Sour Cream Cranberry Bars Recipe

This scrumptious sour cream cranberry bars recipe is a delightful twist on a classic dessert. It's a perfect blend of tart cranberries and smooth sour cream nestled between layers of sweet, crumbly oat crust. Its vibrant colors and flavors will make it a hit at any gathering.

Sour Cream Cranberry Bars Recipe

Photos of Sour Cream Cranberry Bars Recipe

Most of the ingredients for this recipe are pretty standard and you should be able to find them in your pantry. However, one ingredient you might need to look out for is dried cranberries. They are typically found in the dried fruit or baking aisle at the supermarket. Fresh cranberries, while seasonal, can usually be found in the produce section when in season. If out of season, check the frozen section.

Ingredients for Sour Cream Cranberry Bars

Butter: Adds richness and helps bind the oat crust.

Brown sugar: Gives sweetness and a slight molasses flavor to the oat crust.

Quick-cooking oats: Acts as the main component of the crust.

Flour: Helps to bind the ingredients together.

Sour cream: Gives the filling a smooth and rich texture.

Sugar: Sweetens the sour cream filling.

Dried cranberries: Adds a chewy texture and sweet-tart flavor to the filling.

Fresh cranberries: Provides tartness to balance the sweetness.

Egg: Helps to set the filling.

Lemon: Adds a fresh and citrusy flavor.

Lemon juice: Enhances the flavor of the cranberries.

One reader, Latisha William says:

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These sour cream cranberry bars are a delightful treat! The combination of sweet and tangy flavors is simply irresistible. The creamy texture of the sour cream perfectly complements the tartness of the cranberries. A must-try for anyone with a sweet tooth!

Latisha William

Techniques Required for Making Sour Cream Cranberry Bars

How to prepare the crust: Combine the butter and brown sugar, then mix in the oats and flour until well combined. Set aside 1½ cups of the mixture for the topping and press the remaining mixture into an ungreased 9x13-inch pan. Bake for 12 minutes.

How to prepare the filling: In a small bowl, combine the sugar, sour cream, cranberries, egg, flour, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Mix until well combined.

How to assemble the bars: Spread the filling over the baked crust, then sprinkle with the reserved topping. Bake for an additional 23 to 26 minutes or until lightly browned.

How to cool and cut the bars: Allow the bars to cool completely, then cut them into squares before serving.

How To Make Sour Cream Cranberry Bars

These cranberry bars are made with oats, layered, and baked with a mixture of sour cream, lemon juice, and lime zest for a sweet, fruity dessert.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 35 minutes
Total: 50 minutes



  • 1cupbutter,softened
  • 1cupbrown sugar,packed
  • 2cupsquick-cooking oats
  • cupsflour

For Filling:

  • 1cupsour cream
  • ¾cupsugar
  • cupsdried cranberries
  • 2cupsfresh cranberries
  • 1egg
  • 2tbspflour
  • 1lemon,zested
  • 2tsplemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Cream together butter and brown sugar. Add oats and flour and mix until well combined.

  3. Set aside 1½ cups of oat mixture for topping. Press the remaining mixture into an ungreased 9×13-inch pan. Bake for 12 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, combine sugar, sour cream, cranberries, egg, flour, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small bowl.

  5. Spread over crust. Sprinkle with reserved topping. Bake for an additional 23 to 26 minutes or until lightly browned.

  6. Cool completely and cut into squares.


  • Calories: 294.89kcal
  • Fat: 13.00g
  • Saturated Fat: 7.44g
  • Trans Fat: 0.37g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 3.42g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.99g
  • Carbohydrates: 42.19g
  • Fiber: 3.03g
  • Sugar: 21.33g
  • Protein: 4.38g
  • Cholesterol: 38.38mg
  • Sodium: 12.88mg
  • Calcium: 35.19mg
  • Potassium: 127.00mg
  • Iron: 1.06mg
  • Vitamin A: 101.67µg
  • Vitamin C: 3.32mg

Technique Tip for Perfecting Sour Cream Cranberry Bars

When preparing the oat mixture for the crust and topping, it's important to ensure that the butter is fully incorporated into the dry ingredients. This will create a crumbly texture that's perfect for a bar crust. If the mixture seems too dry, add a bit more butter until it reaches the desired consistency. Additionally, when pressing the mixture into the pan, apply even pressure to create a uniform crust. This will ensure that the bars bake evenly and have a consistent texture throughout.

