How to Freeze Fresh Cranberries: Everything You Need to Know

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my full disclosure.

Once you know how to freeze cranberries, you’ll replenish your stash every year! This is the perfect way to preserve the harvest to use any time of the year. 

freezing cranberries on trays for later.

It’s cranberry season! After attending the Cranberry Festival in Westport, Washington, this year, I came home with a heap of berries, and I knew I wanted to save them for the holidays.

Add them directly to this cranberry apple crisp, or use them to make your own orange cranberry sauce.

Can you freeze cranberries?

Yes, and it’s incredibly easy to freeze cranberries for later, so we’ve been stashing ours away in the freezer. You do not have to thaw frozen cranberries before baking, making your frozen berries just as useful as fresh fruit!

Why you need to know how to freeze cranberries:


  • Preserve the harvest: If you luck out and find fresh cranberries near you, you can easily stash them for later! 
  • Save money: Next time cranberries go on sale, buy several packages and save them for later to save a little money.
  • Holiday flavors anytime: If you love the taste of fresh cranberries, this is the best way to preserve these short-seasoned berries for later.
  • Use up leftover cranberries: Baking a delicious quick bread or jelly? Add the leftover berries to your freeze to reduce your food waste!

Equipment

There are a few ways to freeze your cranberries, and each method involves different equipment.

  • For cleaning: large strainer and clean kitchen towels
  • For freezing: Sheet pan and parchment paper or silicone mats
  • For storing: Freezer-safe bags (vacuum sealer optional), mason jars, silicone bags, or your favorite airtight container
washing fresh cranberries before freezing.

Ingredients

Fresh cranberries: Of course, you just need fresh cranberries; nothing else is included. However, it’s important only to freeze fresh, firm berries. Ditch any that are starting to go soft or mushy.

The sign of a good cranberry is that it can bounce 7 times! 

How to Freeze Cranberries

  1. Thoroughly rinse your cranberries under cold water. Strain off the excess.
  2. Lay out the cranberries to dry on the towel.
  3. Spread the dry cranberries on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Arrange the berries in a single layer.
  4. Freeze the whole tray for 1-3 hours or until the whole berries are frozen.
  5. Lift us the long sides of the parchment paper and feed the berries into a freezer-safe bag. Either seal the bag like normal or vacuum seal.
  6. Freeze for approximately 1 year.
instructions for freezing and sealing frozen cranberries.

Storing Frozen Cranberries

  • Stasher bag method (6-12 months): I really love this technique for cranberrie because it skips the freeze-on-a-tray step. Pour the clean, dry berries into a Stasher bag and freeze. They will not stick together or freeze to the bag. This is the easiest method, and the thick bags are perfect for preventing freezer burn.
  • Vacuum seal (1-2 years): Pack cranberries into a vacuum seal pouch, then use your Food Saver to remove the excess air. They will have the longest shelf life like this!
  • Freeze in a mason jar (6-12 months): For totally plastic-free storage, you can freeze your berries in glass jars. I recommend wide-mouth pint or mason jars because they are less prone to breaking in the freezer. Just fill the jar with your pre-frozen berries, seal, and freeze.
  • Freezer safe ziploc bag (6 months): Anticipate about 6 months before the berries start to taste like your freezer.
  • Airtight container (6-12 months): If you have freeze-safe containers like Tupperware, they will work too. The thicker the walls, the better.
stasher bag with frozen cranberries.

After drying, you can freeze your berries in a silicone bag instead of freezing them on the baking sheet.

vacuum sealed bags of frozen cranberries.

For long-term storage, seal your frozen berries in vacuum bags.

How to Use Frozen Cranberries

Freezing is one of the best food preservation methods for whole cranberries! They will soften after thawing, but they’re still perfectly fine to eat and taste amazing (well, with a little sugar).

  • Add to cranberry apple crisp or your favorite cranberry desserts
  • Make your favorite cranberry sauce recipe
  • Add to homemade salad dressings
  • Make a cranberry simple syrup for cocktails or sodas
  • Add to savory dishes like stuffing
pouring fresh cranberries into freezer bags.
Fold the kitchen towel to funnel the berries onto the baking tray. Once frozen, you can do the same with the silicone mat or parchment paper.

