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Leftover Cranberry Sauce Bars Recipe – How to Make it in 9 Simple Steps

This is a look at chopped pieces of cranberry granola bars on a chopping board.

Holiday dinners often leave piles of leftovers in the refrigerator. And, that is generally a good thing for many people. Dining on leftover turkey, dressing, and the other fixings can give you a break from the kitchen after the big holiday dinner.

Unfortunately, after three or four days, most people are getting a bit tired of eating the leftovers. This recipe for Leftover Cranberry Sauce Bars takes those old tired leftovers and re-purposes them into a delicious, tangy-sweet bar treat. There is no need to throw out Grandma’s special bowl of cranberry sauce just because you are tired of eating it with ham or turkey.

This is a look at chopped pieces of cranberry granola bars on a chopping board.

Leftover Cranberry Sauce Bars Recipe

April Freeman
Are you looking for a tasty way to use up some leftover cranberry sauce? Our recipe for Leftover Cranberry Sauce Bars is quick and easy and will make good use of that delicious sauce. There’s no need to toss it in the trash when you have this tasty recipe on hand. 
Prep Time 15 mins
Baking Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Cuisine American
Servings 12 Bars


  • 9-Inch Square Baking Pan
  • Large bowl
  • Pastry blender
  • Measuring Cup
  • Spoon
  • Knife


  • cups All-Purpose Flour
  • cups Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 1 cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 2 sticks Cold Butter
  • cups Leftover Cranberry Sauce
  • ¼ cup Chopped Nuts such as pecans or walnuts


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-inch square baking pan.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt with a fork.
  • Cut the butter into cubes and add it to the bowl. Use a pastry blender to cut the butter cubes into the dry ingredients. The mixture is mixed enough when the butter is in tiny bits, evenly distributed throughout the mixture. It will look a bit like cornmeal when you have mixed it correctly.
    The butter is then added into the mixture of dry ingredients.
  • Measure out 1½ cups of the dry mixture. Dump it out in the bottom of your prepared pan and use your fingers or the bottom of the measuring cup to press it firmly into the pan and about an inch up the sides. 
    The butter dough is packed onto the bottom of the baking pan.
  • Use a spoon to drop the cranberry sauce on top of the bottom crust in large tablespoon-sized globs. Spread this around gently with the back of your spoon until it is in an even layer. Be gentle because you do not want to destroy your bottom crust.
    The leftover cranberry sauce is place on top of the packed butter dough.
  • Sprinkle the rest of the dry mixture over the top of the cranberry sauce in an even layer. Top it with the chopped nuts, evenly distributing them over the dry mixture. 
  • Bake the bars in the preheated oven for about an hour. The top crust should be golden brown, and the nuts should be fragrant and toasted. 
    ANother layer of butter and oat dough is placed on top.
  • Let the bars cool completely for about 2 hours before attempting to cut them.
  • Cut the bars into 12 squares and serve them.


In this recipe, you will first take nutritious oats, brown sugar, and flour and stir up a basic mixture. The great thing about this mixture is that it is used both for the crusty base and the crumbly topping. About half of the mixture is pressed into the bottom of your prepared baking pan, and the rest is reserved for the topping.
You’ll spread the cranberry sauce on the bottom crust. Don’t worry if you have slightly more cranberry sauce or slightly less than what the recipe calls for. You can use a bit more or less, and it will not make much of a difference in this recipe. The topping is sprinkled on the sauce in an even layer and nuts go on top of that.
If you are allergic to nuts or do not have any on hand, you can omit them and the recipe will work just fine. The oats give plenty of crunchy texture to the topping, even without nuts.
If you need a recipe for an office brunch, these bars are perfect for those kinds of occasions. Your coworkers will enjoy the tangy-sweet taste of cranberry, as well as the crispy, crunchy topping that is studded with nuts. The bottom crust of this recipe is something like shortbread in texture, making these great for eating out of hand. 
However, if you need a recipe that makes a great dessert, this recipe is wonderful for that too. The layers of cranberry sauce and crumbly topping make these bars look gorgeous on a dessert plate. Top them with a dollop of whipped cream to make a luxurious dessert to serve to friends and family. 
Another thing that is wonderful about this recipe is that it is very adaptable. After all, cranberries are not available all year long and if you didn’t think ahead and put a couple of bags in the freezer, you may think that this recipe is off-limits until the holiday season. But that is not true at all. If you want to make this recipe and there is no cranberry sauce in the fridge and no cranberries in the freezer, you can substitute any kind of jam that you have on hand.
Whether you have peach, raspberry, strawberry, or apple butter, you can use any one of those spreads to create this recipe. If your jam is very stiff and not very spreadable, you may want to microwave it for about ten or fifteen seconds. Then stir it very well, and use it in the recipe the exact same way that you would the cranberry sauce.
Keyword Leftover Cranberry Sauce Bars, Recipe, Snack

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If you still have more cranberry sauce leftover, check out these 28 leftover cranberry sauce recipes.

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