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!!
Cranberry Oatmeal Bars Recipe
I’ve got a blueberry and raspberry version of these bars and to get into the seasonal spirit, I knew a cranberry rendition would be perfect. The 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. They’re egg-free which may come in handy for some people.
What’s in Cranberry Oatmeal Bars?
To make these cranberry crumble 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
How to Make Cranberry Oatmeal Bars
These cranberry crumble bars come together so easily! First, 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 corn starch, stir to combine, and allow mixture to simmer for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the bars. Mix together the ingredients, then set 1 heaping cup mixture aside to be sprinkled on later as crumble topping.
Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of an 8×8-inch dish. Spoon the cranberry sauce over top, then sprinkle the reserved crumble mixture over that.
Bake until edges are set and center has just set and is lightly golden browned.
Do I Have to Use Fresh Cranberries?
Yes! For this recipe, you do need fresh cranberries so make the bars while cranberries are in season.
Can I Use Instant Oats?
No, don’t use quick cook or instant oats because they’re finer and behave like flour and will make mixture too dry.
Tips for Making Cranberry Crumble 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!
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Cranberry Oatmeal Crumble Bars
Fast, easy, no mixer cranberry oatmeal bars with juicy cranberries and big crumbles!! Perfect for breakfast, snacks, or dessert!
- 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.
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.
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!!
White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies — Bursting with texture and each bite is loaded with tart, chewy cranberries and sweet white chocolate! The perfect fall or holiday cookie recipe!
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.
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!
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!
Delicious and as easy as you made it sound.
Wonderful and glad they were easy and delish!
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.
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad my recipe helped bring you bake to a nostalgic favorite of yours!
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.
Tried it with water instead of OJ and it was perfect.
Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad that water worked out just fine!
These cranberry oatmeal bars sound amazing! My husband doesn’t like citrus in dessert, so can I replace the orange juice with water? Thanks so much!
Probably but the flavor will be different of course overall. I haven’t tried with water so not sure how the bars will taste.
I just made these with two changes. I only used 1/2 c. sugar in the filling and I used cran-grapefruit juice instead of orange. (I left out the optional orange zest.) In my humble opinion, orange always outshines the cranberry in that combination and I wanted to taste the cranberry. Now these are the best cranberry bars I’ve made – and I’ve made a lot. I think that the bitterness of the grapefruit juice compliments the berries bitterness which in turn is softened by all the sweet in the crust. I think that regular grapefruit juice would work too. Those are my two cents for anyone who might be interested! Thanks for the great recipe!
The cran-grapefruit juice sounds like a great twist! Glad it worked out well for you!
these look incredible! we don’t use cranberries nearly enough
hey girl these look so good!
I just bought 5 bags of cranberries! Can’t wait to make these bars! The crumble topping looks amazing.
Oh these look delicious! Crumble bars are great :)
These are gorgeous! I always love crumble bars. And I always buy cranberries for garnishes…now I know how to use them up!
Yes! Because this uses about 2/3 of a bag which sounds perfect for you if you’re just using a partial bag for garnishes!
Ooh, yummy–now I need to decide which crumble bar to make first!
These bars look fantastic Averie! So yummy and perfect for the holiday season!
Thanks Trish! Happy Thanksgiving!
these are BEAUTIFUL! Can’t wait to bake these for brunch!!!
Oh, they look so delicious! Something to make with my Mum who loves snacking on bars.
The filling looks fantastic–oj and cranberries are perfect together and I think I could go to town on that alone. However….I am a crumble lover so the bar part of the recipe is really giving me a craving!!
They were really good and even my daughter was going to town on them and kids usually prefer chocolate, marshmallows, peanut butter, or frosting :)
Can I thaw and use frozen cranberries if I already have those?
Probably but I haven’t tried and so the consistency of the filling will change so you will need to experiment possibly with how long to boil/simmer, how long to bake the bars, etc.
Ohhhh I love the addition of orange juice! I can only imagine these two go very well together. I was actually looking back at my apple oatmeal breakfast crumble recipe, and I started craaaaaving something like that… And then I saw your recipe. Can’t be a coincidence, right?! ;)
Have a great week!