How to Rehydrate Dried Cranberries to Use for Baking and Cooking

Rehydrate dried cranberries before baking them into fruit cake and other recipes.
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Rehydrating dried cranberries with water is one simple way to give them a soft, juicy, plump texture that adds an extra layer of ooph to your favorite recipes.


The nutrition in dried cranberries is very similar to fresh cranberries, although the dried fruit does have more calories and sugar because sugar is added during the drying process.

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Dried cranberries are high in vitamin C and phytochemicals that help prevent urinary tract infections. They also contain antioxidants that help protect against cell damage. Rehydrating cranberries is as simple as pouring water into a bowl.

Using Dried Cranberries Instead of Fresh

Fresh cranberries can be found readily in grocery stores around the holidays. Fresh cranberries are great in baked goods and other fresh recipes like salads. With dried cranberries, you can bake up a cranberry recipe or toss them on top of a salad any time of year.

Rehydrating dried cranberries is an optional (but recommended) step if you're baking with them, as they won't dry out further during baking and become chewy or hard. Instead, they'll be plump and add moisture to the end product.


How to Soften Dried Cranberries

Things You'll Need

  • Dried cranberries

  • Bowl

  • Boiling water

  • Colander

Dried cranberries can be hard or tough to chew, but rehydrating them will improve their texture and make them soft again.

This method for rehydrating dried cranberries involves soaking them in water or another liquid, such as fruit juice, for about 30 minutes. You can soak dried fruit for longer if you like, but there's no need to soak it overnight.


  1. Measure the amount of dried cranberries you will need for your recipe. If your recipe calls for fresh cranberries, swap in 3/4 cup of the dried version.
  2. Place the dried cranberries into a glass bowl.
  3. Pour boiling water over the cranberries until they are all completely covered. You can also substitute hot fruit juice instead of water for added flavor. Rehydrating your cranberries in fruit juice will add additional calories and sugar, which you should keep in mind when choosing your hydration liquid.
  4. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the bowl to keep the steam in and the liquid hot.
  5. Wait 10 to 30 minutes for your cranberries to soak in the water or juice and rehydrate. When they are done, they will be plump and round. Some cranberries may rehydrate more quickly than others depending on how dry and old they are.
  6. Drain the cranberries from their soaking liquid using a strainer or colander. Discard the liquid and return your cranberries to the bowl. They are now ready to be added to your recipe.



Use rehydrated dried cranberries in breads, muffins, salads or sauces that normally call for fresh cranberries. Dried cranberries are easy to store and have a long shelf life.

Cranberry Recipes to Try

An antioxidant-rich addition to your diet, try festive cranberry recipes like:




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