Cranberry Bars are a delicious dessert or snack for the holiday season with tart cranberries and a buttery sweet crust and crunchy topping. This is a great way to use those extra cranberries you bought on sale and your family will love them.
If you are looking for more easy recipes for scrumptious desserts, try our creamy Cranberry Cheesecake with a graham cracker crust or these Ultimate Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars. Another fantastic new recipe is this Easy Cranberry Sauce to add in a small bowl on your holiday table.
Bakers all over the world are in their kitchens right now and the only thing on their minds is making special treats for their holiday family dinner. This easy cranberry bars recipe is a good start, but you don’t have to stop there.
For another fruit dessert, try our peach crumble bars or sweet and tart cherry bars. Sticking with the dessert theme, you may also enjoy these instant pot pumpkin bites or pistachio dessert made with pistachio pudding.
For exact directions and measurements, scroll down to our handy recipe card. But here are the basic ingredients you will be needing for this great recipe:
Crust and Topping:
- All purpose flour: You can also use almond flour or your personal favorite.
- Sugar: Granulated white sugar.
- Brown sugar: Light or dark.
- Baking powder: Not baking soda.
- Butter: Cold and cubed.
- Large egg: Room temperature.
- Spices: Cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Orange zest: Store-bought or homemade.
- Fresh cranberries: You can also use frozen.
- Sugar: Granulated white sugar.
- Cornstarch: Important for thickening.
How do you make cranberry bars?
- Preheat: First, heat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray or butter.
- Whisk: Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the flour, both sugars, spices, zest, and baking powder until thoroughly combined.
- Crumble: Then, add the butter cubes and mix together with your hands or a pastry blender until it is crumbly.
- Mix: Next, add the egg and mix it all together.
- Crust: After, spoon three cups of the mixture into the pan and press it down to make a crust.
- Cranberry mix: Then, using a medium bowl, combine berries, sugar, and cornstarch.
- Coat: Next, spoon the cranberry mix onto the crust, making sure to scrape the excess sugar into the pan as well.
- Bake: Lastly, sprinkle the leftover crumb mixture onto the cranberries and bake for 50 minutes or until the top is light golden brown.
- Serve: Finally, serve this yummy treat after it has cooled to room temperature. For faster cooling, set it on a wire rack.
How to serve:
Serve this tasty treat warm or chilled with a dollop of whipped cream or try one of our other serving ideas:
- Instead of whipped cream, try a scoop of vanilla ice cream or orange sherbet.
- Another way to top this dish is with our thick and rich caramel sauce or some sweet strawberry sauce.
- Use leftovers as a topping for ice cream or add it to yogurt for an added sweetness.
- This is a fantastic dessert for our juicy pumpkin pot roast or slow cooker turkey breast.
- Enjoy a bar with a warm mug of Starbucks pumpkin spice latte copycat.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a cranberry bar?
These delicious cookie bars are sweet and tangy with a cranberry layer between a crunch of buttery topping and crust.
The filling is made with fresh cranberries and sugar while the crust is usually made with flour, sugar, butter, egg, and spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, and orange zest.
Are cranberries healthy?
Not only are these yummy berries healthy but they can prevent many different illnesses.
They are a fantastic source of antioxidants and are also good for treating and preventing urinary tract infections, reducing your risk of heart disease, and lowering cholesterol.
These berries are low in calories and fat, and full of vitamins and minerals.
Just one cup of cranberries provides 25% of your daily value of vitamin C, 9% of vitamin A, and 6% of vitamin K. You will also get a good dose of iron, calcium, potassium, and manganese.
Can cranberries be eaten raw?
Although many people do not like them raw because they are bitter, the powerful antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals make them the perfect snack in something like these bars or in a salad. You could also eat them dried or sweetened to reduce some of the bitterness.
How to store leftovers:
- Store: Once they have cooled to room temperature, these delicious bars can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.
- Freeze: If you want to freeze them, first chill them in the fridge for two hours and then put them individually into freezer bags. These will stay fresh for about 90 days.
- Thaw: Finally, when ready to serve make sure to plan in advance and thaw in the fridge overnight.
- Reheat: You can eat these bars cold or heat them up in the microwave.
Cranberry Bars Recipe
Crust and Topping:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup cold butter (cut into small chunks)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 16 oz fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Grease a 9×13 baking pan with butter or cooking spray, and line with parchment.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, zest, and baking powder.
- Add the butter to the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or fork, work the mixture until fine crumbs form.
- Add the egg and mix it into the mixture until fully combined.
- Press about 3 cups of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan, that is the crust.
- Set aside the remaining crumb mixture for the topping.
- In a large bowl, combine the cranberries, sugar, and cornstarch and mix well.
- Add the cranberries on top of the crust.
- Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture on top of the cranberries.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is slightly golden.
- Cool to room temperature. Slice and serve.