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Nantucket Cranberry Pie {Easy Cranberry Dessert Recipe}

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I’m a pie lover, and I love variations on the classics. This Nantucket Cranberry Pie isn’t technically a pie, more of a cake really. It has a  juicy layer of sweet-tart fresh cranberries on the bottom and that crispy, buttery cakey-cookie topping! Whether you make it for Thanksgiving or Christmas or a holiday party, it’ll be the easiest pie ever!

The berries pop with juiciness in this irresistible cranberry nut pie, which is perfect with ice cream. I even have gluten-free and reduced sugar options which are just as yummy!

This Christmas pie recipe is my final as part of Cranberry Week, be sure to check out all of the recipes at the end of this post, but in the meantime, you might want to enjoy this Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip, Oatmeal Cranberry Bars, and this gorgeous, but easy Cranberry Christmas cake!

Nantucket Cranberry Pie on plate with ice cream and sugared cranberries.

I look forward to this season all year long just to make holiday desserts like my crustless cranberry pie. The aroma of the tart berries cooking with sugar, citrus, and nuts makes my mouth water. 

A sweet-tart flavor is one of my favorites for the holidays (and really any time of year). Try this Apple Pie with Crumb Topping—you could even sneak in a few cranberries! It’s fail-proof and bursting with flavor. 

I also have an incredibly scrumptious Easy Lemon Cream Pie for you to check out. It’s a no-bake recipe and guaranteed to be a success at any table. Along with my other fall desserts, try this Pear Bundt Cake. It only takes 15 minutes to prepare, and it tastes and smells heavenly!

Primary Ingredients

Measurements and specific instructions are included in the printable recipe card at the end of this post.

Ingredients for Nantucket Cranberry Pie L-R almond extract, vanilla extract, melted butter, flour, sugar, brown sugar, walnuts, cranberries, eggs and salt.
  • Cranberries | If fresh berries aren’t in season, frozen work too, just don’t thaw them.
  • Brown Sugar | Dixie Crystals is my go to for desserts, and both light and dark varieties are equally delicious.
  • Sugar | Pure cane sugar melts with all the juicy goodness in this Christmas pie!
  • Walnuts | The nutty flavors combine perfectly in this dessert. You can also use pecans!
  • Flour | Organic unbleached all-purpose King Arthur’s flour is a staple in my kitchen.
  • Orange Zest | Even though this ingredient is optional, I promise it gives an extra zing to the final product!
  • Vanilla Extract | This dessert is a great opportunity to try my Homemade Bourbon Vanilla Extract Recipe—it’s rich, easy, and unforgettable!
  • Almond Extract | I use this in my baking to add a more complex flavor.
  • Butter | Real butter allows steam to rise in batter or dough, creating a tender “pie crust”.
  • Coarse Sparkling White Sugar | This optional topper is the pièce de résistance for this gorgeous Nantucket cranberry pie.

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease your pie plate with melted butter.

After washing and patting dry the cranberries, pour them in the baking dish. Doesn’t need to be perfect, just dump them in.

Sprinkle the berries with chopped nuts and brown sugar.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs thoroughly. Then, add the sugar a little at a time and beat until light, thick and creamy. If you’re using orange zest in your Christmas pie, add it now.

Stir in vanilla extract, almond extract, flour and salt.

Pour the batter over the cranberries evenly. Tap the baking dish to ensure the batter has worked its way through the berries.

Sprinkle the coarse sugar over the top of the crustless cranberry pie, or wait and sprinkle immediately after removing from the oven.

Pop it in the oven and bake for about 40-45 minutes. Your toothpick will come out clean when it’s finished.

Serve your Nantucket Cranberry Pie with vanilla ice cream (and whip cream if you’re feeling extra decadent). And it’s so pretty decorated with a few of these sugared cranberries

Slice of Nantucket Cranberry Pie on a plate with ice cream and sugared cranberries.

Variations

  • Gluten-Free Nantucket Pie | Replace the flour with GF all-purpose flour (my favorite). Oat or almond flour are also great substitutes in this cranberry nut pie.
  • Instead of almond extract, use orange or lemon extract instead, or just extra vanilla extract.
  • Make it a Cherry Cranberry Pie! Add fresh, pitted red cherries to the cranberries, try 1 heaping cup cranberries and 1 heaping cup cherries, frozen works great here! Or use blackberries, peaches, you name it!
  • NUTS | This Christmas pie is delicious with walnuts, pecans, almonds; you could even try hazelnuts and pine nuts!

