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Cranberry Bars

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Cranberry Bars are a sweet and delicious treat! They’re easy to make, taste absolutely divine, and are perfect for any holiday party!


main image for cranberry bars recipe


Sweetened cranberries combined with a perfect crust with the consistency of blondies are an indulgence you don’t want to miss! 

And with that orange cream cheese frosting? Forget about it! These are next level and you’ll definitely want to make some today!

You’ll love these fresh cranberry bars because they are easy to make. No pre baking, you don’t need to pull out all your bowls, just mix and bake!

You’ll also love that this cranberry bars recipe only takes simple ingredients! You’ve probably already got them all on hand too!

Plus frosted cranberry bars are the perfect take a long treat. Thanksgiving dinner? Holiday party? Potluck? These are sure to be a hit!

And the texture is absolutely perfect! Soft, tender, and chewy! Definitely a recipe to keep in your back pocket!


Baked Cranberry Bars, unfrosted


What are Cranberry Bars?

Cranberry bars are a buttery shortbread type crumble bar. They’re loaded with fresh or frozen cranberries, and topped with a cream cheese frosting or icing.

The texture is similar to that of a blondie, or a brownie. Just a melt in your mouth kind of feel.

They’re often made for Thanksgiving or Christmas since that’s when it’s cranberry season in the grocery stores.

Though you can use frozen cranberries and enjoy them all year long too!

Are These Cranberry Bars the Same as Starbuck’s Cranberry Bliss Bars?

These cranberry bars and Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars are almost the exact same!

You’ll find they’re both made with the same type of crust, same ingredients, and same delicious cranberries.

They both also include a hint of orange- these ones with orange extract while cranberry bliss bars often have orange zest.

Another difference is these easy cranberry bars have a cream cheese frosting while bliss bars have more of a cream cheese icing.

So all in all? They’re almost the same! Of course cranberry bliss bars are sold in a triangle shape so if that’s important to you, cut each square diagonally and you’ve got yourself a copycat!


frosted cranberry bars with cream cheese


What Ingredients are in Cranberry Bars?

This cranberry bar recipe is perfect for the holiday season! Grab dry ingredients and wet ingredients and get ready to bake!

For the cranberry bars and filling ingredients:

  • Butter: Room temperature blends the best.
  • Granulated Sugar: For sweetening the tart cranberries.
  • Eggs: Hold the bars together.
  • Vanilla Extract and Salt: For Flavoring
  • Baking Powder: Don’t use baking soda or you’ll get the wrong consistency.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour will give your bars the right texture and flavor.
  • Cranberries: Fresh whole cranberries can be substituted for frozen, drained ones.
  • Nuts: Optional but I love throwing in a bit of small chopped nuts for a slight crunch.

For the Frosting:

  • Cream Cheese: Best if this is room temperature for easy mixing.
  • Butter: I use salted butter in this recipe.
  • Powdered Sugar: Also called confectioner’s sugar.
  • Milk: Any percentage or type of milk is fine for the frosting.
  • Orange Extract: Gives just a hint of orange that really pairs well with the cranberries.

Pro Tips:

  • Pick up a bag of fresh cranberries and freeze for later if you can’t bake it right now.
  • Since you don’t need cold butter, take the butter out of the fridge and let it warm on the counter.
  • Don’t use melted butter as it won’t create the right consistency in the finished bars.
  • Ice cream isn’t necessary but if you add it on top you won’t regret it!


zoomed out image of cranberry bars on platter


How to Make Cranberry Bars

Cranberry crumb bars are a great recipe for this time of year! With basic ingredients, it’s going to be one of your easiest recipes!

For the full recipe, check below, but here’s the basics of how you’re going to cranberry crumble bars.

  1. Blend: The butter and sugar need to be mixed until light and fluffy. Give it time.
  2. Mix: Add in the rest of the bar’s ingredients, be careful not to smash the cranberries.
  3. Bake: Should be golden brown and a toothpick will come out clean when done.
  4. Frost: Mix frosting ingredients, blending well between each addition, then cover the top of the bars.

