Beverages and CocktailsDrinks and Desserts

Cranberry Simple Syrup Recipe Ready in Minutes (With Variations)

Picture your morning cup of tea – a splash of homemade cranberry simple syrup transforms it from ordinary to extraordinary! The tart, bright flavor brings a zingy sweetness that jazzes up your routine.  And that’s just the beginning.

Cranberry Simple Syrup

This vibrant syrup is the perfect way to add a touch of gourmet to your favorite drinks and desserts. I love how a drizzle elevates everything from classic cocktails during the holiday season to a simple bowl of yogurt.


The Magic of Simplicity

The best part? This flavored syrup is surprisingly easy to make at home. With just a few basic ingredients – cranberries, sugar, and water – you’ll whip up a batch that adds a burst of flavor wherever it goes.

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

I absolutely love this recipe for its sheer versatility. Sure, it’s fantastic for adding a burst of cranberry-flavored cheer during the holiday season, but honestly, this simple syrup is something I enjoy all year round!

The fact is, a touch of this syrup can add a pop of flavor to pretty much everything.  It’s easy to make and will keep in the fridge for about a month. That means you’ll always have a little something special on hand to drizzle a touch of sweetness into your favorite foods and drinks. Talk about a recipe worth loving!

What is Simple Syrup?

At its core, simple syrup is just sugar skillfully dissolved in water. Traditional recipes call for equal parts sugar and water (a 1:1 ratio), yielding a beautifully sweet and slightly viscous texture.

Now, here’s where things get interesting. You can play with the ratios for different uses! A 2:1 ratio (more sugar, less water) creates a thick syrup with a more intense sweeter flavor. Alternatively, use less sugar for a thin syrup. Either way, no need to worry about crystallization like with straight sugar.

Plus, there’s endless room to experiment with a variety of sugars. While standard granulated white sugar is most common, try demerara sugar, honey, maple syrup, or even coconut sugar to change the dynamics of flavor in your cocktails and tastes.

How to Use Cranberry Simple Syrup

The exciting thing about cranberry simple syrup is it works its magic anywhere you might want to add a bit of slightly tart sweetness and a pop of vibrant color! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Drinks Galore: Elevate your hot or iced tea, perk up your morning coffee for a cafe-style latte, or add a festive touch to cranberry white hot chocolate. And of course, this syrup is a star ingredient in delicious cranberry simple syrup cocktails! Think Cranberry Old Fashioned, Cranberry Orange Whiskey Sour, and so many more.
  • Sensational Sweets: Take your desserts to the next level! Drizzle this syrup over a simple cake or ice cream for a burst of fruity flavor.

Let your imagination run wild! Experiment and see where a touch of cranberry sweetness takes you.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)

  • Calories: 87
  • Fat: 0g
  • Carbs: 23g

Important Note: The nutritional information of cranberry simple syrup will vary depending on the amount of sugar used. This serving size likely represents about 1/4 cup of syrup.

Cranberry Simple Syrup Recipe

Recipe by Whisk and NibbleCourse: Beverages and CocktailsCuisine: American

1 1/4

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Sweet and tart cranberry simple syrup perfect for cocktails, desserts, and everyday use.


  • Fresh cranberries

  • Water

  • Sugar


  • Gather and Combine: In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, water, and fresh cranberries.
  • Simmer Away: Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Stir occasionally and simmer for about 10–15 minutes, or until the sugar has fully dissolved, and the cranberries have popped.
  • Strain and Store: Remove from heat and carefully strain out the cranberries (these syrupy cranberries make a great jam or compote for desserts!). Transfer the cranberry simple syrup to a clean glass jar. (I absolutely love those adorable tulip jars!)
  • Enjoy! Your syrup can be stored at room temperature for about one week, or in the refrigerator for up to a month.


  • For a thicker syrup, use a 2:1 sugar-to-water ratio.
  • Add spices or vanilla for extra flavor depth.
  • Fresh or frozen cranberries work equally well.
  • Tip: Add a strip of orange zest during the simmering process for a hint of citrus complexity!

Can You Freeze Cranberry Syrup?

Absolutely! Cranberry syrup is easily frozen, allowing you to preserve its freshness for up to 6 months! Here’s how to freeze your cranberry simple syrup:

  1. Pour the finished syrup into a freezer-safe glass storage bottle or jar, leaving at least 2 inches of headspace at the top to allow for expansion as it freezes.
  2. Tightly seal the container and place it in the freezer.

Thawing and Use

When you’re ready to use your frozen syrup, simply remove it from the freezer and let it thaw completely on the counter at room temperature.

Tip: Gently swirling the container occasionally can help speed up the thawing process. Once thawed, your cranberry simple syrup is ready to use in your favorite drinks and desserts! Enjoy!

How to Store Cranberry Simple Syrup

Like all simple syrups, it’s best to store your cranberry creation in the fridge in an airtight container.  When properly stored, your syrup will stay fresh for at least a month, maybe even longer!

I like using 16 oz. mason jars for larger batches, or smaller 8 oz. jars if I don’t think I’ll use it as quickly.  (Don’t those jars look cute with festive labels in photos?)

A quick note: This recipe yields slightly more than a cup, so those smaller jars will have a little extra – perfect for gifting or enjoying a sweet treat sooner!

