Make good use of the holiday season’s favorite berry and bake these cranberry crumble bars! The tart berries are complemented by citrusy orange zest. The filling is sandwiched by the same buttery oatmeal crust and topping I use in my raspberry oatmeal bars!

cranberry crumble bar on its side showing layers of crust, cranberry filling and crumb topping.


 

Cranberries are abundant this time of year! If you have leftovers from Thanksgiving, they will be well used in these crumb bars. Packed with tart yet sweet flavor, the berries pair perfectly with a bit of orange zest and juice. You’ll love how good they taste against the oatmeal crumble.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Plenty of flavor. The buttery crumble has a subtle almond flavor while the tart cranberry filling has a pop of citrusy orange zest!
  • Large batch for sharing. These bars are made in a 9×13 pan, which yields enough for friends and family around the holidays.
  • Easy to make. The crust and crumb topping are made from the same mixture so the bars come together easily!
  • Versatile filling. You can use fresh or frozen cranberries (whatever you have on hand). Cranberry jam or sauce is also a good substitute!

Ingredient Notes

cranberry crumble bars ingredients in bowls labeled with text.
  • Oats: Rolled oats (also known as old fashioned oats) will give the best chewy texture. I do not recommend steel-cut outs because the texture is to tough and grainy.
  • Butter: Unsalted butter is needed for the crust and crumble topping. Make sure it is softened, but still cool for best results.
  • Almonds: I like using nuts in my crumble topping, but they are not required.
  • Cranberries: I suggest using fresh cranberries since they have the most flavor and are easy to find during the holidays.
  • Orange zest and juice: This flavor naturally complements cranberries. Make sure it’s fresh for the best taste!
  • Cornstarch: This helps thicken the filling. You can also use 1 Tablespoon flour as a substitution.

Refer to the recipe card for ingredient details and measurements.

Recipe Variations

Add an icing. Whisk 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1 tablespoon milk. For an orange glaze, replace milk with fresh orange juice. Drizzle icing over the bars after they cooled. You can also drizzle melted white chocolate, like I do for my cranberry bliss bars.

Try different nuts. Chopped almonds are my go-to for my crumb mixture, but walnuts, pecans or pistachios would work just as well. You can also make the mixture without nuts.

Use frozen cranberries (don’t thaw them). You can also use 1 1/2 cups cranberry jam or leftover cranberry sauce instead of making your own cranberry filling. This is very similar to the recipe for my strawberry oatmeal bars with jam so I know jam works just fine!

How to Make Cranberry Crumble Bars

photo collage demonstrating how to make cranberry crumble bars in a mixing bowl.
  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, oats, brown sugar, sugar, chopped almonds (if using) baking powder and salt.
  2. Add wet ingredients: Add butter and mix until mixture resembles coarse sand. Add egg and vanilla, then mix until combined.
  3. Bake crust: Press half the mixture into a 9×13 pan. Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes.
  4. Make the cranberry filling: In a bowl, combine cranberries, sugar, orange juice and zest, cornstarch and vanilla.
photo collage demonstrating how to assemble cranberry crumble bars in a 9x13 baking pan.
  1. Assemble: Spread cranberry mixture over the baked crust. Sprinkle remaining crumble mixture over the berries.
  2. Bake bars at 350 F for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool completely, cut and serve.

Expert Tips

Use a kitchen scale to weigh your flour and provide accurate measurements. If you don’t have a scale, be sure to spoon your flour into a measuring cup and level with a knife (don’t pack down the flour).

Make sure your butter is still cool. If the crumble mixture is too warm, then it will melt into the berry mixture. Keeping it cool will make for a slightly crispy texture! So be sure to put the topping in the refrigerator while the crust bakes.

Let the bars cool completely before cutting. The filling needs time to solidify and the crumble needs to set. This will make for a nice clean slice!

cranberry crumb bar with a bite in front of stack of more bars.

Make Ahead and Storage Tips

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for 5 days.

Freeze for up to 3 months. Let the bars cool completely, then wrap them securely in plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn. Store in an airtight container or bag in the freezer. Defrost in the refrigerator when ready to serve.

Recipe FAQ

Can I use dried cranberries?

No, I do not recommend dried cranberries for this recipe. Even if you soak them in water it will not work properly. Instead, use them in white chocolate cranberry cookies!

Can I make this in a 8×8 pan?

Yes, cut the recipe in half to make a smaller batch. Baking time will remain the same.

Can I use other fruit for the filling?

Yes, other fruits and jams work well. You’ll need about 1 1/2 cups.

stack of three cranberry crumble bars surrounded by more bars.

Did you love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below and if you REALLY loved it, consider leaving a comment further down the page.

cranberry crumble bar on its side showing layers of crust, cranberry filling and crumb topping.

Get the Recipe: Cranberry Crumble Bars

Tart cranberries with orange zest make the best filling in these holiday cranberry crumble bars. The oatmeal crust and crumble is delicious!
5 (8 ratings)

Ingredients

Crust and Topping

  • 2 cups (250 g) all purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cups (125 g) old fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ cup (55 g) finely chopped almonds, optional
  • ½ cup (100 g) light brown sugar
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, softened, but still cool, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Filling

  • 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), combine flour, oats, chopped almonds, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix for 30 seconds until thoroughly combined. With the mixer on low, add the butter and mix until the mixture resembles coarse sand (about 2 minutes). Add egg and vanilla, and mix just until combined.
  • Transfer half the crumble mixture to prepared pan. Use your hands or the back of a measuring cup to press mixture evenly into the bottom to form the crust. Store the remaining mixture (used for the topping) in the refrigerator while the crust bakes. Bake crust for 20 minutes or until golden (keep the oven on).
  • In a bowl, toss together cranberries, sugar, orange juice, orange zest, cornstarch and vanilla.
  • Spread filling evenly over the baked crust (it’s okay if it’s still warm). Sprinkle remaining oat mixture evenly over the cranberry layer.
  • Bake 350° F for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown and berries are bubbling. Allow bars to cool completely before removing from pan and cutting into squares.

Notes

Frozen cranberries: If using frozen, do not thaw the berries. Wait to take them out of the freezer until you are making the filling.
Almonds: Nuts are an optional addition. You can omit them completely or use walnuts or pecans.
Icing: If you want a little extra sweetness, whisk together 1/2 cup powdered sugar + 1/2 teaspoon vanilla + 1 Tablespoon milk. For orange glaze, replace milk with fresh orange juice.
Store bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for 5 days.
Freeze bars after they have completely cooled. Wrap in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before bringing to room temperature and serving.
Serving: 1bar, Calories: 203kcal, Carbohydrates: 29g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 27mg, Sodium: 90mg, Potassium: 76mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 16g, Vitamin A: 258IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 21mg, Iron: 1mg

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