A Simple Holiday Recipe: Spiced Honey Fermented Cranberries

Honey fermented cranberries in the making

Cranberries are one of my family’s favorite Thanksgiving foods (along with my grandma’s sweet potato soufflé). Homemade cranberry sauce is great, but honestly, a cylinder of cranberry jelly with the ridges from the can still visible is just as popular.

THESE little flavor bombs, however, are next level! I tried making honey fermented cranberries for the first time last year, and they were everything I’d hoped they would be. Let’s just say my kids started dancing around the kitchen when they saw me getting the ingredients out this year.

They’re also simple and basically foolproof to make, and you can customize the recipe to your own taste by using different flavorings. Do yourself a favor and make a few jars—they keep pretty much forever in the fridge.

The one thing you do need is a little bit of advance planning, which is why I’m sharing this recipe in early November. Now is the perfect time to get your cranberries fermenting so they’re ready for Thanksgiving and all the festive holiday gatherings.


A few simple ingredients + time

– Fresh cranberries, enough to fill your jar(s)

– Honey (use at least ¼ raw honey, but it’s fine to fill in the rest with a more affordable brand)

– Optional: Orange juice

– Flavors! I used ginger, orange zest, cinnamon sticks, and allspice berries

Wash the cranberries and pick out any mushy ones. Slice them in half if you’re in a hurry (whole berries work fine, they just take longer to ferment). Prepare your spices and flavors: slice ginger thinly, peel zest off citrus, etc.

Juice an orange into the jar, if using. Pack the cranberries into the jar pretty tightly (any empty space will have to be filled with honey!), layering in your chosen flavor ingredients as you go.

Now fill up the jar with honey! This takes a little patience because it’s so thick. Just thoroughly cover the whole to with honey, then wait until it trickles down before adding more. Repeat until the jar is full. The cranberries should be covered, but they will release their juices and start to float anyway, so no need to be obsessive.

Add a lid—loosely, so the ferment can breathe!—and wait. Make sure to shake the jar or stir the contents (with a clean spoon) at least once a day. Please tighten the lid before shaking 🙂

Freshly jarred cranberries

Start tasting your fermented cranberries after a week or so. They’ll continue to get softer and sweeter over time. When you like how they taste, move the jar to the fridge to stop the fermentation process. You could easily store them for up to a year, except they’ll be gone long before then!

After you eat the cranberries, don’t forget to enjoy that delicious spiced cranberry honey syrup you made, too. It’s delicious in cocktails, as a glaze for ham or duck, drizzled over cheesecake… go crazy. I’d love to hear your favorite ways of using it!

Leave a Comment