Cranberry Crumble Tart with Cranberry Whipped Cream

cranberry shortbread crumble tart, sliced

Cranberry Crumble Tart with Cranberry Whipped Cream is a fabulous buttery shortbread crust filled with a tart cranberry filling. It goes from breakfast and brunch to holiday dessert with ease ~ isn’t it nice when a recipe cooperates like that?

a slice of cranberry shortbread tart topped with cranberry whipped cream

Here’s what you need to know about this cranberry tart

It’s an easy recipe that doesn’t require a whole lot of culinary know-how (i.e. even if you’re a klutz in the kitchen you can do this!)

Cranberries have a uniquely wonderful flavor that makes this a standout dessert; their famous tartness is a perfect contrast to the buttery shortbread, and the addition of vanilla adds a nice background note.

It’s laid back but fancy. It can go super casual, breakfast style, or glammed up for Thanksgiving dessert.

Once you’ve mastered the basic idea, you’ll want to change it up in a million ways, and it will eventually become your signature recipe, too 😉

a slice of cranberry shortbread tart on a white plate

How do you make cranberry whipped cream?

The concept is simple, you’ll make a small amount of extra smooth cranberry puree and whip it up with heavy cream. Add sugar to counter the natural tartness of the berries.

  • Make cranberry puree: cook down cranberries in a pot until they break down and thicken.
  • Blend the cooked cranberries until smooth.
  • Add a few tablespoons to heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Whip until soft peaks form.
  • Use immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • See my Cranberry Whipped Cream post for all the details.

Cranberry whipped cream is thick, stable, and pipe-able, making it perfect for holiday desserts.

cranberry whipped cream in a jar

This tart is easy to make, and lovely to serve. I use a large cake spatula to remove the tart from the bottom of the pan because I think it looks so much nicer without the metal showing when I slice it. I’ll set it on a flat plate, or a cake stand for presentation.

It keeps well on the counter, overnight, and I love a small slice for breakfast…who wouldn’t?

cranberry shortbread crumble tart with slice removed

Variations on a cranberry shortbread crumble tart

  • Fresh or frozen cranberries can be used, but you cannot use dried cranberries.
  • The filling recipe as written is quite tart because I like it that way, but if you like things a little sweeter, increase the sugar. You might also try maple syrup.
  • White or brown sugar will work in the filling and in the crust.
  • Add some chopped walnuts or pecans to the crumble topping.
  • Add 1/4 cup rolled oats to the crumble topping.
  • Add the zest of an orange to the cooked cranberry filling.
  • Double down on the cranberry orange theme and make your dough with orange sugar. Find out how to make citrus sugars here.
  • If you don’t have a tart pan you can make this in a 9×9 baking pan. I recommend lining it with a parchment paper sling so you can lift it out for slicing.
  • Instead of cranberry whipped cream, why not serve this with a scoop of cranberry ice cream?
cranberry crumble tart, on a plate with fork




cranberry crumble tart on a white board

Recipes for all those fall cranberries

cranberry shortbread crumble tart, sliced
5 from 4 votes

Cranberry Crumble Tart

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sue Moran


  • 10 inch tart pan with removeable bottom


cranberry filling

  • 3 cups fresh cranberries (frozen are fine)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp Instant Clearjel or cornstarch

shortbread crumble

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (use almond if you prefer)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups all purpose flour


  • Preheat oven to 350F

Cranberry filling

  • Rinse your cranberries and add to a saucepan along with the brown sugar.
    cranberries and brown sugar in a saucepan
  • Bring up to a boil, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar. Cook for a few minutes to allow the cranberries to pop and release their juices. Sprinkle in the Instant Clearjel and continue to cook until thickened to a loose jam consistancy. Remove from heat and let cool. (The filling will continue to thicken as it cools.)
    cooked cranberries in a saucepan

