Cranberry crumble bars bursting with fresh cranberry flavor and a delicious, buttery crust and crumble topping. These bars are so easy to make and call for just a few ingredients that you likely already have in your fridge and pantry. They are a delicious gluten free treat and perfect for the holiday season.
The Best Holiday Dessert: Cranberry Crumble Bars
Cranberry crumble bars, oh yes! I am big fan of crumble bars, ok? They are so easy to make (much easier than pie!) and I usually have most of the ingredients I need to make a batch in my pantry and fridge at all times.
Crumble bars are a great way to use up whatever fruit is in season at the time and during the months of November and December, cranberries are abundant. While homemade cranberry sauce is always a delicious option, cranberries have other uses than just a saucy Thanksgiving side dish. When cooked down into a jammy filling and topped with a crumb topping, fresh cranberries are turned into a sweet, yet tart, dessert.
The Ingredients You’ll Need for These Cranberry Squares with Crumb Topping
One of the things that is so great about these cranberry crumble bars is that they are made with just a few simple ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry or fridge. Plus, they take advantage of the abundance of fresh cranberries that are available for practically pennies around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. This recipe is a great way to use cranberries outside of traditional cranberry sauce.
Here’s what you’ll need to make the bar:
- Gluten free rolled oats – oats are naturally gluten free but if you have celiacs disease, or a gluten intolerance, look for certified gluten free oats to be sure that they have not been cross-contaminated with any gluten containing products or ingredients.
- Almond flour – this works great as a gluten-free alternative to all-purpose flour in this recipe.
- Brown sugar – you could also use coconut sugar if you prefer but nothing beats the flavor of real dark brown sugar.
- Butter – this is used to make the crust and crumble topping.
- Salt – this helps to balance out the sweet flavors in the crumble bars.
- Vanilla extract – the cranberry filling gets a heavy dose of vanilla extract for that perfect vanilla flavor.
- Cranberries – cranberries are the star of the show in this recipe and help give the bars the perfect balance of sweet and tart.
- Maple syrup – this is used to sweeten the cranberry filling and the maple flavor is delicious.
- Orange juice – the combination of fresh orange juice and cranberries is a delicious one. If you want to increase the orange flavor, feel free to add in a little orange zest to the filling. Also, for the best flavor, try using fresh squeezed orange juice!
- Arrowroot starch – this helps to thicken the filling up just a bit. If you do not have arrowroot starch you can use cornstarch instead.
How to Make Gluten Free Cranberry Crumble Bars
Make the crust and crumble topping. First, start by combining the butter, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, and almond flour in a mixing bowl. Use your hands to work the butter into the dry ingredients until you have a slightly stick, crumb topping. Then, press two-thirds of the crust into an 8×8 baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper and bake for ten to twelve minutes.
Whip up the cranberry filling. While the crust is baking, make the jammy cranberry filling. Add the fresh cranberries, orange juice, maple syrup, and vanilla extract to a small pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat a bit and let the cranberries cook until they have all popped. Add the arrowroot starch and cook for another few minutes until the jam thickens.
Assemble and bake the bars. Now, it’s time to assemble your cranberry crumble bars. First, pour the cranberry jam filling over the baked crust. You can use the back of a spoon to smooth the mixture evenly over the crust. Then top with the remaining crumb topping. Bake the bars at 350 degrees for around twenty-five to thirty minutes. The top should be golden brown and the edges should be starting to bubble.
Finish with a drizzle of icing. Now, it’s time for the hard part. Let the bars cool completely before drizzling on a little icing. This is completely optional, but who doesn’t love a little icing?! To make the icing combine powdered sugar with just a splash of milk (any milk will work) and whisk together until well combined. Once the bars are sliced, drizzle the icing generously on top and enjoy!
Tips and Tricks for the Best Cranberry Bars
- To avoid a mess, and any frustration, line your baking pan with parchment paper so the bars do not stick to the pan.
- Let the bars come to a complete cool before slicing. I know it’s hard, but for the best results be sure to wait until the bars have cooled completely before cutting into them. If you want to speed the process along a bit you can place the bars in the fridge.
- Use a sharp knife to cut through the bottom layer of crust.
- Store any leftover cranberry bars in the fridge. There is a good chance that these bars will not even last that long, but just in case you have any leftovers, store them in the fridge for safe keeping.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I substitute for almond flour?
If you have a nut allergy or you are out of almond flour, you can use oat flour or all-purpose flour in place of almond flour in this recipe.
Can I use frozen cranberries?
Yes, just be sure to rinse and drain the frozen cranberries completely before using.
How do I make these bars vegan?
To make these bars vegan, you can use coconut oil or vegan butter if you prefer. Before you, make sure that the coconut oil is room temperature and not melted.
Can I use instant oats?
No, these bars work best with rolled oats and not instant quick oats.
More Delicious Holiday Recipes to Love
Heathy Sweet Potato Casserole
Gluten Free Honey Cornbread Muffins
Healthy Cranberry Sauce
Roasted Brussels sprouts with Bacon, Cranberries, and Balsamic
Fall Harvest Salad
I hope you give these gluten free Cranberry Crumble Bars a try! They are so good, so easy, and the perfect treat to enjoy while soaking up the fun of the holiday season.
If you do give this recipe a try, I want to know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @allthehealthythings on Instagram. Your reviews help support All the Healthy Things and make it possible for me to continue to create the recipes you know and love.
- 1 1/2 cups gluten free rolled oats
- 1 cup almond flour
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 12 oz fresh cranberries
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon arrowroot starch
- optional icing: powdered sugar and milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Add the gluten free rolled oats, almond flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon to a mixing bowl. Use your hands to work the butter into the dry ingredients until you have a slightly stick crumb mixture.
- Press two-thirds of the crust into an 8×8 baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Bake the crust for twelve minutes and then remove from the oven.
- Next, make the jammy cranberry filling. Add cranberries, orange juice, maple syrup, and vanilla extract to a small pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the cranberries cook for another 10 to 12 minutes until they have all popped. Next add the arrowroot starch and let the cranberries cook for just a few more minutes until thickened and then remove from the heat.
- Next, pour the cranberry jam filling over the baked crust. Use the back of a spoon to smooth the mixture evenly over the crust.
- Sprinkle the remaining crumble topping evenly over the filling. Bake the bars at 350 degrees for around twenty-five to thirty minutes until the top is golden brown and the sides are bubbly.
- Let the bars come to a complete cool before slicing and drizzling with icing. Enjoy!
- You can use frozen cranberries if you prefer. Be sure to rinse them and drain any excess water before using.
- Sub cornstarch for arrowroot starch if needed.
- Let the bars come to a complete cool before slicing.
- Be sure to line the baking pan with parchment paper. This will prevent the bars from sticking to the pan.
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