Time-Saving Tips for Making This Delicious Recipe

Prep ahead: Prepare the oat and flour mixture the night before and store it in an airtight container to save time on the day of baking.

Use store-bought crust: If you're short on time, consider using a pre-made crust instead of making it from scratch.

Organize ingredients: Before you start, gather all the ingredients and measure them out. This will streamline the cooking process and prevent any last-minute scrambling.

Bake in batches: If you need to make a large quantity, consider baking the bars in batches to ensure even cooking and save time.

Invest in quality tools: Quality kitchen tools can make the cooking process more efficient, so consider investing in good quality baking pans and utensils.

Pre-cut bars: Once the bars are cooled, pre-cut them into squares before serving to save time during serving.

Substitute Ingredients For Sour Cream Cranberry Bars Recipe

  • sour cream - Substitute with Greek yogurt: Greek yogurt has a similar tanginess and creaminess to sour cream, making it a suitable substitute in this recipe.

  • fresh cranberries - Substitute with frozen cranberries: Frozen cranberries can be used as a substitute for fresh cranberries in this recipe, as they will still provide the tartness and flavor needed.

Best Way to Present These Delightful Cranberry Bars

  1. Elevate the plating: When presenting the sour cream cranberry bars, ensure that the bars are neatly arranged on the plate, with attention to symmetry and balance. The use of negative space can create a visually appealing presentation, allowing the colors and textures of the bars to stand out.

  2. Garnish with fresh cranberries: Add a pop of color and freshness to the plate by garnishing with a few fresh cranberries. Their vibrant red hue will contrast beautifully with the bars and add a touch of elegance to the presentation.

  3. Drizzle with a sour cream sauce: Create a delicate and artistic drizzle of sour cream sauce on the plate to add a touch of finesse. This not only enhances the visual appeal but also introduces an element of creaminess to complement the flavors of the bars.

  4. Dust with powdered sugar: Lightly dust the plate with a sprinkle of powdered sugar to add a hint of sweetness and a touch of sophistication to the presentation. The fine dusting will create a visually stunning effect and elevate the overall aesthetic.

  5. Incorporate edible flowers: Introduce a touch of whimsy and elegance by incorporating edible flowers into the presentation. Choose delicate blooms that complement the flavors, such as lavender or rose petals, to add a visually stunning and fragrant element to the dish.

  6. Use elegant serving ware: Select elegant and refined serving ware that complements the sophistication of the dish. Consider using fine china or glass plating to showcase the bars beautifully and elevate the overall dining experience.

Essential Tools for Making Sour Cream Cranberry Bars

  • Food processor: A food processor is a versatile kitchen appliance used for chopping, slicing, shredding, and pureeing a variety of ingredients. It can be used to prepare the oat mixture for the crust and topping in this recipe.
  • Mixing bowl: A mixing bowl is essential for combining ingredients and mixing the oat mixture for the crust and topping.
  • 9x13-inch pan: A 9x13-inch pan is used for baking the sour cream cranberry bars. It provides the perfect size and shape for the bars to bake evenly.
  • Small bowl: A small bowl is used for mixing the filling ingredients, such as sugar, sour cream, cranberries, egg, flour, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: Measuring cups and spoons are necessary for accurately measuring the ingredients, such as butter, brown sugar, oats, flour, sugar, and lemon juice, to ensure the success of the recipe.

