There is a growing public interest for the North American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) as a functional food because of the potential health benefits linked to phytochemical compounds present in the fruit--the anthocyanin pigments, responsible for its brilliant red color, and other secondary plant metabolites (flavonols, flavan-3-ols, proanthocyanidins, and phenolic acid derivatives). Isolation of these phenolic compounds and flavonoids from a sample matrix is a prerequisite to any comprehensive analysis scheme. By far the most widely employed analytical technique for the characterization of these compounds has been high-performance liquid chromatography(HPLC) coupled with ultraviolet-visible(UV/Vis) and mass spectrometer(MS) detection. This review covers the cranberry major bioactive compounds, the extraction and purification methods, and the analytical conditions for HPLC used to characterize them. Extraction, chromatographic separation and detection strategies, analyte determinations, and applications in HPLC are discussed and the information regarding methods of specific cranberry analyte analyses has been summarized in tabular form to provide a means of rapid access to information pertinent to the reader.