Cranberry Oat Bars


cranberry oat bars cut into triangles

These bars are one part cookie, and one part granola bar. And they’re one of the best homemade bars…or whatever you want to call them…I’ve ever made.

side view cranberry oat bar

They’re chewy and caramel-y and earthy and studded with tangy, dried cranberries.

single cranberry oat bar

The bottom and sides are just a wee bit crisp.

golden bottom of bar cookie

And they couldn’t be easier to make. Think Rice Krispie treat, but with oats instead of rice cereal, and a sweet buttery mixture instead of marshmallow.

The only difference? These get baked.

They’re based on a recipe published in Bon Appetit magazine by the fabulous Molly Wizenberg of Orangette. The recipe is British, and was originally called flapjacks (which in England, are cookies, not pancakes). Read Wizenberg’s full article on them here.

warm bars up close

I used dark brown sugar instead of light brown, and tossed in a mess of sweetened, dried cranberries. They were great the day that I made them, and even better the next day.

Be sure to use quick cooking oats

Use quick-cooking oats for this recipe. Not instant. Not old-fashioned.

raw oats

What is Lyle’s Golden Syrup?

This stuff. It was originally made by Abraham Lyle in the 1880s, and it’s delicious.

lyles golden syrup

It’s about the consistency of maple syrup or warm honey. It has a golden color, and a wonderful, light caramel flavor. (It’s really good on pancakes.)

lyles golden syrup in a measuring cup

It comes in a can, or a plastic squeeze bottle. (I prefer the bottle. It’s less messy.)

bottle of lyles golden syrup

In America, you used to be able to only find it in gourmet shops. Over the last few years, however, more and more mainstream markets have been stocking it. I got my bottle at my local Stop & Shop. If you can’t find it in your area, check a Whole Foods, or order it online.

Cranberry Oat Bars

Adapted from Molly Wizenberg

8 Tbls. butter (that’s 1 stick)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup golden syrup
2 1/3 cups quick-cooking oats (NOT instant or old-fashioned)
3/4 cup sweetened, dried cranberries (a.k.a. Craisins)
Pinch of salt

Yields 8-16 bars, depending on how small you cut them

Prep your pan

Lightly grease an 8-inch x 8-inch baking pan. Line with a square of parchment paper, so that the paper is hanging over the sides. (This makes air-lifting out the baked bars a lot easier.) Set it aside. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

parchment lined baking pan

Make the bar cookie mixture

Measure your brown sugar out (pack it down in the measuring cup with a spoon). Toss the sugar in a medium-sized pot.

packed brown sugar

Add the butter and the golden syrup.

drizzle of lyles syrup

Set the heat on medium. Whisk constantly as the butter and sugar melt.

butter sugar and syrup in a pot

Keep whisking until you have a uniform paste, like this. (You’re not cooking the mixture, at this point. You just want to melt the ingredients together.)

melted butter and sugar mixture

Remove the pot from the heat. Toss in the oats and the salt.

add the oats to the mixture

And the dried cranberries.

cranberries and oats in a pot

Stir until the oats and cranberries are coated and the mixture is uniform.

granola bar mixture

granola bar mixture in pot

Scoop out into your prepared pan.

pour granola bar into pan

The mixture will be sticky, but kind of loose. That’s just fine.

raw granola bar mixture

Smoosh the mixture down with the back of a spoon until the surface is flat and firm.

press the oats with a spoon

pressed granola bars in pan

Be sure to press down all the corners, too. You want it dense when it goes into the oven so it stays together.

baked oatmeal cranberry bar

Bake, cut, and cool the bars

Pop the pan into your preheated, 350-degree oven for about 25 minutes, or until the edges are light brown and it smells nice and toasty.

pan of baked cranberry oatmeal bars

brown corner of granola bar

Cool it in the pan on a rack for about 5 minutes. Then cut them. Slice into four squares.

cut into a cross

If you want 8 large triangles, cut an “x” connecting the corners. (If you want 16 smaller triangles, cut each square in an “x”.)

cut an x on top of the cross

Let the bars cool completely in the pan. (They’ll kind of fall apart until they cool.) When they’re cool, break them apart to serve. You can leave the bars in the pan, or lift them out by the parchment paper.

pan of warm bars


pan of cranberry oat bars

crunchy chewy bottom

macro cranberry oat bar

Previous articleThe Winner of our Pasta Party Giveaway!
Next articleGreen Almonds
Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.