Tips & Variations

  • Freeze in the bags. This isn’t exactly the most sanitary option, but I’ve definitely frozen those bags of Ocean Spray cranberries directly. No washing or drying at all. I do the same thing with cranberries or blueberries in clamshell and it works really well! They just aren’t exactly sanitary and without a thick plastic liner, they can get freeze burn really quickly.
  • Vacuum seal. Your berries will stay fresher for longer if you vacuum seal them! It’s worth the extra step, especially if you find yourself with a lot of cranberries you won’t be able to use quickly.
  • Freeze cranberry recipes. You can almost always freeze your favorite cranberry dishes too, like leftover cranberry sauce, quick breads, muffins, and even cranberry juice!
  • Freeze your dried cranberries. If you buy large quantities of dried cranberries or make them yourself, you can actually store them in the freezer, too! This is a great way to keep them fresh.
  • Look for organic. Technically, most cranberries are raised conventionally and typically require a lot of pesticides to get those pristine berries. There are more and more organic farmers, but if this is an important topic for you, seek out certified organic cranberries.

FAQs

Can you freeze cranberries in their original bag?

Technically yes, you can freeze those bags of cranberries from the grocery store. However, there are a few things to consider first. Those berries should technically be washed before using them. If you freeze them now, you’ll probably never wash them later.

The plastic bags are also very thin, meaning they won’t offer a lot of protection. It does work in a pinch and I did do this for years, but I wash, dry, and pack my berries in freezer-safe containers now instead.

How do you freeze bagged cranberries?

The best method is to open the bag, rinse the cranberries under cold water, shake off the excess water with a strainer, and then dry the berries on a cloth or paper towel. Either freeze them on a baking tray first or just add them to your favorite freezer bag and freeze!

Should I wash cranberries before I freeze them?

Yes, you should wash your berries. You never know what sort of dirt, germs, or other things have touched the cranberries. Technically any actual insects and some of the germs and bacteria will die in the freezer, but it’s best to give them a rinse, dry them off, then freeze.

Can you vacuum seal and freeze cranberries?

Yes, and this is one of my favorite ways to do it! Vacuum sealing really helps preserve those berries for a long time. After freezing lots of berries every year, the ones in vacuum seal bags stay fresh the longest.

You can either pre-freeze the berries on a tray before vacuum sealing or vacuum seal them fresh. Just make sure you’re using firm, ripe berries that won’t be mushed under pressure (soft berries like raspberries and blueberries should always be pre-frozen before vacuum sealing).

Related Recipes

handful of frozen cranberries after freezing.
You can see that frozen cranberries look identical to fresh ones. They hold their shape and texture very well.
freezing cranberries on a baking tray.

How to Freeze Cranberries: Step-by-Step Instructions

Once you know how to freeze cranberries, you'll replenish your stash every year! This is the perfect way to preserve the harvest to use any time of the year. 
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 2 hours
Freezing Time 3 hours
Total Time 5 hours
Calories 209 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 kitchen towel
  • 1 silicone liner or parchment paper
  • 1 freezer-safe bag or container

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb fresh cranberries

Instructions
 

  • Thoroughly rinse your cranberries under cold water. Strain off the excess.
  • Lay out the cranberries to dry on the towel.
  • Spread the dry cranberries on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Arrange the berries in a single layer.
  • Freeze the whole tray for 1-3 hours or until the whole berries are frozen.
  • Lift us the long sides of the parchment paper and feed the berries into a freezer-safe bag. Either seal the bag like normal or vacuum seal.
  • Freeze for approximately 1 year.

Notes

  • Stasher bag method (6-12 months): I really love this technique for cranberrie because it skips the freeze-on-a-tray step. Pour the clean, dry berries into a Stasher bag and freeze. They will not stick together or freeze to the bag. This is the easiest method, and the thick bags are perfect for preventing freezer burn.
  • Vacuum seal (1-2 years): Pack cranberries into a vacuum seal pouch, then use your Food Saver to remove the excess air. They will have the longest shelf life like this!
  • Freeze in a mason jar (6-12 months): For totally plastic-free storage, you can freeze your berries in glass jars. I recommend wide-mouth pint or mason jars because they are less prone to breaking in the freezer. Just fill the jar with your pre-frozen berries, seal, and freeze.
  • Freezer safe ziploc bag (6 months): Anticipate about 6 months before the berries start to taste like your freezer.
  • Airtight container (6-12 months): If you have freeze-safe containers like Tupperware, they will work too. The thicker the walls, the better.

Nutrition

Calories: 209kcalCarbohydrates: 54gProtein: 2gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.04gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 9mgPotassium: 363mgFiber: 16gSugar: 19gVitamin A: 272IUVitamin C: 64mgCalcium: 36mgIron: 1mg
Keyword freezing cranberries, how to freeze cranberries
Did you try this recipe?Be sure to leave a star rating!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.