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Oatmeal Cranberry Bars

I love the bright reds in the holiday season, and these Oatmeal Cranberry Bars look festive and taste amazing. The fresh cranberries in the middle are tart and the one bowl, brown sugar crumb crust doubles as the topping! This recipe is popular with both kids and adults, so pull out a pan and let’s get baking!

No holiday party is complete without cranberries on the menu. And cranberry orange bars are the perfect solution for a family party, office potluck or your favorite cookie exchange. This cranberry crunch dessert is sweet and sassy when served chilled and sliced or warm with ice cream or even whipped cream! 

Try these favorites: Cranberry Spritzer, Cranberry Relish, Sugared cranberries and this delicious Cranberry Bourbon Sour.

Stacked Oatmeal Cranberry Bars with crumb topping.

Welcome to Cranberry Week! I am excited to bring you decadent recipes featuring this superfood!

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

Cranberry Week is an annual blogging event that is hosted by Ashley from Cheese Curd In Paradise, be sure to browse through the entire post to see all of the great cranberry recipes from my fellow bloggers.

When I’m deciding what to make, I have to think about how long it takes. This dessert is a snap to make in about an hour. And you can even do it in advance, storing it for later. I also have plenty of variations for you! 

This time of year, I love to use seasonal ingredients. Check out my Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe for a delicious blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Another favorite are my Traditional Shortbread cookies, you can make them so many ways!

If you’re a lemon lover like me, try my Old Fashioned Lemon Squares with a buttery shortbread crust! They’re always on demand at my house.

Primary Ingredients

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

Ingredient shot for oatmeal cranberry bars L-R spices, butter, flour, orange juice, cranberries, vanilla, cornstarch, sugar, brown sugar, oats, egg and almond flour.
  • Cranberries | This is the essential ingredient to make these not-too-sweet cranberry orange bars.
  • Orange Juice and Zest | The orange flavor enhances this recipe with its natural sweetness.
  • Rolled Oats | These give the dessert a satisfying texture and a bit of a crunch.
  • Almond Flour | Gives these bars a little added texture and crunch
  • All-Purpose Flour | I use King Arthur organic flour in my baking.
  • Sugar | This cranberry crunch recipe uses both brown sugar and granulated sugar—I use organic cane sugar with fabulous results!
  • Butter | Using real butter in baking makes everything delicious. Plus, your baked goods will brown easier and have a better overall texture.
  • Cinnamon | The tantalizing aroma of this spice will fill your entire kitchen while these are baking!
  • Vanilla | Real vanilla has a heavenly scent and improves any of your baked goods.

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9×13 inch pan (my favorite) with parchment paper and spray with oil.

You can mix the oatmeal crumb mixture two ways — in a food processor or by cutting the butter in with a couple of knives, a pastry cutter or your hands. I prefer the food processor myself.

Either way, add flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, baking powder and salt to bowl or food processor and pulse or stir to combine.

Add cubed cold butter and pulse to combine or use two knives to cut butter into mixture.

TFC TIP | The mixture is ready, when you squeeze it and it holds together.

Pour oatmeal crumb mixture into large bowl, add egg* and mix well. Press about 2 ½ cups (packed) of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.

In another bowl, stir together cranberries, sugar, vanilla, cornstarch and orange juice, toss to help sugar dissolve.

Spoon the filling over the crust, pressing or shaking cranberries until they are evenly distributed.

Using your hand, squeeze remaining topping into chunky crumb topping, spread over cranberries.

Bake the oatmeal cranberry bars for about 45-50 minutes, until they’re a light brown.

Once the dessert has cooled completely, transfer it to the refrigerator and chill until firm, about an hour.

When ready to serve, use the parchment paper to lift the crunch bars out of the pan, slice and store in airtight container.

Oatmeal cranberry crunch bars on red platter.

Storage

Oatmeal Cranberry Crunch bars will last on the counter in an airtight container up to 3 days. In the fridge up to 7 days and may be frozen (before or after baking) up to 3 months.