How To Store and Freeze Sour Cream Cranberry Bars

  • Allow the sour cream cranberry bars to cool completely before storing or freezing. This will prevent condensation from forming and making the bars soggy.

  • To store, place the cooled bars in an airtight container or wrap them tightly with plastic wrap. They can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

  • If you want to freeze the bars, wrap them individually in plastic wrap and then place them in a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag. Label the container with the date and contents. Frozen sour cream cranberry bars can be stored for up to 3 months.

  • To thaw frozen bars, remove them from the freezer and let them sit at room temperature for about an hour. Alternatively, you can thaw them in the refrigerator overnight.

  • For best results, avoid freezing the bars multiple times. Repeated freezing and thawing can affect the texture and quality of the dessert.

  • If you notice any signs of spoilage, such as mold or an off smell, discard the bars immediately.

How To Reheat Leftover Sour Cream Cranberry Bars

  • To reheat leftover sour cream cranberry bars, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the bars on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Cover the bars loosely with foil to prevent them from drying out or browning too much. Heat the bars in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until they are warmed through.

  • Another option is to use the microwave. Place a single serving of the cranberry bars on a microwave-safe plate. Heat the bar in 15-second intervals, checking the temperature after each interval, until it reaches your desired warmth. Be careful not to overheat the bars, as this can cause the sour cream filling to become runny or the oat topping to become soggy.

  • For a crispy topping, you can also reheat the bars in a toaster oven. Preheat the toaster oven to 350°F (175°C) and place the bars on the wire rack. Heat the bars for 5-7 minutes, or until they are warmed through and the topping is crispy.

  • If you have a large batch of leftover bars, you can reheat them in a slow cooker. Place the bars in the slow cooker and cover with the lid. Set the slow cooker to low heat and warm the bars for 1-2 hours, or until they are heated through. This method is great for keeping the bars warm and moist for an extended period, making it perfect for potlucks or gatherings.

Random Fact About Sour Cream Cranberry Bars

Cranberries are one of the few fruits native to North America and were used by Native Americans for food, medicine, and dye.

Is Making Sour Cream Cranberry Bars at Home Economical?

The cost-effectiveness of this sour cream cranberry bars recipe largely depends on the availability and price of fresh cranberries. While the use of quick-cooking oats and sour cream may be budget-friendly, the cost of fresh cranberries can vary. Considering the overall ingredients and yield, this recipe could be rated a 7/10 for taste and versatility. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people would be around $15-$20, factoring in the price of fresh cranberries and other pantry staples.

Are Sour Cream Cranberry Bars Healthy or Unhealthy?

The sour cream cranberry bars recipe, while undeniably delicious, is not particularly healthy. The main concerns are:

  • High in saturated fat due to the significant amount of butter used
  • Substantial sugar content from both brown sugar and granulated sugar
  • Refined carbohydrates from the all-purpose flour
  • Minimal nutritional value from the ingredients overall

However, the recipe does include some redeeming qualities, such as the use of whole grain oats and the inclusion of fresh cranberries, which are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following modifications:

  • Replace half of the butter with a healthier alternative like Greek yogurt or mashed avocado
  • Reduce the amount of sugar used in both the crust and filling, or opt for a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup
  • Swap out half of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour or almond flour to increase fiber and nutrient content
  • Include additional fresh fruits, such as diced apples or pears, to boost the nutritional value and fiber content of the bars
  • Use reduced-fat sour cream or a non-dairy alternative like coconut cream to lower the saturated fat content

By making these adjustments, you can create a more balanced and nutritious treat that still satisfies your sweet tooth. Remember, moderation is key, and even with healthier ingredients, these bars should be enjoyed as an occasional indulgence rather than a daily snack.

Editor's Thoughts on the Sour Cream Cranberry Bars Recipe

This sour cream cranberry bars recipe offers a delightful blend of tart cranberries and creamy sour cream, creating a perfect balance of flavors. The buttery oat crust adds a satisfying crunch to each bite. The use of fresh and dried cranberries provides a contrast in texture, while the hint of lemon zest and juice adds a refreshing zing. The bars are easy to make and are a wonderful addition to any dessert spread, offering a unique twist on traditional fruit bars.