  1. I made these over a month ago, and I loved them! I didn’t add any kind of “extras”, so I’m glad you did and posted about it. They are super easy, and I think would be fun with craisins, and maybe even some sliced walnuts. Great photos…makes me want them all over again.

  2. Sherri! Use Roger’s Golden Syrup if you can find it! Canadian product that is EXACTLY the same as Lyle’s!

    These look great – looking forward to trying them!!

  3. Dear Jessie,

    The Hungry Mouse really caught my attention because I am eager to try all of your mouth watering baked good recipes and look forward to your daily blogs. I am so exited to try the maple glazed doughnut hole recipe. I’m writing from, a property owned by Scripps Networks (who operates HGTV and The Food Network) to share with you news about a new contest we’re running, which your readers might want to learn about and enter.

    Last week, launched the Summer Sweets Recipe contest, hosted by our style director, Emily Schuman, the award-winning blogger behind Readers are invited to enter by submitting the recipe for their favorite sweet treat for summer. Ms. Schuman will select the winner, who will receive a KitchenAid Mixer and be featured on our site over the summer.

    In our last contest, Ms. Schuman selected six winners, each of whom received a pair of Hunter Boots in their favorite color. We received over 1800 entries in 3 weeks. We believe the KitchenAid giveaway is the kind of event that will get your readers excited about baking for the summer, and spur conversation.

    We’d be delighted if you shared this news with your readers.

    Thanks, and I would love to hear your thoughts. Please email me at [email protected].


  4. I usually buy such to have a quick snack at work. Now I’m gonna prepare them at home! Much more healthier and at least I’ll know whats in it ;). Looks delicious! Thanks for recipe and great step-by-step photo instructions!

  5. Reading this kind of upset me! Not because I despise oats or granola or cranberries or any such nonsense, but because I realized this is the same recipe I’d just made (seriously, five minutes before reading this) that I got from a different cooking blog where the author had said she’d come up with it and gave no credit to any one else. I had thanked her for sharing “her” wonderful recipe just about a minute before finding this post in my inbox. I actually did see this recipe in Bon Appetit but didn’t figure I’d make it b/c I’ve never seen golden syrup for sale here. But the recipe I followed, she used half corn syrup, half honey (which works well) and I really didn’t recall her recipe being similar to the flapjacks recipe because I didn’t equate it with homemade granola bars. But it’s the same, even the instructions are the same, the only difference being her change of syrup. Well, I want to thank you for giving credit where it was due. Your photos are amazing and since I have some dried cranberries sitting in the cupboard, I think I’ll try them out here!

  6. Greetings. I have enjoyed your site for several months now. As did the commenter above, I saw the recipe in Bon Appetite. I passed on it because I doubted finding Lyle’s Golden Syrup locally. However, after seeing this on your blog, along with the great pictures, I determined to buy the syrup even if I had to order it. Lo, and behold, I was able to purchase Lyle’s in my favorite supermarket. I have made the recipe 3 times now. My wife and grown daughter have helped me consume each batch quickly! I heartily second your use of parchment paper. I like less dried fruit, and so have settled on 1/3 cup dried cranberries.

  7. I tried this with Maple syrup (used the real stuff, not Aunt Jemima’s) and it tasted delicious. I did have a problem with them staying together but I probably didn’t wait long enough to take them out of the pan (they smelled good and I was too impatient). It turned into crumbles which I ate like granola but if I had put the bars in the fridge they probably would have worked out perfectly.

  8. I tried these with the cranberries, but I added sliced almonds. They were fantastic, and my family is addicted to them. I will be making them again, and I plan to go for whole almonds instead because of the crunch, and maybe add in some other goodies. It is a very versatile recipe with what you can throw in it. But, I found that I had to wait about 20 minutes before mine were able to cut, and they didn’t harden completely for about 30 minutes.

  9. Just found this site, great recipes! Really want to try this cranberry oat bar one, can I use regular honey instead of the golden syrup? Or I guess I can hold off till I go next time to the store and see if they have the golden syrup there.

  10. This is amazing!
    I substituted the Golden syrup for Maple (I have a soft spot, part of being Canadian I guess haha), and instead of using cranberries I used a mixture of chocolate chips, pecans and walnuts. What a delightful recipe, another wonder from the Hungry Mouse.
    Thank you for being awesome, we love the photo-walk through’s and recipes at our home (it really appeals to my fiance as he needs the visuals) and well, anyone who loves good food is a winner to us.