Cranberry Oatmeal Bars

  • Author: Christine Pittman
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 22 minutes
  • Total Time: 32 minutes
  • Yield: 24 bars 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American


This twist on the classic Matrimonial Squares (also called Date Squares) uses cranberry sauce as a filling instead of a date purée. They’re super easy to make and are a fabulous use for leftover cranberry sauce. Note that this recipe originally called for cold butter but I have retested it and it now uses softened butter, which is much easier to work into the dry ingredients. The taste of the finished bars are not affected by this change. Enjoy!

Listen to me explain briefly about how to make these bars, with some great tips along the way, by clicking the play button below:

[sc name="pumpkinpiebarsrotd"][/sc]


Units Scale
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour*
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 (14 oz.) can whole berry cranberry sauce or 1 and 1/2 cups homemade cranberry sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Add the softened butter and stir well. Once it’s fairly well mixed, use your fingers to get under everything and make sure that all of the oat mixture is moistened with butter. 
  4. Spoon three-quarters of the oat mixture into an ungreased 13″x 9″ cake pan. Press down on it firmly everywhere to form a solid layer that evenly covers the bottom of the pan. You can press it where it’s thicker in places to help spread it more evenly as well.
  5. Add the cranberry sauce in dollops and spread it in a thin layer over the oat layer.
  6. Sprinkle with the remaining oat mixture, breaking it into small 1/4 inch bits as you let it fall. Press down lightly on the oats so that they adhere to the wet cranberry sauce a bit.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Note that the topping will not change color but it is still done.
  8. Allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into 8 strips along the length of the pan and 3 strips along the width yielding 24 bars. Use a spatula to remove the bars from the pan.


*Using half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose white flour works as well.