Cranberry Walnut Shortbread Bars

Cranberry Walnut Shortbread Bars

Cranberry Walnut Shortbread Bars are an unbeatable combination of buttery walnut shortbread and tart homemade cranberry curd. These cranberry bars are the first thing I make when I spot cranberries in the supermarket!

Cranberry Walnut Shortbread Bars

Cranberry walnut shortbread bars are amazing!!

I don’t know what I’m more excited about today, these Cranberry Walnut Shortbread Bars themselves, or the tangy homemade cranberry curd tucked inside. They’re homey and comforting but just different enough to be extra special,  I’m really happy with the recipe. The curd filling is bright and tart, the walnut shortbread crust is buttery and soft, and the topping is, well, nutty. It’s so good, this is a must try recipe.

Cranberry Walnut Shortbread Bars made with fresh cranberry curd

Homemade cranberry curd is easy to make in the microwave!

The cranberry curd is made with my favorite easy microwave method and it turns out gorgeously thick and glossy. If you love lemon curd and lemon bars, you will love these. Cranberries bring a similar tartness along with their distinctive berry flavor, and nothing can touch that color.

Cranberry Walnut Shortbread Bars and a recipe for homemade cranberry curd

Fill your freezer with fresh cranberries while you can!

This is just one of the many reasons to stockpile lots of bags of cranberries now for use through the winter. Trust me on this, I’m going to be tempting you with cranberry goodies in February, and you’ll be upset if you can’t join in…

Homemade Microwave Cranberry Curd

Most curds are made with juice, but I use a puree of fresh cranberries

Add a little sugar and some eggs, then about 3 minutes of microwaving, and, voila! You can also do it on the stove top if you like. One standard bag of cranberries will make two batches of this curd, so you can use one for the bars, and save the other for your morning toast and scones.

You are going to LICK the bowl clean.

Canberry Walnut Shortbread Bars made with a bright zingy homemade cranberry curd

The walnut shortbread dough is used for the crust and crumble topping

The fact that the bottom crust and crumble topping are the same dough makes this recipe so easy. I load it with nuts for an extra ‘walnutty’ flavor. Then I shower the whole thing with a layer of more nuts just before baking, which gives every bite a little crunch.

Bring the whole batch to a party, or a neighbor…or wrap one or two squares in waxed paper for a long day of work or travel. They’re mainstream enough to please everybody, but just different enough to elicit wows. They are going on my personal list of favorite recipes, I adore them.

Cranberry Walnut Shortbread Bars filled with a tangy homemade cranberry curd

More recipes that feature fresh cranberries ~

Canberry Walnut Shortbread Bars made with a bright zingy homemade cranberry curd
4.07 from 44 votes

Cranberry Walnut Shortbread Bars

Cranberry Walnut Shortbread Bars are an unbeatable combination of buttery walnut shortbread and tart homemade cranberry curd.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Yield 9 -12 servings
Author Sue Moran


  • 1 heaping cup walnuts plus a few extra for topping
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour play around with whole wheat if you like
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 good cup cranberry curd recipe here


  • Set oven to 375F
  • lightly grease and line a 9×9 square baking pan with a parchment ‘sling’ so you will be able to life the bars out after baking to cut them cleanly.
  • Put the walnuts in a food processor and pulse several times until they are finely chopped. Divide the ground nuts in half, and set aside.
  • Put the flour and sugars in the processor and pulse to combine. Add in the soft butter, in pieces, as well as as HALF of the nuts. Process briefly to bring the dough together, until there is no more dry flour left. The mixture will have a coarse crumble texture.
  • Measure out 1/2 cup of the dough and set it aside for the topping. Pat the rest of the dough into the bottom of the pan. Use your fingers to distribute the dough evenly. Cover the entire surface of the bottom…if you need a little extra take it from the reserved dough.
  • Bake the crust for 15 minutes.
  • Mix the reserved dough with the nuts, using your fingers to make a coarse crumble.
  • Spread the cranberry curd out over the warm crust. Be careful, the dough will be soft.
  • Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the top. If you like you can sprinkle a few more finely chopped walnuts over that.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool before cutting.

Cook’s notes

  • The walnut shortbread crumble dough is particularly wonderful, so if you don’t have time to make the cranberry curd, you could certainly fill this with something else like store bought lemon curd, or jam, etc.
  • I like to store these at room temperature, under loose foil.  Plastic tends to make them soggy.  Bars like this are at their very best the same day.
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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    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2020 at 6:36 am

    5 stars
    Sue, thanks for another excellent recipe. These are outstanding. I substituted pecans for the walnuts and it turned out perfect.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2020 at 10:27 am

    Looks great & fortunately I live in “Cranberry Country”!! Excited to make HOWEVER could I bake this in a fluted tart pan 9” with removable bottom??

    • Reply
      November 11, 2020 at 11:28 am

      Yes, that will work nicely. I’ve got a pretty cranberry tart baked like that coming up soon, so stay tuned!

  • Reply
    Cher Merriman
    October 30, 2020 at 7:29 pm

    Sue, I can’t eat walnuts but I’m sure pecans should be good in this recipe as well.
    Right now though, I have plenty of macadamia nuts; do you think they would work?

    • Reply
      October 31, 2020 at 5:42 am

      Yes, for sure, I even have a lemon macadamia version of these bars way back in the archives!

  • Reply
    October 29, 2020 at 5:11 pm

    I love anything with shortbread – these will be delicious with the cranberry curd. I’d never have thought to make cranberry curd and am excited to have 2 bags of cranberries in the freezer – guess what I’m making tomorrow! Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply
    Anne Johanson
    October 29, 2020 at 6:46 am

    5 stars
    Hello Sue.
    I love your blog, always feel they are manageable, exciting and worth trying.
    Now, these cranberry squares, can they be made gluten-free?, and of so, what flour would you use?

    • Reply
      October 29, 2020 at 6:48 am

      Yes, you can substitute a good gf baking mix (like Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur) for the flour and it should be fine.

      • Reply
        October 29, 2020 at 7:33 am

        5 stars
        Thank you so much, will sure try that

  • Reply
    October 29, 2020 at 6:29 am

    Sue, what is the shortbread recipe you use over and over again

    • Reply
      October 29, 2020 at 6:45 am

      It’s a basic recipe I use in my crumble bars, but each time it’s tweaked a little bit. I’ve done so many I’m not sure which one started it all. If you search ‘crumble bars’ you’ll find a lot of examples!

  • Reply
    October 19, 2020 at 9:42 am

    I can’t get the cranberry curd recipe!!

  • Reply
    November 9, 2019 at 11:19 am

    The recipe looks delicious and I cannot wait to try. Do you think these would freeze well or will bottom crust become too moist? Thank you!

    • Reply
      November 9, 2019 at 11:45 am

      I think they’d freeze fine, after baking.

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