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 from 41 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.
email sign up prompt

You Might Also Like


    Leave a Reply

    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.

  • Reply
    November 2, 2019 at 6:26 am

    the link for the curd doesn’t work for me

  • Reply
    February 19, 2019 at 10:47 am

    substitute almonds for walnuts?

    • Reply
      February 19, 2019 at 10:59 am

      Sure, that would be fine.

  • Reply
    December 26, 2018 at 7:55 am

    5 stars
    I love almost all things cranberry so had to give this a try. I made the microwave cranberry curd and it is amazing and easy! On to the shortbread—somehow my crust didn’t come across as a coarse crumble texture and I thought I had misread the recipe. I had not so I proceeded with baking the bottom layer. When it came out of the oven, it was so soft I couldn’t imagine being able to spread the cranberry curd. What to do—as I was distracted with a few other tasks the crust was cooling and when I got back to it was a perfect place for the cranberry curd. So I finished up the recipe and while I describe my version as more rustic than yours, the taste was wonderful and a hit with my guests. All this to say I love your site and recipes and my foodie friends at work have been introduced to you and we have all cooked several things. Happy New Year!

    • Reply
      December 26, 2018 at 10:23 am

      Thank you so much Debbie, I’m so glad to be a part of your foodie group ~ here’s hoping for an even better 2019 together 🙂

    • Reply
      January 21, 2019 at 3:24 pm

      5 stars
      These are incredible! I made them last night and will be adding to my favorites. The cranberry curd is to die for. I could eat it right out of the jar. 🙂

  • Reply
    David M.Dunn
    November 18, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    These look tasty and I will give them a try soon.
    I just visited you YouTube channel and that looks good, too. I hope you decide to add playlists to it. I’m convinced it will increase viewership as time goes by. I’m further convinced it will be easier to do the sooner you start, rather than later, and I hope you add lists that are more specific than most of your competitors. Combining everything like breads, biscuits, scones etc into one category like “naked goods” will make this site more difficult to use.
    Well, just my two cents.
    Oh, I subscribed, and I promise to share your work.

    • Reply
      November 18, 2018 at 1:01 pm

      Thanks David, I needed the youtube pep talk, it’s on my to do list!

  • Reply
    November 16, 2018 at 10:47 am

    I bought 3 large bags of cranberries yesterday from Sam’s for recipes such as these. I LOVE cranberries!!! Can’t wait to try them!

    • Reply
      November 16, 2018 at 12:13 pm

      I’m with you, wish we could get fresh cranberries year round!

  • Reply
    November 16, 2018 at 10:00 am

    5 stars
    Hi Sue
    I just wanted to say a big thank you for sharing all your great recipes. I live the UK and find the recipes work really well.


    • Reply
      November 16, 2018 at 10:20 am

      I’m really thrilled to hear that Anni ~ it’s a challenge to create recipes that span the two cultures and work for both.

  • Reply
    November 16, 2018 at 8:27 am

    Holiday’s winner !

  • Reply
    November 16, 2018 at 7:09 am

    5 stars
    Indulging! This is a very well worked recipe, Sue, thank you. I do shortbread bars, but I do not bake the crust. The way you do it gives a better whole baked bar. 10+!

    • Reply
      November 16, 2018 at 7:44 am

      Thanks Alexandra, this bar is based on one that I revive over and over every time I think of a new flavor profile, it’s so good!

  • Reply
    September 29, 2018 at 8:48 pm

    Can frozen cranberries be used? Thank you!

    • Reply
      September 29, 2018 at 8:51 pm

      Yes, that will work fine Dina.

  • Reply
    December 5, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Fab, fun, festive and SO delish! These look absolutely perfect for the holidays- cannot wait to try!

  • Reply
    October 16, 2017 at 9:53 am

    Sue, how about using Cranberry Butter in place of the curd? Will probably try it before you answer and will let you know how it turns out.

    • Reply
      October 16, 2017 at 10:23 am

      I think that’s a great idea, even cranberry sauce would work! let us know how yours goes 🙂

  • Reply
    December 17, 2015 at 10:43 am

    these look divine such great flavors

  • Reply
    Laura Dembowski
    December 17, 2015 at 10:15 am

    These look so good! I love that pop of cranberry color.

  • Reply
    December 11, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    This is such a creative (not to mention great-looking) recipe, Sue. I love the walnut shortbread itself because for me, the more nuts, the better! The homemade cranberry curd has such a gorgeous color and really makes it pop and so special for the holidays! What a treat.