Pro Tips:

  • Cranberry bar mixture will be thick going into the pan! Push it around the bottom of the prepared pan as best you can.
  • Grease casserole dish or use parchment paper to help the bars not to stick.
  • Don’t put the frosting on until the bars have cooled or the frosting will melt!
  • Serve with fresh cranberries or even craisins on top for a fun garnish topping.


cut up bars on platter


How to Cut Cranberry Bars

You can cut these delicious bars right in the baking dish. You’ll slice twice down the short side of the pan (giving you 3 sections on that side.)

Then you’ll slice three times down the long side of the pan (giving you 4 sections on that side.) This creates 12 bars. I love to leave them like this because I’ve got a sweet tooth that loves the bigger bars.

To get the triangle look you’ll need to do a few more cuts. Slice each bar diagonally. This will give you 24 cranberry bar triangles.

If you start one one bar and slide the knife all the way down, you will only need to make 6 long cuts down the pan. Wait until the cranberry bars have been cooled and frosted before cutting this perfect treat will fall apart.

How to Store Cranberry Bars

Store cranberry bars in the fridge in an airtight container. They should be stored in a single layer to prevent the frosting from sticking to the bottom of the bars.

Cranberry bars will stay good in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can make them in advance and bring them to a cookie exchange and everyone will love it!


hand holding a cranberry bar


Can You Freeze Cranberry Bars

Absolutely! There’s nothing better than pulling out a frozen cranberry bar out of the freezer ready for a late night snack or company!

Since there is frosting on the cranberry bars, a good way to freeze is to first flash freeze the bars. 

This will freeze the frosting so it doesn’t stick to the other bars. Once frozen, remove the bars from the freezer and place parchment paper or aluminum foil between each bar.

You could also wrap each frozen bar in plastic wrap. Store in a freezer safe container or bag to prevent freezer burn.

Be sure to label the bag with the name of the recipe and the date you baked it. Cranberry bars will last in the freezer for up to 3 months.


bite removed from a cranberry bar that a hand is holding


More Cranberry Recipes You’ll Love…

Cranberry Bars are a quick, easy, and delicious dessert. They’re definitely going to be one of your favorite cranberry recipes!

They’re perfect for serving all fall and winter and a great way to get a quick pick me up! Enjoy!


Yield: 16 Bars

Cranberry Bars

Hand holding a bar ready to enjoy

Cranberry Bars are a sweet and delicious treat! They’re easy to make, taste absolutely divine, and are perfect for any holiday party!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange or vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350*F
  2. Grease a 9x13 casserole dish and set aside.
  3. Blend butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well.
  5. Add salt, baking powder and flour (1/2 cup at a time) until well blended. Mixture should be pretty thick.
  6. Stir in cranberries and optional nuts if desired.
  7. Pour mixture into prepared pan. It should be pretty thick. Push mixture around pan to the best of your ability, but don't over think it. As it bakes, it will fill in any gaps you may have.
  8. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until mixture begins to turn golden and a toothpick inserted into bars comes out clean.
  9. Set aside to cool while making the frosting.
  10. In a bowl beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy.
  11. Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, blending well between each addition.
  12. Once all powdered sugar has been added and mixture is thick and creamy, add milk and extract. Blend well.
  13. Spread frosting over cooled bars (do not spoon over warm bars or frosting will melt).
  14. Slice and top with a fresh cranberry.
  15. Serve immediately or cover until ready to serve.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 345Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 293mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 1gSugar: 37gProtein: 3g
Originally Posted: November 26, 2022

Text Updated: October 25, 2022

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Wednesday 15th of December 2021

These are the best don’t even need frosting


Sunday 26th of December 2021

Thank you so much! We are huge fans in our home too!

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