Make Ahead and Freeze

You can make these cranberries bars and freeze before baking. If doing that, I recommend wrapping well in plastic wrap and then foil to prevent freezer burn. Do not thaw before baking, place in 350 degree oven and baking uncovered for 25-30 minutes, then cover with foil and bake additional 20-30 minutes until top is golden and cranberries are bubbling.

Or make and bake the entire cranberry crunch bars, allow to cool completely. Using the parchment to lift out of pan, wrap well in plastic wrap, then again in foil, freeze up to 3 months. Allow to thaw on counter.

High Altitude Cranberry Bars with Oatmeal

There are no high altitude modifications necessary for these delicious sweet-tart streusel crunch bars.

Cranberry crumb bars with oatmeal crumble crust and streusel topping.

Variations

  • If fresh cranberries aren’t in season, you can substitute frozen cranberries or 1 can of whole cranberry sauce. Simply stir the sauce to loosen, then spread over the top of the crust and top with the crumble topping.
  • You can also replace cranberries with other fruit; try blueberries, blackberries, peaches, strawberries, but I would cut the sugar significantly. You might also love my Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars.
  • For a gluten-free option, replace the all-purpose flour with your favorite GF substitute. You can also use oat or almond flour—just be sure the oats are GF.
  • If you have a corn allergy, tapioca starch replaces the cornstarch easily. Just use about ¾ of a tablespoon instead.
  • Orangier Cranberry Orange bars? Zest ½ an orange before juice and toss into cranberries.
  • Nuts | If you love nuts, place ½ cup of chopped pecans, almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts into the crumb mixture.

TFC Pro Tip

  • Pro Tip 1 | Freeze these oatmeal cranberry bars to enjoy later! They last for three months in an airtight container. You can also store them in the fridge for about a week.
  • Pro Tip 2 | Only used rolled oats. If you use quick oats, the cranberry orange bars will be hard.
  • Pro Tip 3 | Extend the sheet of parchment paper beyond the edges of the pan. Once the dessert is set, lift the entire thing out of the pan for easy cutting.
Hand holding a large square of cranberry oatmeal bars with streusel topping.

Frequently Asked Questions

*Why do you add an egg to the oatmeal crumb or streusel topping?

Adding an egg is what gives this particular recipe, the “crunch” factor, elevating it slightly above other streusel toppings. Unless you are allergic, I highly recommend adding the egg!

How long can I store cranberries in the freezer?

If you would like to make these oatmeal cranberries out of season, you can store cranberries in the freezer for up to 12 months. The frozen berries will work just as well as fresh for this dessert. Just wash and dry them before freezing them in a single layer. Once frozen, you can store them in an airtight container.

Do frozen cranberries need to be thawed before using?

No. Just do a quick rinse under cool water before using them in the recipe.

Can I use dried cranberries instead of fresh?

Yes. For this recipe, I recommend that you rehydrate dried cranberries. Pour hot water over cranberries in a bowl, let sit 10-15 minutes, then strain and use as planned.

Oatmeal Cranberry Crumb Bars sliced into squares on a plate with an orange in the background.

Serving Suggestions

Serve just like you would any other bar dessert, sliced into desired squares or cut in half to make triangles.

Or serve warm from the oven like a cranberry crisp, spooning into bowls with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream on top. DELICIOUS!

More Holiday Recipes You will LOVE

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Hand holding a large square of cranberry oatmeal bars with streusel topping.
Yield: 12-24 servings

Oatmeal Cranberry Bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

I love the bright reds in the holiday season, and these Oatmeal Cranberry Bars look festive and taste amazing. The fresh cranberries in the middle are tart and the one bowl, brown sugar crumb doubles as the crust and topping! This recipe is popular with both kids and adults, so pull out a pan and let’s get baking!

