With over 10 years of creating homemade beverages, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to take a hand-crafted drink to the next level. One of the easiest ways is to use ingredients as flavor cues for your guests! This recipe for cranberry ice cubes almost seems too easy to have a recipe card for. 🤫 But trust me, once you start making your own festive cubes, you’ll be on the lookout for other ways you can create bespoke ice creations for all of your beverages!
This was inspired by my strawberry ice cubes and my love of freezing everything into cubes. From espresso to juice, creating your own flavored ice cubes is a quick and easy way to level up your at-home beverages. Certain fruits like cranberries are absolutely perfect for freezing! One stop on #icetok on TikTok will show you what the (maybe small) world of ice lovers already knows: ice is better when it’s FUN! 🥳Jump to Recipe
💕 why you'll love this cranberry ice cube recipe
🥳 fun & festive. These ice cubes are perfect for all of your fall and winter beverages, adding an element of unexpected fun!
🔊 echos of flavor. These cranberry ice cubes are perfect for cocktails and mocktails that contain cranberry! They help to create a “flavor echo,” which plays up the fruity and tart cranberry flavor in any beverage!
🤌 easy to make. Making these cubes is a great activity with kids or in preparation for a party. It’s a quick and easy way to throw an extra-special touch into your presentation!
- cranberries - you can use fresh or frozen berries to make these ice cubes. Avoid using dried cranberries as they don’t have the same plump appearance as fresh or frozen berries.
- filtered water - using filtered water means your ice won’t have any funky flavors. This is important since we want the flavor of the berries to really pop through!
See the recipe card for quantities.
Step 1: If you are using fresh cranberries, make sure to rinse them first and sort any berries that have gone bad out of the mix. Add 4-6 berries to each cube space in the ice tray.
Step 2: Fill your ice cube trays ⅔ full with water. You want to be sure to just barely cover the berries with water, since they float!
Step 3: If you want clear ice, be sure to use a special ice cube tray just for making clear ice.
Step 4: Cover your trays if they have lids, and freeze for 6-8 hours, or until frozen solid.
Step 5: Remove your cranberry ice cubes from the trays, and place them in a zip top bag or other airtight container.
Step 6: Store your finished ice cubes in the freezer for up to 3 months. Use them in any beverages that feature cranberry as a flavor!
Hint: Make sure to cover your ice cubes as they are freezing to keep any unwanted flavors or odors from finding their way into your cranberry ice cubes.
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🍽️ serving tips
- Add cranberry ice cubes to your favorite cocktails, such as cranberry mimosas, cranberry mules, or cranberry vodka spritzes, for a burst of color.
- Toss them into a punch bowl for a stunning presentation!
- Drop a few cranberry ice cubes into a glass of sparkling water for a refreshing and festive take on soda water.
- Try adding them to iced tea and lemonade!
ℹ️ troubleshooting tips
Even though this is pretty much a two-step recipe, things can get weird! Try these tips for making things well the first time!
- hard to remove - If the frozen cubes are difficult to remove from the trays, run the bottom of the tray under warm water in the sink for a few seconds to loosen them.
- cloudy cubes - If your cubes are cloudy, it’s a result of impurities in the water. Luckily, the bright red color of the berries takes the focus away from cloudy cubes, and as soon as they hit the liquid in your beverage the cloudiness isn’t as prominent.
- clear ice - Want crystal clear cranberry ice cubes? Try using these trays from Clearly Frozen on Amazon. They create crystal-clear ice showing off the berries as the main focus!
Clear ice cube trays can be a little tricky. You need to be sure to follow the directions so you don't over-freeze them.
Here you can see the difference between the clear ice and the regular ice. Even though it is quite a difference in hand, once the cubes are in a drink it's a bit less apparent.
⚖️ Scaling Tips
- This recipe is perfect for scaling up for a party, or to make a large batch of ice for seasonal ice all fall or winter long.