Variations on the Recipe

While the simplicity of cranberry simple syrup is part of its charm, there are plenty of things you can do to jazz it up! Here are a few delicious ideas:

  • Spice It Up: Infuse warm spices like a cinnamon stick, a pinch of nutmeg, ginger, allspice, or cloves during the simmering process for a deliciously fragrant spiced cranberry simple syrup.
  • Herbal Twist: Incorporate fresh herbs like mint or rosemary for a hint of unique flavor. Experiment and find a herb that matches your desire!
  • Vanilla Delight: This might make an extra fun cocktail ingredient! Add a split vanilla bean or a splash of vanilla extract while simmering the syrup for a delicious combination of flavors.
  • Fruity Fun: Cranberries pair beautifully with many other fruits. Try adding apple, raspberry, or other seasonal favorites for a multilayered, combination syrup. The possibilities are endless, so get creative and see what you love!
  • Dried Cranberry Delight: For a textural twist and a boost of concentrated cranberry flavor, add a handful of dried cranberries to the saucepan while simmering your syrup. The dried fruit will plump up and infuse the syrup with an extra dimension of sweetness.

How to Thin Cranberry Syrup

Cranberries naturally contain pectin, a substance that causes fruit to thicken up – that’s what makes them excellent for jams and jellies! While delicious, this can sometimes make your cranberry syrup a bit thicker than you intended.

One trick is letting the cranberries simmer just until they’re hot and popping. Once those skins are broken, pectin releases. However, if you mix in the sugar and end up with a super thick syrup, don’t worry! You wind up with a couple of options:

First, gently warm it slightly and then stir in a little water. This method is best if you plan on mixing it into a drink immediately. If that much dilution isn’t ideal, keep in mind that over ice it’ll likely thin out naturally. If the syrup is truly jam-like, you can always add a bit more hot water to create a pourable consistency.  Alternatively, embrace the thicker consistency and use your “cranberry honey syrup” – it’ll likely be runnier when warmed anyway!

Health Considerations

While cranberry simple syrup primarily provides a sweet and tart flavor boost, it does retain some of the potential health benefits of cranberries themselves. Cranberries are naturally rich in antioxidants and have been linked to supporting urinary tract health, immune function, and may even offer some protection against certain chronic diseases. However, it’s important to remember that simple syrup is primarily a source of sugar. Whisk and Nibble suggests you to enjoy cranberry simple syrup in moderation as part of a balanced diet to reap any potential benefits and to keep your sugar intake in check.

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With its vibrant flavor and endless versatility, it’s easy to see why cranberry simple syrup is a kitchen staple! It takes mere minutes to prepare, and once in your fridge, it adds a touch of sweetness and a delightful cranberry punch to countless drinks and desserts. So go ahead and experiment – you might be surprised by all the delicious ways you can use it!


Frequently Asked Questions

How to make long-lasting simple syrup?

Two factors keep simple syrup fresh: sugar concentration and optional preservatives. Traditional 1:1 (sugar to water) syrups last about a month in the fridge.  If you up the sugar for a thicker 2:1 ratio, it naturally preserves longer. For serious longevity, a tiny bit of alcohol (about 15%) creates a preservative environment.

Note: Even with higher sugar, always sterilize your containers for the best results! Merely extending lifespan is different from changing the syrup’s consistency to thicken it.

Can you use cranberry juice instead of syrup?

While not an exact substitute, cranberry juice can work! If you have fresh berries, simmer them with a little water to make a quick cranberry sauce. If using store-bought juice, choose 100% pure cranberry juice. Then, combine your cranberry base with sugar in a small pot and reduce over medium heat until the mixture is reduced by half – voila, instant syrup!

How many cranberries go into a can of cranberry sauce?

 Get ready to be amazed! It takes about 200 cranberries to fill a standard can of cranberry sauce.  Considering the sheer volume of cans consumed each year, those berries would stretch 3,385 miles if laid out end to end!

What’s spiced cranberry syrup all about?

Spiced cranberry syrup is a delicious way to add fall and holiday flavors to your drinks! Think plums, cranberries, and warm mulling spices like cinnamon and clove.  It’s the perfect way to make any drink, hot or cold, feel festive and cozy.

Is there a simple formula for simple syrup?

Yes! The traditional ratio is one part sugar to one part water (1:1). For thicker syrups, use two parts sugar to one part water (2:1).

How can I preserve my simple syrup for the long haul?

While simple syrup lasts decently in the fridge, you can seriously extend its life by adding preservatives. A common method is adding 1 ounce of sodium benzoate and ¼ ounce of citric acid per gallon of syrup.

What’s the deal with 100% cranberry juice vs. cranberry juice cocktail?

100% cranberry juice is made purely from cranberries, with nothing added to sweeten or dilute the tartness.  Cranberry juice cocktail, on the other hand, often has added sugars for a sweeter taste.

Should I dilute cranberry juice with water?

Avoid cranberry juice cocktails as they usually contain added sugars. But 100% pure cranberry juice can be quite tart! Diluting it with water is a great way to reduce calories and make it easier to drink.

Why would I want to dilute cranberry juice?

Pure cranberry juice, while packed with benefits, is naturally high in sugar.  Diluting it with water significantly reduces the calorie count per serving, creating a lower-calorie drink option. It’s a simple way to enjoy the flavor and potential health benefits of cranberries without the overload of sugar.

Whisk and Nibble

Whisk & Nibble is a blog devoted to all things related to food - from sharing recipes for meals and drinks to highlighting the latest dessert trends and culinary lifestyle content. Visitors can find ideas and inspiration for all eating occasions while enjoying engaging writing about food culture. Whisk & Nibble aims to bring readers together over the shared joy of cooking and dining.

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