Cranberry Shortbread Bars

by Heidi @ Food Doodles on December 14, 2017

Rich, buttery cranberry shortbread bars filled with tart cranberry sauce make a beautiful seasonal dessert.  Perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas, these cranberry shortbread bars will be a hit at any holiday event, but if your family loves them as much as mine, you’ll be making these all year round.

Hello all!  It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen you all.  Thank you to any and all who still look out for Food Doodles updates!

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So now, on with the recipe!  This recipe is one of our year-round favorites.  But let’s be honest, it fits a little better this time of year, rather than July 😉


Cranberry Shortbread Bars

This recipe comes from the absolute best shortbread recipe that was printed on the back of our good old Canadian cornstarch package back in the day.  Cornstarch is what gives it an impossibly tender, almost crumbly texture that is amazing. 

But being shortbread, it’s incredibly rich.  There is where the cranberry filling fits in.  It’s tart and a perfect pair for the shortbread.  You could totally use leftover cranberry sauce, but I prefer to make this filling a little less sweet than regular cranberry sauce since these bars are already so rich and a little thicker so these bars can be picked up and enjoyed without making a mess.


When I say year-round favorite, I really mean it.  I stock up on cranberries whenever I can get them and put them in the freezer to use in this recipe all year round.  And I’ll be totally honest, I never make an 8×8 pan. 

This recipe doubles super easily and since my husband and kids are such huge fans, there really isn’t much point in making a small pan.  Of course, Thanksgiving and Christmas seem like more appropriate occasions to enjoy this dessert, but we love it so much we eat it all the time.  I hope you’ll enjoy these cranberry shortbread bars as much as we do!

Cranberry Shortbread Bars


If you’re looking for holiday recipes, also check out these Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts and Cranberries!

5 from 1 vote
Cranberry Shortbread Bars
Cranberry Shortbread Bars
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
Course: Dessert
For the filling:
  • 3 cups (or 1-340g package) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
For the shortbread:
  • 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup salted butter softened
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. For the filling, add ingredients to a medium sized pot and place over medium high heat.  Bring to a boil, then cook until thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes.  Set aside and let cool.

  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  3. For the shortbread, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and then mix in flour, cornstarch and salt.

  4. Add 2/3 of the dough to an 8x8 pan and spread out evenly, pressing the dough into one even layer.  Add the cranberry mixture and spread evenly, then crumble the remaining shortbread over the cranberry mixture.  Lightly press down so none of the shortbread crumbles are too tall as they will brown more than the rest. 

  5.  Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, until golden. Cool before slicing.


Cranberry Shortbread Bars


Cranberry Shortbread Bars

Cranberry Shortbread Bars

Leave a Comment

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kelly Schroeder December 9, 2019 at 01:14

Kelly here again…I forgot to give it
5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Everyone raved at dinner table😊
I took a picture as well but do not know how to post it.


2 Kelly Schroeder December 9, 2019 at 01:08

Absolutely de-lish!❣️
Easy to make & turned out perfect!
Try it! It won’t disappoint I promise


3 Erin @ Food Doodles December 15, 2019 at 11:09

I’m so glad that the bars worked out well for you! Thanks so much for your feedback and for coming back to give it 5 stars. 😀


4 Winnie November 16, 2018 at 22:51

Oh my, these look so delicious. I love that color of the cranberries. I’m going to make these this week. And then I’ll be ready after my test run to make them for all the holidays! Thanks for a great recipe.


5 Jane Murguia December 17, 2017 at 09:00

Mmmm. That looks yummy. I’m gonna whip one for myself one of these days.


6 Charlotte Moore December 15, 2017 at 03:02

What a wonderful surprise to get this email from you. How are you doing? I have thought about you many times wondering if you would send another recipe.

Did you use your whole wheat flour in this? I have never cared for cranberry sauce until I made homemade. The berries are a bit tart for me. These look very good.

Good to hear from you.


7 Charlotte Moore December 15, 2017 at 03:17

I just clicked on your chocolate cookie dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled in peppermint pieces. Might just make these today and share with some teachers our great granddaughter has. Also, your cranberry sauce came up. I clicked on it and realized yours is the one I had made. My very first homemade cranberry sauce. Funny!


8 Heidi @ Food Doodles December 16, 2017 at 12:51

Good to hear from you too Charlotte! I’m doing well, thank you. I hope all is well with you too.

I didn’t use whole wheat in these particular ones but if you have a whole wheat shortbread recipe I bet it would be delicious with the cranberry filling ?. I’m so glad you like that cranberry sauce! ?


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