Friday, January 23, 2015

Not A Fan Of Cranberry Sauce . . . Jelly Belly (Unfortunately) Gets It Right!

Cranberry Sauce Jelly Beans - 16 oz Re-Sealable Bag
Click here to purchase the 16 oz. pack of
Cranberry Sauce Jelly Belly Jelly Beans
directly from Jelly!

The Good: Accurate flavor, Good ingredients
The Bad: Environmentally irresponsible bulk, Flavor fades fast, Only seasonally available!
The Basics: If you don’t like cranberry sauce, Jelly Belly Cranberry Sauce jelly beans aren’t likely to convert you to the cause!

I have a lot of respect for the Jelly Belly Candy Company; they take risks. In fact, they take so many risks (in a positive way) that they have forced me to actually think about how I review some things – like foods. Having absolute standards often makes it tough to objectively review things that are somewhat subjective (like taste). In the case of Jelly Belly jelly beans, I run into the occasional problem of jelly beans that taste like what they are supposed to . . . but I don’t like the source material. Such is (mostly) how it is for me with their Cranberry Sauce jelly beans.

The Cranberry Sauce Jelly Belly jelly beans are only available for a limited time, in limited quantities . . . outside their seasonally-available winter Holiday Favorites assortment! When I bought my local shop out of their one-pound packages of Cranberry Sauce Jelly Belly jelly beans, my wife was thrilled (she loves cranberry sauce). I am, honestly, not a fan. Jelly Belly, however, gets the flavor of cranberry sauce mostly right. The reason I, ultimately, found myself able to give these jelly beans a lower rating (something I seldom do when the flavor tastes like what it is supposed to!) is that these beans never become quite as sour as actual cranberry sauce and the flavor fades ridiculously fast. For a potent flavor like cranberry sauce, even if I don’t like it, it’s not a good representation if the nasty, sour, remind-me-of-unpleasant-Thanksgiving-dinners-where-I-was-forced-to-eat-cranberry-sauce-even-though-I-was-old-enough-to-know-I-did-not-like-it flavor if it dissipates from the taste buds within a minute of consumption.

For those who might never have had Jelly Belly jelly beans, these are easily the best jelly beans on the planet, packing a lot of flavor into a very small size. Unlike most jelly beans which are only vaguely flavored and are more based on colors, Jelly Belly jelly beans have a wide variety of actual flavors, like Tabasco, The Beanboozled Assortment, Hot Chocolate, or their signature flavor Buttered Popcorn.

The Cranberry Sauce Jelly Belly jelly beans are (currently) only available within assortments or in one-pound bags on their own. There is not currently a bulk option for these seasonally-available beans.


Cranberry Sauce is a limited edition flavor of Jelly Belly jelly beans, which is already gone for the year in most stores. Jelly Belly jelly beans are approximately one half inch long by one quarter inch wide and they are roughly bean-shaped. These little candies are marketed to taste precisely like holiday Cranberry Sauce and they live up to that fairly well.

Cranberry Sauce flavored Jelly Bellys are very easy to mix up with any number of other Jelly Belly jelly beans. Cranberry Sauce Jelly Bellys are a solid dark red color that can easily be mistaken for at least three other, more common, flavors.

Ease Of Preparation

These are jelly beans and consumption is about as easy as opening a can of cranberry sauce! In the case of the one pound bag, one might want to put them in a candy dish of some form as opposed to always going into the bag. Then again, the bag is not huge, so it’s not like you could spill a ton eating them directly from the bag.


Cranberry Sauce Jelly Bellys do not have a very strong scent, which surprised me because cranberries are so aromatic. Opening the bag of Cranberry Sauce Jelly Belly jelly beans, there is a very mild, fruity smell.

On the tongue, Cranberry Sauce Jelly Belly jelly beans explode with flavor. They land on the tongue with the sour flavor of the familiar bog fruit and the sourness rises to the crescendo of flavor one expects . . . until it stops just shy and becomes sugary. Cranberry Sauce Jelly Belly jelly beans are like drinking the last of a glass of cranberry juice that has had sugar added to it. You get the juice/fruit flavor, then it is replaced by the sugar at the bottom of the glass which is mostly sweet, but vaguely cranberry flavored as well. These never become as sour as actual cranberries.

As well, the Cranberry Sauce flavored Jelly Bellys diminish in flavor ridiculously quickly. After only a few seconds, the sourness is replaced by sugar and they do not have a sour, cranberry or Cranberry Sauce aftertaste that lingers in the mouth. Instead, those of us who find the taste of Cranberry Sauce unpleasant get to forget about it about two seconds into consuming these beans and within thirty seconds of swallowing the last of them. This is not a flavor that lingers.


These are jelly beans, not the fruit upon which they are based, so anyone looking to them for nutrition needs to understand they based upon something that is not inherently nutritious! Sadly, these do not have any of the vitamins of cranberries (which is relevant because the Sunkist fruit Jelly Belly jelly beans do have vitamin C!). Jelly beans, even Jelly Belly jelly beans, are not a legitimate source of nutrition. These are a snack food, a dessert, and are in no way an adequate substitute for a real meal. A serving is listed at thirty-five beans, with each Jelly Belly jelly bean having approximately four calories. This means that in a single serving, there are 140 calories, which is 12% of your daily recommended intake.

The thing is, Jelly Belly jelly beans are not as bad as they could be in the nutrition area. They have no fat and no protein, but for those who have ever dated a Vegan, these are Vegan compliant because they contain no gelatin! So long as your Vegan does not mind beeswax, these are Vegan compliant. They have only one percent of the daily sodium with 15 mg and they are gluten free! The main ingredients are sugar, corn syrup and modified food starch, so it's not like this is an all-natural food, but they could be far, far worse.


Jelly Belly jelly beans have a shelf life of approximately one year and I have yet to run across a stale Jelly Belly. They remain freshest when they are kept in an airtight container (the bag is fine, if it is kept sealed without air in it) and they ought to be kept in a lukewarm environment. Storing them in hot places is likely to make the beans stick together and be gross. Kept in a cool, dry place, the beans retain their flavor perfectly.

As for cleanup, unless one allows the Jelly Belly to get hot to the point that the waxy coating on the bean melts, the dyes on these do not bleed or denature, so there is usually no cleanup necessary, not even washing one's hands after eating them (even if they don't melt!). I've never had Cranberry Sauce Jelly Bellys stain anything.


Cranberry Sauce Jelly Belly jelly beans are enough to satisfy fans of cranberry sauce on the off-season (my wife is currently enjoying the rest of ours!), but it is not a great flavor for those who do not like cranberry sauce or who are fans of jelly beans that have a vibrant, true, and enduring flavor to them.

For other Jelly Belly jelly bean flavors reviewed by me, please check out:
Bubbly (Champagne)
Pumpkin Pie
Draft Beer


For other Jelly Belly jelly bean reviews, please check out my Ultimate Jelly Belly Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2015 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
Cranberry Sauce Jelly Beans - 16 oz Re-Sealable Bag
Buy the Cranberry Sauce Jelly Belly Jelly Beans
directly from Jelly!

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