Cranberry Lemon Bars

Cranberry Lemon Bars – Tart layers of cranberry and lemon curd on a vanilla crust. It’s as fabulous to eat as it looks.

A stack of three cranberry lemon bars on an etched glass plate. The bottom and top layers are parallel with the bottom of the photo. The middle layer is at a 45 degree angle. The crust is a cream color and contrasts with eht bright red cranberry layer. The yellow lemon layer is a botu as thick as the cranberry layer.

I’ve been baking for the homeless when I can. These bars were originally intended to be a treat for them but they didn’t last.

It’s a New York times recipe originally but readers said the lemon layer was too thin. I’ve adjusted the recipe so there is plenty of lemon goodness to go around.

Two Cranberry Lemon Bars are stacked on top of each other on an etched glass plate. The bottom bar is parallel with the plate. The bar on top is at a 45 degree angle. The cream colored crust stands in sharp contrast to the bright red cranberry layer and bright yellow lemon layer. There are some spots of red on the top of the lemon layer. The background is black.

Fortunately, a friend of mine has a lemon tree and gave me four large lemons. I’m jealous. My lemon trees haven’t produced any lemons yet. But I will have a bumper crop of grapefruit again this year.

The recipe makes a LOT of cranberry lemon bars. I brought some of these to a friend’s house and as much as we loved them, we only ate about one fourth of the pan.

So I took some more to my hairdresser, Brittney, when I got my hair done today. The ladies at the salon said they were amazing so now I’m here to share them with you.

Yield: 24 bars

Cranberry Lemon Bars

Cranberry Lemon Bars
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours


Cranberry Layer

  • 1 (12-ounce/340-gram) bag fresh or frozen cranberries
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar ( 150 grams)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • zest of 2 large lemons


  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (190 grams)
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar (65 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup  unsalted butter, melted and cooled (170 grams)

Lemon Layer

  • Zest of 2 large lemons
  • juice of 4 large lemons (1 cup)
  • 2  cups  granulated sugar (400 grams)
  • ½ cup  all-purpose flour (60 grams)
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature


Cranberry Layer

  1. Start preparing the cranberry layer: Combine the cranberries, sugar and water in a medium saucepan.
  2. Zest 2 of the lemons directly into the saucepan; reserve the lemons.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Continue boiling, stirring occasionally, until the berries burst and the mixture is jammy, 7 to 9 minutes. Remove from the heat and reserve


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Generously coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  3. Whisk the flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk the vanilla into the butter, then pour over the flour mixture.
  4. Stir until the dough comes together in a mass. Press into an even layer in the prepared pan.
  5. Bake until golden brown around the edges and dry and golden on top, 17 to 20 minutes.

Lemon Layer

  1. Zest 2 more lemons. Squeeze the juice from all four zested lemons. You should have 1 cup. You may need another lemon.
  2. Whisk the sugar, flour and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Add the eggs and lemon juice. Whisk just until smooth.
  4. Let the crust cool for 5 minutes, then spread the cranberry mixture evenly over the crust.
  5. Carefully and slowly pour the lemon mixture on
    top to create two distinct layers. (You will likely have some mixing. Don't worry)
  6. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is set, about 30 minutes.
  7. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, then refrigerate until cold and firm, at least 2 hours. Cut into 24 squares, wiping your knife between cuts for clean slices.
  8. If desired, sift confectioners’ sugar over the tops just before serving.


The original recipe suggested lining the pan with foil to facilitate lifting the bars out of the pan. I lined the pan with parchment paper. It does make lifting the bars out easier but I've also baked lemon bars for years without lining the pan.


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