Home » Dehydrating » How to Dehydrate Cranberries and DIY Craisins

How to Dehydrate Cranberries and DIY Craisins

Dehydrate cranberries to make your Craisins or just cranberry bits for baking and snacks! It’s an easy and tasty way to preserve cranberries for long-term storage. And the cranberry powder is incredible, too!

An assortment of dried cranberries and cranberry powder in mason jars

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How to Dehydrate Cranberries

Quick Instructions: Break the skin, dry at 135°F/57°C until brittle.

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Like any other berry, cranberries need to have the skin broken for the most effective drying time. This is for regular cranberries. See below for a Make Your Own Craisins recipe.

Pick one method:

  • Slice with a knife
  • Poke with a tool
  • Rough chop with a food processor, vegetable chopper, or knife
  • Blanch
  • Freeze (this needs preparation ahead of time because you want a good hard freeze, not just 2 hours in the freezer).
The break in the skin of a cranberry you need when blanching and when you make your own craisins

Pro Tip: If you are looking for cranberries to toss into bread, oatmeal, muffins, etc., the rough chop is really the fastest way to do this. A minute or two in the food processor, and you have bits of cranberry perfect to add to any project.

  1. Prepare by breaking the skin or chopping the cranberries
  2. Place on dehydrator trays
  3. Dry at 135F / 57C for up to 18 hours for bits, 24+ hours for whole
  4. Condition
  5. Store in airtight containers
  6. DIY Craisins
Dried cranberries in a jar and diy craisins on a dehydrator sheet

Make Your Own Craisins

Storebought dried cranberries are usually softened with oils and sugars to give those sweet, soft treats we love so much. While we can’t completely replicate that at home, we can come close with this treatment.

  1. Blanch whole craisins in a simple syrup solution (1 part water, 1 part sugar) or a juice solution (1 part water:1 part juice – typically orange, but you can use any you’d like). 5 minutes
  2. Drain
  3. Place on dehydrator trays
  4. Dry at 135F / 57C for 24-36 hours
  5. Condition
  6. Store in airtight containers
  1. Place dried food into a jar to allow movement. Do not add moisture absorbers or any other desiccant.
  2. Shake once a day for 5-7 days.
    • Look for signs of sticking, clumping, or moisture buildup.
      • If you have clumping or sticking to the side of a jar, if it is removed with a gentle shake, it is fine.
      • If it takes significant shaking to remove it or break it up, place back into the dehydrator to dry more.
    • If you see mold of any kind, throw food away and sanitize the jar.
  3. Once complete, store in an airtight container in a dark, cool, dry place if possible.

Tips:

  • Sugar Ratio: you can make this ratio anything you’d like. While a simple syrup is 1:1, you can do 1 Cup Sugar to 1 Cup Water or flip that for less sweet craisins.
  • Drying time: If you are drying them to snackon, you don’t have to get these to a raisin consistency. They can be softer, though you’ll want to store them in the fridge for best results. Dry a little longer to get a storage option.
  • Storing: Cranberries pulled early for a softer texture will need to be stored in the fridge if not eaten in a few days.

Storage:

Dried cranberries, stored in an airtight container, can last a year or more.

Oven Directions

  • Preheat oven to the lowest possible temp (below 200F/93C) is preferred. Even lower is better.
  • Place cranberry pieces onto a silicone sheet (these silicone baking sheets are perfect), or parchment/baking paper. TIP: Place this on a cooling rack on top of your cookie sheet to keep the cranberries from being on a hot solid surface
  • Dry for 4-8 hours, stir occasionally, checking often for dryness so as not to burn them.
  • Condition
  • Store in an airtight container

How to Make Cranberry Powder

Cranberry powder can flavor teas, muffins, cakes, and more without adding the bulk of the dried fruit.

  1. Use completely dried cranberries that have not had the sugar-blanching process done to them.
  2. Place into a bullet blender or a coffee grinder
  3. Pulse often until the bulk has been broken up
  4. Grind for 20-30 second intervals until complete powder is formed
  5. Condition the powder by placing it onto lined cookie sheets in a warmed oven that is off or by placing it into coffee filters or covered bowls in your dehydrator at a low temp.
  6. Store in an airtight container with a moisture absorber for best results.

You can find even more uses for cranberry powder here.

Rehydrating:

Soak in orange juice or water until rehydrated to your preferred texture before baking.

Dried cranberry bits in a jar and cranberry powder on a dehydrator sheet
Cranberry powder spread to begin conditioning

Troubleshooting Tips

My cranberries are hard.

If your cranberry pieces are very hard, that is a great thing for storage. Dry cranberries reduce the risk of mold formation in long-term storage.

To soften cranberries, you can allow them to sit in a baggie with a damp paper towel to reabsorb some moisture or simmer them in a little water to reabsorb.

Cranberries are taking too long.

If the cranberries weren’t broken, they will take much longer to dry. Or give them longer. Dehydrating times are general, and are affected by your machine, how you prepped your cranberries, your home’s humidity, and so much more. Give them time!

