Cranberry Bars have the perfect combination of sweet and tart flavors. With layers of oatmeal for a chewy cookie base, topped with smooth caramel, chopped pecans, and a tart and tangy cranberry filling, it's the perfect treat for the holiday season!
Cut into bite-size pieces to make edible gift bags, or into traditional squares for your cookie trays.
It's nearing the end of cranberry season, and I love stocking up on fresh cranberries! While I love making my own fresh Cranberry Sauce for the holidays, I also love cranberry desserts.
Did you know you can freeze whole fresh cranberries? Just pop a bag into the freezer for up to 3 months. They thaw beautifully and can be used in so many recipes.
These cranberry, oat, caramel, and pecan bars are so delicious. They're made with a few basic ingredients, and they're easier to make than you'd think.
This recipe actually was given to me from a nurse while at a doctors appointment. She shared this recipe with me telling me it was a favorite at all her holiday events and I knew I must give it a try too.
If you love these cranberry crumb bars, check out another of my favorite cranberry recipes, my White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Cookies with Cranberries, or this Easy Cranberry Christmas Cake (Bars). These Lemon & Blueberry Cookies are also delicious for any time of year, and my Pecan Pie Bars will be great for your holiday party too!
Wet Ingredients. Salted Butter, Mrs. Richardsons Caramel
Dry Ingredients. All Purpose Flour, Old Fashioned Oats, Granulated White Sugar, Brown Sugar, Baking Soda, Chopped Pecans
Fruit. Fresh Cranberries (or Frozen)
How to Make Fresh Cranberry Bars
Pre-heat your oven to 350 F degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan or glass dish with Baking Spray or line it with Parchment Paper. Bring your ingredients to room temperature before you begin.
Rinse the fresh cranberries with running water and drain. Then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of Granulated Sugar on top of the cranberries. Toss to combine and set aside.
In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the All Purpose Flour, Baking Soda, Old Fashioned Oats, Granulated Sugar, and Brown Sugar. Mix together until fully combined.
Add the softened Butter to the flour mixture and combine using a pastry cutter. The mixture will form a crumble that will hold together when pressed.
Reserve 1½ cups of the mixture for the topping.
Press all but the reserved amount of the crumble mixture into the bottom of the baking dish. Using the back of a fork or your hands, make sure it is in an even layer on the bottom of the pan.
Bake the crust at 350 F degrees for 15 minutes. This is to set the crust before adding the layers of toppings.
Meanwhile, mix the jar of Caramel with ⅓ cup of Flour. We want the caramel to hold it's shape while still being creamy smooth after baked.
To make the cranberry layer, pour the sugared Cranberries over the baked crust as evenly as you can. Top this with chopped pecans, then drizzle the caramel mixture over the top.
Sprinkle the reserved crumb topping over the Cranberries, Nuts, and Caramel.
Bake your cranberry bars at 350 F degrees for 20 minutes.
The hardest part is to allow the bars to fully cool and set before cutting them. But trust me, these bars can be a bit crumbly and allowing them to cool and set makes all the difference.
Fresh cranberries are so delicious, and if you have a surplus, there are so many things you can do with them! Cranberries are a versatile fruit and will work perfectly in recipes like these Berry Cookies, this Orange & Cranberry Fruit Bread, these Fluffy Pastry Turnovers, as Berry Jam, in Fruit Muffins, and in appetizers like these Cranberry Brie Bites. Any cranberries that you have left over can be frozen for up to 12 months!
Unfortunately, you will not get the same results by using dried berries in this recipe. If you have dried cranberries that you're needing to use up, then check out my White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies or these Magic Bars.
Store cooled cranberry bars in an airtight container for up to 7 days. Cookies are best if enjoyed within 2-3 days.
Cookies can be stored in a sealed container and frozen for up to 3 months. Place parchment paper between each cookie to prevent sticking.
Substitutions & Variations
- Add some chocolate chips to the shortbread mixture, or put some chocolate chips on top before baking for added sweetness.
- Add a drizzle of icing or melted chocolate on the top for decoration and extra sweetness.
- Serve these bars cold with a glass of milk, or slightly warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a homemade caramel sauce for a truly decadent dessert!
What makes a good cookie? Does it have a soft center and crispy edges, and is it chewy? Each of these makes a great quality cookie. To make perfect cookies every time here are some pro tips.
