Dried Cranberries Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Dried cranberries, annotated

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Raw cranberries (fresh or frozen) are high in nutritional value and fiber while being low in carbohydrates and calories. Dried cranberries (often known as "Craisins," a brand name), however, can be quite different. Since cranberries are so tart, most dried versions have added sugar. Even if they are unsweetened, dried cranberries are higher in carbs, calories, and sugar than raw berries are—though they do still retain many of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found in raw cranberries.

Dried Cranberries Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1/2 cup (80g) of dried sweetened cranberries.

  • Calories: 246
  • Fat: 0.9g
  • Sodium: 4mg
  • Carbohydrates: 66g
  • Fiber: 4.2g
  • Sugar: 58g
  • Protein: 0.1g

Carbs

Due to cranberries' very tart natural taste, most commercial cranberry products including sauces, juices, and dried berries for snacking contain added sugar. In addition, drying the berries changes their proportions, so even dried cranberries without added sweeteners are still high in sugar and carbs than their raw counterparts. For comparison, per 100 grams:

  • Sweetened dried cranberries: 308 calories, 82.8g carbs, 72.6g sugar, 5.3g fiber
  • Unsweetened dried cranberries: 300 calories, 80g carbs, 25g sugar, 30g fiber
  • Raw cranberries: 46 calories, 12g carbs, 4.3g sugar, 3.6g fiber

Fat

Dried cranberries contain just a small amount of fat.

Protein

Dried cranberries have only a trace amount of protein.

Vitamins and Minerals

Fresh or dried, cranberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is important in many critical body functions, and vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant. They are also a good source of manganese and vitamin K.

Health Benefits

While there is little research on the specific effects of dried cranberries, the berry's juice and its extracts have been studied and found to have certain beneficial properties.

Repairs Damaged Cells

Like other brightly-colored fruits and vegetables, cranberries contain antioxidant compounds that may have many benefits for human health. Antioxidants are known to repair damage caused to cells by free radicals in the body, which helps protect against chronic disease.

Promotes Urinary Tract Health

There has been a lot of research focused on how cranberry supplements and juice may help prevent urinary tract infections, but results are mixed. A 2014 study identified the antioxidants in cranberries that might have an effect on urinary tract health.

Helps Treat Ulcers

The H. pylori bacteria can cause ulcers, gastritis, and some cancers. One study showed that adding cranberry supplements to the antibiotics and proton pump inhibitors commonly prescribed for this condition may help eradicate the bacteria.

Low in Oxalates

Fresh cranberries and cranberry juice can be a problem on a low-oxalate diet (used to prevent kidney stones). However, dried cranberries are acceptable.

Allergies

Allergic reactions to cranberry have not been reported, but allergy to almost any food is possible. If you suspect a food allergy, discuss your symptoms with your doctor to determine a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Adverse Effects

The main concern with dried cranberries is the amount of sugar they may add to your diet. Consuming too much sugar and sugar-sweetened foods may lead to weight gain, obesity, and metabolic conditions such as type 2 diabetes. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming less than 10% of your calories per day from added sugars (the sugar in raw cranberries is naturally occurring, but sweeteners are often added to dried cranberries and other cranberry products).

As of January 1, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration requires manufacturers to list both "sugar" and "added sugar" on the nutrition facts label.

There is a perception that dried cranberries and other dried fruits can stick to the teeth and cause dental problems, but research has shown this is probably not the case.

Varieties

Not all dried cranberry products contain added sugars. It's getting easier to find reduced-sugar or sugar-free dried cranberries, but check labels carefully. You may also find dried cranberries in trail mixes, granola, or cereal bars.

Storage and Food Safety

To keep dried cranberries from hardening and clumping, store in an airtight container in a cool, dark, dry place. They will last for 6 to 12 months. You can also freeze them for up to two years.

How to Prepare

Instead of buying dried cranberries, you can make them yourself at home with a sugar substitute. Due to the soluble fiber in cranberries, which attracts water, it is trickier to dry cranberries with an alternative sweetener versus traditional refined sugar.

Ingredients

  • 1 12-ounce bag fresh whole cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar substitute of your choice (vary amount to taste and based on the sweetness of your sugar alternative)

Preparation

  1. Heat oven to 200 degrees F, or use a food dehydrator if you have one.
  2. Put cranberries in a large skillet. Pick through to remove soft and/or brown ones.
  3. If sweetener is powdered, dissolve in water. Pour over cranberries and stir.
  4. Heat on medium-high until cranberries pop, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir every minute or two. When all seem popped, turn off the burner and let them cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Squish them down with the back of a large spoon. Don't worry if it seems they are melding together. Let cool another 5 minutes or so.
  6. Cover baking sheet with three layers of paper towels and a piece of parchment paper.
  7. Spread cranberries on the parchment. They will mostly individuate again as they dry. If unpopped ones remain, squish them down now.
  8. Put in oven and turn heat down to 150 F.
  9. In 2 to 4 hours, replace parchment and flip paper towels over. (Optional, but it speeds up the process.)
  10. After 2 more hours, check for doneness. Total time depends on humidity and other factors (up to 8 hours total is not unusual). It also depends on whether you want to dry your cranberries to the point where they still have some give, or whether you like them crispier.
  11. Separate dried cranberries and store in a sealed container (zip-top bags work well).

Recipes

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Cranberries, dried, sweetened. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.

  2. Cranberries, unsweetened. Nutritionix Grocery Database. Updated March 15, 2015.

  3. Cranberries, raw. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.

  4. Blumberg JB, Camesano TA, Cassidy A, et al. Cranberries and their bioactive constituents in human health. Adv Nutr. 2013;4(6):618-32. doi:10.3945/an.113.004473

  5. Jepson RG, Williams G, Craig JC. Cranberries for preventing urinary tract infections. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012;10:CD001321. doi:10.1002/14651858.cd001321.pub5

  6. Nicolosi D, Tempera G, Genovese C, Furneri PM. Anti-adhesion activity of A2-type proanthocyanidins (a cranberry major component) on uropathogenic E. coli and P. mirabilis strains. Antibiotics (Basel). 2014;3(2):143-54. doi:10.3390/.antibiotics3020143

  7. Seyyedmajidi M, Ahmadi A, Hajiebrahimi S, et al. Addition of cranberry to proton pump inhibitor-based triple therapy for eradication. J Res Pharm Pract. 2016;5(4):248-251. doi:10.4103/2279-042X.192462

  8. How to Eat a Low Oxalate Diet. University of Chicago.

  9. Sadler MJ. Dried fruit and dental health - how strong is the evidence?. Nutr Bull. 2017;42(4):338-345. doi:10.1111/nbu.12294