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Sure, you can buy completely unsweetened dried cranberries (you can find them here if you really want them)… but those tend to be very sour, too dry, and hard to find in stores… and sweetened dried cranberries that have no added sugar are virtually nonexistent. So, learn how to make dried cranberries without sugar (or simply with less sugar) yourself — you might never get them store-bought again! I’ll show you the easy way to prepare conventional OR sugar free dried cranberries, with a few basic ingredients and steps.
The key to drying cranberries in the oven is to use a low temperature so that they don’t burn. It’s pretty much the same principle as drying anything else, like fruit leather.
Many dried cranberry recipes actually use an even lower temperature, but my goal was the highest I could get away with so that they get done faster. A happy medium was 225 degrees, which required only about 3 1/2 hours to dry.
Why You’ll Love These Dried Cranberries
- Perfectly sweet and tart taste
- Satisfying chewy texture
- No special tools or dehydrator tray needed
- Minimal active prep time
- Options for sweetened, sugar free, or unsweetened
- No artificial flavors, added juice, or corn syrup
- The perfect gluten-free real fruit snack you can make with less sugar!
This recipe has the option to make traditional dried berries with sugar, but I choose to prepare them sugar free (which makes them naturally keto dried cranberries, too)! The secret is a powdered sweetener that tastes just like sugar: Besti Powdered Monk Fruit Allulose Blend!
Unlike other sugar substitutes, Besti dissolves completely, delivering all with the same flavor of sugar, with fewer calories and no gritty texture! Also unlike others, it won’t crystallize, meaning you can store these dried berries for a long time and keep the same great texture.
Dried Cranberry Recipe Ingredients
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for regular or sugar free dried cranberries, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Cranberries – I used fresh cranberries, but frozen berries will work as well. If you see bags of cranberries at the store, feel free to stock up — they freeze well! Simply thaw in the refrigerator before using.
- Besti Powdered Monk Fruit Allulose Blend – You can use regular powdered sugar if you want to make conventional dried berries, but this sweetener creates naturally keto dried cranberries with fewer calories and carbs! Plus, it tastes just like sugar. I do not recommend using other keto sweeteners, because they don’t dissolve fully and the result will turn out gritty.
- Avocado Oil – You can use any neutral flavored oil you like.
How To Dry Cranberries
This section shows how to make dried cranberries with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Heat berries. Heat boiling water in a large pot, then turn off heat and add cranberries. Set aside until berries soften and pop.
TIP: Do not boil the berries. You’ll end up with cranberry sauce instead of dried fruit.
- Drain. Using a colander, drain water from the cranberries as soon as they pop. Don’t keep them in the water too long or they will start to break down.
- Mix. Place berries in a bowl and add oil and Besti. Mix gently to coat.
- Spread. Arrange the berries in a single layer on a baking tray lined with a sheet of parchment paper. Use the tip of a sharp knife or toothpick to pierce any berries that haven’t popped yet.
- Bake. Place the lined baking sheet in the oven at 225 degrees F for 3-4 hours, or until cranberries have lost most of their water content. (If your oven does not go down to 225 degrees, use the lowest setting it has.)
- Dry. For best results, turn off the oven, prop it open with a wooden spoon, and leave cranberries in there for several more hours to eliminate more moisture. (I use the same technique for meringue cookies.) That slight air circulation creates the optimal environment for drying cranberries.
Dried Cranberries Nutrition
Dried cranberries nutrition facts can be confusing, since ingredients and methods for drying them differ between brands. Let’s take a closer look at whether there are any health benefits to drying cranberries, as well as macros.
Are dried cranberries good for you?
Cranberries are a natural source of vitamins and minerals, including manganese, copper, and vitamins C, E, and K1. They are also a great source of fiber. Although fresh forms of these berries do have more nutritional value, dried berries come with the added benefit of longer shelf life.
How many carbs in dried cranberries?
According to the USDA, a 1/4 cup serving of conventional dry cranberries contains 33 grams total carbs [*]. If you make these dried cranberries without sugar, though, the same serving size contains just 5 grams total carbs and 3 grams net carbs.
How many calories in dried cranberries?
A 1/4 cup serving of craisins (a.k.a. conventional dried cranberries with sugar) contains 123 calories.
Unsweetened dried cranberries calories will be much lower, and the same applies if you use a sugar free sweetener, though. With this recipe, each serving will have just 39 calories per 1/4 cup serving.
What are the health benefits of dried cranberries?
Cranberry products have several studied health benefits, though more specific research is needed for dried berries:
- Rich in antioxidants – In addition to vitamin C, cranberries have antioxidants and polyphenols that can support urinary tract health and prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) [*].
- Support heart health – Some of the plant compounds in cranberries can help improve increase “good” HDL cholesterol [*] and lower blood pressure [*].
Store berries in the pantry, in an airtight container or glass jar, for up to 1 month.
Do dried cranberries go bad?
Yes, they can go bad. Sweetened berries will last longer than unsweetened dried cranberries, because sugar and Besti are both natural preservatives.
Can you freeze dried cranberries?
Yes, these berries store perfectly in the freezer. Pour them onto a cookie sheet in a single layer and place in your freezer for about 45 minutes, or until solid. Then, transfer to a labeled freezer-safe container and store for 12-18 months.
Recipes Using Dried Cranberries
What are dried cranberries good for? So many recipes! Use them in place of raisins and toss in muffins, granola, salads, and smoothies, or add them to these healthy dishes to create instant dried cranberry recipes:
- Sugar Free Oatmeal Cookies
- Dairy Free Coconut Yogurt
- Kale Crunch Salad
- Keto Trail Mix
- Chicken Salad
- Butternut Squash Salad
Tools To Make Dried Cranberries
- Large Saucepan – This one is a good size for making one batch (using 12 ounces of fresh cranberries). Use a larger pot if you double the recipe.
- Baking Pans – These ones get constant use in my kitchen.
- Besti Powdered Sweetener – The only one I recommend for this recipe, because it dissolves completely and tastes like sugar.
How To Make Dried Cranberries Without Sugar
Dried Cranberries (Sweetened Or Unsweetened)
It's easy to make homemade dried cranberries, with or without sugar, in your oven! They are soft, chewy, tart, and sweet.
Recipe VideoTap on the image below to watch the video.
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Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them. Please turn Safari reader mode OFF to view ingredients.
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Bring a pot of water to a gentle boil. Remove from heat and add cranberries (do not boil them). Set aside for 10 minutes. They will soften and start to pop.
Drain the water from the cranberries as soon as they have popped. Transfer to a large bowl.
Add powdered Besti and avocado oil to the cranberries. Gently toss to coat. Be gentle to avoid smashing the berries.
Spread out the berries on the lined baking sheet. Use the tip of a knife or a toothpick to pop any berries that have not popped yet.
Place the baking sheet into the oven for 3-4 hours, until the cranberries are shriveled and mostly dry.
When done, they are ready to eat if you're in a hurry but will not be completely dry. For best results, turn off the oven and leave the cranberries in there. Prop the door open with a wooden spoon. Leave like this for several hours or overnight, until completely cool and dry.
Last Step: Leave A Rating!
Serving size: 1/4 cup
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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