To find out more, check out my Pro Tips Guide for making the best cookies every time!
Baking is a science and adding too much or too little of any of the ingredients will alter the recipe. Weighing and measuring dry ingredients properly makes a world of difference. Investing in a kitchen scale is ideal. When a kitchen scale is not available, make sure to stir and lift ingredients before scooping them into a measuring cup.
|All Purpose Flour||1 Cup||4 ½ Ounces||120 Grams|
|Bread Flour||1 Cup||4 ½ Ounces||120 Grams|
|Granulated Sugar||1 Cup||7 Ounces||200 Grams|
|Brown Sugar||1 Cup||7 ½ Ounces||213 Grams|
|Confectionary Sugar||1 Cup||8 Ounces||130 Grams|
You can use an ungreased cookie sheet if you prefer. I like to use Parchment Paper to line baking sheets or a Silicone Mat for easy cleanup.
Every oven heats a little differently. I recommend doing a test batch of 1-3 cookies to test the baking time for a perfectly baked cookie before baking the remaining dough.
Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a minute or two before moving them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Kitchen Scale. I use this for accuracy in measuring and it's a lifesaver when it comes to consistent baking
- Wire Rack for cooling cookies. I like to have at least 2 cooling racks
- Mixing Bowls. A Large Mixing Bowl for mixing ingredients and small and medium mixing bowls for other ingredients
- Cookie Sheet. Most recipes will take 2 batches to bake. It's great to have multiple baking sheets available
- Parchment Paper or Silicone Baking Mat. Line the Cookie Sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup and to prevent sticking.
- Cookie Scoop. A small #60 Cookie Scoop or a Medium Cookie Scoop #50 are great choices for uniform drops of cookie dough.
- Storage Container. An Airtight Container to store cookies or a Ziploc Bag works great too.
- Additional supplies. Measuring Cups and Measuring Spoons along with a silicone spatula are all helpful.
Have you tried these Cranberry Bars?
Let me know what you thought of this recipe! Tag @bestcookierecipes on social media so I can see how great they turned out! I would also love to read your comments below. Let me know what you think of these cookie bars. It really does help!
More Delicious Cookie Bar Recipes
- Eggnog Bars
- Candy Cane Magic Bars
- Snickerdoodle Bars
- Oh Henry Peanut Butter Butterscotch Bars
- Lemon Cheesecake Bars
- Strawberry Lemonade Bars
- Sugar Cookie Bars
- 12 ounce Cranberries Fresh
- 2 tablespoons Granulated White Sugar
- 2 cups All Purpose Flour Divided
- ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
- 2 cups Old Fashioned Oats
- ½ cup Granulated White Sugar 100g
- ½ cup Brown Sugar
- 1 cup Butter Softened
- 1 Jar Mrs. Richardsons Caramel 17 ounces
- ⅓ cup All Purpose Flour
- 1 cup Chopped Pecans
- Pre-heat Oven to 350 F Degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan or glass dish with Baking Spray or line it with Parchment Paper.
- Rinse Cranberries. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of White Sugar on top and toss to combine. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl combine All Purpose Flour, Baking Soda, Old Fashioned Oats, Granulated Sugar, and Brown Sugar. Mix all dry ingredients together.
- Add softened Butter to the flour mixture and combine using a pastry cutter. The mixture will form a crumble that will hold together when pressed. Reserve 1½ cups of the mixture for the topping.
- Press all but the reserved amount of the crumble mixture into the bottom of the baking dish. Using the back of a fork or hands to press evenly to the bottom of the pan.
- Bake the crust at 350 F Degrees for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix the Caramel with ⅓ Cup All Purpose Flour.
- Pour Cranberries over the baked crust and top with chopped pecans. Drizzle caramel mixture on top.
- Sprinkle reserve crumb topping over Cranberries, Nuts, and Caramel.
- Bake Cranberry Bars at 350 F Degrees for 20 minutes.
- Allow the bars to fully cool before cutting.
- Store: Store cooled cranberry bars in an airtight container for up to 7 days. Cookies are best if enjoyed within 2-3 days.
- Freeze: Cookies can be stored in a sealed container and frozen for up to 3 months. Place parchment paper between each cookie to prevent sticking.