Naturally sweet fruits get a dazzling makeover in this Sugared Berries recipe. Give your desserts a little sparkle with these easy-to-make edible decorations. Perfect for making sugared cranberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and more! All you need are 3 ingredients (one of which is good ol’ H2O) and about 20 minutes of active time to make these gorgeous, delicious treats.
⭐ Why You’ll Love This Recipe
I’m not usually one for a lot of bling — but these glittering sugared berries are the exception to the rule! They give any cake, cupcake, cocktail, or tart an instant dose of panache. They take the simplest desserts to the next level, as a sweet treat and can add a special touch.
While sugared cranberries and candied rosemary get all the glory around the holidays, there are so many more options to play with. Sugared blueberries and candied strawberries can be used to make a sparkling flag cake for the 4th. Or make sugared blackberries and raspberries, gooseberries and boysenberries, currants and elderberries, cherries and chokeberries… the list goes on and on!
Not only is it easy to make these glittering gems of fruit — you need just 3 ingredients, no raw eggs, pasteurized eggs or egg whites, and a few minutes of active time — but they’re also super satisfying to eat as a snack! I’m a sucker for just about any kind of berry, especially when there’s a crunchy sugar coating on the outside.
Looking for another easy recipe to make a homemade edible garnish? Start with How To Make Dried Orange Slices, Candied Rose Petals or Sugared Flowers - they would all be a great addition to your next baking project!
As I mentioned above, you don’t need much to make a twinkling pile of delectable sugared berries. Here’s your entire list for making this fun treat:
- Berries of Choice - Pretty much any type of berry will work here, so feel free to go nuts! Just be sure to use fresh, plump berries over frozen.
- Granulated Sugar - To keep the ingredient list short and sweet, I use plain granulated sugar both for the sugar syrup and for rolling the fruit. If you want an even sparklier result, grab some sanding sugar with larger granules for the rolling bit. I usually keep a small bowl of sugar nearby to add additional sugar to the berries if needed for a second coat of sugar!
- Water - Filtered water is preferred, but tap will do just fine.
The best thing about making sugar-coated berries with a sweet crunch is that seriously ANY home cook can make them with a few simple steps. All you need are basic kitchen wares like a:
📖 Step by Step Instructions
Step 1: Make Simple Syrup. Stir and bring your cup of water and granulated cup of sugar to a simmer (not a boil) making sure that the sugar is completely dissolved over medium heat in a medium pan. Remove from heat and allow the simple to cool for about 15 minutes.
Step 2: Soak Berries. Add berries into the simple syrup and let them steep for 5 minutes.
Step 3: Dry Berries. Remove the cranberries from the syrup with a slotted spoon and allow them to dry on a paper towel. Separate the berries so they're not touching each other and let them dry for one to two hours, when they're at room temperature.
Step 4: Coat Berries In Sugar. Toss cranberries in granulated sugar mixture before enjoying. Use them to garnish any dessert or cocktail, or simply enjoy them on their own.
Make-Ahead Tip: Sugared berries will keep for up to 2-3 days if covered in the fridge. If the sugar starts to dissolve, simply re-roll them to amp up the sparkle factor!
⏲️ Substitutions & Variations
Sugared berries are just the beginning. There are lots of ways to use this simple candying method to your decorative advantage:
- Sugared Rosemary - Making sparkling rosemary branches is a great way to add a wintry flair to desserts and cocktails. They look like evergreen trees coated in a dusting of snow! You can also use any other hardy herbs that you like. NOTE: If you want to candy tender herbs like basil, check out my candied rose petal post and follow those directions instead!
- Sugared Citrus Peels - Fresh orange, lemon, grapefruit, and lime all come with a free ingredient: their peels! Slice into long strips, then twist into corkscrews before adding to the syrup for a pretty shape. A candy thermometer is key here!
- Candied Kumquats - These tiny citrus fruits are a delight to eat because you can eat the whole thing! They are a great option for sugaring if you need to introduce some orange to your color palate with a little morsel of kumquats.
- Sugared Grapes - You can even freeze the red grapes when you’re done for one of the best ways to enjoy a frosty summer treat!
- Sparkling Dried Fruits - Yep, you can make sugared raisins, craisins, apple chunks, mango, pineapple… whatever your heart desires!
- Use Jell-O Packets or freeze dried fruit powders - Introduce some color and have some fun mixing and matching flavors by using powdered flavored Jell-O or freeze dried fruit powder in place of or adding to the regular granulated sugar.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
- Don’t toss the soaking syrup! Save it for cocktail hour or for adding moisture to cakes. It will be subtly flavored with whatever berry or fruit you add to the mix, making it perfect for adding flavor to plenty of other tasty goods. Store any leftovers in a squeeze bottle in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- Use fresh fruit rather than frozen. Frozen fruit doesn’t have the same cell-wall integrity as fresh, so if you try to use frozen berries that you defrost, they’ll just turn into a syrupy, juicy pile of tastiness rather than shimmering with sugar granules.
- Re-roll in sugar as needed. If you make the candied berries ahead of time, you may need to freshen them up with a quick roll in sugar before presenting them.
💭 Recipe FAQs
Macerating berries in sugar helps to release the juices from the berries, turning them into a self-saucing phenomenon that is perfect for spooning over just about any dessert.
Sugared berries, on the other hand, are first dipped in simple syrup to create a protective barrier before rolling in sugar. This results in sparkly whole berries that are great for garnishes.
Absolutely! Just don’t expect them to stay sparkly when they begin to defrost. The chill of the freezer breaks down the cell walls of the fruit, so you’ll end up with macerated berries instead. Don’t fret, though. These saucy little berries are still delicious spooned over ice cream, cheesecake, yogurt, and more!
I’d say you can get them to last for 2-3 days if covered in the fridge, though the longer they sit, the more they begin to macerate. If needed, give them a quick roll in sugar before setting them out to get the original level of glitter you had. Then add to mousses, tarts and bundt cakes!
More Edible Garnish Recipes
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How to make Sugared Berries
- ½ cup (118 g) water
- ½ cup (50 g) sugar
- 1 cup (130 g) cranberries, or the berries of your choice!
- Bring water and sugar to a simmer making sure that the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes.½ cup water, ½ cup sugar
- Add cranberries into the saucepan and let the cranberries sit in the sugar syrup for 10-15 minutes.1 cup cranberries
- Remove the cranberries from the syrup and allow them to dry on a paper towel for one to two hours. Note that you can certainly use the cranberry syrup for other purposed – there’s no need to get rid of it! ( Happy Hour Anyone?!)
- Coat the dried berries in granulated sugar and enjoy!