Looking for a delicious and easy-to-make dessert? Look no further than cranberry oatmeal bars! With or without the chocolate drizzle, these oat bars make a fantastic holiday dessert or a healthy afternoon snack.
These cranberry oat bars are the best lightened-up dessert or satisfying snack you didn’t know you needed. Made with a combination of sweet-tart cranberries, hearty oats and a hint of ground cinnamon.
And the best part? They’re so simple to make, even the most most inexperienced baker can whip up a batch in no time.
When I first set out to make a light dessert bar recipe, I was convinced that they are going to turn out dry and crumbly. These oatmeal yogurt bars blew that theory out of the water! In fact, the first thing my husband said when he tried one was, "They're so tender!"
The texture is similar to a snack cake, without the pounds of butter and sugar. Instead of butter, I used coconut oil and replaced traditional sugars with a smaller amount of maple syrup (or agave nectar).
Ingredients needed for Cranberry Oat Bars:
- FLOUR: Whole wheat pastry flour produces a really tender snack bar. If you can’t find it, use a combination of all-purpose flour and white whole wheat flour.
- CRANBERRIES: Use dried cranberries. I prefer unsweetened dried cranberries. However, if you can’t find them, the sweetened version works well.
- OATS: Old-fashioned oats are larger and thicker than quick-cooking oats, which mean they hold their shape better during baking. This will give your bars a nice chewy texture that’s hard to beat.
- SWEETENER: Use pure maple syrup, not the corn syrup-based syrup. If preferred, substitute with agave nectar.
- YOGURT: Opt for plain nonfat Greek yogurt.
- OIL AND EGG: Melt the coconut oil, then measure and let it cool slightly. Use one large egg.
- VANILLA: Pure vanilla extract can be found in the baking section of any grocery store.
- CHOCOLATE: Use dark chocolate for drizzling over the bars. This is optional, but a great option for a holiday dessert.
- OTHER: Baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon.
See recipe card below for full ingredients list & recipe directions.
How to make cranberry oatmeal bars:
The instructions for making these bars are very simple – combine the dry and wet ingredients, bake and drizzle with chocolate. Let’s talk details…
OVEN AND PAN: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. For prepping the 8- by 8-inch square baking pan, you have two options…
1) Lightly coat with cooking spray or 2) Line with two pieces of parchment paper that overlap the sides of the pan. The two pieces should be placed perpendicular to each other. The second method make it easy to lift the bars out of the pan in one piece before cutting.
DRY INGREDIENTS: Place the dry ingredients – flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda – in a large. Bowl. Whisk to combine.
WET INGREDIENTS: In a separate bowl, whisk the egg. Then whisk in the cooled coconut oil (melted), water, maple syrup (or agave nectar) and vanilla extract.
COMBINE: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir until combined but take care not to overstir. Overstirring can cause the finished bars to be tough. Stir in the oats and dried cranberries.
TRANSFER TO PAN: Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Spread it evenly using an offset spatula or patting with your hands.
BAKE: Bake the bars until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. That should take about 20 minutes.
COOL AND CUT: Place the pan on a wire rack and let them cool completely. If you didn’t use parchment paper, cut the bars into 24 pieces, then remove each with an offset spatula. If you did use parchment paper, lift out the whole square of bars using the overhanging parchment paper. Cut the bars.
DRIZZLE WITH CHOCOLATE: Chop the chocolate and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt the chocolate in the microwave on 50% power. Give it a stir every 30 seconds. Alternatively, melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate over the bars.
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How to store and freeze oat snack bars:
There are several ways to store cranberry oatmeal bars so they stay fresh and tender for longer.
One of the best ways to keep oatmeal bars fresh is to store them in an airtight container. This will keep out any moisture or air than can cause the bars to go stale or become moldy. Make sure to choose a container that’s big enough to hold the bars without squishing them. Extend the shelf life by storing them in the refrigerator.
If you want to store some bars a few weeks or months down the road, you can freeze them. Once the bars are cool, wrap them in plastic wrap, then place in a freezer-safe airtight container or resealable freezer bag for up to 3 months. Let them thaw at room temperature or in the refrigerator before eating.
Other light holiday desserts:
Frequently Asked Questions:
Yes! The drizzled chocolate makes them perfect for the holidays. That being said, these bars are just as good without the chocolate. In fact, we've all been snacking on them to curb the afternoon munchies. At only 91 calories a piece (112 calories with the chocolate) and a dose of calcium, fiber and protein, these satisfy afternoon hunger pangs without piling on the guilt.
Yes, you can use any type of dried fruit that you like. Raisins, chopped dates, and chopped apricots all work well in these bars.
Yes, you can use a plant-based yogurt in place of Greek yogurt and a flax egg in place of the chicken egg. Dark chocolate is typically vegan, but be sure to double-check the ingredients list to be sure.
To make a flax egg, stir together one tablespoon flaxseed meal (not the whole flaxseeds) and 3 tablespoons water. Let the mixture rest for about 10 minutes, or until it becomes thicken and gelatin-like.
Cranberry Oatmeal Bars Recipe
- 1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour (See Note 1)
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil cooled slightly
- ¼ cup water
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup or agave nectar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 3 ½ ounces dark chocolate chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat an 8- by 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg. Whisk in the yogurt, melted coconut oil, water, maple syrup and vanilla extract.
- Pour the yogurt mixture into the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
- Stir in the oats and dried cranberries until combined.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan and spread evenly.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
- Allow the bars to cool completely. Cut the bars into 24 pieces and remove from the pan.
- Place the chocolate in a medium microwave-proof bowl and melt in the microwave on 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds.
- Drizzle the chocolate over the bars. Serve.
This was was first published on December 16, 2013. Updated on December 15, 2022.
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