Cranberry Simple Syrup is the perfect sweet addition to add to drinks and more throughout the holiday season! All you need are three ingredients and a little time to make this festive syrup for cocktails, mocktails, desserts, breakfasts and more. Makes 24 servings.
Cranberry Simple Syrup
Simple syrup can be infused with all kinds of delicious flavors, and this cranberry syrup is calls for fresh or frozen cranberries to give it gorgeous color and tartness!
This cranberry syrup recipe is a fun twist on a traditional one. It’s excellent to add to cold drinks because you don’t have to worry about the sugar dissolving.
I love flavored syrups, but I do not always love what brands add to their infused syrups.
Homemade simple syrup has always been my jam because I know what’s going into it, and the same thing goes with this cranberry rendition. All you need are simple ingredients, and when together, they shine.
Why I love this recipe:
‘Tis the time of year for all things CRANBERRY!
I love the simple cranberry syrup for a few reasons:
- It’s incredibly easy to make and only requires three ingredients.
- It combines tart cranberries with equal parts water and sugar to create the perfect liquid sweetener.
- This is a great way to add festive flavor to a variety of holiday cocktails, as well as mocktails, like iced tea or even ginger ale.
- You can use this cranberry syrup as something to drizzle on pancakes, waffles or even french toast. It would be stunning added to this Upside Down Cranberry Cake, too, or drizzled on top of ice cream.
- It can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for awhile, so you can make a batch before the holiday season really hits and enjoy it throughout!
Need drink inspiration? Head on over to my Drink Recipe Index for some ideas of what to mix at home next.
What you need to make this recipe:
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- Small saucepan
- Mason jar
- Fine mesh sieve or strainer
- Rubber spatula
- Jars or glass bottles for storing
Let’s talk ingredients!
In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.
Here’s what you’ll need from the grocery store:
- Cranberries — you may use fresh or frozen cranberries. I do not recommend using dried cranberries, as they are already sweetened.
- Granulated sugar — also known as white sugar, this is going to give sweetness to our simple syrup. I do not recommend substituting it because this allows for the syrup to turn a beautiful ruby red. The color would be murkier with a dark brown sugar.
- Water — regular water from the tap is totally fine!
Customizations and substitutions
Add spice. Throw in 2-3 cinnamon sticks, as well as a little ginger or even whole cloves and star anise to transform this into a Spiced Cranberry Syrup. In case you need a little extra flavor. Let it steep for 30-45 minutes so that the flavors can truly infuse.
Add orange peel. Orange and cranberry work beautifully together. Add it after the sugar dissolves and let it infuse for a Cranberry Orange Syrup.
How to make Cranberry Simple Syrup
Combine the granulated sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Swirl them together or stir with a wooden spoon.
Add the cranberries.
Place the saucepan on the stovetop, and heat the ingredients over medium heat.
You want to heat the simple syrup just until the sugar dissolves in the water—and this will be before it comes to a boil, so keep an eye on it. This should only take 5 minutes tops.
When the sugar has completely dissolved into the water, remove the saucepan from the heat.
Let the ingredients infuse for 20-30 minutes to give the syrup delicious cranberry flavor
. Give it a taste at the 20-minute mark to see about the taste.
When the simple syrup has finished infusing and has come to room temperature, strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer and pour into its storage container. Refrigerate.
How to store cranberry syrup:
Once the syrup has been strained, transfer it to a mason jar, an airtight container or a fun glass jar, like these glass jars.* (affiliate link)
Keep it in the refrigerator for up to a month.
Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips
If you’re planning on hosting friends or having a happy hour, I highly suggest making some homemade simple syrup to accompany your drinks for some sweet cranberry flavor!
This is also great for an at-home brunch with friends (use it in mimosas for a sweet splash!) or for cocktail hour at a dinner party.
Here are a few tips and tricks to make it as easy as possible:
- Make a batch of cranberry simple syrup 1-2 days in advance. Let it hang out in the fridge.
- Double or triple the recipe. This will depend on the number of guests, you might need to double or triple the recipe. I always err on the side of too much since this recipe keeps well in the fridge.
- Before friends arrive, get out the ingredients for your drinks. Decide whether you’ll mix the drinks yourself or let your friends play bartender! Either way is fun.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. You want the sugar to dissolve into the water, and that should happen before the mixture comes to a boil.
It should last for up to a month in the refrigerator. I do not recommend storing the simple syrup at room temperature because it will not last this long.
You can use fresh or frozen. Do not use dried cranberries.
Quick tips and tricks to making the cranberry simple syrup
- Give it time to infuse! This will provide the excellent cranberry flavor, as well as the gorgeous red color.
- Add spices to make it a spiced syrup! Cinnamon sticks, peeled ginger, star anise and a few whole cloves would be an excellent addition to this as you let it infuse. Proceed carefully… it can get strong!
- How to store: Store in a jar or an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least a month.
Other variations on simple syrup:
Your simple syrup ratio will remain the same at 1 part water to 1 part sugar. In fact, you’ll make simple syrup in the saucepan and then add in these additional flavors to infuse.
Here are some of our favorites:
- This basic simple syrup recipe is the classic for a reason!
- Add cinnamon sticks, and let them infuse for 1-3 hours to create cinnamon simple syrup. This is spectacular in fall drinks, like Gin Apple Pie Cocktail and Apple Cider Moscow Mule!
- Use honey instead of sugar to make Honey Simple Syrup!
- Tons of fresh mint in your garden? Wash it well, then toss it into hot simple syrup, and let it infuse for 30 minutes to an hour to make mint simple syrup. You can use it to give lemonade a fun spin!
- Love lavender? Make Lavender Simple Syrup.
Keep in mind that when you infuse simple syrup with flavors, the flavors become stronger as they steep.
Also—everyone’s tastebuds are different!
If you’re concerned that your infused simple syrup might become too strong (or not be strong enough), do a taste test after 15-20 minutes. This will give you an idea of how the flavors are coming together. You can let them continue to do their thing or remove the infusion ingredient because you’re done!
Recipes to use homemade cranberry syrup with:
- Cranberry Sparkler Mocktail
- Old Fashioned Pancakes
- Cranberry Mimosa
- Arancia Italiano (replace the blood orange syrup with this)
- How to make Cranberry Bellinis
- Cranberry Vodka Spritzer (replace the honey with this)
- Sparkling Vanilla Cranberry Old Fashioned
- Cranberry Margarita
Cranberry Simple Syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar 200g
- 2 cups cranberries fresh or frozen
- Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan. Add in the cranberries.
- Heat over medium heat, swirling or stirring as the syrup ingredients heat up, until the sugar has completely dissolved. This should take 3-4 minutes.
- Remove from the heat.
- Let the flavors infuse for 20-30 minutes. Give it a taste at the 20-minute mark to see how it tastes for you. If you want a stronger cranberry flavor, let it steep for longer.
- When done infusing, strain through a fine mesh strainer.
- Store in a mason jar for up to a month in the refrigerator.