Fresh Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies (with a tasty chocolate chip surprise!)

1 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup semisweet mini chips
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper*. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, vanilla and sugar. Add the egg, beat until fluffy. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, and oatmeal. Mix until well combined. Fold in cranberries** and chips. Place 1 tablespoon sized blobs of dough on the cookie sheet (about 1/2 inch apart) and bake for 12-14 minutes or until they look “set” and the bottoms are just brown. Carefully, remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: about 2 dozen cookies

*I’ve gotten some questions regarding parchment paper. To answer: yes, it is worth it. Repeat after me: “no clean up”.

**The cranberries might pop as you mix them in and make a scary sound. That’s okay, it doesn’t matter if they are whole anyway.

My thoughts:

I had some cranberries, 1 1/2 cups actually, leftover from making sauce and thought about making cookies. I did some searching and actually couldn’t find more than a couple (frankly, unappetizing) cookie recipes that used fresh cranberries. I am no stranger to baking with fresh cranberries, having made more muffins, bread, pancakes, crisps, and cakes than I can list here, so I found this odd. Dried cranberries might have the leg up because they are shelf stable and available year ’round but what about those months when you can use fresh cranberries? Do they not deserve cookies? I briefly wondered if there might be a reason why people aren’t making cookies with fresh cranberries but quickly dismissed it. All I needed was about 25 minutes and I’d have my answer, so why not experiment. And I am glad I did. Using fresh cranberries totally works! Of course, this is not a overly sweet cookie (although I was so excited about finding mini chips at the store*** yesterday, I tossed some in) due to the tart nature of the cranberry but sweet enough. And if you close your eyes and take a bite, between all the cranberries and the oatmeal, you can almost think of them as good for you.

***Hershey’s semisweet mini chips, which like it seems with all mini chips, are notoriously hard to find. If you’re local, Mars is a stronghold. Beyond that I buy them at Chocolate World. Guittard makes mini chips too or so I hear, but they aren’t available locally. You can substitute regular sized chips, but the mini ones are great, a tiny burst of chocolate in every bite, without being overpowering.


  1. If I already have a bag of cranberries in the freezer, can I use them frozen or should I let them thaw?

  2. oooh! these look yummy! I have half a bag of cranberries sitting on my counter that I wasn’t quite sure what to do with. I was thinking of making some sort of cranberry bread, but I think I’ll make these instead.

  3. I can’t believe you aren’t sick of cranberries yet!

    I agree – parchment paper is the best thing EVER! I got a huge roll from costco and it was much cheaper there.

  4. I am fresh cranberry (okay I love them dried too) and have been enjoying your recipes.

  5. Those look fabulous. I might have to try those this weekend!

  6. Kristyn: Keep them frozen!

  7. ok, I made these last night and, I have to say, these are some of the best cookies I’ve ever had. I really love cranberries so these were fantastic. They aren’t going to last long.

    Also, I wanted to let you know that there are mini chips (very, very mini! so cute!) made by nestle tollhouse as well.

  8. I love cranberries and these sound like a delicious cookie. I am thinking these might be really good with white chocolate chips too. The sweetness of the white chocolate would be a great foil for the tart berries.

  9. These sound delish, and I can’t wait to try the recipe (thanks, BTW!) – but what is vanilla paste, and where do you buy it? If I don’t have it, can I use regular vanilla extract instead?

  10. Vanilla paste is sort of like thick extract with vanilla seeds in it. You can sub extract. It is sold at pretty much any place that has a large baking selection.

  11. Okay, I tried these this weekend with some cranberries I had in the freezer. I added some walnuts (just because) and baked them as bar cookies in my nifty new Bakers Edge pan, but we’re all agreed–yummy! Thanks for the recipe.

    I posted a picture here.

  12. They look and sound delicious!. A seasonal twist on a classic.

  13. These look great! Hm, all of our markets carry mini chips, I use them a lot. We must just be lucky in mini chip heaven over here!

  14. Those look so yummy. I have some cranberries left so I’m going to try these. Just tonight I made cranberry bread pudding that is absolutely delicious. Thanks for another great idea for them.

  15. Love, love love cranberries. These cookies look wonderful!

  16. parchment does save cookies and cookie sheets…. have you used silpat before? i swear by it.

    cranberry is one of my fave ingredients(especially muffins)…and i am adding this to my cooking list for holiday baking! YUM!

  17. I made these last night with regular vanilla extract and regular chips and they turned out wonderful — tart and sweet and addictive. See here.

  18. Susan from Food Blogga

    I just bought a 3 lb bag of cranberries for Thanksgiving, so I’ll lots of leftovers, which is fine with me. I’d love to make these cookies. Sweet and tart sounds fantastic!

  19. These look incredible. I’m such a cranberry fan, I have to make these soon! My son and I will be the only ones willing to eat them, though, but that’s even better for me.

    PS: The Silicone Wonder Mat by Tupperware is fantastic. Works just as well as parchment, without having to buy it over and over again. Something to think about after you get your discount privileges.

  20. Great recipe. I didn’t have the chips, but I did have plain M&M’s, so I crushed them in a baggie with a rolling pin and added to the dough. Delicious! I love anything made with cranberries.

  21. Hi Rachel, thanks for this post! I googled it and found you last night and made these because I overbought on cranberries this year. Your recipe is wonderful and very balanced tart and sweet, with delicious cranberry goodness bursting in your mouth with every bite!.

    I have two more bags of berries to use and was thinking of making a pudding, but now you’ve got me reconsidering that idea… keep up the good work. 🙂

  22. This recipe is absolutely wonderful! It makes me feel good to eat one or two cookies knowing that the batch only has 4 Tbs of butter. I found it difficult to find recipes for fresh cranberries and so appreciate this one entirely.

    Also, I omitted the chocolate and added 1/2 cup chopped walnuts to make a delectable cookie. Thanks!

  23. I was told to eat ground flaxseed, so I used this recipe as a jumping off point for flaxseed meal chocolate chip cookies… I reduced the oatmeal by a couple of tbsp and added about 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds; I used regular dark chocolate chips; raisins instead of cranberries, and a pinch of nutmeg instead of ginger. And I didn't have brown sugar so I used white plus about a tsp of molasses, and I baked them closer to 10 minutes than 12. They came out just wonderful! There is a very thin crispy outer bit, and the interiors are perfectly chewy. Thank you for this very useful, adaptable recipe!

  24. Loved this recipe I did make a couple of alterations. My husband's favorite cookie is Oatmeal Cranberry, but he doesn't like chocolate chips. So, I subbed in 1/4 cup shredded coconut for the choc. chips. I also added a 1/4tsp. cinnamon and a splash of almond extract. It was so fun using the fresh cranberries, I had never cooked with them before! My husband said they were the best cookies he's ever eaten!

  25. Perfect recipe at just the right time! I've made cranberry-orange-walnut muffins and pumpkin-cranberry bread the past two weekends. I've got enough cranberries for one more recipe and this will be it! Thanks.