Homemade Cranberry Simple Syrup

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During the holiday season, we use this homemade cranberry simple syrup in cocktails or to give a burst of sweetness to tea or coffee. It can also be drizzled on top of holiday desserts or poured over the top of ice cream.

» Use this simple syrup in a Cranberry Moscow Mule and 10 Creative Simple Syrup Recipes.

Cranberry simple syrup

Simple syrup is a 50/50 mix of sugar and water, dissolved down into a syrup that’s slightly thick and quite sweet. The addition of cranberries to the mix gives the syrup a lovely berry aroma and flavor.

We use it to flavor our cocktails, especially this Cranberry Old Fashioned that is to die for. The real cranberry flavor in this syrup gives such a boost to whatever you put it in. It’s worth taking the extra few minutes to make the syrup. In a cocktail, having the syrup will make the flavor so much better than just muddling fresh cranberries in sugar.

Making cocktail, pouring in cranberry syrup

Ingredients You’ll Need

As you can imagine, this cranberry simple syrup is made with very few ingredients. In fact the only things you need are:

  • Granulated sugar
  • Water
  • Cranberries – it’s best to use fresh cranberries but you can use frozen if necessary

If you want to cut down on the sugar, you can use a sugar substitute with no carbs and very few calories. I like allulose or Erythritol as a sugar substitute, although both are only about 70% as sweet as sugar, so you’ll have to add a bit more to the mix for the same sweetness.

For the cranberries, just wash them well and plunk them into the pot.

Ingredients for Cranberry simple syrup

How to Make Cranberry Simple Syrup

In a pot over medium-high heat, stir together the water, sugar, and cranberries and let it come up to a boil. Boil for 4-5 minutes until the sugar is fully dissolved. As the cranberries heat up they may start to pop. Be careful of hot juice.

Boiling cranberry simple syrup

Turn the heat down to medium low and let the liquid simmer until it’s slightly thickened and the cranberries are really squishy, about 5 minutes. If the cranberries are still a little plump, let it cook for longer. If you cook it too long the syrup will become jelly.

Remove the pot from the heat. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve. Press down on the fruit in the sieve to extract the juice from the berries.

Straining cranberry simple syrup

Cool the syrup completely before using. I like to cool it for about 30 minutes on the counter, then transfer it to the refrigerator to chill before using.

How to Store Cranberry Simple Syrup

After the syrup has cooled completely, you can store in a clean air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. It might go off sooner than that, so keep an eye on it. It turns cloudy or starts to show signs of mold, you shouldn’t use it.

Cranberry simple syrup in a bowl

How to Use It

You can use cranberry simple syrup for a number of different cocktails or drinks. We add it to margaritas, martinis, and moscow mules. It goes really well with Bourbon, so we make a lot of Cranberry Old Fashioned cocktails during the winter. You can also add it to your tea or coffee. Yum.

Another way to use simple syrup is in cakes. You can add it to your chocolate cake batter to give it a little extra flavor. You can drizzle it over pancakes or waffles, or pour it over ice cream.


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Cranberry simple syrup
Yield: 1 Cup

Homemade Cranberry Simple Syrup

Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 13 minutes

During the holiday season, we use this homemade cranberry simple syrup in cocktails or to give a burst of sweetness to tea or coffee. It can also be drizzled on top of holiday desserts or poured over the top of ice cream.


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries


  1. In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and fresh cranberries. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. 
  2. Boil for 4-5 minutes, until the sugar is completely melted. Turn the heat to low and allow the liquid to thicken slightly for about 5 minutes. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve. Cool completely before using.


When the water comes to a boil the cranberries will start to pop. Be careful of popping hot juice.

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Cranberry simple syrup

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