High Altitude Cranberry Pie

At a high altitude, reduce the sugar in the pie crust by 2 tablespoons. It’s easiest to measure it in the cup, then scoop out the unneeded portion. Bake as directed, covering towards the end with foil, shiny side down if browning too quickly. 

Nantucket Cranberry Pie with whole pie with one slice removed, slice on plate, with ice cream and sugared cranberries, cup of coffee nearby.

Fresh Tips

  • If you’re baking in a 9” dish, add another 5-10 minutes of baking time.
  • If the top is browning too quickly on your cranberry crustless pie, cover it with foil. This is a step to take near the end of the bake time.
  • Coarse Sparkling sugar is beautiful on top! It resists melting in the oven’s heat and adds a touch of sparkle for your Christmas pie.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get the batter to spread evenly in my pan?

The trick is to go slow and pour it in ribbons back and forth. Tapping the pan at the end also helps it spread evenly before baking.

What can I use instead of nuts in my Nantucket cranberry pie?

If you have a nut allergy, try adding pumpkin seeds, rolled oats, or grape nuts for texture and flavor.

Why do they call this Nantucket Pie when it is more of a cake?

The consistency is closer to cake batter than rolled dough of a pie crust, but who am I to argue with all of Nantucket? They say it’s a pie, so that’s what it is in my house and my New England born and raised husband would agree!

Can I reduce the sugar in Nantucket Cranberry Pie?

YES! While cranberries are very tart, they do require some sugar. You may reduce the brown sugar to ¼ cup sprinkled over the cranberries, it will be a bit more tart, but still delicious! You can also try date sugar, or coconut sugar, or even Monkfruit to sweeten. 

Nantucket Cranberry Pie slice on a plate with the whole pie in the background, cup of coffee on the side.

Storage

Once cooled completely, store this pie covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days. It might lose some of its crispness on the top, but will still taste great. 

Can I freeze Nantucket cranberry tart?

YES! Make this sweet-tart pie up to two or more weeks in advance, making holiday meal prep even easier! 

Cool completely, wrap in two layers of plastic wrap and then a layer of foil. When ready to serve, remove from freezer and allow to thaw overnight in fridge (or on counter) — may be rewarmed in the oven at 300 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or pop individual pieces in microwave. 

Have I mentioned this pie (cake) is super easy, like really easy — like anyone can make this cranberry cake, um, tart, er, pie! Here are a few pieces of equipment to make it even easier!

When I was doing my recipe testing on Cranberry crustless pie, I made one with orange zest and one without. Normally, I love all things cranberry orange (try this Cranberry Relish!), however; personally I felt like it overpowered the cranberry pie. I sent both batches with my husband to work and they were BOTH winners, so make it YOURS!

Don’t forget to browse through all of the great recipes from Cranberry week!

Love IT? PIN IT!

Hand Slicing Cranberry Nantucket Pie with knife, sugared cranberries on top of pie.

Welcome to Cranberry Week! 

This week we are celebrating all things cranberry! We have delicious recipes from across the country to celebrate all things cranberry!

#CranberryWeek is an annual blogging event that is hosted by Ashley from Cheese Curd In Paradise

More Christmas Dessert Recipes

Here are a few of our favorites and reader favorites too!

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19 Comments

  1. I used almond flour and 1/4 cup of brown sugar. The finished pie seemed very greasy tasting. I looked at similar recipes and those just used regular sugar.I discarded the pie as the greasy texture was not edible/enjoyable.

    1. Hello,

      I’m sorry that it turned out greasy, and that you had to throw it away, I always dislike when someone tries my recipe and then ends up not liking it, especially wasting expensive ingredients.

      I have seen both ways, using brown sugar and using white sugar on top of the cranberries, I personally like the brown sugar since it adds a little caramel note. Almond flour in itself has oils since it’s ground almonds, perhaps if you tried it again, Try with some gluten-free all purpose flour instead? Again, I am sorry you experienced this. It is a very dense, almost sugar cookie type crust, it is not really a cake texture.

      Happy baking,
      Kathleen

  2. 5 stars
    This cake was delicious. My family described it as an upside down cranberry cake. The layers were so good on their own, and together, yum! Oh yeah, and a big scoop of whipped cream on it!

  3. This was truly a unique recipe for me. We absolutely loved this beautiful dessert. It was perfect for Thanksgiving and I’ve got requests to make it again for Christmas!

  4. 5 stars
    Mmm my favorite part of this yummy pie was the crispy layer on top, and of course the fruitiness of the cranberries on the bottom! This is a great pie for thanksgiving!