Cranberry almond bars

This recipe is one I make every single year when cranberries start showing up in stores! There aren't many recipes you can make using fresh cranberries, and it seems that their tartness means they always get relegated to cranberry sauce. These cranberry almond bars will make you change the way you think of cranberries though!

cranberry almond bars packed in liners

I think people are afraid to use cranberries in a lot of baking solely because of that tartness. Whatever goes on as this recipe bakes though, turns the cranberries super sweet! I like to add almonds because I like the unique cranberry almond flavor, but they are just as good with pecans.

I cut these into cranberry almond bars or squares, but you could also just serve it as a cake. 

It is a little more dense than a regular cake, and you might not want to serve as big of a piece as you normally would with cake. If you are serving it cake style, throw a dollop of fresh whipped cream on top to give it a burst of creamy sweetness. Vanilla ice cream is also good, especially if you serve the cake warm!

Cranberry almond bars, cutting

Cranberry Almond Squares

I wish I had some story to tell you about this recipe, but I just don't! LOL I'm not terribly big on recipe stories as evident in my Raspberry, chocolate banana bread post

Anyway, this is one of my favorite recipes because I never have to look up since it's easy to remember. It's so simple and easy to make that I find myself tossing it together as a last minute dessert quite often! All you'll need are butter, flour, sugar, eggs, cranberries, almonds and almond extract! 

Are you ready to make this?


  • 1 cup pure cane sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup salted butter. Melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 3/4 cup almonds. Separated 
  • 3/4 tsp almond extract


1) Preheat the oven to 350°F and get the butter started melting. 

2) Butter an 8" square baking pan.

3) Combine flour and sugar in a large bowl.

4) Whisk eggs in small bowl. 

5) Whisk the almond extract into the eggs. 

6) Pour butter into the egg mixture and mix together. 

7) Pour the egg and butter mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well. 

8) Fold in cranberries. 

9) Fold in 1/2 cup slivered almonds. 

Cranberry almond bars, fold in fruit and nuts

10) Pour into prepared pan.

11) Sprinkle remaining almonds on top.

12) Bake at 350° F for about 40 minutes. It's done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 

13) Allowed to cool and cut into bars.

I put them into muffin liners if I'm taking them to a party. It just makes them easier to pick up.

The almond extract called for in this recipe is a weird amount, but I have a reason for this! I have always made these with a whole teaspoon of almond extract and it is kind of overpowering. So I lowered it a little bit and I think the flavor is more subtle now, but some people really like strong almond flavoring... So if you're one of them feel free to bump that up to 1 tsp!

If you don't have salted butter, use unsalted and toss in a pinch of salt.

I mentioned earlier using pecans instead of almonds. If you want to try it, use chopped pecans (not whole) and substitute 1 teaspoon double fold vanilla extract for the almond extract. A little cinnamon mixed in adds a nice touch too.  

How to melt butter without using a microwave 

My microwave is in my upstairs kitchen and I cook in the downstairs kitchen (weird I know, and really annoying!) but I don't like to run up and down steps while cooking, so I melt my butter using the oven instead. 

What I do is get a clean mason jar and cut my stick of butter into about six or eight chunks. Put the chunks of butter in the mason jar and set it on a baking sheet in the oven while the oven preheats. It should only take a couple minutes to melt. Keep an eye on it and remove it when it's about half melted.

Give it a stir every few minutes and it'll continue to melt after you take it out of the oven. You don't want to have the butter smoking hot when you add it to the eggs or the eggs will start to cook. Letting it finish melting out of the oven keeps it at the perfect temperature.

So there you have it, one of my favorite holiday recipes. Honestly, I would probably make this year round, but cranberries are only in season late in the year here. You should be able to make it with frozen cranberries, I've never tried it. If you do try it, let me know in the comments below how it worked out for you!

Related reading: I don't write many recipes, but the ones I do have are listed on my recipe page if you want to check them out!


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