Cranberry Oatmeal Crumble Bars

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Cranberry Oatmeal Bars — Fast, easy, no mixer bars with juicy cranberries and big crumbles!! Perfect for breakfast, snacks, or dessert! Soft, chewy, hearty, and so good!!

four cranberry oatmeal bars on a white platter

Cranberry Oatmeal Bars Recipe

These cranberry crumble bars are soft, slightly chewy, and the hearty oats with big crumbles are a perfect contrast to the juicy cranberry filling.

They’re easy, you don’t need a mixer, and the crust and crumble topping are one in the same. One less step and one less bowl to wash.

I boiled fresh cranberries with sugar and orange juice. Orange and cranberry are such complementary flavors and the subtle citrus brightens up the overall flavor of the bars. Add orange zest to taste if you want to intensify the orange flavor.

The bars aren’t overly sweet and the tart cranberry flavor shines nicely making them an easy grab-and-go breakfast bar, snack, or dessert. Plus, they’re egg-free, which may come in handy for some people.

Love Fruit Crumble Bars? Try These Next!

These cranberry oatmeal bars are one of many crumble bar recipes on my site! Be sure to try these recipes too: Raspberry Oatmeal Crumble Bars, Blueberry Oatmeal Crumble Bars, Pineapple Crumble Bars, Strawberry Oatmeal Crumble Bars, Mango Oatmeal Crumble Bars, and Mixed Berry Crumble Bars.

close up of a cranberry crumble bar on a white platter

Ingredients in Cranberry Oatmeal Bars 

To make these oatmeal cranberry bars, you’ll need: 

  • Fresh cranberries
  • Orange juice and zest
  • Cornstarch 
  • Granulated sugar and light brown sugar
  • Unsalted butter 
  • Vanilla extract 
  • All-purpose flour
  • Old-fashioned oats
  • Salt

Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.

Cranberry Oatmeal Crumble Bars - Fast, easy, no mixer bars with juicy cranberries and big crumbles!! Perfect for breakfast, snacks, or dessert! Soft, chewy, hearty, and so good!!

How to Make Cranberry Bars with Oatmeal Topping

These cranberry oat bars come together so easily! Detailed instructions can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post, but here’s an overview of the recipe steps:

  1. Make the cranberry filling: Bring the cranberries, orange zest and juice, and sugar to a boil on the stove.
  2. Once mixture has come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, add the cornstarch, stir to combine, and allow mixture to simmer for about 15 minutes.
  3. Make the crust / topping mixture: Mix together the crust and crumble topping ingredients (the same mixture is used for both!).
  4. Set 1 heaping cup of the mixture aside to be sprinkled on later as crumble topping. Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of an 8×8-inch dish.
  5. Assemble the bars: Spoon the cranberry sauce over top of the crust, then sprinkle the reserved crumble mixture over that. 
  6. Bake the bars: Bake until edges are set and center has just set and is lightly golden browned.

Tips for Making Cranberry Oat Bars

When spooning the cranberry filling over the crust, leave a 1/4-inch bare margin around the edges. The cranberry filling will burn if it’s touching the edges of the pan and will also stick like crazy.

Before sprinkling on the crumble topping, I squeeze the mixture in my palm to encourage bigger crumble pieces to form.

Note that these bars must cool for at least 2 hours before you can slice and serve them. The cranberry layer needs time to set! 

Cranberry Oatmeal Bars — Fast, easy, no mixer bars with juicy cranberries and big crumbles!! Perfect for breakfast, snacks, or dessert! Soft, chewy, hearty, and so good!!

Recipe FAQs

Do I Have to Use Fresh Cranberries? 

Yes! For this recipe, you need to use fresh cranberries so make the bars while cranberries are in season. Frozen fresh cranberries work too! Just don’t use dried or canned cranberries.

Can I use frozen cranberries?

Yes, you may use fresh cranberries that have been frozen to make the filling for these bars. No need to thaw the cranberries first since they cook down on the stove anyways!

Can I Use Instant Oats instead of rolled oats?

No, don’t use quick cook or instant oats because they’re finer in texture and behave like flour, which will make mixture too dry.

Can gluten-free flour be used instead of all-purpose flour?

Most likely, yes. Since these bars lean more towards the soft and chewy side of the texture spectrum vs. light and airy, you should be fine to use a gluten-free all-purpose flour substitute to make the crust and crumble mixture.

Can the bars be made in advance?

Absolutely! They last up to 1 week at room temperature and stay moist if stored in an airtight container.

Storage Instructions

Leftover cranberry bars with oat topping can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 week. They do not need to be refrigerated!

The bars also freeze well. I recommend freezing them in the baking pan, then transferring to a zip-top freezer bag (this prevents the crumble topping from being squished when initially sealed in the bag). When ready to eat, thaw on your counter for about an hour before digging in!

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4.55 from 31 votes

Cranberry Oatmeal Bars

By Averie Sunshine
Fast, easy, no mixer cranberry oatmeal bars with juicy cranberries and big crumbles!! Perfect for breakfast, snacks, or dessert!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 47 minutes
Total Time: 57 minutes
Servings: 9
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Ingredients  

Cranberry Filling

  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest, optional and to taste
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch

Bars

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup old-fashioned whole-rolled oats, don’t use quick cook or instant, they’re finer and behave like flour and will make mixture too dry
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste

Instructions 

Make the Cranberry Filling:

  • To a medium stockpot with high sides, add the cranberries, optional orange zest, orange juice, granulated sugar, and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring often to incorporate the sugar.
  • Once mixture has come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, add the corn starch, stir to combine, and allow mixture to simmer for about 15 minutes. While it simmers, make the bars.

