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!!
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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.
Ingredients in Cranberry Oatmeal Bars
To make these oatmeal cranberry bars, you’ll need:
- Fresh cranberries
- Orange juice and zest
- Granulated sugar and light brown sugar
- Unsalted butter
- Vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour
- Old-fashioned oats
Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.
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:
- Make the cranberry filling: Bring the cranberries, orange zest and juice, and sugar to a boil on the stove.
- 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.
- Make the crust / topping mixture: Mix together the crust and crumble topping ingredients (the same mixture is used for both!).
- 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.
- Assemble the bars: Spoon the cranberry sauce over top of the crust, then sprinkle the reserved crumble mixture over that.
- 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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
Absolutely! They last up to 1 week at room temperature and stay moist if stored in an airtight container.
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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- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- 2 teaspoons orange zest, optional and to taste
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 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
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.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 262Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 23mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 2gSugar: 36gProtein: 2g
More Cranberry Dessert 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!
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!!
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!