Sugarplum Christmas Candy

sugarplum candies on plate

The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 24 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
63 Calories
2g Fat
11g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24
Amount per serving
Calories 63
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 7mg 1%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 56mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Sugarplums are a classic holiday candy popularized in poems and famously included in The Nutcracker Ballet. This sugarplum recipe contains different varieties of dried fruit and nuts, along with some preserves and holiday spices. While the recipe does contain sugar, they are also naturally sweetened by the variety of dried fruits and fruit preserves in the recipe.

Supposedly, the sugarplums got their name since the classic recipes include dried plums, or prunes, in the list of ingredients. This recipe does include prunes, but it's very flexible, so you can substitute other dried fruits if you like. Additionally, feel free to play around with the nuts and preserves listed. Just be sure to chop the nuts to a similar consistency as stated in the recipe. If you like brandy, consider adding a spoonful to the mixture for a more adult candy.

“I love a recipe that can mainly be handled by something like a food processor. The sugarplums last for about a month, so make these in advance for a party.”  —Noah Velush-Rogers

Sugarplums/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted dates

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts

  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped prunes

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped skinless toasted hazelnuts

  • 2 tablespoons cherry preserves

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/2 cup sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    sugar plum candy ingredients gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  2. Place the chopped dates, walnuts, cranberries, prunes, and hazelnuts in a food processor. Pulse the mixture a few times.

    chopped ingredients in food processor for sugar plum candy

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  3. Add the cherry preserves, cinnamon, and cloves. Pulse several more times until the mixture begins to come together. It should hold together in a ball when you squeeze it between your fingers. You want to retain some of the coarse texture. Do not over-process it into a sticky paste.

    final blend of all sugar plum candy ingredients in food processor to form a paste

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  4. Roll the candy into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in the granulated sugar until coated. Serve.

    sugar plum candy rolled into balls and in white sugar coating

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga


There are a variety of ways to serve the sugarplums.

  • You can place each individual sugarplum in a small, decorative candy cup. Metallic or holiday-colored candy cups will bring a festive look to this serving style.
  • You can also form a decorative display with the sugarplums, either by stacking them or setting them up in a circle.
  • Finally, they are a nice addition to any holiday cookie plate or dessert display.
  • If you are serving these to a group or bringing them as part of a cookie exchange party, be sure to label the sugarplums and note which nuts are included in the recipe. Since the nuts are ground up, rolled into the mixture, and covered with sugar, it's not apparent that nuts are in this recipe.
  • Because this recipe needs to be refrigerated, and since the sugar will dissolve as it sits, these candies won't do well if shipped.

Recipe Variation

Make an adult version: Add a spoonful of brandy or rum as an additional ingredient. If the mixture feels too wet, add a little more of the dried fruits or nuts to help bind. Or pop them into the fridge for a bit.

How to Store

Store the sugarplums in an airtight container between layers of waxed paper. Sugarplums can be kept refrigerated, for up to one month.