How to Dry Cranberries

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We’ll show you step-by-step how to dry cranberries. It’s incredibly easy and they have a multitude of uses from sweets to savory.

Dried Cranberries spilling from jar on to white board.Pin
Dried Cranberrries

Who doesn’t love dried cranberries? They are that perfect combination of sweet and tart and they truly pair nicely with both sweet recipes and they add a special something to normally savory recipes.

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There are technically only 2 ingredients in this recipe, but you could even dry them with only one ingredient. Namely, cranberries.

During November and December, when they are readily available, we always buy an extra bag of fresh cranberries. Just make sure they are well sealed and pop them in the freezer to use them throughout the year in your favorite recipes.

Why should you try this recipe?

  • While dried cranberries are readily available year round, making your own allows you to control the amount of sweetener that you use.
  • Dried cranberries are expensive compared to fresh cranberries.
  • You can make them any time of the year, if you buy extra berries when they are in season.
  • It’s a fun project to make with older kids to get them interested in cooking and nutrition.

What you need

  • fresh cranberries or frozen cranberries
  • sugar or light corn syrup or a sugar substitute – note that you don’t have to use added sweetener but the cranberries will have a longer shelf life if you do.
Ingredients for dried Cranberries. Sugar and berries.Pin
Ingredients for dried Cranberries.

How to make it

Step One

Rinse berries well and sort any that are damaged or that are unripe.

Washed cranberries in colander.Pin
Wash and sort cranberries well.

Step Two

Bring water to a boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, remove from stove and add cranberries all at once.

Water in medium saucepan.Pin
Heat water in medium saucepan.

Step Three

Stir. Once they have split. Drain them in a colander.

Split cranberries draining in colander.Pin
Drain berries after they split.

Step Four

Once drained, place them in a bowl and stir in sugar, corn syrup or sugar substitute.

Sugar added to berries in bowl.Pin
Add sugar to berries in a bowl.

Step Five

Stir well to coat with sugar.

Sugared cranberries in bowl.Pin
Stir well to distribute sugar.

Step Six

Arrange on dehydrator trays. Use dehydrator sheet to make cleanup a breeze.

Dry at 135°F/ 60°C for 12-18 hours until dry to the touch.

Berries arranged on a dehydrator sheet.Pin
Arrange berries on rack. Use dehydrator sheets to make cleanup a breeze.

To dry in the oven

Set temperature to it’s lowest setting. Generally speaking, that is usually around 170°F /80°C. Arrange cranberries on parchment paper covered rimmed baking sheet, spread out so that they are not touching.

Dry for 2-3 hours.

Conditioning your fruit

Conditioning your fruit is an important step in the drying process, so don’t skip this step.

What is conditioning dried fruits?

Conditioning is the process of testing the fruit to make sure that it is thoroughly dry.

Why is conditioning important?

Even a bit of moisture in a couple of pieces has the potential to ruin a whole batch.

How do you condition fruits?

Allow the dehydrated fruits to come to room temperature. Immediately place them into a glass mason jar. Place the jar in a dark area.

Shake the jar daily to break up any stuck pieces. Allow them to stay in the jar for 7-10 days, shaking daily.

If you see any moisture droplets collecting on the jar. You know you have moisture in them.

What if I see moisture after conditioning?

If you see any evidence of moisture or any condensation in the jar, re-dry the food in your oven or dehydrator. After re-drying condition them again. Once they are fully dry, pack in tight fitting glass jars.

What if I see mold?

If you see any evidence of mold during the conditioning process. Discard the product.

Three gift jars of dried cranberries.Pin

Health benefits

Many of these benefits are due to profuse amounts of vitamin C that they contain. They are said to have 73% of the vitamin C that our bodies need, daily, in one half cup serving.

  • Low in calories.
  • High in antioxidants
  • Boosts immune system due to high vitamin C content.
  • Helps combat urinary tract infections.
  • Good for those who are anemic.

Uses for dried cranberries

When we said at the beginning of the article that these dried cranberries have tons on uses, we meant it. You can always reconstitute dried cranberries in boiling water or juice and use them in recipes for fresh cranberries. Here’s just a partial list.

  • Quick breads – this pumpkin, cranberry and orange quick bread is a family favorite.
  • Cookies
  • Cakes
  • Pies
  • Topping for salads. They are especially good with dark green vegetables. Broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, spinach and the like.
  • They also pair incredibly well with the fall and winter squash, pumpkin and sweet potatoes or yams. Use it in warm salads or garnish or stuff your favorite squash. In this recipe we paired dried cranberries with both sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts.
  • Reconstitute them and make cranberry sauce when you are out of fresh cranberries.
  • Top breakfast cereals, like oatmeal, grits or cream of wheat with maple and cranberries.
  • Just pop them in your mouth for a delicious snack. ½ cup = 1 serving of fruit for the day.
  • Add them to rice, quinoa, couscous and the like with a few chopped pecans for a tasty side dish for any meal.
  • They’re fantastic in turkey or chicken salad with lots of celery in it.
  • Use them in for “ants on a log”. (Peanut butter on celery with craisins lined up on top.)
  • granola or trail mix
  • cereals – they bump up the flavor and healthiness of everything from oatmeal and grits to cold cereals.
  • Flavor vanilla pudding
  • Ice cream for a cranberry flavored treat.
  • Garnish cocktails and mocktails
  • Frostings
  • Make cranberry powder to make it easier to incorporate them into some dishes.

