You’ll love this easy recipe for homemade Cranberry Simple Syrup. It's made by simmering cranberries, sugar, and water until the cranberries have softened and the syrup has thickened. The resulting syrup is tangy, sweet, and has a beautiful ruby red color. It’s versatile, delicious, and a great way to add a festive touch to your holiday recipes.
Here are just a few of the reasons why you want to use this recipe:
- It is easy to make and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- It is a great way to add a touch of sweetness to your favorite drinks and desserts.
- It is a great way to use up leftover cranberries.
What is Simple Syrup
So let’s start with the basics. A classic simple syrup recipe is usually made with an equal ratio of water and granulated sugar - meaning 1 cup of water to 1 cup of sugar. The mixture is typically heated just until the sugar dissolves which creates a sugar syrup that can be used to sweeten and flavor a variety of drinks and food. If you want a thicker syrup you would use 2 cups of sugar to 1 cup of water.
Cranberry Simple Syrup Ingredients
Here are the 3 simple ingredients you'll need for the tart refreshing cranberry syrup:
- Cranberries: The great thing about this recipe is that you can use either fresh or frozen cranberries to make this simple syrup
- Granulated Sugar: Make sure to use granulated sugar and not powdered sugar.
- Water: Use bottled or distilled water for the best flavor.
Full ingredients, measurements, and instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How to Make Cranberry Simple Syrup
Step 1: If using fresh cranberries, rinse them off to remove any small leaves. Frozen cranberries can be added straight to the saucepan. Roughly chop the cranberries into large pieces.
Step 2: Clean the container for the cranberry simple syrup by washing it with soap and hot water, and thoroughly rinsing it. Next, pour boiling water into the container twice to ensure it is thoroughly clean.
Step 3: Place the cranberries, water, and sugar together in a 3 or 4-quart saucepan.
Step 4: Heat the ingredients over medium heat until you start to hear the cranberries pop, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
Do not let the cranberries boil. You'll see a few small bubbles start to break through the surface. At this point, you should hear some of the large pieces of cranberry make a popping sound, which indicates you've reached the right temperature.
Step 5: Remove the saucepan from the heat, cover it up with a lid, and let it steep for another 5 minutes to draw out the most flavor from the cranberries.
Step 6: Pour the warm cranberry syrup through a fine-mesh sieve (aka strainer) into a medium-sized bowl. Press the cranberries with the back of a large spoon to get as much juice as possible out of the fruit.
Step 7: Let the simple syrup cool to room temperature before storing it in a clean glass jar.
How to Use the Cranberry Simple Syrup
iHere are a few ideas for how to use cranberry simple syrup in your baking and cooking:
- Add it to your favorite cocktail or mocktail recipe. For example, combine it with lime juice and ginger ale for a moscow mule mocktail.
- Drizzle it over pancakes, waffles, or ice cream. A really good vanilla ice cream is my favorite way to enjoy it.
- Use it to make cranberry sauce or other cranberry-flavored desserts.
- Add it to hot iced tea for a sweet and tart flavor boost.
- Use it to make a delicious cranberry vinaigrette.
- Use it to brush cake layers with a silicone brush to add cranberry flavor to the cake and to help keep the cake layers moist.
For a thicker syrup to use on pancakes or French toast let the syrup simmer for 10-15 minutes instead of 5 minutes.
Add orange juice. Add orange juice for a citrus flavor that pairs well with the tartness of the cranberries. Use bottled orange juice for the right amount of consistency and flavor.
How to Store the Simple Syrup
Unlike plain simple syrup (sugar and water) homemade cranberry syrup has a shorter shelf life. There are lots of ways to maximize your homemade cranberry simple syrup's life span.
- Use an airtight container. While you may be tempted to use any type of container, I highly suggest going with a sealed glass jar. Glass canning jars really are best.
- Clean the container well. Be sure to thoroughly wash the container you plan to use for storage. I'd suggest going as far as washing the glass jar with dish soap, and then immersing it in a boiling water bath for a few minutes before adding your syrup.
- Freeze the simple syrup. A great way to prolong the life of the simple syrup is to freeze it in either a single container or in an ice cube tray. Use the ice cubes to chill and flavor your favorite drinks.
Recipe - Frequently Asked Questions
I haven't tried this recipe with other sweeteners. You're more than welcome to give it a try. If you do, please let me know how it turns out.
The amount of simple syrup you use is a matter of taste and how sweet you like your drinks. For example, for a homemade soda I like 4 tablespoons of syrup to 8 tablespoons of club soda.
If you make this recipe please leave a rating and a comment below.
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If You Like This Recipe, Try These Drinks and Simple Syrups
Cranberry Simple Syrup
- 12 ounces (340 grams) fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1 cup (240 grams) distilled water
- 1-1/4 cup (250 grams) granulated sugar
- Place a heat proof measuring bowl with a fine mesh strainer next to the stove. If storing the cranberry simple syrup clean a glass jar with lid with soap and hot water.
- If using fresh cranberries, wash them by spraying them with water. Look for small leaves or twigs. There is no need to wash frozen cranberries.
- With a sharp knife roughly chop the cranberries, which means to leave them in large pieces. Frozen cranberries are easier to chop than fresh cranberries.
- Place the cranberries, water, and sugar in a 3 or 4-quart saucepan. Stir together until the sugar starts to dissolve.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat. You should see small bubbles start to appear around the edges of the pan in the middle of the cranberries and the cranberries should start to pop. Once these bubbles start to appear reduce the heat to low and simmer the cranberries for another 5 minutes. At this point the cranberries should be soft.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat, cover the pan with a lid and let the cranberries sit for 5 minutes.
- Pour the cranberries into the fine mesh strainer into the bowl below. Use the back of a large spoon to press the cranberries to get as much liquid as possible out of the cranberries. Let the cranberries drain for 5 minutes.
- Pour the syrup into the storage container and let it cool to room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator.
- The leftover cranberry solids can be used in smoothies or add them to your oatmeal.
- The simple syrup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. If it turns cloudy or you see any mold discard it immediately.
How to Use the Cranberry Simple Syrup
- This syrup is great for drinks and cocktails. Use about 3-4 tablespoons for each drink depending on the other ingredients and how strong you want the cranberry flavor in your drink
How to Make Cranberry Ice Cubes
- Refrigerate the cranberry syrup overnight. Pour the syrup into an ice cube tray and freeze. Add the cranberry ice cubes to your favorite drinks or cocktails.