Cranberry Bliss Bars

5 from 75 votes

Cranberry Bliss Bars have a thick and chewy blondie base with a pop of orange zest and dried cranberries, topped with creamy frosting. So good!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

If you’ve ever had the Cranberry Bliss Bars from Starbucks and wondered if you can make them at home, you’re going to love this homemade version! I actually think these cranberry bliss bars taste better than the Starbucks version, and you’ll be surprised how easy they are to make!

Cranberry bliss carbs stacked on top of each other on a small plate.
Want to save this recipe?
Just type your email below and I’ll send it to you. And as a bonus you’ll get delicious new recipes from me!

Cranberry bliss bars are a seasonal treat at Starbucks—but when you make them at home, it’s bliss bar season all year long!

If you’re looking for the perfect easy homemade treat to make for your office holiday potluck or gifting to friends and family, you’ve found it. With this bliss bar recipe, there’s no fussing with cookie cutters or decorating, and everyone will love the chewy, buttery blondie base and tart cranberries. Not to mention the cream cheese frosting!

Recipe At a Glance

Cuisine Inspiration: American
Primary Cooking Method: Oven
Dietary Info: Vegetarian
Key Flavor: Sweet and tangy
Skill Level: Easy


  • Starbucks Copycat: You can enjoy these bliss bars at home for a fraction of the cost (make a whole pain for less than 1 bar costs…)! These really do taste just like the Starbucks version—although I think they’re even better.
  • Easy to Make: These are basically frosted blondies; if you can make brownies, you’ll have no problems with this recipe. So many holiday treats take a lot of time and effort, but this is not one of them!
  • Customizable: You can tweak this recipe to your own tastes, adding or subtracting ingredients to make them your own. I share some ideas below too!
  • A Fun Holiday Treat: These bliss bars are a great treat for giving to friends and family or adding to your holiday dessert spread. Everyone will love them!

Ingredients to Make Cranberry Bliss Bars

Ingredients for recipe in individual bowls: cream cheese, powdered sugar, white chocolate chips, butter, melted butter, eggs, vanilla, spices, brown sugar, dried cranberries, orange zest, and flour.

For the Blondie Brownie Base

  • Light brown sugar: Light brown sugar is milder than dark brown, which has a stronger molasses flavor.
  • Orange zest: I like to use a microplane zester, which creates small shreds of zest that distribute more evenly into the batter.
  • Unsalted butter: Unsalted butter is always the go-to for baking, as it gives you more control over the flavor of the finished product.
  • Eggs: Let these come to room temperature.
  • Vanilla extract: I recommend pure vanilla extract, not imitation.
  • Flour: An everyday all-purpose flour is all you need here—nothing fancy!
  • Ground ginger: Ginger pairs well with both cranberries and orange; it’s a cozy spice perfect for holiday baking.
  • Baking soda: This helps the bars rise.
  • Cinnamon: Another warm spice we love for the holidays! Be sure the cinnamon is fragrant when you open the jar. Cinnamon doesn’t spoil, but it will lose its flavor and aroma over time.
  • Salt: To balance and enhance the overall flavor of the recipe.
  • Dried sweetened cranberries: AKA Craisins.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Cream cheese: Use the kind that comes in bars, not a tub.
  • Unsalted butter: For some extra richness in the frosting.
  • Confectioner’s sugar: Sift this first to make sure your frosting is smooth.
  • Vanilla extract: The perfect finishing touch for our frosting.

For Your Cranberry Topping

  • Dried sweetened cranberries: You’ll scatter these over the tops of the bars.
  • Orange zest: An optional topping for some extra orange flavor.
  • Skip the White Chocolate. White chocolate can be too sweet for many. If you are not a fan, skip it altogether, or swap in 1 cup of chopped roasted nuts instead.
  • Add Nuts. Speaking of nuts! They’re an excellent addition to cranberry bliss bars. Substitute roasted walnuts, pistachios, or pecans for part of the cranberries or white chocolate chips to add another layer of flavor to the mix. You could also skip the cranberries and orange zest on top and add chopped nuts instead.
  • Opt for a Drizzle Instead of Frosting. To lighten these up, you can skip the frosting and drizzle the tops with melted dark or white chocolate instead. If you do this, you’ll also be able to store your bliss bars at room temperature.
  • Mix-In Some Candied Ginger. Replace ⅓ cup of the cranberries with chopped candied ginger to add some extra holiday flavor to the blondie base.
Cranberry bliss bars on a flat surface with a small bowl of dried cranberries and fresh orange slices.

How to Make Cranberry Bliss Bars

When planning your baking, be sure to factor in the cooling time. During that 20 minutes, I like to clean up after making the first half of the recipe, then I gather the ingredients for the frosting and make that so it’s ready to go.

Make the Blondie Batter

  1. Use your hands to massage the orange zest into the brown sugar until it’s fragrant.
  2. Whisk the melted butter into the brown sugar, followed by the eggs.
  3. Add the vanilla to the brown sugar mixture; whisk that in too.
  4. Whisk all of the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then fold this mixture into the wet ingredients.
  5. Add the white chocolate chips and dried cranberries to the batter.
  6. Fold them in so they’re evenly distributed.
6 image collage making bar dough in a bowl: 1- hand massaging brown sugar and orange zest, 2- hand whisking sugar with melted butter being poured in, 3- after eggs are mixed in with vanilla added, 4- after folding in dry ingredients, 5- dried cranberries and white chocolate chips added 6- final dough.

