These buttery cranberry bars with crispy oat layers and a gooey, fruity filling are my kind of fall-baking therapy. Whether they’re freshly baked or on-the-go, their cinnamon spice and convenience will turn them into your favorite gluten-free breakfast.
Easy Cranberry Bars Recipe
If you love real fruit in baked treats, these golden oat and cranberry bars are the breakfast recipe for you. Warmly spiced with cinnamon and just the right amount of orange zest, the crispy top and bottom layers are packed with flavor. The tart filling is my favorite part, though. Made with cranberry sauce and freshly squeezed orange juice, it’s everything you need to start the day. Lots of chewy cranberries add extra texture too. Ready in 35 minutes and even frozen for later, you’ve got no more excuses for skipping breakfast from now on.
Why You’ll Love These Cranberry Oatmeal Bars
These fruity bars are a simple family-friendly breakfast that can just as easily turn into dessert.
- Gluten-free. This recipe only uses gluten-free oat flour and rolled oats so that everyone can enjoy it.
- Convenient. Use organic fruit compote if you don’t have time to make the homemade filling.
- Great for on-the-go. Pack it into airtight bags for a sweet on-the-go breakfast or snack.
- Quick. Although this is a three-layer recipe, you bake it all in one go and it’s ready in 35 minutes.
What You’ll Need
Cranberry sauce and different forms of oats are the base for these cranberry oatmeal bars. Scroll down to the recipe card for exact quantities.
For the Oat Layers
- Unsalted butter. Reduce the salt in the rest of the recipe if you use salted butter.
- Vanilla extract. It adds a subtle floral note and rounds out the flavors.
- Almond extract. Skip it or use more vanilla extract.
- Oat flour. It’s usually found in the baking or organic-food aisles at supermarkets.
- Rolled oats. Don’t use instant or quick oats because the oat layers will turn out rubbery.
- Sugar. Granulated or light brown sugar are best for this.
- Baking powder. It helps the oats crisp up in the oven. Don’t swap it for baking soda.
- Ground cinnamon. Feel free to use ground nutmeg.
- Salt. You need kosher salt.
- Orange zest. Lemon zest works too.
For the Filling
- Orange juice. I prefer freshly squeezed.
- Cranberry sauce. Try to find jellied cranberry sauce, which isn’t as liquidy. If not, reduce the sauce until it thickens.
- Dried cranberries. You can use fresh cranberries but you might need to add 1/2-1 tablespoon of sugar to sweeten the mixture.
How to Make Cranberry Bars
The best part about these bars is the fruity orange-cranberry filling. Check the recipe card for exact baking times and detailed instructions.
- Prep the oven. Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a 9×9″ baking pan with parchment paper.
- Make the oat mixture. In a large bowl, combine butter, vanilla, almond extract, oat flour, rolled oats, sugar, baking powder, 1 tsp orange zest, cinnamon, and salt.
- Add the first layer. Press one half to three quarters of the oat mixture into the bottom of the baking pan. Make sure it’s packed in.
- Make the filling. Whisk the cranberry sauce, 1 tsp orange zest, dried cranberries, and orange juice in a pot until it comes to a boil. Remove it from the heat and let it cool slightly.
- Add the second layer. Spread the cranberry mixture evenly over the pressed oat layer in the baking pan.
- Add the third layer. Crumble the remaining oat mixture on top and press it down gently.
- Bake it. Pop it into the oven until golden brown. Remove it from the heat.
- Cool them. Lift the bars out of the pan using the edges of the parchment paper. Place them on a cooling rack for 1-2 hours.
- Serve. Once completely cool, slice and serve.
Tips for Success
When life gets in the way, use organic compote for this cranberry bars recipe.
- Use add-ins. 1/4-1/2 cup of chopped pecans, almonds, and chocolate chips, can add more flavor and texture to each bite.
- Swap the sweetener. Reduce half the amount of sugar for raw honey or agave nectar.
- Thicken it. If your filling isn’t thickening, stir in 1/4 teaspoon of plain powdered gelatin. Mix well and continue to simmer the mixture until ready.
- Use jam. When you’re in a rush and can’t make your own filling, use organic fruit compote or jam instead.
- Go for regular oats. If no one’s on a gluten-free diet, go ahead and use regular oats for the recipe.
- Prep ahead. Make the filling a day in advance so you can get a head-start when it comes to putting these bars together.
Always keep some in the freezer for weeks when you’re too busy to cook anything for breakfast.
- Refrigerate them. Store them in an airtight container away from strong-smelling foods for up to a week.
- Freeze them. Wrap each bar in plastic wrap. Place them in freezer-friendly bags or containers. Freeze for up to 3 months. Set them on the counter for 15-20 minutes to thaw.
- To reheat them. Microwave them for 10 seconds for a warm treat. You can also enjoy them at room temperature.
More Cranberry Recipes
- Gluten Free Cranberry Upside Down Cake
- Cranberry Orange Scones
- Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
- Cranberry Orange Bread Recipe
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 teaspoon Almond Extract
- 1 cup Pure Oat Flour gluten free
- 1 cup Pure Rolled Oats gluten free
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 2 teaspoon Orange Zest divided
- 1 Tablespoon Orange Juice
- 1 Can Jellied Cranberry Sauce
- ½ cup Dried Cranberries
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
- Line 9 x 9 baking pan with Reynolds® Cookie Baking Sheets Non-Stick Parchment Paper
- In a large bowl stir together butter, vanilla, almond extract, oat flour, rolled oats, sugar, baking powder, 1 tsp orange zest, cinnamon, and salt until combined.
- Divide oat mixture and press one half to three quarters of the mix into the bottom of lined baking pan.
- In a small sauce pan whisk together Cranberry Sauce, 1 teaspoon orange zest, dried cranberries and orange juice over medium high heat until it is smooth and begins to boil.
- Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- Spread evenly over the oat mixture that has been pressed into the bottom of the baking pan.
- Crumble remaining oat mixture of the top of the cranberries.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.
- Grab the edges of your Reynolds wrap parchment paper and lift bars out of pan.
- Once completely cool slice and serve.