Cranberry Walnut Bars

by | Nov 11, 2015 | All, Desserts

These Cranberry Walnut Bars are one of our family favorite food gift recipes during the holidays!

Need a holiday dessert for friends & family? These Cranberry Walnut Bars are sinfully rich but super easy to pull together. They make great holiday gifts, too!I first made these Cranberry Walnut Bars years ago as part of a basket of homemade food gifts for Pat’s work friends. (It was one of those recipes I actually cut out of the newspaper way back when!) Everyone asked for the recipe, and I knew we had a hit on our hands. One bite, and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. 

Imagine a pie filled with candied walnuts, tangy cranberries and a shortbread crust, and you have the essence of these bars. They are both rich-looking and rich-tasting, and they look so appetizing when cut into diamond shapes for a buffet. 

Another reason to love them? These bars can be made ahead of time and keep well for several days on the counter. 

Tip: Fresh cranberries are all over the grocery store right now, so buy a few extra bags and pop them in the freezer. They freeze beautifully and are the perfect pick me up for baked goods during the winter doldrums.

Need a holiday dessert for friends & family? These Cranberry Walnut Bars are sinfully rich but super easy to pull together. They make great holiday gifts, too!

Recommended Equipment

top down image of cut Cranberry Walnut bars on parchment.

 Need a holiday dessert for friends & family? These Cranberry Walnut Bars are sinfully rich but super easy to pull together. They make great holiday gifts, too!
Yield: makes 24 bars

Cranberry Walnut Bars

Cranberry Walnut Bars

A great food gift for the holidays!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour



  • 11/2 sticks unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cranberry Walnut topping:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 cups walnuts (whole, if possible)
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 pan with enough parchment paper for a 2-3" overhang on the sides.
  2. Add butter, flour, brown sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Cut together using pastry blender (or two knives) until mixture looks like small peas. You can also grate frozen butter to achieve the same result.
  3. Pour shortbread into pan and pat down. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.


  1. Combine butter, brown sugar and maple syrup in a saucepan over medium low heat. Stir until butter is melted and simmer for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Stir in walnuts and cranberries. Pour over shortbread base.
  3. Return to oven and bake until bubbly, about 20-25 minutes.
  4. Cool in pan before cutting bars.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 373Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 66mgSodium: 52mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 1gSugar: 14gProtein: 3g

LOVE this recipe?

Follow us on Pinterest for more great recipes! Just click the little pin button at the top of the recipe card.

We're the creative juices behind Garnish with Lemon. In the past 8 years, millions of people have sipped & snacked on our recipes. Need easy, delicious party food and drinks for your next shindig? You’ve come to the right place.

Our Story

About Anna

Hi, I’m Anna, a former corporate communications nerd turned food fanatic. Turns out I like cooking for others A LOT more than explaining HR policies to them. C’mon over!


  1. Avatar

    Can totally see why these would be a family favorite – what a classic holiday recipe!

    • Avatar

      The holidays just aren’t the same without our faves, right?

  2. Avatar

    These are just soooo good! I’ve made cranberry and blueberry since they are in season now. I keep some in the freezer most of the time so I can pull some out every once in a while. Everyone I’ve given them to has loved them, too!

    • Avatar

      Oooh, I love the blueberry spin, Sara! Will have to try that, too. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Avatar

    Cranberry bars are always a hit in my house. Those perfect walnuts on top look great. I also love ornaments, but choosing one is definitely tough.

    • Avatar

      Yay for more cranberry walnut bar lovers!

  4. Avatar

    Can it be made without Maple syrup? We don’t care for it, too sweet.

    • Avatar

      Hi Judy, the maple syrup adds a nice balance to the tart cranberries, but feel free to decrease the amount if is not to your liking. Will be curious to hear how it turns out for you. Please report back!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *