I can't find frozen cranberries anywhere. How can I substitute fresh cranberries for frozen? Do I chop them up and add sugar? Do frozen cranberries have added sugar in them? My cake recipe asks for frozen cranberries.

  • 9
    Does the recipe specify anything else about the cranberries? Are you supposed to use them still frozen, or are you supposed to defrost them? My usual avenue to frozen cranberries is step 1: buy a bag of cranberries step 2: throw in fridge step 3: realize that they're gonna rot before I get a chance to use them, so throw in freezer step 4: find them a year later, defrost and use.
    – Marti
    Dec 17, 2018 at 23:23

3 Answers 3


Frozen cranberries usually do not have added sugar, and are usually frozen whole. So the sneaky solution would be to buy fresh cranberries, freeze them, and then use them however the recipe calls for :)

Since you're not worried about long-term storage, a few hours in the freezer on a baking tray should get them to the correct consistency.


Unless you have reason to think that the baking time has been very much readjusted to compensate for the frozen state of the berries, you can probably use fresh ones in exactly the same way. More likely the recipe assumes you're someplace where the supply of fresh berries is very limited.

I've made the same cake with fresh and frozen other berries, and had no trouble going back and forth according to supply. Well, except the time I went overboard and nearly doubled the amount of frozen berries, but that would probably have been a problem with fresh ones as well.

  • 1
    I've had trouble using frozen berries when a recipe expects fresh (the batter tends to get a lot stiffer), but usually not the other way around.
    – Erica
    Dec 19, 2018 at 14:11
  • 1
    My summer cake recipe expects fresh, and my frozen excess meant longer baking was necessary, I didn't notice any change in final texture. Probably much depends on the recipe :-).
    – user57361
    Dec 19, 2018 at 18:38

You can substitute fresh cranberries, but wash and freeze them first.

Freezing fruits breaks down the cellular walls changing the fruit's consistency and the way it interacts with other the ingredients. If a recipe calls for frozen fruit, chances are the results will be quite different if you don't freeze your fresh fruit before using it.

  • 1
    Very good point! I think it won't matter for many other berries, which tend to be already very tender when raw. But cranberries have a leathery skin and are also rather firm inside, so I think that being softened by freezing will be important for getting the texture right.
    – rumtscho
    Dec 20, 2018 at 11:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.