Conditioning your fruit

Conditioning your fruit is an important step in the drying process, so don’t skip this step.

What is conditioning dried fruits?

Conditioning is the process of testing the fruit to make sure that it is thoroughly dry.

Why is conditioning important?

Even a bit of moisture in a couple of pieces has the potential to ruin a whole batch.

How do you condition fruits?

Allow the dehydrated fruits to come to room temperature. Immediately place them into a glass mason jar. Place the jar in a dark area.

Shake the jar daily to break up any stuck pieces. Allow them to stay in the jar for 7-10 days, shaking daily.

If you see any moisture droplets collecting on the jar. You know you have moisture in them.

What if I see moisture after conditioning?

If you see any evidence of moisture or any condensation in the jar, re-dry the food in your oven or dehydrator. After re-drying condition them again. Once they are fully dry, pack in tight fitting glass jars.

What if I see mold?

If you see any evidence of mold during the conditioning process. Discard the product.

Helpful tools

More cranberry recipes

Jars of dried cranberries on white board.Pin
Dried Cranberries

That’s how easy it is to make dried cranberries at home. Give it a try yourself!

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I hope you enjoyed the recipe today!

Enjoy. And have fun cooking!

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Three gift jars of dried cranberries.Pin

How to Dry Cranberries

We’ll show you step by step how to dry cranberries. It’s incredibly easy and they have a multitude of uses from sweets to savory.
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 days
Total Time: 2 days 5 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 40kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $2

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

Instructions

  • Wash berries well. Sort out any berries that are bruised or not yet ripe. Gently use a salad spinner to remove a lot of the water. Pat dry with paper towel.
  • Arrange them in a single layer on racks of your dehydrator. To use your oven, arrange the berries on a sheet of parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Slide the racks into the dehydrator. If using oven, heat to lowest heat setting, usually 155-175°F/ 90°C.
  • For dehydrator, set temperature at 125°F / 52°C. Set time at 20 hours. Start machine. Check after 20 hours. If more time is needed, set timer for more time. It can take 36 hours to dry them or more.
  • For oven, set timer to 2 hours. Prop door open with a heat resistant spatula or wooden spoon. Turn each berry after one hour. The oven gets much hotter than a dehydrator so keep a close eye that they don't burn.

Conditioning

  • This is an important step for food safety, so don't skip!
  • Once fully dry, and cooled, place berries in a glass or plastic jar. Place the jar in a dark area. Daily, for 7-10 days, shake the jar to break them apart. If you see any signs of moisture or condensation on inside of the jar, dehydrate them again.
  • Once fully dry, condition them again.
  • See notes for storage tips.
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Notes

4 cups of cranberries yields about 1 pint of dried cranberries.
How to Store
The best way to store fully dried dehydrated foods is to vacuum pack single serve portions. Vacuum sealing larger portions exposes moisture to the product, from the air, every time the bag is opened.
Food can also be packed tightly into jars or other airtight container. The addition of a food safe silica gel pack will help the foods stay moisture free.
Shelf life of the cranberries is approximately one year.
How to use them
Dried cranberries are great to add to so many of your current recipes to give them a punch of cranberry flavor or just use them for snacking. Add them to;
  • granola or trail mix
  • cereals – they bump up the flavor and healthiness of everything from oatmeal and grits to cold cereals.
  • Flavor vanilla pudding
  • Ice cream for a cranberry flavored treat.
  • Garnish cocktails and mocktails
  • Muffins, cakes or quick bread
  • Frostings
  • Make cranberry powder to make it easier to incorporate them into some dishes.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 40kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.004g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.03g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 40mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 30IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 0.1mg
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Originally published January 24, 2023.

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12 Comments

  1. I want to make these, but was hoping it would be okay to not use sugar at all.
    I am a diabetic and really have acquired a taste for the tartness of cranberries.
    Would it be safe to not use the sugar or any sweetener in the recipe?

  2. 5 stars
    This is a genius idea. There have been so many times that I haven’t been able to find dried cranberries. Making them myself ensures I’ll always have them when I need them.

  3. 5 stars
    I usually buy dried cranberries in the store, but I love the idea of making my own so that I know exactly what’s in them. Thanks so much!

  4. 5 stars
    I’d love to give this a try around the holidays when cranberries are available in abundance! They would be delicious on top of green salads.

  5. 5 stars
    This is such a great recipe; the cranberries turned out perfectly! Totally using them on every salad from now on!

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