These sugar free dried cranberries are easy to make at home and so much healthier than brands you’ll find at the store. They’re a great addition to so many recipes!
Dried cranberries add an amazing pop of flavor to so many dishes. I especially love having them in the fall and around the holidays.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to find sugar free or unsweetened dried cranberries at the store. Most brands pack in way too many carbs and grams of sugar for very small serving sizes. They just aren’t worth it.
That’s why I developed this recipe to make sugar free dried cranberries at home!
These are great to make in large batches so they’re ready when you need them. From broccoli salads to trail mixes to baked goods, there are so many uses for dried cranberries.
Plus, they’re probably easier to make than you think!
How to dry cranberries in the oven
Drying cranberries takes some time, but the process itself is very easy and straightforward. You will simply prep the cranberries on the stove, then allow them to dry out in the oven.
Start by cooking the cranberries on the stove to sweeten:
- Preheat the oven to 200°F while prepping your cranberries.
- In a large skillet, add the cranberries. Remove and discard any soft or brown ones.
- In a small bowl or glass, dissolve the sweetener in water. Then, pour over the cranberries in the skillet.
- Turn the heat to medium high and cook, stirring every 1-2 minutes, until the cranberries pop, about 4-5 minutes.
- Once most of the cranberries have popped, turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool for about 10 minutes.
- Using a toothpick or the back of a large spoon, squish the cranberries down with gentle pressure. You don’t want them to be too squished, otherwise they will meld together.
- Allow to cool for another 5 minutes.
Next, we’ll complete the drying process in the oven:
- Cover a baking sheet with three layers of paper towels and a piece of parchment paper.
- Transfer the cranberries to the parchment paper, trying to spread them out a bit. If you see any unpopped cranberries, pop with a toothpick or gentle pressure.
- Place the cranberries in the oven, then turn the heat down to 150°F.
- After 2-4 hours, transfer the cranberries to a new sheet of parchment paper. Flip the paper towels over, then place the new sheet of parchment paper with the cranberries on top and return to the oven.
- Allow the cranberries to cook for 6-8 hours total, depending on your preference and whether you want them to be softer or crispier. Once they have reached your desired texture, remove from the oven.
- Separate any clusters and allow to cool before storing.
Your dried cranberries are now ready!
Drying in a food dehydrator
After cooking the cranberries on the stove, you can also finish them in a food dehydrator instead of the oven.
To absorb excess liquid, place a few sheets of paper towels between the dehydrator tray screen and tray. Then, spread the cranberries on the dehydrator screen and cook at 145°F.
After 2-4 hours, you can either flip the paper towels or just remove them if most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Storing dried cranberries
Because this recipe takes some time to make, I like to make a large batch at once and store them. That way, they’ll be ready to use any time I want to add dried cranberry flavor to a dish!
If you plan to eat your dried cranberries soon, you can store them covered in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
For longer storage, I recommend vacuum sealing the cranberries and placing them in the freezer.
When freezing, separate the cranberries into one or two servings. That way, you can easily thaw only what you need for a recipe.
Dried cranberry recipes
I love coming up with dried cranberry recipes! They add such great flavor to so many dishes.
Dried cranberries also work very well in savory dishes. For a quick lunch or side, sweet broccoli salad or pan fried brussels sprouts with bacon are always a hit. This cranberry walnut chicken salad is another great recipe.
The bright flavor of sugar free dried cranberries is amazing in so many recipes. That’s why I love having a batch ready in my freezer.
Other berry recipes
Looking for more low carb fruit desserts and other keto berry recipes? Check out a few of these favorites:
- Sugar Free Raspberry Jam uses chia seeds to thicken the jam while staying low in carbs!
- Gluten Free Blueberry Crisp is keto friendly and topped with chopped pecans for a delicious dessert to serve warm.
- Cheesecake Fat Bombs are sweet, creamy, and only 1 net carb each!
- Raspberry Mousse is a light and fluffy treat that can be enjoyed alone or as a rich pie filling.
- Keto Blueberry Sauce is the perfect low carb topping for ice cream, cheesecake, pancakes, and more!
- Blackberry Pudding is an easy way to get a warm, just-out-of-the-oven cake in minutes.
Sugar Free Dried Cranberries
- 1 bag (12 oz) fresh whole cranberries
- 1 cup sugar substitute of your choice or 1 teaspoon stevia glycerite
- ½ cup water
- Preheat oven to 200 F.
- Put cranberries in a large skillet, and pick through to remove soft and/or brown ones. If sweetener is powdered, dissolve in water. Pour over cranberries and stir.
- Heat on medium high until cranberries pop, about 4-5 minutes. (May want to stop the cooking early and pop any additional with a toothpick). Stir every minute or two. When all seem popped, turn off the burner and let them cool for 10 minutes.
- Squish them down with the back of a large spoon. (I would use a toothpick or gentle pressure. You don’t want them to be too squished or they will meld together). Let cool another 5 minutes or so.
- Cover baking sheet with three layers of paper towels and a piece of parchment paper. (I used a few sheets of paper towels between the dehydrator tray screen and the tray). Spread cranberries on the parchment (or the dehydrator screen). They will mostly separate as they dry. If unpopped ones remain, pop them now with a toothpick or gentle pressure.
- Put in oven and turn heat down to 150 F (or use a dehydrator set at 145F). In 2-4 hours, replace parchment and flip paper towels over. (If using a dehydrator can flip the paper towels or just remove them if most of the liquid is absorbed).
- Start checking after 6 hours. Total time depends upon humidity and other factors. It usually takes about 8 hours. It also depends on whether you want to dry them to the point where they still have some “give” or whether you like them “crispier”. Separate them, and store in a covered container.
Array ( [serving_size] => 2 [calories] => 15 [carbohydrates] => 7 [potassium] => 43 [fiber] => 1 [sugar] => 5 [vitamin_a] => 50 [vitamin_c] => 9.1 [iron] => 0.2 [serving_unit] => tablespoons )
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First Published: October 3, 2010… Last Updated: September 2, 2020