    • Reply
      December 11, 2015 at 2:59 pm

      Thanks Monica, I really try to step up ingredients in my recipes so the flavor comes through — that’s what I did here, and it was so worth it, the walnut isn’t just a background note.

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    December 11, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    You’re right about eliciting wows Sue, they look amazing. And so pretty too!

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s+Recipes
    December 11, 2015 at 7:48 am

    mmm…I adore buttery, melt-in-mouth shortbread. These bars look terrific, Sue.

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    December 10, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    I’ve said it before – the way to my heart is a shortbread bar. These are beauties!

    • Reply
      December 11, 2015 at 7:45 am

      Mine too Laura!

  • Reply
    Jean |
    December 10, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    5 stars
    Sue, this is one of those rare recipes where I wouldn’t change a thing! Lovely! One of these and a strong cup of English breakfast tea would make me very happy indeed.

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    December 10, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    I love these, as cranberries are a favourite of mine! Love the quick cranberry curd. I’ve never tried it, so putting it on my to-do list 🙂

  • Reply
    Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
    December 10, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    These sound delicious Sue! Just got some cranberries and was trying to decide what to make! Love the shortbread too!

  • Reply
    December 10, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    This is just the sort of sweet treat my MIL would love. She recently moved in with us and I find myself looking to please! Thanks, GREG

    • Reply
      December 10, 2015 at 3:56 pm

      These will earn you LOTS of brownie points Greg 🙂

  • Reply
    December 10, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Your cranberry curd is amazing, I need to try it as soon as I can I love it, it’s perfect your those beautiful shortbread bars 🙂

  • Reply
    December 10, 2015 at 11:59 am

    Cranberries and walnuts.. I know I would like these bars 🙂

  • Reply
    December 10, 2015 at 11:02 am

    Well, I know what my Christmas dessert is going to be! I can’t wait to try these!

  • Reply
    Elizabeth (Silver's Reviews)
    December 10, 2015 at 10:50 am

    These look so SCRUMPTIOUS!!

    Thanks for sharing the recipe and the beautiful photos.

    Silver’s Reviews
    My Blog

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    December 10, 2015 at 8:53 am

    You are amazing! I think these must be the prettiest and most creative shortbread bars I’ve ever seen. LOVE walnuts and cranberries and shortbread – I am smitten!

  • Reply
    December 10, 2015 at 8:49 am


    I am soooo doing this, I can hardly stop thinking about it…. I made a raspberry bar the other day and loved it, but this, with homemade cranberry curd…. no, this is it, my friend. This is it!


  • Reply
    December 10, 2015 at 8:46 am

    Sue, I just love your blog and have made many of your recipes over the last year or so since finding it.
    I’m not a blogger and don’t usually leave comments on the blogs I read, but all these cookies & squares etc… are just sooooo tempting, especially coming into the holiday season.
    The reason I’m commenting now is – I’m wondering how I could make these recipes “wheat free” as my daughter has an major intolerance to wheat.
    Any help or guidance would be appreciated. Thanks a million.

    • Reply
      December 10, 2015 at 9:48 am

      Thanks for the nice words, Adrienne, I’m glad you finally commented! My oldest daughter recently converted to gluten free eating, and we have had good luck with the shortbreads substituting a good gluten free flour mix. She likes one from Costco, and I have the Bob’s Red Mill blend. The texture is definitely not the same, but in a case like this where there is a relatively small amount of flour, and lots of nuts, it should work. Hope that helps.

  • Reply
    December 10, 2015 at 8:15 am

    I can just taste them..your pb choco chip shortbread roll is in the fridge and the espresso one;) Baking today..rainy and gloomy here..

    • Reply
      December 10, 2015 at 8:18 am

      I kind of wish it were a little teeny bit gloomy here…this constant California sunshine makes it hard to get in the holiday mood!

  • Reply
    December 10, 2015 at 8:05 am

    Hi Sue, that’s it, I am going out today and loading up on fresh cranberries, this looks fabulous.

    • Reply
      December 10, 2015 at 8:14 am

      Cram your freezer full, Cheri 😉

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!

Grab my latest e-book

for free!

Subscribe to get first dibs on all my new recipes, plus extra subscriber only benefits!


You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

You have Successfully Subscribed!