It’s easy to make your own dried cranberries with no added sugar! Make them in the oven or a dehydrator, and use them in your favorite keto treats.
This tutorial on how to dry cranberries has been on my blog since a gazillion years. Or, to be more precise, since November of 2012, which really amounts to the same thing.
I’ve been making these sugar free dried cranberries almost every year since. It’s not easy to find this popular snack without huge amounts of added sugar.
So I started making my own dried cranberries with alternative sweeteners. Turns out that it’s remarkably easy! I make several batches every fall and use them in all sorts of delicious recipes, like Keto Christmas Cookies.
You’ve got to try this!
Cranberries are extremely tart on their own. I’d almost go as far to say that they are unpalatable, which is why you rarely see unsweetened dried cranberries.
But you can use almost any sweetener to make them keto friendly. I like to use a combination of Swerve Confectioners and allulose, as I find this gives the best flavor while reducing any grittiness.
I discovered that the berries turn out much better if you also use a little oil. Otherwise, they tend to become crisp as they dry out, rather than soft and chewy.
You can dry cranberries in the oven or in a dehydrator, and it works well both ways. The oven method is quite a bit faster, as a dehydrator needs to run for at least 8 hours. But using an oven also uses more energy, so it’s up to you!
Ingredients you need
- Fresh cranberries: Choose cranberries that aren’t damaged or old as this affects the quality of your dried cranberries. Frozen cranberries tend to release a lot more juice as they dry, so it takes longer to dry them out properly.
- Sweetener: You have a lot of choice for sweetening the berries, but I do recommend using powdered sweeteners where possible. I found that a combination of erythritol and allulose works really well. Some of my readers also use BochaSweet. See more information in the Expert Tips section.
- Avocado oil: Don’t skip the oil or your dried cranberries will be tough and crispy! They get a little crispy as it is, but the oil makes a huge difference. You can also use extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, or any other neutral tasting oil.
1. Cut the cranberries in half and toss in a bowl with sweeteners and oil.
2. Spread on a parchment-lined baking pan and separate each individual berry as best you can.
3. Place the baking sheet in a 200ºF oven and let dry, 3 hours or longer. Let them cool completely on the pan. Then transfer to an airtight container.
4. Store in the refrigerator for several months.
Dehydrator method: Prepare the berries as directed and spread out in a dehydrator. Set the dehydrator to 125ºF and 8 to 12 hours, or until the berries are dry to your liking.
Expert tips and FAQ
Sweetener Options: You can use almost any sweetener to make dried cranberries, but I recommend half Swerve Confectioners and half allulose for a few reasons. Erythritol sweeteners tend to crystallize during baking, and using some allulose helps offset this.
But allulose alone tends to make the berries brown too quickly. I tried this last year and ended up with something more like raisins than cranberries! Use powdered allulose for this recipe.
Cutting the berries: Whole cranberries have a firm exterior that doesn’t break down easily during baking. So cutting the berries in half allows them to dry out more quickly. This does take a little time but while save you time in the long run.
Keep your eyes on them! Every oven and every dehydrator is different so check them frequently.
This sugar free dried cranberry recipe has 5.2g of carbs and 2g of fiber per serving. That comes to 3.2g net carbs for a 3 tablespoon serving.
Store the dried cranberries in an airtight container. If they are well dried out, you can keep them on the counter for a few weeks. If they still have some moisture to them, they are best kept in the fridge. You can also freeze them for up one year.
How to use them
Now that you made a big batch of sugar free dried cranberries, you need keto recipes to use them. Not to worry, I have plenty of ideas for you!
How to Dry Cranberries
- Preheat the oven to 200ºF and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the cranberries in half and toss in a bowl with the sweeteners and oil. Spread on the prepared baking pan and separate each individual berry as best you can.
- Place in the oven and let dry 3 hours or longer. Let cool on the pan.
- Transfer to an airtight container. Store in refrigerator.