Make the Bars:

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  • To a large, microwave-safe bowl add the butter and heat on high power to melt, about 1 minute.
  • Add the sugars, vanilla, and whisk to combine.
  • Add the flour, oats, optional salt, and stir to combine. Mixture will have some larger, well-formed crumble pieces as well as some sandier, dryer bits.
  • Set 1 heaping cup mixture aside to be sprinkled on later as crumble topping.
  • Transfer remaining mixture to prepared pan, and using a spatula or your fingers, hard-pack the mixture to create an even, smooth, flat crust.
  • Add the cranberry filling over the crust making sure there’s complete coverage but leave a 1/4-inch bare margin around the edges. Tip – The cranberry filling will burn if it’s touching the edges of the pan and will also stick like crazy.
  • Evenly sprinkle with the reserved heaping 1 cup crumble topping mixture. Tip – Before sprinkling, I squeeze the mixture in my palm to encourage bigger crumble pieces to form.
  • Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until edges are set and center has just set and is lightly golden browned.
  • Place pan on a wire rack and allow bars to cool for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving.

Notes

Storage: Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Adapted from Blueberry Oatmeal Crumble Bars and Raspberry Oatmeal Crumble Bars.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 262kcal, Carbohydrates: 52g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 2mg, Sodium: 23mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 36g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

More Cranberry Dessert Recipes:

ALL OF MY CRANBERRY RECIPES! 

Crustless Cranberry Pie — A FAST, super EASY, no-mixer dessert that’s perfect for holiday entertaining!! Somewhere in between pie, cake, and blondies is what you get with this FESTIVE recipe!

Cranberry Bliss Bars (Starbucks Copycat) — Just like Starbucks except even better! Learn how to make these at home with this easy recipe!

Overhead shot of Cranberry Bliss Bars (Starbucks Copycat) on red and white plates

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Blondies — Super soft, buttery bars packed with chewy cranberries! And there’s a chocolate overload in every bite!!

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies — Super soft, buttery, and a holiday baking must-make!! Very popular at cookie exchanges and everyone will want the recipe! So good!!

Soft and Chewy Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies - Super soft, buttery, and a holiday baking must-make!! Very popular at cookie exchanges and everyone will want the recipe! So good!!

Cranberry Orange Bread with Sweet Orange Glaze — The fresh cranberries in this cranberry orange bread contrast nicely with the sweet orange glaze, making it the perfect blend of sweet and tart!

Cranberry Bliss Seven Layer Bars — A buttery graham cracker crust, topped with white chocolate chips, chocolate chips, walnuts, dried cranberries, coconut, and sweetened condensed milk.

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cake — This fast, easy, no-mixer cake is light, soft, fluffy, and moist. It’s springy and bouncey, with just enough density to give it some heft and dimension.

Layered Cranberry Jello Salad — A festive holiday layered Jello recipe with cranberries, pineapple, cream cheese, pecans, and pretzels! A little bit creamy, crunchy, sweet, and a little salty. A nostalgic family favorite with an impressive presentation to wow your holiday guests!

Layered Cranberry Jello Salad - A festive holiday layered recipe with cranberries, pineapple, cream cheese, pecans, and pretzels! A little bit creamy, crunchy, sweet, and a little salty. A nostalgic family favorite with an impressive presentation to wow your holiday guests!

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These bars are stellar! I had fresh cranberries to use up, found this recipe (among many for such bars), whipped them up easy-peasy, and today making a second pan. Good thing I have more cranberries in the freezer 🤗. Had a bit of trepidation on the first try because my husband isn’t a big cranberry fan, but he just loves these – hence the second batch within a week’s time. Printing now as keeper recipe. Thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    These bars are stellar! I had fresh cranberries to use up, found this recipe (among many for such bars), whipped them up easy-peasy, and today making a second pan. Good thing I have more cranberries in the freezer 🤗. Had a bit of trepidation on the first try because my husband isn’t a big cranberry fan, but he just loves these – hence the second batch within a week’s time. Printing now as keeper recipe. Thank you!

    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and I’m glad these turned out stellar for you and that even your non-cran-fan ended up loving them and you’re making more!

  3. 5 stars
    In an effort to re-create the Mazurka bars of my high school barista days (25+ years ago), I added 1/4 cup of coarsely chopped walnuts and 1/4 sweetened coconut to the filling. Used water instead of OJ, 1/2 c. sugar in the filling and only 1 tsp. zest. Spot on! I don’t need to look any longer. Mazurka bars are back! Thanks for the great recipe.

    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and glad my recipe helped bring you bake to a nostalgic favorite of yours!

  4. 5 stars
    In an effort to re-create the Mazurka bars of my high school barista days (25+ years ago), I added 1/4 cup of coarsely chopped walnuts and 1/4 sweetened coconut to the filling. Used water instead of OJ, 1/2 c. sugar in the filling and only 1 tsp. zest. Spot on! I don’t need to look any longer. Mazurka bars are back! Thanks for the great recipe.

  5. I made these bars to serve at a funeral/memorial service tomorrow. It is still cooling so I haven’t tried it yet, but my one suggestion is to add the cornstarch to the cold ingredients. Cornstarch doesn’t blend in well to hot liquids; it tends to get lumpy. I blended the cornstarch into the orange juice before adding it to the cranberries. The filling was easy to make and turned out very tasty. I think the bars will be very good, and if so I will be interested in trying the blueberry and raspberry versions.