Cranberry Bars Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Cranberry Bars

These vibrant-hued bars look great on an autumn dinner table. The sweetened condensed milk gives them a texture similar to Key lime pie.



Ingredient Line: 
1 lb. fresh or frozen cranberries
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7 oz. fat-free sweetened condensed milk
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¼ cup lemon juice
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3 egg yolks
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¾ cup all-purpose flour
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⅓ cup graham flour
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¼ cup sugar
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½ tsp. salt
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6 Tbs. butter, melted and cooled
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½ tsp. vanilla extract


1. To make Filling: Bring cranberries and 1/2 cup water to a simmer in saucepan. Reduce heat to medium, and cook 10 minutes, or until berries have burst and are tender. Cool. Blend in blender or food processor until smooth, and strain mixture through sieve. (You should have about 1 cup purée.)

2. Transfer purée to bowl, and whisk in condensed milk and lemon juice. Whisk in egg yolks.

3. To make Crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 8-inch square baking pan with foil, and coat with cooking spray.

4. Whisk together flours, sugar, and salt in bowl. Stir in butter and vanilla extract. Press into bottom of prepared pan, and bake 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F, and pour Filling into hot Crust. Bake 23 to 28 minutes, or until custard is set. Cool, then chill until firm.

5. Use foil to lift baked dessert out of pan, then remove. Cut into 25 bars. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Nutrition Information: 

2 g
Total Fat: 
3 g
Saturated Fat: 
2 g
13 g
31 mg
80 mg
1 g
8 g
Makes 25 bars

Comments on this Recipe

I thought this recipe was absolutely fantastic. I just realized that I didn't read the recipe correctly and put in the whole can of condensed milk so maybe I'll have to make it again to get the correct 'taste'. Most likely I'll adjust the recipe so that I can use the whole can and put the bars in a 9 x 14 inch pan. I had to make my own graham flour...find the 'recipe' on Wikipedia. Uses all-purpose flour, wheat germ and bran. I've since found graham flour at a specialty shop...Bob's Red Mill brand. I agree that with the sweetened condensed milk not the healthiest but this is definitely worth a splurge during the holidays. YUMMY. To Edna, the puree was very thick but you just have to keep stirring and pressing it through a metal mesh strainer with a wooden spoon. I actually got more than a cup of puree.

cranberry bars

Excellent and beautiful! I crushed and added 4 graham crackers to the crust and used 1/2 C regular flower since did not have graham flour. Note that 1/2 can of condensed milk is 7 oz. Recipe not clear as to volume or weight so went by weight. Turned out great.

This sounded great until I saw some of the ingredients. Not healthy. It would be easy to substitute the condensed milk, butter, sugar, all purpose flour and eggs.

This was a perfect mix of tart and sweet for me, I don't really like things that are too sweet and this one hit the spot. I also didn't have graham flour (where on earth could you find it..I looked everywhere) and instead, used about 4.5 graham crackers like Karen above.

Wow very low in fat. I eat this whenever I just need a snack or if I'm late to work. I love this tasty snack !

I tried these for Thanksgiving and it was DISASTER!! I am not sure what went wrong, but after cooking, cooling, and then food-processing the cranberries, I could not get them to strain through the sieve at all. I kept adding water and finally managed to get a cup of of puree that was the color and consistency of ketchup. Everything else went fine, so I think that's where the problem originated. When I baked them, although they appeared set and cooked for 28-30 minutes, they were very runny when cool. Also tasted like lemon bars, with no cranberry flavor. And they were much more of a pepto-bismo hue than the pretty cranberry color in the picture. I actually may try this again since other people had such good results. I couldn't find graham flour either but used graham cracker crumbs from whole wheat, very lightly sweetened graham crackers, and that part was fine.

I accept the sweetened condensed milk because it creates that beautiful texture. Here's a variation on the crust inspired by Hungry Girl: 1 cup ground fiber one bran cereal 2 sheets of ground low fat honey graham crackers 4 tbsp brummel and brown/low fat butter spread .5 tsp vanilla extract .5 tsp salt 6 tsp splenda baking blend

The second time I made these I added 3 whipped up egg whites and folded them into filling. Much lighter....great texture.

This dessert was a big hit with my family members. For me, it was easy to prepare. I couldn't find the graham flour so I put graham crackers in my blender and made my own flour. By the way, for those of you could not find graham flour, Whole Foods sells it, but they didn't have any the day I wanted to purchase it.

Made this in pie form for Thanksgiving. Loved it! The color is spectacular.

These are okay, and a pretty color, but I probably won't make these again because of the extra steps with the cranberries when lemon bars taste almost exactly the same. I'm not a sweet freak, but they really needed a little something on top, like whipped cream. Please make them the day before you want to serve them, because they really need an overnight chill in the refrigerator to firm up. Glad I tried them, but not thrilled with the results.

This is a fabulous recipe! I took the suggestion of adding beaten egg whites, which made them a lighter pink than in the picture. If you had problems getting pulp through the sieve, did you use a sieve or a strainer? I used my mom's old canning sieve with the mallet and it strained through very well, leaving the thick pulp behind. I'm taking them to my book club tonight for treats and surely they will be a big hit!

I made these for Thanksgiving and they were a hit. My only complaint is all of the butter in the crust. Yeah, it tastes good but there must be something that would be a little healthier. I used wire-mesh sieve and a wooden spoon to push the cranberries through. Took some work but the results were nice. I also just ground up some graham crackers in the food processor instead of buying graham flour. I did end up baking the dessert about 10 minutes longer than suggested but my oven tends to run a little cold.

Did you really get 25 bars out of this? In a 8 in pan?

Can we make same thing with pumpkin??

I made these last night and followed the recipie, but I feel like the crust is too sweet and crisp for the cranberry curd. I'm going to try these again with a shortbread like crust, and double the cranberry filling on top to dust with powdered sugar. I love the pretty pink/purple color! Great plate for a tea party, holiday event, bake sale, or just to have as an easy snack!