These vegan cranberry oatmeal crumble bars feature easy homemade cranberry jam between layers of oat crumble. Perfect for the holiday season!

A stack of 3 cranberry crumble bars on a small grey plate.

Introduction

These yummy bars are the perfect pairing of sweet and tart thanks to the delicious layer of cranberry jam between layers of buttery oatmeal crumble.

They’re very easy to make as the crust and crumble layers are made from the same mixture and there’s no pre-baking of the crust layer, and you’ll need just a few simple ingredients.

Enjoy these bars for an everyday dessert, add them to your holiday goodie tray or serve them warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for an special holiday dessert.

They’re always a hit and they travel well, so they’re a great option to take to holiday parties too!

For variations on this recipe, these Apple Crumble Bars, Vegan Blueberry Crumble Bars or Strawberry Oatmeal Bars are also delicious. This Easy Gluten-Free Apple Cranberry Crisp is also a holiday favorite and the perfect end to Thanksgiving dinner.

Ingredient Notes

  • Cranberries: This recipe calls for whole frozen or fresh cranberries. Do not use dried cranberries.
  • Chia seeds: Chia seeds are needed to thicken the cranberry jam. If you’re not using chia seeds, you can swap them for 1 tbsp cornstarch.
  • Flour: You can use all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour or white whole wheat flour.
  • Sweetener: I used organic cane sugar in this recipe but any kind of dry granular sweeteners, such as brown sugar, coconut sugar, demerara or turbinado sugar works. To reduce the sugar in the recipe, you could use monk fruit sweetener.
  • Oats: Rolled oats (old fashioned oats) are best here but you could use quick oats in a pinch.
  • Maple Syrup: Since the cranberries are quite tart, a little sweetness helps to balance them out. You can use maple syrup or any sugar.
  • Coconut Oil: This is needed for the oatmeal crust and crumble layers. It can be substituted with cold butter.

Please see the full ingredient list with measurements in the recipe card at the end of the post.

Variations

  • Orange: Substitute orange juice for the lemon juice for a variation. 1-2 tsp orange zest can also be added for extra flavour.
  • Prepared Jam: For convenience, you can skip the cranberry jam portion of the recipe and use store-bought prepared cranberry sauce or even leftover cranberry sauce instead.
  • Glaze: For an extra treat, prepare the glaze recipe from this Vegan Olive Oil Cake and drizzle over the bars after baking.
  • Gluten-Free Option: Use the almond flour crust from these Vegan Blueberry Crumble Bars or the gluten-free flour crust from these Strawberry Oatmeal Bars.
  • Blueberry Bars: This Berry Chia Seed Jam would also be good in these bars instead of cranberry.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Whole cranberries in a small saucepan with chia seeds.

Step 1: Add the cranberries, maple syrup, lemon and chia seeds to a small saucepan.

Thick cranberry chia jam in a small saucepan with a wooden spoon.

Step 2: Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat while stirring then reduce to low and cook for 6-7 minutes while mashing until it’s thick with a jam-lick consistency. Remove from the heat.

At this point, preheat the oven to 350 F and prepare a baking pan with a light coating of butter, oil or cooking spray or line with parchment paper.

Raw oatmeal crust and crumble in a mixing bowl with a spoon.

Step 3: Add the dry ingredients, the oats, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar, to a large bowl and mix to combine and break up any clumps.

Step 4: Add the wet ingredients, the softened coconut oil, lemon juice and non-dairy milk, starting with 3 tbsp, to the bowl. Mix it up into a crumbly dough, adding more almond milk as needed until you can press the dough together in your fingers.

The consistency should be crumbly but moist enough to start sticking together. It shouldn’t be overly wet or as wet as batter or cookie dough.

Cranberry jam being spread on a layer of oat crumble dough in a baking pan.

Step 5: Firmly press 2/3 of the oat mixture into the bottom of the pan. Spread with the cranberry jam.

Baked oat crumble in a baking pan.

Step 6: Sprinkle remaining crumble mixture over the jam layer.

Cranberry oatmeal bars sliced into 16 squares in a square baking pan.

Step 7: Bake the bars for 35 minutes in the preheated oven until golden brown on top then let them cool completely in the pan. Letting them cool is important otherwise they’ll be crumbly.

Once cooled, if you used parchment paper, you can lift them out of the pan, if not, slice them in the pan and carefully remove them one by one with a fork or small spatula.

Recipe FAQs

Can you freeze cranberry crumble bars?