Enhance Your Sour Cream Cranberry Bars Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with a hint of roasted garlic, perfect for balancing the sweetness of the sour cream cranberry bars.
Grilled Asparagus with Lemon Zest: Tender asparagus grilled to perfection and topped with a zesty lemon zest, adding a refreshing and light side to complement the rich dessert.
Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tart: A savory tart filled with caramelized onions and tangy goat cheese, providing a contrast to the sweetness of the cranberry bars.

Alternative Recipes Similar to Sour Cream Cranberry Bars

Creamy Chicken Alfredo Pasta: This creamy and indulgent pasta dish is perfect for a cozy night in. The combination of tender chicken and rich alfredo sauce will leave you wanting more.
Berrylicious Fruit Salad: This refreshing fruit salad is bursting with a variety of fresh berries, making it the perfect healthy and colorful addition to any meal or gathering.
Savory Beef Stew: Warm up with a hearty and comforting beef stew that is packed with tender chunks of beef, hearty vegetables, and flavorful broth. It's the ultimate comfort food for chilly days.
Zesty Lemon Bars: Indulge in these tangy and sweet lemon bars that are bursting with citrus flavor. The buttery crust and zesty lemon filling make for a delightful treat that's perfect for any occasion.

Suggested Appetizers and Main Courses to Complement Sour Cream Cranberry Bars

Stuffed Mushrooms: Impress your guests with these savory and indulgent stuffed mushrooms. The combination of cream cheese, garlic, and herbs creates a rich and flavorful filling that pairs perfectly with the earthy mushrooms. These bite-sized appetizers are sure to be a hit at any gathering.
Spinach and Artichoke Dip: This creamy and cheesy spinach and artichoke dip is a classic crowd-pleaser. The blend of spinach, artichokes, and gooey melted cheese creates a decadent and irresistible dip that is perfect for scooping up with crunchy tortilla chips or warm bread. It's the ultimate comfort food appetizer for any occasion.
Main Courses:
Beef Stroganoff: Create a rich and creamy beef stroganoff that will tantalize your taste buds. Incorporate tender strips of beef, savory mushrooms, and a luscious sour cream sauce for a comforting and satisfying meal.
Chicken Alfredo: Craft a decadent chicken alfredo dish that will leave you craving for more. Combine succulent pieces of chicken with a velvety alfredo sauce, and serve over a bed of al dente pasta for a luxurious and indulgent dining experience.

Why trust this Sour Cream Cranberry Bars Recipe:

This recipe offers a delightful combination of sour cream, cranberries, and oats, creating a perfect balance of creamy, tangy, and sweet flavors. The use of fresh cranberries and dried cranberries adds a burst of fruity goodness, while the lemon juice and lemon zest provide a refreshing citrusy zing. With a buttery oat crust and a luscious sour cream filling, this recipe promises a delightful treat for any occasion.

Whip up a batch of these delightful Sour Cream Cranberry Bars and let us know how they turned out in the Baking and Desserts section of our forum!
What can I use as a substitute for fresh cranberries?
You can substitute fresh cranberries with frozen cranberries. Just make sure to thaw them before using in the recipe.
Can I use regular cream instead of sour cream?
I recommend using sour cream for its tangy flavor, but if you don't have sour cream on hand, you can use Greek yogurt as a substitute.
Can I use old-fashioned oats instead of quick-cooking oats?
Yes, you can use old-fashioned oats instead of quick-cooking oats. The texture may be slightly different, but it will still work well in the recipe.
Can I use a different fruit instead of cranberries?
While cranberries provide a tart flavor, you can experiment with other dried or fresh fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, or cherries for a different flavor profile.
Can I make these bars ahead of time?
Yes, these bars can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Just be sure to let them cool completely before storing.

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