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Vegan Cranberry Crumb Bars (Paleo)

Paleo Healthy Cranberry Crumb Bars made grain-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free are a healthy and delicious dessert recipe that requires minimal ingredients!

Use your leftover homemade cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving or prepare the easy cranberry filling provided in this recipe. Either way, these healthy gluten-free crumb bars are a breeze to make and a pleasure to share during the holiday season.

Stack of cranberry crumb bars on a cutting board.

If you have leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving, I have the most delicious little treat for you!

These easy grain-free healthy Cranberry Crumb Bars are a great way of repurposing leftover cranberry sauce, and are dairy-free, refined sugar-free, vegan and paleo friendly.

If you don’t already have cranberry sauce on hand, no worries! 

I have included a recipe for cranberry filling using fresh cranberries that takes no more than 10 minutes to make. So no need to whip up a whole batch of cranberry sauce for the sake of these delicious cranberry bars, and you can make them any time of year.

Every year, I make either my Maple Bourbon Cranberry Sauce or my Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce for Thanksgiving and Christmas. In the event there are leftovers, I always whip up a batch of these delicious cranberry crumb bars.

Instant Pot Maple Ginger Cranberry Sauce Recipe - a delicious, healthier cranberry sauce recipe

The tart cranberry filling and the perfectly sweet buttery crust creates the perfect balance of flavors.

Have I mentioned how easy these bars are to make?

You don’t need to be an all star baker in order to have great success with them. 

In addition to the fact that the cranberry mixture is already made, both the crust and the crumble topping are made with the same mixture. This mixture takes no more than 5 minutes to whip up in a mixing bowl.

Mix once, use twice! 

Plus, the shortbread crust and topping couldn’t be any simpler to make. It is a basic combination of almond flour, melted coconut oil and pure maple syrup. BAM! Geniusness! No long list of wet ingredients or dry ingredients.

Let’s discuss the simple ingredients for these yummy cranberry crumble bars.

Ingredients for Paleo Cranberry Crumb Bars:

Homemade Cranberry Sauce: Use leftover homemade cranberry sauce for the jammy cranberry filling. My sauce is usually nice and sweet already, so if your sauce doesn’t seem sweet enough to turn into dessert, consider adding pure maple syrup to it (1 tablespoon at a time) until you find it sweet enough. 

Whatever you use, be sure it is thick and gooey like jam. If your sauce doesn’t resemble the consistency of cranberry jam or preserves, follow my recipe below and use your leftover sauce for a different endeavor.

If you don’t have leftover sauce, follow my instructions below to make the cranberry filling!

Almond Flour: Almond flour takes the place of all-purpose flour in these easy cranberry crumb bars. It results in a rich, buttery shortbread crust that you would never guess is grain-free or gluten-free.

Both the shortbread crust and the crumble topping are the same mixture!

Coconut Oil: Melted coconut oil helps hold the flour mixture together and gives it a buttery flavor without the need for dairy. If you aren’t dairy-free, feel free to replace the coconut oil with 4 to 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter. You will need more butter than coconut oil, as coconut oil is greasier than butter. Just be sure the flour mixture holds together and resembles a cookie dough and you will be good to go.

Pure Maple Syrup: We use pure maple syrup to sweeten the crust and crumble. This sticky sweetener also helps bind the mixture together so that we can get away without needing to use eggs. In this sense, we have a vegan, dairy-free crumb bar that is lower in added sugar and healthful by my standards.

Sea Salt: I always say this, but sea salt enhances all the flavors and brings out the sweetness without the need to add more sweetener! Don’t forget to use it!

Close up image of sliced cranberry crumble bars on a wood cutting board

Optional Adaptations:

  • If you cranberry sauce doesn’t have orange zest in it already, consider stirring in 1 teaspoon of orange zest. You can also add 1 to 2 teaspoons of orange zest to the crust and topping mixture.
  • Replace the pure maple syrup with a granulated sweetener like brown sugar, regular cane sugar, coconut sugar, or maple sugar. I would use 3 tablespoons and add an additional tablespoon of coconut oil (or butter) to keep the liquid ratio right.
  • Stir in 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice to the cranberry filling if you’d like.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract to the almond flour crust if you have it on hand.
  • Use 4 to 5 tablespoons of melted butter instead of coconut oil in the topping mixture.
  • If you want to make cranberry oatmeal bars using gluten free flour instead of almond flour, use the crust and topping mixture from my Strawberry Oatmeal Bars https://www.theroastedroot.net/strawberry-oatmeal-bars/ recipe.
  • Stir cinnamon into the crumb mixture. I would use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon.
Top down photo of cranberry crumb bars sliced on a cutting board

A Note About Cranberry Sauce:

This recipe can be made using 1 cup of  leftover homemade cranberry sauce OR you can start fresh by preparing my recipe for cranberry filling (included in the recipe card). 

