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Cranberry Crumb Bars

If you love tart cranberries, you’ll adore these Cranberry Crumb Bar! These bars are a cross between a cookie and a pie with plenty of tart cranberry flavor to go around.

Two cranberry crumb bars stacked on a plate and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

These Cranberry Crumb Bars have been a holiday favorite of mine since I first posted them way back in 2010.

When I was deciding what recipes I wanted to share with you this year, these bars made it to the top of my list because they are absolutely delicious, but the photos and text definitely needed a little updating.

The sweet crumb topping pairs perfectly with the tart cranberries. The pop of orange and hint of cinnamon makes them a festive addition to any holiday celebration.

Ingredients for cranberry crumb bars arranged on a wooden table

SWEET AND TART CRANBERRY BARS

You all know I love a crumb bar and love an excuse to try them with different fruits.

I’ve got berry crumble bars, peach crumb bars, and for the holidays, these cranberry crumb bars!

Crust and crumble topping mixture portioned out for crumb bars

These cranberry bars are a little bit like a cookie, a little bit like a pie. It’s much easier than a pie though, because the crust and the topping are the same mixture, and no rolling is needed.

Like cranberry gooey butter bars, these use fresh cranberries to make the most deliciously tart crumble cookie bar.

Plus, they also have orange, and I just love the combination of orange and cranberry!

Crust for cranberry crumb bars pressed into the bottom of a white baking pan

HOW TO MAKE CRANBERRY CRUMB BARS

These bars are a cinch to make with just a few steps.

First, grab you ingredients for the crust and topping:

  • Granulated sugar
  • Orange zest
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • Egg
Wooden spoon stirring cranberry filling for crumb bars in a white mixing bowl

You also need to preheat the oven to 350°F and coat a large 9×13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray.

In a bowl, combine the sugar and zest. You can use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar, or just whisk it together.

Then, add the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir until well mixed.

Take your cold butter and cut it into the dry mixture until it forms coarse crumbs. A pastry blender is a handy tool for this, or you can use two knives. A food processor will also work, but be sure to only pulse the mixture to prevent over-mixing.

Cranberry filling on top of crumb bar crust in a white baking dish

Stir in the egg just until combined.

Scoop out 2 ½ cups of the mixture and press it evenly into the bottom of your prepared baking pan. The bottom of a flat measuring cup or a glass is great for forming an even crust.

Save the rest of the crumble — you’ll use it for the topping!

Now, make the filling with your ingredients:

  • Fresh cranberries
  • Granulated sugar
  • Orange juice
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cornstarch
White baking dish filled with sliced cranberry crumb bars

Be sure your cranberries are washed and patted dry. Frozen and thawed cranberries will work as well, but make sure to drain any excess juices from thawing.

In a bowl, mix together the cranberries, sugar, orange juice, vanilla, and cornstarch.

Don’t skip out on the cornstarch! It will help the juices thicken so your fruit layer isn’t too wet. Do be sure to break up any chunks so that it will dissolve in the juices without any gloppy bits.

Scoop the cranberry mixture onto the prepared crust and spread into an even layer.

Two cranberry crumb bars set next to each other on a plate

Now it’s time for the topping. Use your hands to squeeze the remaining crumble mixture into small clumps. Scatter them on top of the fruit so that they are distributed evenly.

Pop the pan into the preheated oven and bake for about 50 minutes. The topping will be golden and any visible juices will be a bit bubbly.

You’ll want to let it cool completely before slicing. I know, it will be difficult! Letting it cool will help the fruit set so you get perfect slices for the dessert table.

Once cooled, place the pan in the refrigerator to make slicing easier. Serve cold or at room temperature, or warm individual slices in the microwave.

Two cranberry crumb bars on a plate. One of the bars is topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

MORE CRANBERRY DESSERTS

Love cranberry desserts? Try my cranberry bar recipe or you can even try putting cranberries in ice cream, like in this spiced cranberry ice cream!

If you only have dried cranberries on hand, try pistachio cranberry holiday cookies or these coffee-shop-famous cranberry bliss bars.

Close up of a sliced cranberry crumb bar in a white baking dish
Two cranberry crumb bars stacked on a plate and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

Cranberry Crumb Bars

Yield: 12 bars
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

If you love tart cranberries, you’ll adore these Cranberry Crumb Bar! These bars are a cross between a cookie and a pie with plenty of tart cranberry flavor to go around.

Ingredients

For the Crust and Topping

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 large egg

For the Filling

  • 4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. 
  2. For the Crust and Topping: In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and orange zest with your fingertips until thoroughly combined. 
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the orange sugar,  flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Cut in butter using a pastry blender or by pulling 2 table knives through the ingredients in opposite directions until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in egg and mix until combined. 
  4. Press 2 ½ cups of the crumb mixture in the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
  5. For the Filling: In another large bowl, stir together the filling ingredients until thoroughly combined. Pour cranberry mixture over the crust and spread into an even layer. 
  6. Use your hands to gently squeeze the remaining crumbs to form small topping clusters and drop evenly onto the cranberry layer.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes or until the top is light golden brown. Remove pan to a cooling rack and cool completely. Refrigerate bars to allow for easier cutting. 
  8. If desired, serve with whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream. 

Notes

Slightly adapted from Betty Crocker

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Nutrition Information
Yield 12 Serving Size 1 bar
Amount Per Serving Calories 387Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 56mgSodium 77mgCarbohydrates 59gFiber 2gSugar 35gProtein 4g

Did you make this recipe?

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Geri

Tuesday 4th of August 2020

8/4/20 made these today with cranberries from the freezer. These were delicious. Have you ever made it with other fruit. I will definitely make it again. 

Jamie

Sunday 9th of August 2020

So happy to hear you enjoyed the crumb bars, Geri! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback! -Jamie

Anne-Marie

Wednesday 27th of November 2019

Delicious!

Jamie

Sunday 1st of December 2019

So happy to hear you enjoyed the bars, Anne-Marie! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback! -Jamie

Debbie

Monday 3rd of December 2018

How would these be frozen? I.e. would they taste okay after defrosting?

Jamie

Monday 3rd of December 2018

Hello! I haven't attempted freezing this recipe, so I am not sure of the result. If you happen to give it a try, I'd love to know how they turned out. Thanks so much for stopping by. -Jamie

Cynthia

Sunday 19th of January 2014

I love fresh cranberries and I had a bag in the fridge. I just made these and we love them. Thanks

Joan

Sunday 8th of December 2013

These bars are wonderful!! I make them all of the time. I substitute almond extract for the vanilla. The taste is so much better. The longer they sit, the better. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe!!

Jamie

Monday 9th of December 2013

Joan-

You're very welcome! The almond extract substitute sounds yummy. Happy Holidays and thank you so much for following MBA!

-Jamie

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