This Cranberry Simple Syrup adds a burst of REAL cranberry flavor to anything you add it to, and the possibilities are endless. It’s lovely in hot tea drinks and holiday mocktails & cocktails or drizzled over yogurt, oatmeal, baked brie, ice cream, and cheesecake! Those are just a few of the MANY ways to use this delicious DIY cranberry syrup.
Fresh cranberries are typically only available in grocery stores from October through December, but with this cranberry simple syrup recipe, you can cherish the sweet, tart, and tangy flavor of fresh cranberries year-round by concentrating the cranberry juice into simple syrup.
If you’re a fan of cranberry sauce, you’ll LOVE this homemade cranberry syrup! You will also love this DIY simple syrup flavor because:
- Only three ingredients (water, cranberries, and sugar).
- A delicious way to preserve seasonal cranberries.
- This is the BEST cranberry syrup recipe for your DIY holiday mocktail and cocktail needs.
- This is the perfect holiday gift for cranberry lovers and aspiring mixologists!
- It’s delectable drizzled over cakes, pancakes, waffles, and even ice cream!
Are you ready to make cranberry syrup from scratch? Pick out your cranberries, and let’s get started.
- Water – When you simmer the correct sugar ratio in boiling water, it thickens into a sticky simple syrup. Use filtered or distilled water for the purest flavor and to reduce the risk of bacterial growth during storage.
- Cranberries – Fresh cranberries are readily available during the fall and winter months. Select bags of firm, plump cranberries without any noticeable blemishes that range from deep red to light red in color. Steer clear of mushy and shriveled cranberries. A bag of frozen cranberries will do the trick if you can’t find fresh cranberries.
- Sugar – The fine granules in granulated sugar, cane sugar, and caster sugar dissolve quickly in hot water, creating a simple syrup.
🥄 Recommended Tools: You will need a small saucepan for simmering, a fine-mesh sieve for straining, and a sanitized glass jar or bottle for safe storage. A muddler helps squeeze every drop of juice from the berries, but you can also use a sturdy kitchen tool like a wooden spoon, wooden meat pounder, or French rolling pin.
🥣 How to make (step-by-step photos)
1️⃣ Step One: Dissolve sugar
Combine the water, cranberries, and sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until the water reaches a boil. Then, reduce the heat to a simmer and let the mixture cook until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries break down and release their juices.
2️⃣ Step Two: Press cranberries
Once the syrup thickens, strain it through a fine mesh sieve to separate the cranberry syrup from the pulp, but don’t throw it out! To extract even more juice and vibrant cranberry flavor, use a cocktail muddler to muddle the pulp, and then strain again. Add the extra juice to the syrup and stir.
3️⃣ Step Three: Cool and store
After cooling, pour the cranberry syrup into a glass jar or bottle and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. To freeze, pour the simple syrup into ice cube trays and freeze, then store the frozen cubes in a freezer-friendly bag for up to 6 months.
Cranberry pairs well with other fruits as well as herbaceous flavors. To add another flavor element, you can simmer the extra ingredient directly in the saucepan with the remaining ingredients and then strain once it’s finished.
For instance, to make orange cranberry syrup, simmer orange wedges with the cranberries and then press their juices out together. See the list below for more delicious cranberry syrup flavors.
- Cranberry Rosemary
- Cranberry Ginger
- Cranberry Thyme
- Cranberry Apple
- Spiced Cranberry (simmer with whole spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and star anise).
🍹How to use cranberry syrup
Let’s start with some of the many ways to use this syrup around the kitchen this holiday season.
- Breakfast treats – Drizzle over muffins, pancakes, waffles, crepes, or oatmeal.
- Enhance desserts – Spread between cake layers or drizzle over cheesecake, pie, pound cake, Christmas cookies, etc.
- Chilled drinks – For non-alcoholic beverages, add a splash of cranberry flavor to sparkling water, club soda, lemonade, and ice tea.
- Hot beverages – Add a splash to hot tea, hot chocolate, or apple cider.
You can also use it to make customized holiday cocktails. Add a splash to your favorite mixed drinks, or try one of these easy cranberry cocktail creations:
- Cranberry Margarita – Shake 1.5 ounces of white tequila, a splash of cranberry syrup, and freshly squeezed lime juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Then, strain into a tall sugar-rimmed glass of fresh ice.
- Cranberry bourbon mule – Combine 1.5 ounces of bourbon, a splash of cranberry syrup, and ginger beer in a copper mule mug with ice.
- Cranberry mimosa – Add a splash to champagne or prosecco. Drop a few fresh cranberries into the flutes for garnish.
- Classic cosmopolitan – Add 2 ounces of citron vodka, 2 ounces of cranberry syrup, 2 ounces of fresh lemon juice, and ice to a cocktail shake. Shake well and strain into a martini glass with a lemon twist.
🧊 How to store
Storing: After cooling, pour the syrup into a sanitized glass bottle or jar and keep it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Freezing: Planning to gift simple syrup? Freezing is a great way to get a head start before the holidays. DIY simple syrup will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Freezing in cubes: Pour into an ice cube tray and freeze, then transfer the frozen cubes of syrup to a freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 6 months.
Sure! And there’s no need to thaw them first. You’ll just need to simmer the frozen berries for another minute or two before they start to burst and get juicy.
For a sugar-free & keto-friendly cranberry syrup, replace sugar with an allulose granulated sweetener, monk fruit sweetener, or erythritol. Add 1/8th teaspoon of xantham gum to the mixture to help it thicken. Check out this keto simple syrup guide for more info.
If the syrup isn’t thick enough, continue simmering to reduce it down even further. If that doesn’t work, add a thickener like gelatin or pectin.
Yes! The added molasses and larger sugar granules will slow the dissolving, which ultimately deepens the flavor profile of the syrup.
🍓 More berry-infused simple syrups
If you make the syrup flavors listed below along with this cranberry syrup, you’ll have DIY simple syrup in practically every berry flavor!
Cranberry Simple Syrup
- 1 Small Saucepan
- 1 fine mesh sieve
- 1 muddler optional
- 1 glass jar or bottle for storage
- 1/2 cup water filtered or distilled
- 1 cup cranberries fresh or frozen
- 1 cup sugar
- Combine water, cranberries, and sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until the water begins to boil (about 5 minutes).
- Then, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the sugar dissolves, and the cranberries begin to break down and become liquid (about 5 more minutes).
- Once the syrup thickens, strain it through a fine mesh sieve to separate the cranberry syrup from the pulp. Don't discard the pulp.
- To extract even more juice and flavor, use a cocktail muddler to muddle the reserved pulp, and then strain once more. Pour the extra juice into the syrup and stir.
- After cooling, pour the cranberry syrup into a glass jar or bottle and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. To freeze, pour the simple syrup into ice cube trays and freeze, then store the frozen cubes in a freezer-friendly bag for up to 6 months.