These crumb bars require a thick cranberry mixture. If your sauce is thin or if it is more of a jell (like canned cranberry sauce) or very thick and not jammy like a relish,, it is best to start fresh and make the filling using the recipe below.

How to Make Cranberry Crumb Bars:

Prepare the Filling:

If you don’t have cranberry sauce on hand, you can prepare the cranberry filling from scratch. If you already have cranberry sauce, go straight to preparing the crust and topping.

Maple Bourbon Cranberry Sauce with cinnamon and orange zest - a flavorful unique approach to homemade cranberry sauce for your Thanksgiving feast!

If you don’t have cranberry sauce, here’s the recipe for the cranberry filling:

Heat the filling ingredients – 1 ½ cups of cranberries (fresh or frozen), 1/2 cup pure maple syrup, ¼ cup of water or orange juice, a pinch of sea salt and cinnamon in a saucepan and bring it to a full boil. 

How to make homemade cranberry sauce

Once boiling, mash the cranberries with a fork until the mixture resembles more of a sauce or jam. Continue cooking until the mixture is very thick, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Set mixture aside until ready to use (note: the cranberry filling will thicken as it sits).

If need be, you can add 2 teaspoons of tapioca flour to the sauce to make it very thick and gooey. You want it to be as thick or thicker than jam.

Prepare the Crust & Crumb Topping:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line an 8” x 8” baking pan with parchment paper. If you only have a 9-inch pan, you can still make this recipe but multiply the ingredients by 150%.

Stir all of the ingredients for the crust and topping together in a bowl until well-combined. It will form a thick, sticky dough.

Measure out ½ cup of the almond flour mixture and set it aside to use later for the crumb topping.

Note: If you would like, you can make the crumb mixture in a food processor, but I find it just as easy to use a large bowl.

Transfer the crust dough to the parchment-lined baking pan and press into an even layer using your hands. Poke many holes in the crust with a fork to ensure it bakes evenly and does not bow up while baking.

Bake for 12 to 18 minutes on the center rack of the preheated oven, until the sides of the crust are golden-brown.

Shortbread crust fresh out of the oven for cranberry bars

Remove crust from the oven and allow it to cool for a few minutes. 

Evenly spread the cranberry sauce or cranberry filling mixture over the pie crust.

Cranberry filling on top of shortbread crust to make cranberry bars

Sprinkle the reserved crumb topping mixture over the cranberry sauce.

Baking dish of cranberry crumb bars ready to go into the oven.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes (still at 350), until the cranberry mixture is bubbly and the topping is golden-brown.

Cranberry crumb bars fresh out of the oven.

Remove crumb bars from the oven and allow them to cool to cool for 30 minutes before slicing and serving. For a decadent dessert, serve the bars with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

How to Store Crumb Bars:

Store crumb bars in a sealed airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. You can also store them in a zip lock bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. 

Stack of vegan cranberry crumb bars on wooden surface

And that’s it! A simple healthy treat that exudes fancy vibes but it is actually remarkably basic.

If you love crumble bars like this, also try my Paleo Blueberry Crumb Bars and Vegan Strawberry Crumb Bars.

Looking for more cranberry recipes? Also try my Cranberry Sauce Bourbon Cocktail using leftover sauce. Or try my Grain-Free Cranberry Orange Breakfast Cake.

Enjoy these delicious cranberry crumble bars!

More Thanksgiving Leftovers Recipes:

My cookbook, Paleo Power Bowls, is now available! CLICK HERE to check it out. Thank you for your support!

If you make this recipe, please feel free to share a photo and tag @The.Roasted.Root on Instagram!

Stack of cranberry crumb bars on a cutting board.