Ingredients

Oatmeal Crunch Crust & Streusel Topping

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats (not quick cooking)
  • 1 cup cup packed brown sugar (light or dark)
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter, cold and cut into cubes (2 sticks)
  • 1 egg

Fresh Cranberry Filling

  • 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons fresh orange juice (½ a medium orange squeezed)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9x13 inch pan (my favorite) with parchment paper and spray with oil. May also be made in two 8x8 pans.
  2. You can mix the oatmeal crumb mixture two ways -- in a food processor or by cutting the butter in with a couple of knives, a pastry cutter or your hands. I prefer the food processor myself.
  3. Either way, add flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, baking powder and salt to bowl or food processor and pulse or stir to combine.
  4. Add cubed cold butter and pulse to combine or use two knives to cut butter into mixture, you might need to use your hands.
  5. Pour oatmeal crumb mixture into large bowl, add egg* and mix well. Press 2 ½ cups (packed) of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. 
  6.  In another bowl, stir together cranberries, sugar, vanilla, cornstarch and orange juice, toss to help sugar dissolve. 
  7. Bake the oatmeal cranberry bars for about 45-50 minutes, until they’re a light brown, covering with foil if browning too quickly.
  8. Once the dessert has cooled completely, transfer to the refrigerator and chill until firm, about an hour.
  9. When ready to serve, use the parchment paper to lift the crunch bars out of the pan, slice and store in airtight container.

Notes

Storage

Oatmeal Cranberry Crunch bars will last on the counter in an airtight container up to 3 days. In the fridge up to 7 days and may be frozen (before or after baking) up to 3 months.

Make Ahead and Freeze

You can make these cranberries bars and freeze before baking. I recommend wrapping well in plastic wrap and then foil to prevent freezer burn. Do not thaw before baking, place in 350 degree oven and baking uncovered for 25-30 minutes, then cover with foil and bake additional 20-30 minutes until top is golden and cranberries are bubbling.

Or make and bake the entire cranberry crunch bars, allow to cool completely. Using the parchment to lift out of pan, wrap well in plastic wrap, then again in foil, freeze up to 3 months. Allow to thaw on counter.

High Altitude Cranberry Bars with Oatmeal

There are no high altitude modifications necessary for these delicious sweet-tart streusel crunch bars. 

Substitutions and Variations

  1. If fresh cranberries aren’t in season, you can substitute frozen cranberries or 1 can of whole cranberry sauce, you can also replace with other fruits; try blueberries, blackberries, peaches, strawberries, but I would cut the sugar significantly. You might also love my Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars.
  2. For a gluten-free option, replace the all-purpose flour with your favorite GF substitute. You can also use oat or almond flour—just be sure the oats are GF.
  3. If you have a corn allergy, tapioca starch replaces the cornstarch easily. Use about ¾ of a tablespoon instead.
  4. Orangier Cranberry Orange bars? Zest ½ an orange before juice and toss into cranberries.
  5. Nuts | If you love nuts, place ½ cup of chopped pecans, almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts into the crumb mixture. 
  6. Can I substitute dried cranberries for fresh? Yes, I recommend that you rehydrate dried cranberries. Pour hot water over cranberries in a bowl, let sit 10-15 minutes, then strain and use as planned.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

15

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 301Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 173mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 3gSugar: 19gProtein: 4g

The nutritional information is estimated and may not be entirely accurate, at times it pulls information for suggestions and options which may increase calories, etc. Nutritional information will change based on used ingredients, quantities used, etc.

Did you make this recipe?

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Radha

Wednesday 1st of December 2021

WOW! Love the flavor profile and these would be an amazing holiday breakfast! YUM!

Kathleen Pope

Wednesday 1st of December 2021

Thank you, great for breakfast, lunch, snack or dessert!

Jennifer

Friday 19th of November 2021

These bars look fantastic. My husband would love these. I am going to have to make a batch this weekend.

Kathleen Pope

Tuesday 23rd of November 2021

I hope he loves them!

Inger@Art of Natural Living

Tuesday 16th of November 2021

These look so good! Sweet and tart, chewy and crunch! I suppose you could use leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving too!

Kathleen Pope

Thursday 18th of November 2021

Yes, you sure could Inger!!

Tasia ~ two sugar bugs

Monday 15th of November 2021

I love how you pair the tart cranberries with the sweet oatmeal crumble/streusel! It's a perfect combination for Thanksgiving and the Christmas season.

Kathleen Pope

Thursday 18th of November 2021

It is absolutely perfect! Thanks Tasia!

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