Thanksgiving is upon us, and that can only mean one thing; the annual showdown of canned cranberry sauce fans versus fresh cranberry sauce fans. Which side are you on?


Like many other berries, fresh or frozen cranberries are a rich source of antioxidants including resveratrol and quercetin, two compounds known for links with reduced inflammation and cardiovascular disease risk. Cranberries are also high in vitamins C, E, and K and a good source of soluble fiber. These are all great reasons to keep cranberries on the table, but some of the beneficial compounds can be lost when cranberries are processed into sweetened juices or canned sauce.

Enter the cranberry crisp.

The filling is made similarly to a fresh cranberry sauce and then topped with a crispy mixture of whole grain rolled oats, brown sugar, and spices. This recipe takes very little hands-on time since you just combine ingredients and bake; no cooking on the stovetop. You can enjoy this with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert or over a bowl of Greek yogurt for a delicious holiday breakfast.

What makes this recipe more nutritious than your standard can of cranberry sauce?

Whole fresh berries, whole grain rolled oats, and healthy fats from seeds and nuts. Check the end of the recipe below for ways to modify and make it your own.

Cranberry Crisp

Makes about 10 servings


24oz fresh cranberries

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

½ cup orange juice

1 teaspoon of vanilla


1 cup rolled oats

½ cup almonds, pecans, walnuts, or flax meal

½ cup packed brown sugar

5 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

¼ cup flour

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13” glass baking dish with butter or cooking spray and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together all filling ingredients until well combined. Set aside.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, stir dry topping ingredients together. Drizzle in melted butter and stir to combine. Mixture should be crumbly.

Add the filling to the baking dish in an even layer. Top with the oatmeal mixture and spread evenly to cover the cranberries.

Bake for 25-30 minutes; topping should be lightly brown and cranberries should bubble. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Use gluten free oats and substitute almond meal or a gluten free flour blend to make gluten free; add ½ teaspoon ginger or cardamom to topping mixture; substitute plant based margarine or coconut oil to make vegan; add in a finely diced pear or apple; substitute berries like blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries to enjoy throughout the year; top with biscuit dough instead of crisp topping to make a cobbler. Thawed frozen berries may be used in place of fresh.

Adapted from

For students in need of additional support resources:

The UGA food pantry is fully stocked and available for students in town. Students should call Student Care and Outreach to set up a time for pick-up (706.542.7774) or contact them via email at with any questions. Information about emergency funding and Graduate Student emergency funding can be found here: Student Affairs emergency fund and Graduate Student emergency fund. Bulldog Basics is also still running for students in town. Students can request basic hygiene items here.

Written by: Beth Kindamo, Nutrition Education Coordinator, UHC Health Promotion