How to Use Leftover Cranberry Liquid

That delicious sweet liquid leftover after soaking the cranberries is gold – don’t throw it away! Here are some great uses for it:

  • Store in the fridge for up to a week and sweeten your iced tea or cold tea;
  • Freeze into small ice cubes to put into drinks. This is a great way to spiffy up a clear soda!
  • Reduce in the saucepan to make a cranberry syrup drizzle for pancakes, waffles or ice cream.
  • Add to vodka for an adult beverage!
  • Add to some plain gelatin to make cranberry gelatin.
  • Add with other warm spices to marinate pork or as a ham glaze.
  • Drink it – it’s not quite like cranberry juice – but more like the cranberry juice cocktail.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to condition cranberries?

If you plan on snacking on these within a week or two, no. Just store them in the fridge if you like them softer.

How long do dried cranberries last?

Dried cranberries can last from 1-2 years if fully dried and not supplemented with sugars, assuming full dryness and proper storage are practiced.

Sugared dried cranberries can last up to a year

Can you freeze dried cranberries?

Yes! Especially if you prefer a chewier cranberry and want to be assured of its stability, store in the freezer for best results. They can be brought out at any point to use for a week or two.

More Fruit Dehydrating Tips

Dehydrating Basics & Journal book and ebook mockup
An assortment of dried cranberries and cranberry powder in mason jars

Dehydrate Cranberries or make DIY Craisins

Learn to dehydrate cranberries to make them shelf-stable and great for baking, or do a DIY Craisin for snacking
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Preserved Food, Snack
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegetarian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Drying Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 20 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 209kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Fresh Cranberries

Instructions

To Dehydrate Cranberries

  • Prepare by breaking the skin by slicing, deep freezing, rough chopping, or blanch
  • Place on dehydrator trays
  • Dry at 135°F / 57°C for up to 18 hours for bits, 24+ hours for whole
  • Condition
  • Store in airtight containers

DIY Craisins

  • Blanch whole craisins in a simple syrup solution (1 part water, 1 part sugar) or a juice solution (1 part water:1 part juice – typically orange, but you can use any you'd like). Blanch 3-5 min. As soon as skins begin to break,
  • Drain
  • Place on dehydrator trays
  • Dry at 135°F / 57°C for 24-36 hours
  • Store in airtight containers for six months

Darcy’s Tips

Cranberry powder:
  • Pulse dried cranberries in a blender or coffee grinder
  • Place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or fruit leather sheets in a warmed but turned-off oven for 15 minutes
  • Store in an airtight container for about six months.
This shouldn’t be done with the DIY craisins, but with regular dried cranberries.
Dried cranberries are tart, but they make a wonderful flavor additive to baking!

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25Cup | Calories: 209kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.04g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 9mg | Potassium: 363mg | Fiber: 16g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 272IU | Vitamin C: 64mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is an estimation only. Nutrient information for dehydrated foods is based on fresh. Use 1/4 of the servicing size for the same nutrient information. Thus 1 Cup of fresh fruit has the same sugars as 1/4 dried.

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16 Comments

  1. Avatar for Rona Kunkle Rona Kunkle says:

    Thx so much !! Appreciate the helpful information.

  2. Avatar for Tierra Colville Tierra Colville says:

    Thank you the help.

  3. Hi, I live in Australia and we cannot purchase fresh cranberries here, only frozen, and that is only periodically. I like to stock up when I can purchase them, and dehydrating seems like a great way to store them and not use up valuable freezer space. Since the cranberries are frozen already, can I just defrost and dehydrate from there (step 2 onwards)? Thank you!

    1. Since freezing is listed as one of the means of preparing these to break the skin – you’ve got a head start. So yes.

  4. 5 stars
    I make Cranberry juice every year which is Cranberries and Sugar water. I never know what to do with all the left over cranberries (can only do so many breads and smoothies) even with the sugar added can I still do Cranberry Powder?

    1. They can be dehydrated for craisins, but the powder will be hard to store as it may tend to clump up a lot because of the added sugars.

  5. Avatar for Dee Wolford Dee Wolford says:

    I only want to make cranberry powder. If I rough cut them in the blender do I still need to blanche them before I put in the dehydrator. Sorry just a bit confused between the two recipes.

    1. You need to pick one format to do them. Either – blanch, poke, rough chop, freeze, or slice. That’s it.

  6. How long do you blanch the fresh cranberries for in your liquid of choice?

    1. What the instructions say – 3-5 min – depends on when the skins start bursting.

  7. Question: when you say “Blanch whole craisins” does that mean the fresh cranberries that you are turning into craisins? Just want to be sure I do it right! 😊

    1. If you are doing just cranberries and do not wish to break them up, then yes, you need to blanch. The craisins are already being blanched in the sugar syrup.

  8. Avatar for Grace Quenzer Grace Quenzer says:

    Cad you dehydrate oceanspray cranraisins?

  9. I love your recipes and your shirt! I’m just starting on my dehydrating journey, although I’ve been trying to stretch our food budget for over 35 years! Thank you for your help! God bless and stay safe!

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