How To Dry Cranberries For Crafts – I Test 4 Methods

Cranberry dishes are side dish staples in the holiday season. But I also like to use cranberries to add festive color to my décor. Plus, cranberry crafts are quick and easy to do, making it easy to get the kiddos involved.

But if you’re making something like a garland, you will need to dry the cranberries, so it adds beauty to your home through the holiday season.

Drying them out isn’t very taxing – but it does take time. In this post, I take you through how to dry cranberries for crafts.

The Best Way To Dry Cranberries For Crafts

Using a dehydrator is the most straightforward way to dry cranberries. But if you don’t have one, you can also dry the cranberries in the oven. Air-drying by spreading them out on a towel and leaving it next to a sunny window for a few days also works. 


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Air-dried cranberries retain their round shape and don’t look ruptured, so if that’s important to you, you can air dry them. 

Here are quick guides to drying cranberries using a few different methods:

Drying Cranberries in a Dehydrator

A dehydrator machine that can be used to dehydrate cranberries

You must first rupture the skin of the cranberries by boiling them. After the cranberries pop, you can spread them in the dehydrator, set it to 140F and leave the berries to dry overnight. The process can take up to 24 hours, so if your cranberries aren’t dry in the morning, you can leave them in the dehydrator for longer.

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of this process:

  • First, put all of your cranberries in a pot and rinse them under running water to clean them off. Then, drain the water and set the cranberries aside.
  • Take a separate large pot and fill it up a little over halfway with water. Heat the pot and bring the water up to a rolling boil.
  • Transfer the cranberries into the pot with boiling water. The boiling water will rupture the skin of the cranberries, which will help the dehydrator work its magic.
  • Let the cranberries sit in the boiling water for about five minutes. You will eventually hear the cranberries pop, indicating that the skin has ruptured. 
  • Drain the water when most of the cranberries have popped. Do not let the cranberries sit in the boiling water for more than ten minutes.
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Now that your cranberries are ready to dry, you can transfer them to the dehydrator:

  • Spread the cranberries evenly on the trays of your dehydrator. Set the dehydrator to 140F, and let the dehydrator dry the berries. 
  • Depending on the freshness of your cranberries, the dehydrator’s power, and the humidity, drying the berries can take between 12 and 24 hours. You can leave the cranberries in the dehydrator overnight and check on them the next morning. If the cranberries don’t have that leathery look to them just yet, you can let them dehydrate for longer.

Occasionally rotating the trays helps dry the cranberries evenly; however, you don’t have to do it since the dehydrator will dry the berries out sufficiently well. 

Drying Cranberries in the Oven

The inside of a hot oven

Drying cranberries in the oven requires you to rupture the skin by boiling the cranberries. After the skin pops, spread the berries on a single-layer baking sheet and put them in the freezer for two hours. Next, transfer the freezing berries onto another cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Finally, turn your oven to the lowest temperature it allows, and leave the cranberries to dry for 5-7 hours.

Drying cranberries this way is faster, but it takes more work. I’ve broken the process down into steps for your convenience:

  • Clean the cranberries by placing them in a pot and rinsing them under running water.
  • Get another pot, fill it up with enough water to cover the cranberries, and bring it up to a boil.
  • Transfer the clean cranberries into the boiling water and let them pop. It takes about five minutes for the popping to begin. After most of the cranberries have popped, drain the water. Do not let the berries boil for more than 10 minutes.

The cranberries will now be ready for the oven. 

What Happens If You Don’t Pop the Cranberries?

Dried out cranberries after their skin has popped

If the skin does not rupture, the cranberries won’t dry correctly. Instead of turning dry and leathery, they will turn crisp. If you try to pierce those cranberries or even hold them too firmly, the berries will turn into powder.

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There are bound to be a few unpopped berries in every batch. While you won’t be able to use these cranberries for crafts, they are very tart, and you can eat them. 

If you choose to store them, you can store them in an air-tight jar. If you live in a hot and humid location, you can store the jar in the fridge. If you live someplace colder, you can store the jar in a cool and dry place and consume the cranberries within six months.

With that out of the way, here are the rest of the steps: 

  • First, to help the cranberries dry out faster, spread them on a baking sheet. Then, put the baking sheet in the freezer.
  • After two hours, get the cranberries out of the freezer, and transfer them onto another baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Set your oven to the lowest temperature it can go, and place the baking sheet in the oven. 
  • Allow them to dry in the oven for at least five hours. Turning the berries over every 30 minutes helps dry them out more effectively. Depending on the freshness of the cranberries and the oven setting, drying can take up to seven hours.

If you can’t check on the cranberries now and then, heat your oven to 350F for 10 minutes, and then turn it off. Next, place the tray of freezing cranberries in the oven and leave them in the oven overnight. They should be dry in the morning.

Drying Cranberries in an Air Fryer

A simple air fryer on a table

Drying cranberries in an air fryer is fast and convenient. After washing and drying the berries, preheat your air fryer to 170 F, and spread them on the trays.

Leave some space between the berries for proper airflow. Rotate the racks every two hours, and let the berries dry for six hours.

If the fruit isn’t dry enough, you can leave the berries in the fryer for two more hours.

Drying Cranberries in a Microwave

The inside of a microwave oven

To dry cranberries in the microwave, you must cut them in half and spread them on a cleaned rotating plate.

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Next, set the microwave to defrost, and check back on the berries after 30 minutes. If the berries aren’t dry enough, you can transfer them to an oven set to the lowest temperature and let them dry.

Since this method requires you to cut the berries, you cannot use it for drying cranberries for crafts.

It’s also important to note that your mileage may vary with this method. Also, using this method could zap the cranberries or worse, so I don’t recommend using this method.

Making Crafts With Cranberries

Once you have your dry cranberries, it’s time to get crafty! Cranberries are of course a great seasonal ingredient that feels especially timely during the Autumn and Winter months.

Some fun ideas in using cranberries for crafts I like to try are:

  • Add them in Wreaths for the front door of the home
  • Add them to scented bowls and Potpourri for a zingy twist
  • Help the kids glue them to their Christmas cards for the grandparents
  • Add them to gift baskets
  • Stick them on the ribbon after wrapping presents

It’s great to just have them at hand (for a sneaky snack) and add more variety to your craftmaking!

How To Dry Cranberries For Crafts

Drying out cranberries is a great way to add some festive color (and scent!) to your holiday decorations. It's also a fun way to get the kids into some simple baking and preparing to craft.
Active Time1 hr
Waiting Time1 d
Total Time1 d 1 hr
Keyword: Crafts
Cost: $5

Equipment

  • Cooking Pot
  • Dehydrator

Materials

  • 500 grams Cranberries
  • 1 pot Boiling Water

Instructions

  • Rinse the cranberries in fresh water to clean them
    500 grams Cranberries
  • Transfer the cranberries into a pot of boiling water
    500 grams Cranberries, 1 pot Boiling Water
  • Boil the cranberries for 5 minutes or until their skin pops
    500 grams Cranberries, 1 pot Boiling Water
  • Drain the cranberries once most are popped but after no longer than 10 minutes
    500 grams Cranberries
  • Transfer the cranberries onto the Dehydrator at 140F
    500 grams Cranberries
  • Dehydrate for 12-24 hours, depending on humidity level, until leathery
    500 grams Cranberries

Notes

If you don’t have your own Dehydrator, you can always use the free energy of direct sunlight to dry out the cranberries but it takes a few days!