Bake Your Cranberry Bars

  1. Scrape the batter into a parchment-lined baking pan.
  2. Bake until the edges are brown and a tester inserted into the center of the blondies comes out clean.
2 image collage of cookie base before and after baking.

Make the Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Add the cream cheese and butter to the bowl of a stand mixer and cream until they’re fluffy.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla, then beat until smooth.
  3. Spread the frosting over the cranberry bliss bars.
  4. Add the dried cranberries and orange zest.
4 image collage making recipe: 1- cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer before creaming, 2- after creaming with powdered sugar and vanilla added, 3- frosting spread on top of bar, 4- orange zest and dried cranberries on top.

Tips for Making the Best Starbucks Copycat Cranberry Bliss Bars

  1. Cool the Blondies Properly. I know it may be tempting to add the frosting right away, but it’s important that the bars have cooled down all the way. Otherwise, the frosting will not set up. 
  2. Don’t Skip Rubbing the Orange Zest With the Sugar. This is a technique used by pastry chefs, and it really works! By rubbing the zest with the sugar, you infuse all of the sugar with the oils from the orange, which means your cranberry bliss bars will have orange flavor throughout.
  3. Soften the Cream Cheese and Butter. I take them out of the fridge and put them on the counter as soon as I place the bars in the oven. This will help them mix smoothly into a creamy frosting.
  4. Make Clean Cuts. For perfect cranberry bliss bars, use a sharp chef’s knife to cut them and wipe the knife clean between each cut.

How to Store Cranberry Bliss Bars

Because these bars have cream cheese frosting, they need to be refrigerated. Store them wrapped in the pan or in an airtight container for up to 5 days!

Can I Freeze Cranberry Bliss Bars?

Yes, you can the bars without the cream cheese. Place in an airtight container or freezer bag with wax paper between the layers; they’ll keep up to 3 months. Let them thaw in the refrigerator before serving.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use low-fat cream cheese to make the frosting?

Yes, you can substitute low-fat cream cheese, but don’t substitute fat-free. The frosting won’t be quite as rich, but it will still be delicious!

How can I make gluten-free cranberry bliss bars?

Substitute the flour with a measure-for-measure gluten-free all-purpose flour blend to make these cranberry bliss bars gluten-free.

What’s the best way to cut the bliss bars?

Cranberry bliss bars can be cut into squares like a traditional blondie, or you can do it like Starbucks does and cut them into triangles. To do this, cut the bars width-wise so you have long “strips,” then cut each strip into triangles.

Hand holding a cranberry bliss bar up close above more bars.

With this recipe, you can make homemade cranberry bliss bars your holiday tradition. Or make them whenever the craving strikes!

More Dessert recipes:

If you try this feel good Cranberry Bliss Bars recipe or any other recipe on Feel Good Foodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. We would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots, share it on Instagram so we can repost on Stories!

preorder MY book

The Feel Good Foodie Cookbook is now available everywhere books are sold!

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Cranberry Bliss Bars have a thick and chewy blondie base with a pop of orange zest and dried cranberries, topped with creamy frosting. So good!
5 from 75 votes
Servings 24 bars
Course Dessert
Calories 278
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


For Blondie Base:

For Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Topping:

  • ½ cup chopped dried sweetened cranberries
  • orange zest if desired


  • Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a little excess on all four sides to easily remove the blondies once baked.
  • To make the blondies, add brown sugar to a large bowl. Add orange zest and massage the zest into the sugar with your fingers until it is very fragrant. Whisk in melted butter until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, then whisk in vanilla extract.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Use a rubber spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until no streaks of flour remain. Fold in the dried cranberries and white chocolate, then scrape batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges are slightly brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Set aside to cool for about 20 minutes, then carefully remove from the pan and set on a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Once the blondies have cooled completely, make the frosting. Add cream cheese and butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together at medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes or until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes more.
  • Spread the frosting all over the cooled blondies in an even layer. Add chopped cranberries on top and orange zest, if desired. Set in the fridge to cool for about 1 hour, then cut into 24 even triangles and serve


Calories: 278kcal, Carbohydrates: 43g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.4g, Cholesterol: 50mg, Sodium: 94mg, Potassium: 77mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 24g, Vitamin A: 444IU, Vitamin C: 0.4mg, Calcium: 44mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Dessert

Rate and comment

Recipe Rating


  1. I love your recipes but it is so difficult to follow because I live in Europe and we don’t use cups or sticks. What does it mean two sticks of butter? How much grams are it?
    Can’t you add the European measurements?
    Thank you

    1. Hello! Thank you so much! Unfortunately this is not something we can provide on our site because it’s not what we use internally. So we can use an automated system to calculate them but we cannot guarantee that it is accurate since it is not completed by a member of our team who knows the metric system. I think using online unit conversions could be a good option. I’m so sorry for the inconvenience. For this recipe, two sticks of butter is equal to 226 grams of butter.

See All Comments