Cranberry Crumb Bars
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Cranberry crumb bars are absolutely irresistible down to the last crumb! I’m all about a layered bar with plenty of buttery crumbs, and these beautiful cranberry bars deliver. With a brown butter crust, jammy cranberry layer, and golden crumb topping, I can’t get enough of these bars!
The Best Cranberry Crumb Bars
Crust and crumbs – The brown butter dough acts as both the crust and crumb topping. To make the dough, melt butter in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it foams, turns clear, and then turns a deep brown.
Pour brown butter into a large mixing bowl and stir in sugars and almond extract. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl, then add to the large mixing bowl and fold in until completely incorporated.
Set aside 3/4 cup dough (to use as the crumble topping); press the remaining dough in the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan and bake until golden and set, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
Cranberry filling – The jammy cranberry filling comes together quickly on the stovetop. Combine fresh or frozen cranberries with sugar, Amaretto, water, and salt. Cook until the cranberries begin to split open. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add arrowroot starch and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes more.
Assemble the bars – Spread cranberry filling in an even layer over the crust (you can also substitute about 1 1/3 cups leftover cranberry sauce). Crumble the reserved dough over the cranberry filling, and return the bars to the oven. Continue baking until the topping is golden and the filling is slightly bubbly, another 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into bars.
Serve the bars – Dust with powdered sugar or top with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream for even more indulgence. Enjoy!Print
Cranberry Crumb Bars
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 12 to 16 bars
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
Cranberry crumb bars are absolutely irresistible down to the last crumb! You’ll love these easy and delicious brown butter cranberry bars!
Crust & Crumbs
- 14 Tbsp (196 g) unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
- 1/4 cup (55 g) light brown sugar
- 1 tsp (4 g) almond extract
- 2 cups (250 g) flour
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 g) baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup (28 g) sliced almonds
- 1 Tbsp (15 g) ice water
- 2 cups (220 g) fresh or frozen cranberries
- 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 3 Tbsp (45 g) Amaretto
- 2 Tbsp (30 grams) water
- 1 tsp (3 g) arrowroot starch (or cornstarch)
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
- Cook butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until it foams, turns clear, and then turns a medium brown, about 5 minutes. Add brown butter to a large bowl and whisk in sugar, brown sugar, and almond extract until combined.
- Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl; add to butter mixture and fold in until incorporated. Set aside 3/4 cup dough for the topping, mixing in sliced almonds and ice water until mixture is crumbly. Chill until ready to use.
- Press remaining dough evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake crust for 14 to 16 minutes, until lightly golden and set. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes.
- For the cranberry filling, combine cranberries, sugar, salt, Amaretto, and water in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until cranberries begin to split open. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add arrowroot starch and cook until thickened, about two minutes. Spread cranberry filling evenly over cooled crust and crumble reserved dough over cranberry layer.
- Bake for another 36 to 40 minutes, or until topping is golden and filling slightly bubbly. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Just before cutting, chill in the freezer for 15 minutes. Carefully lift parchment and place bars on a cutting board; cut into squares with a sharp knife.
Filling: In lieu of making your own filling, substitute 1 1/3 cups leftover cranberry sauce.
Amaretto: If you don’t want to use amaretto, you can sub in bourbon or just omit and flavor the filling with 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon of pure almond extract. If you use an extract for flavor instead of amaretto or bourbon, add 1-2 additional tablespoons of water so there’s enough liquid to bring the filling to a boil.
Keywords: Cranberry, Brown Butter, Crumb Bars, Bars
More cranberry recipes you’ll love:
Cranberry Orange Bundt Cake
Cranberry White Chocolate Cakes
Cranberry Apple Hand Pies
What can I replace the amaretto with? I don’t want to purchase this item since I don’t care for it.
Hi Lisa! You can sub in bourbon or just omit and flavor the filling with 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon of pure almond extract. I’d also add 1-2 additional tablespoons of water so there’s enough liquid to bring the filling to a boil.
These bars are so, so good! We love the jammy cranberry layer paired with the almond flavor.
So happy to hear that, thank you Ali! 🙂
Such delicious bars! The cranberries bring a bright tartness to the classic sweet cookie base and crumble. These aren’t too sweet and you can really taste the cranberry.
Hello! What if we don’t have amaretto? Any substitutes?
Hi Zach! You can sub in bourbon or just omit and flavor the filling with 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon of pure almond extract. I’d also add 1-2 additional tablespoons of water so there’s enough liquid to bring the filling to a boil.
Hi, Would it work to make these with no almonds for someone with a nut allergy?
Hi Emily! Yes, you can omit the almonds and ice water from the topping. You can also substitute 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract for the almond extract. Happy baking!
Just took these out of the oven..its is so good, so easy…. one of my favs…and go to in a pinch dessert and crowd pleaser.
We love these bars too! Thank you, Joan! 🙂
These bars are the perfect holiday treat. They are easy to make, they are not overly sweet, and their glorious ruby color will bring joy to any holiday table. Do yourself a favor and bake them right away!
Thank you so much, Leah! 🙂 So glad you tried these bars!
These are the best crumb bars ever! The combination of brown butter and cranberries is perfect. Easy and delicious!
I have made these a number of times. Took them to friends this am. Big hit! Making them again tmrw for a pot luck thanksgiving feast. They will be gone in just a very few minutes. Guaranteed. Deeberrylicious!!
So happy to hear that! Thanks Joan! 🙂
Laura, I made these the other night…they were delicious…I stashed away cranberries when they were plentiful…and now I wish there were more….and also wish that I had saved some of these for my house! Thanks!
Thank you so much! ❤️
My mum used to make this kind of bars when I was a kid. We still make them once in a while – they’re reliable and store well!
Thank you, Liz! xo
These bars caught my eye this morning – they look irresistible to me, that’s for sure.
I just happen to have some nice fresh cranberries…and I’m sure there’s a bottle of Amaretto back in the cupboard. I guess I know what I’ll be making today.
Thanks Lorinda, hope you love the bars! 🙂
These look perfect Laura and beautiful too – love cranberries 🙂 Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.