Paleo Cranberry Crumb Bars

Yield: 12 bars
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Grain-Free Paleo Cranberry Crumb Bars made dairy-free, egg-free, vegan, and refined sugar-free

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups cranberry sauce, see note*

For the Crust & Crumb Topping:

Instructions

Make the Cranberry Filling:

  1. Note: If you are using 1.5 cups of leftover cranberry sauce, skip this step. If you don't have leftover cranberry sauce, heat 1 ½ cups of cranberries (fresh or frozen), 1/2 cup pure maple syrup, ¼ cup of water, a pinch of sea salt and cinnamon cinnamon a saucepan and bring it to a full boil.
  2. Once boiling, mash the cranberries with a fork until the mixture resembles more of a sauce or jam. Continue cooking until the mixture is very thick, about 5 to 8 minutes. Set mixture aside until ready to use (note: the cranberry filling will thicken as it sits). If need be, you can add 2 teaspoons of tapioca flour to the sauce to make it very thick and gooey. You want it to be as thick or thicker than jam.

Make the Crust and Crumble Topping:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line an 8” x 8” baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Stir all of the ingredients for the crust and topping together in a bowl until well-combined - it will form a thick, sticky dough. Measure out ½ cup of the almond flour mixture and set it aside to use later for the crumb topping.
  3. Transfer the crust dough to the parchment-lined baking pan and press into an even layer using your hands. Poke many holes in the crust with a fork to ensure it bakes evenly and does not bow up while baking. Bake for 12 to 18 minutes on the center rack of the preheated oven, until the sides of the crust are golden-brown.
  4. Remove crust from the oven and allow it to cool for a few minutes.

Make the Cranberry Crumb Bars:

  1. Evenly spread the cranberry sauce / cranberry filling over the pie crust and sprinkle the reserved crumb topping mixture over the cranberry sauce.
  2. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes (still at 350), until the cranberry mixture is bubbly and the topping is golden-brown.
  3. Remove crumb bars from the oven and allow them to cool to cool for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

Notes

*If you don't have leftover cranberry sauce, use these ingredients: 1 ½ cups of cranberries (fresh or frozen), 1/2 cup pure maple syrup, ¼ cup of water, a pinch of sea salt and 1/4 tsp cinnamon cinnamon.

Nutrition Information
Yield 12 Serving Size 1 of 12
Amount Per Serving Calories 199Total Fat 10gUnsaturated Fat 0gCarbohydrates 22gNet Carbohydrates 19gFiber 3gSugar 14gProtein 5g

Paleo Vegan Cranberry Crumb Bars - grain-free, egg-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free healthier dessert! Use your leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving to make these delicious bars!

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suzi

Sunday 27th of November 2022

I made this last nite and its all gone. So good!! I made my own cranberry filling as you directed and it took no time at all. Will definitely make this one again and again!!

Julia

Monday 28th of November 2022

I'm so happy you enjoy the bars, Suzi! Also great to know the cranberry filling was easy enough to whip up. Thank you for sharing! xo

Penny

Sunday 27th of November 2022

Could I use whole berry sauce

Julia

Sunday 27th of November 2022

Hi Penny! I'm not familiar with whole berry sauce. As long as it has the same thick, sticky consistency as a jam, it will work! xo

Elsie

Saturday 27th of November 2021

Could I use butter instead of coconut oil?

Julia

Sunday 28th of November 2021

Hi Elsie! Yes, absolutely! Butter works great! xo

Cindy

Monday 25th of October 2021

Do you think I could make these in mini cupcake pans for like a mini tart? I would like to bring them to a Friendsgiving celebration.

Cindy

Wednesday 27th of October 2021

@Julia,

Thank you for your response. I will be sure to report back!

Julia

Tuesday 26th of October 2021

Hi Cindy!

I think that would work great, for sure! In terms of the bake time, I'm not too sure what you would do...I assume they will need less time as tarts, so I would shave 5-8 minutes off the time and keep checking on them from there.

Susan

Saturday 27th of March 2021

This recipe is easy to make and delicious! I added a little ground ginger and cinnamon to the cranberry sauce. It came out really good.

Julia

Sunday 28th of March 2021

I'm so happy you like it, Susan! The ground ginger and cinnamon sound amazing! xoxo

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