- To make a larger batch of cranberry ice cubes, simply double or triple the recipe as needed.
🔆 top tip
Cranberries float! To accommodate for this, and to make sure you don’t end up with cubes that only have berries on one side, try to cram your cranberries into the ice cube trays. 4-6 berries is a great amount for each cube, depending on the size of your trays!
Missing an ingredient? No problem. Check out these tried-and-true substitutions, or comment below with your question. I’m here to help you troubleshoot!
- frozen berries - you don’t need to use fresh berries for this recipe. Cranberries are becoming increasingly popular, and they can sometimes be found frozen at your local grocery store. One brand I’ve found and loved is Cape Cod Select. They even have a product locator on their website to see if their berries can be found near you!
Feeling like a rebel?! 😈 Feel free to stray from the recipe card using these variations, or leave me a comment with your own!
- use another fruit - try this recipe for strawberry ice cubes if you are wanting to create more fruity flavors of ice cubes!
- add lime - cranberries and lime go so well together! Add in a lime wheel or a squeeze of lime juice for a little burst of citrus flavor.
- add herbs or spices- adding in a sprig of mint or rosemary is another fun way to level up these cubes. Additionally, you can add in a sprinkle of ginger or cinnamon for a subtle spiciness to the tart cranberry flavor.
- add cranberry juice - you can even add in some cranberry juice to each cube to impart even more cranberry flavor into these cubes! You can also purée some cranberries and strain the purée, then add it to the cubes.
🧰 equipment needed
- ice cube trays - the world of ice cube trays is VAST. I love using these trays from Tovolo for perfectly square ice, and these larger ones for king-sized cubes. Both options come with a cover to help keep the cubes from developing unwanted scents. If you want clear ice cubes, try using this mold from Clearly Frozen or this larger mold from True Cubes. The clear ice cube trays don’t come with covers because they rely on what’s known as directional freezing. I like to use a thin cover like a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap after an hour or so in the freezer so that the cubes don’t get any funky flavors while freezing.
- zip top bag - while you might have seen tons of videos of icefluencers on TikTok who have a freezer full of bins of uncovered ice, I’m here to tell you that’s not the move for your homemade cubes. 😅 Storing ice in an open container in the freezer is an invitation for unwanted flavors. For the best ice experience, store your cubes in an airtight container, like a zip top bag. I love using these mega-sized Stasher bags for my ice cubes. They are dishwasher safe and reusable, making them a more sustainable option than regular plastic bags.
- measuring glass - I love using these measuring glasses from Anchor Hocking for pouring water into the ice cube trays.
Once your cubes are frozen, you can store them for up to 3 months in an airtight storage container.
Use these cubes in any beverage that features the flavor of cranberries, like cranberry ginger ale mocktails or cranberry mules, also called yule mules.
Yes! Cranberries are a fruit that freeze exceptionally well! In fact, I love to throw a few bags of cranberries right into the freezer when they are on sale for BOGO! It’s a great way to store berries for times of the year when they’re harder to find.
Yes, you can freeze puréed berries! Make sure to strain them to remove any seeds or chunkier bits. Also, as your cubes melt the purée may settle at the bottom of your glass.
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Cranberry Ice Cubes
- 116 g cranberries about 1 cup of berries, fresh or frozen
- 475 g water about 2 cups, filtered
- Rinse your cranberries if they are fresh to remove any impurities.
- Place 4-6 cranberries in each section of an empty ice cube tray.
- Pour water into each ice cube spot, taking care not to fill past ⅔ full.
- Place your ice cube tray filled with cranberries and water into the freezer and freeze until solid. If you are using a special tray to make clear ice cubes, make sure to freeze only until the top layer of the ice cubes are frozen.
- Remove the cranberry ice cubes from the tray and store them in a zip top bag or another airtight container until you use them, up to 3 months!
🧯food safety & other information
Food safety is an important ingredient in any recipe for success! Here are some tips to keep you safe in the kitchen!