Cranberry Cheese Bars are a layered dessert with an oatmeal base, cream cheese layer, and tart cranberry filling that is finished off with oat crumbs! A favorite holiday dessert!
Some recipes are just automatically reserved for the holidays. I’m not sure why that is when they’re so delicious we should be enjoying them year-round, but it just seems to happen to some recipes.
This one for Cranberry Cheese Bars is no exception. I’ve been making this recipe for probably close to 15 years, but I think the only time I ever make it is between Thanksgiving and Christmas!
Maybe because these cranberry bars are so delicious and I know that I would eat way too much of it if I made it on other months. Maybe it’s because the red in the cranberries just seems holiday-ish?
I don’t really know the reason, but I do know these bars would be amazing any time of the year!
How To Make Cranberry Cheese Bars
These yummy bars have a few different layers to them, but I promise that each layer on its own is very simple! You’ll just have a few extra bowls to wash but it will be worth it!
In a large bowl, combine the following ingredients:
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1.5 cups oats
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
Stir these dry ingredients together really well, then cut in softened butter. Keep cutting and including this ingredient until coarse crumbs form in the mixture.
Then, try not to just eat this by the spoonful! I know I tried because this crust layer is so yummy and my absolute favorite!
But back to the recipe, after you have your coarse crumbs, scoop out 1.5 cups of oats and put it in a small bowl that you set aside.
Press the rest of the crumb mixture into the bottom of a 13×9 pan with parchment paper. Make sure to preheat oven to 350 and bake for 15 minutes.
Cream Cheese Layer
While the crust is baking, you can get your next layer ready.
In a small bowl, pour the cream cheese softened and sweetened condensed milk. Beat these two ingredients together until they are nice and smooth. Then, stir in 1/4 cup lemon juice.
When the crust comes out of the oven, pour the cream cheese layer over it.
In another small bowl, combine the can of cranberry sauce with the 2 tablespoons cornstarch and the brown sugar. Pour these mixed and saucy cranberries over the cream cheese layer and smooth out until the remaining mixture is even.
Then, sprinkle the reserved oat mixture over the cranberry layer.
Bake for another 35 to 40 minutes or until the top layer is golden.
Let cool completely and be sure to store extra cranberry bars in the refrigerator. Once the layers of this dessert have cooled and settled, cut into bars and enjoy this cranberry treat!
Cranberry Cheese Bars
- 2 cups Flour
- 1.5 cups Oats
- 3/4 cup Brown Sugar
- 1 cup Butter softened
Cream Cheese Layer
- 8 oz Cream Cheese softened
- 14 oz. Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1/4 cup Lemon Juice
- 16 oz Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce
- 2 Tbsp. Cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, oats and brown sugar. Stir well to combine.
- Cut in softened butter until coarse crumbs form.
- Set aside 1.5 cups of crumb mixture. Press the remaining crumb mixture firmly into the bottom of a 13x9 pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
Cream Cheese Layer
- In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk until light and fluffy.
- Stir in lemon juice. Pour cream cheese filling over baked crust.
- In a small bowl, combine cranberry sauce, cornstarch and brown sugar. Stir well to combine.
- Pour over cream cheese mixture evenly.
- Sprinkle remaining 1.5 cups oat mixture over the cranberry layer.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes until the top is golden brown. Cool completely before cutting. Store leftovers in refrigerator.