Shortbread dough

  • Cream the soft butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the vanilla and salt. Note: it's important that your butter be at room temperature. I like to leave it out overnight when I know I'll be baking.
    making shortbread dough
  • Add the flour and continue beating, with your mixer on low, just until the mixture becomes crumbly and there are no dry patches of flour left.
    crumbled shortbread dough in tart pan
  • Take 2/3 of the dough and pat it into the bottom of your tart pan. I like to scatter the dough in crumbles across the bottom, and then start to pat it down. It helps to flour your fingers, or use the bottom of a metal measuring cup to tamp it down. Take the time to get the dough evenly distributed. Note: you're not looking to go up the sides of the pan with the dough, just to make an even flat layer.
    Shortbread crust pressed into tart pan
  • Spread the cranberry mixture evenly over the bottom crust.
    Cranberries on a tart crust
  • Take the remaining dough and break it apart with your fingers to make coarse crumbles. Crumble evenly over the cranberry filling. It's ok if some of the cranberries show through.
  • Set the tart pan on a baking sheet, and bake in the preheated oven for about 35 minutes, or until the top is just starting to turn pale golden. I sometimes lay a sheet of foil loosely over the top for the second half of baking so it doesn't brown too much.
  • Let the tart cool for 15 minutes on a rack before releasing the bottom from the sides. Finish cooling on the rack.
  • Serve with cranberry whipped cream, recipe here.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    November 23, 2021 at 9:30 am

    Hi Sue, I was wondering if I could make the crumble and cranberry mix separate and save to bake the next day? I would line the pan with the shortbread crust but keep the filling and topping off and then bake in the morning so everything is crispy on top. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      November 23, 2021 at 10:18 am

      Yes, that would work fine. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Reply
    Suzanne G
    November 23, 2021 at 9:27 am

    5 stars
    I made this for my family a couple of weeks ago – the fresh cranberries were so good- all of the flavors were amazing – we could taste the cranberries, vanilla in the crust and almonds – sharing with friends for Thanksgiving- my husband loved it so much he asked me to bring it to our Thanksgiving celebration with friends! This recipe sounded complicated but was so easy and sliced perfectly!

  • Reply
    Diane M
    December 19, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    I plan on making this delicious looking tart for Christmas and was wondering if I can cook up the cranberries the day before making the dough and then use the cold cranberries when assembling the tart. I am really anxious to try your recipe.
    Merry Christmas!

    • Reply
      December 19, 2020 at 1:37 pm

      Yes, you can do that, for sure!

  • Reply
    November 27, 2020 at 3:29 pm

    Sorry, also meant to ask if i use cornstarch, do i add it earlier or at the same time as your recipe adds the clearjel?


    • Reply
      November 27, 2020 at 4:17 pm

      You can add it at the same time, be sure to sprinkle it slowly and stir well to prevent lumps. Sometimes I’ll sift it in.

  • Reply
    November 27, 2020 at 3:23 pm

    Sue, if i want to use white sugar for filling and don’t want it to be too tart, would you do 2/3 or 3/4 sugar? Or, what do you suggest? And how long should the filling cool before putting in tart shell? Thanks!!! Can’t wait to try this!

    • Reply
      November 27, 2020 at 4:18 pm

      I’d probably add 1/2 cup, but feel free to taste it, you’ll be able to get an idea right away if it’s too tart for you.

  • Reply
    November 23, 2020 at 3:29 pm

    5 stars
    This tart is delicious! I did need to add 1/4 cup liquid to the cranberries (I had cranberry juice on hand) but followed the recipe exactly otherwise. The tart is not quite sweet enough for my taste, so next time I will increase the sugar when using cranberries, but I will also make this again using blueberries and keep the sugar amount the same. Its such an easy recipe, I can think of many different fruit combinations that would work well with it. I used a 9″ spring form pan and baked for 40 minutes. Perfection.

  • Reply
    Andrea Kepner
    November 23, 2020 at 11:08 am

    What do you think about cooking this a day ahead of time? Will it ruin the warm crumble?

    • Reply
      November 23, 2020 at 12:22 pm

      You can keep it overnight, on the counter, loosely covered. The crumble gets a little softer, but it’s still good.

  • Reply
    November 22, 2020 at 1:51 am

    I made this yesterday, just delicious! I wondered about the lack of liquid when cooking the cranberries, so added a few tablespoons, and it came out perfectly. I live in cranberry country in southeastern Massachusetts, so get them especially fresh.

  • Reply
    November 20, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    Could I make this in a 9″ tart pan? Thank you!

    • Reply
      November 20, 2020 at 3:07 pm

      Yes you can!

  • Reply
    Shawnie Mae
    November 20, 2020 at 9:16 am

    Would raspberry cranberry combination work for the filling

    • Reply
      November 20, 2020 at 10:00 am

      Yes, definitely! I would add the raspberries with the cranberries and cook the filling in the same way. Cranberries have a lot of natural pectin in them and they tend to thicken up quite a bit when cooked, so the raspberries might make the filling a little bit looser. You can always cook the filling down a little longer or add a bit of cornstarch to help thicken it. My Raspberry Chambord Squares recipe is a similar idea using raspberries, too.

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