Absolutely. You can freeze the bars well-covered right in the pan or slice them and store them in a freezer bag or airtight container for individual servings. Store for up to 4 months. Thaw the bars at room temperate or in the fridge before serving.

Just be sure to let them cool completely before storing.

Can I use frozen cranberries?

Yes. You can use fresh whole cranberries or whole frozen cranberries directly from frozen.

Do I have to use chia seeds in this recipe?

No. You can substitute 1 tbsp of cornstarch for the chia seeds. You can even omit the cranberry jam portion of the recipe and use a can of prepared cranberry sauce or any leftover cranberry sauce from a holiday meal.

How long do cranberry oat bars last?

The bars will store for 3-4 days in an airtight container at room temperature or for about 1 week in the fridge.

Can I use dried cranberries in this recipe?

I haven’t tried it but you could possible soak dried cranberries until plump and juicy, drain and then mash with the maple syrup and lemon and use that for the filling. I haven’t tested that out though!

If you’re looking for dried cranberry recipes, dried cranberries would be good added to these Easy Oatmeal Cookie Bars, Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bars, Cherry Almond Bars or No-Bake Oatmeal Raisin Bars.

A plate of cranberry oat bars with some whole cranberries scattered around.

Expert Tips

  • Measuring Ingredients: For best results, use a digital scale to accurately measure the crust according to the listed weights.
  • Cooling the Bars: They’ll be delicate right out of the oven so be sure to let the bars cool completely so they can set and firm.
  • Lining the Pan: Lining the pan with parchment so it sticks out over the edges of the pan is helpful so you can lift the bars right out of the pan onto a cutting board after they’ve cooled.
  • Coconut Oil: The coconut oil should be solid but soft. There’s no need to melt it completely.
  • Serving Size: You can cut the bars into 16 squares or 32 mini bars if you’re serving a crowd.

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Scroll down to the comment section to leave a star rating and review.
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A stack of 3 cranberry crumble bars on a small grey plate.

Cranberry Oatmeal Bars Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 16
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan
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Description

Delicious cranberry oatmeal bars are easy to make and feature a gooey layer of sweet and tart cranberry jam between layers of oatmeal crumble. Perfect for the holidays!


Ingredients

For the Cranberry Jam

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen whole cranberries
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest, optional
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds

For the Crust and Topping

  • 1 cup (120 g) whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 (150 g) cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (90 g) sugar*
  • 1/3 cup (70 g) coconut oil, softened
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 35 tbsp unsweetened almond or cashew milk

Instructions

  1. Make the Cranberry Jam: Combine the cranberries, lemon juice, maple syrup and chia seeds in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.
  2. Once it reaches a gentle boil, turn the heat to low. Continue stirring and mashing the cranberries or popping them against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon, for 6-8 minutes until it’s thick and has a jam-like consistency. Remove the pot from the heat and set it aside for now.
  3. Prepare for Baking: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 7 or 8-inch square baking pan, line it with parchment paper or spray with a light coating of non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Make Crust and Topping Layers: Combine flour, oats, baking powder, salt and sugar together in a large bowl until well combined.
  5. Add the melted coconut oil, lemon juice and nut milk, starting with 3 tbsp. Mix into a crumbly dough, adding more almond milk as needed until you can press the dough together in your fingers. It should be crumbly but moist enough to start sticking together. It should not be overly wet or as moist as cookie dough or cake batter.
  6. Assemble Bars in Pan: Reserve about 2/3 cup of the dough then firmly press the rest into the bottom of the pan. Evenly spread the cranberry mixture in an even layer on top of the bottom layer. Sprinkle the rest of the oat crumble evenly over the cranberry layer.
  7. Bake: Bake for 35 minutes until golden brown then let cool completely in the pan. It’s important to let them cool completely so they set up firm.
  8. Slice and Enjoy: Slice the bars into 16 squares or 32 mini bars.

Notes

This recipe can also be made with fresh or frozen blueberries, strawberries, blackberries or raspberries instead of cranberries, or you can do half berries and half cranberries for sweeter filling.

The chia seeds can be substituted with 1 tbsp cornstarch. For orange cranberry bars, omit the lemon and use orange juice plus 2 tsp orange zest instead.

Store the bars in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the fridge for 1 week. The bars can be frozen covered in the pan or sliced and stored in a freezer bag or airtight container for up to 3 months.

For sugar you can use white sugar, dark brown sugar or light brown sugar.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 bar
  • Calories: 140
  • Sugar: 8 g
  • Sodium: 38 mg
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 21 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 2 g