Sugared Cranberries and Rosemary

December 1, 2019

Hello December! It’s time to get our fancy on! ‘Tis the season for starlit trees, shiny ornaments, festive sparkly lights […]

Hello December!

It’s time to get our fancy on! ‘Tis the season for starlit trees, shiny ornaments, festive sparkly lights and all the glittery things! It’s the first day of December and I am wasting no time kicking off the holiday season with this “it only looks fancy” 10-minute tip to add that little dash of sparkle and shine that we all love this time of year.

Festive sugared cranberries and rosemary sprigs are sooooo simple to make and will transform all of your desserts into an instant winter wonderland.

Sugared cranberries and rosemary sprigs make a fabulously festive and pretty-as-can-be garnish for cakes, cupcakes, tarts, pavlovas and even holiday cocktails. As you know, I’m more of a lazy girl, sheet cake kinda baker. I don’t really do a lot with fancy piping or intricate designs. But these sugared cranberries make everything look fancy-ish with barely any effort.

First things first. Start off by “cherry” picking the best of the best from the cranberry batch. You want to choose the prettiest, freshest cranberries that have that bright red color and are nicely rounded and petite. Trim the rosemary sprigs with a pair of kitchen sheers to the size you like.

This recipe could seriously not be any easier. And it’s totally fool-proof. Promise. All you need is sugar and water, and well, more sugar. It’s that easy! We start by mixing equal parts sugar and water together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir the mixture frequently to dissolve the sugar and bring the mixture to a boil before adding the cranberries and rosemary.

Let the cranberries and rosemary soak up the sugar syrup for a few minutes before using a slotted spoon to transfer them to a baking rack to dry out. They will be a bit sticky at this point so try not to handle them too much.

Not only are the cranberries so pretty glazed in the simple sugar syrup, but they are super sweet and perfectly tart. You might just want to eat them by the handful. But just you wait…they get even prettier once they are dusted in sugar!


Use the best of the bunch. Be sure to pick through the bag of berries to find the very best, firmest cranberries you can find. There’s always a few duds in the bunch so set those aside and toss them in your cranberry muffins or bundt cake.

Hands off the berries.  Once the cranberries and the rosemary have been dipped into the sugar syrup, avoid touching them too much with your fingers. The coating will become less tacky making it harder for the sugar to stick to the berries. Be sure to use a slotted spoon to transfer the berries from the saucepan to the drying rack and then use a small spoon to move them again into the sugar bowl.

Sugar, sugar. Once the cranberries and rosemary sprigs have been place in the bowl of sugar, use your hands or a small spoon to cover all sides in sugar. Roll them around to cover completely. Once covered in sugar, they will be less sticky and can be easily transferred to a baking rack to dry.

For best results….allow the sugar coated cranberries and rosemary sprigs to dry at room temperature for at least an hour before using to decorate your cake or garnish a cocktail. After an hour, the berries and rosemary can be placed in an airtight container and kept in the refrigerator until ready to use.


What I love best about this easy recipe is that the sugared cranberries and rosemary can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to decorate your holiday dessert. With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s always nice to have things prepped and ready to go in advance. Especially when they turn out this pretty! Pro-tip: keep bag or two of fresh cranberries stashed in the fridge for the holidays so you can whip these festive little gems up in a pinch.

Now since I know you are going to ask, let’s talk sugar. I’ve made these festive sugared cranberries and rosemary sprigs with three different types of sugar. Decorative sparkling sugar, organic white sugar {in the raw} and plain Jane, everyday granulated sugar. I love them all and it really just depends on what look you are going for. The sparkling sugar granules are rather large while the granulated sugar is on the smaller side. Whichever sugar you choose, they all will create a wintery, snowy white sugar topped cranberry that is almost too pretty to eat. You do you….or mix and match and try them all.

Enjoy these festive little cake or cocktail toppers this holiday season friends. And be sure to tag @brownedbutterblondie on Instagram if you add these festive sugared cranberries and rosemary sprigs to your holiday desserts….I can’t wait to see your creations.

Happy Holidays!

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How to Make Sugared Cranberries and Rosemary

  • Author: Browned Butter Blondie
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 15 mins
  • Category: Dessert


Sugared cranberries and rosemary sprigs are a simple and festive garnish for all of your holiday cakes, cupcakes, tarts and cocktails. Made with just two ingredients in just ten minutes, they are almost too pretty to eat!


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1 cup granulated, cane or sparkling sugar for coating


  1. Place 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan.
  2. Stir together while heating over medium-high heat.
  3. Continue to stir occasionally until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil.
  4. Remove from heat and add 1/2 cup cranberries.
  5. Allow berries to sit for 4-5 minutes in the sugar water mixture.
  6. Using a slotted spoon, remove cranberries from saucepan and place on a baking rack or parchment paper for 10 minutes.
  7. Repeat with the other 1/2 cup of cranberries, followed by the rosemary sprigs.
  8. Next, place 1 heaping cup of granulated sugar, organic cane sugar, or sparkling sugar in a small bowl.
  9. Add a few cranberries at a time and use fingers or small spoon to gently roll in the sugar to coat completely on all sides.
  10. Remove and place on a clean baking rack to dry.
  11. Repeat with remaining cranberries and rosemary sprigs.
  12. For best results, leave to dry at room temperature for one hour.
  13. Decorate cakes, cupcakes, tarts and more with the sugared cranberries and rosemary.
  14. Or, prepare ahead of time and place in a covered container and refrigerate until ready to use.


For best results, use sugared cranberries and rosemary within two days.
Do not freeze.

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  • Reply
    October 12, 2020 at 6:32 pm

    Thank you! Can I used dried or freezed cranberries?

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      October 13, 2020 at 5:08 am

      These won’t work using dried cranberries and fresh is best for making sugared cranberries. They should be showing up in stores soon!

  • Reply
    December 13, 2019 at 6:37 pm

    Just made these and they turned out perfectly! I’m working on some little cranberry and rosemary tassies, so they were literally the perfect thing to top them with! Thanks Heather!! xo – Anita

    • Reply
      Heather Mubarak
      December 16, 2019 at 9:59 am

      Yay!! I’m so glad to hear that Anita!

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