and more!
    Prep Time 10 minutes
    Cook Time 5 minutes
    Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
    Servings 3 cups sugared cranberries OR 25 sprigs sugared rosemary


    • 1 & 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 3 cups fresh cranberries, washed and dried thoroughly
    • OR/ 25 to 30 sprigs fresh rosemary, washed and dried thoroughly


    • In a medium saucepot, combine 1/2 cup sugar and water. Place over medium-high heat and bring up to a boil. As soon as it comes to a boil, move the pot off the heat and add in your cranberries/rosemary. * (see notes)
    • Working somewhat quickly, toss the cranberries/rosemary in the sugar & water syrup until fully coated. Don't leave them in for more than about 1 to 2 minutes or they'll start to burst/wilt! Use a slotted spoon or a spider strainer to remove the cranberries/rosemary from the pot, and transfer onto a wire rack to drain. Leave them out to dry for 1 hour.
    • Add the remaining 1 cup of sugar to a medium bowl. Toss the cranberries/rosemary in the sugar to coat. For the rosemary, I find it easier to use a spoon to sprinkle the sugar onto it so it gets into the crevices. And they're ready to use!


    * This recipe makes 3 cups of sugared cranberries or 25 to 30 sugared rosemary sprigs. You can also use it to make a combination of the two. If making both at once, toss them in the sugar/water syrup separately. The cranberries can bruise the rosemary if they’re added to the pot at the same time. 


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