Imagine your favorite chocolate chip cookie with a chewy soft center, crispy edges and gooey chocolate chips but with bright pops of sweet tart fresh cranberries throughout. These cranberry chocolate chip cookies are the seasonal twist to the classic chocolate chip cookie your holiday baking begs for.
I made these cranberry chocolate cookies in the first year of blogging. The pictures were atrocious, and I was flabbergasted when a popular food photo site at the time wouldn’t accept my masterpiece as a submission. I’m laughing so hard at the 2011 food blogger version of myself.
That didn’t deter me from making these cookies every holiday season since, but I never got it together enough to reshoot them any of those years. 2023 is finally the year.
If you’re a sucker for a chewy soft-baked chocolate chip cookie and are looking for an easy seasonal twist, these cranberry chocolate chip cookies will probably be the best thing you bake this winter. With just two of us in the house, the batch lasted two days, and I’m already plotting when it’s acceptable to make more.
Why you’ll love these cookies
Most cranberry cookies use dried cranberries, especially chocolate chip cookies and biscotti. Don’t get me wrong, dried cranberries have their place, like in a granola-type situation or these cranberry orange cookie bites. Still, I adore the tart and bright pop that fresh cranberries offer in sweet and savory recipes.
The fresh cranberries featured in these chocolate chip cookies are an unexpected deviation from the rest of the recipes and truly set them apart. Each bite combines sweet and gooey chocolate with zestful cranberries. Seldom does the fruit and chocolate combination let you down, but it’s also not often that it gets it this right.
Ingredients to make cranberry chocolate chip cookies
These cookies use a combination of oats, oat flour and all-purpose flour. A great thing about them is that a simple swap of gluten-free flour works just as well as regular all-purpose flour, so these can easily be adapted for gluten-free diets.
- Oat flour — I never buy this; it’s too expensive. Just dump oats in a blender or food processor and make your own!
- Rolled oats — I would not describe these cookies as oatmeal cookies, but we use a small quantity of rolled oats for some texture.
- All-purpose flour — Regular or gluten-free flour works.
- Baking soda and baking powder
- Fresh cranberries — I like to chop them coarsely. Fresh or frozen cranberries will work for this recipe.
- Dark chocolate chips — If you prefer milk chocolate, use semi-sweet chocolate chips in the 50-60% dark range. You can also use chocolate chunks by coarsely chopping a dark chocolate bar.
- Unsalted butter — Bring this to room temperature before making the cookies.
- Light brown sugar — Brown sugar does more than just sweeten the cookies. Brown sugar gives a chewier, softer, and more moist texture than white sugar.
- Egg — It’s also best to bring the egg to room temperature before baking.
- Vanilla extract — A small amount adds excellent flavor to these cookies.
How to bake chocolate chip cookies with cranberries
Start by preheating the oven to 350°F and preparing two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Combine the flours, oats, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Add the butter and sugar to a large mixing bowl and use a handheld electric mixer to cream together. Alternatively, you can do this in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
Beat the mixture for about 2 minutes until the butter and sugar are fully incorporated, light, and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat again for 30 seconds. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the bowl and beat with the mixer on a low speed to gradually incorporate the ingredients, or mix by hand using a spatula.
Once the cookie dough is combined, fold in the cranberries and chocolate chips until well-mixed. Using a medium cookie scoop, place heaping spoonfuls of cookie batter onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies a few inches apart. Bake for 12-14 minutes.
My Pro Tip
Once cookies are done baking, use a biscuit cutter or the rim of a glass to shape the cookies into a perfect circle. This post does an excellent job explaining how to do this with pictures.
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes, then carefully transfer them to a wire rack with a metal spatula to fully cool.
What about chilling the dough?
Chilling the dough is often a helpful step in getting cookies not to spread. However, I’ve made these cookies with and without chilling the dough, and it’s not completely necessary. I find the same to be true for chocolate chip macadamia nut cookie dough as well.
If you have the time and desire, the cookie dough can be chilled for one hour before baking.
Can I use white chocolate chips instead?
White chocolate is an abomination as far as I’m concerned. I’m one of those people that have strong thoughts about it. I’m not fond of the stuff and want it nowhere near my cranberry chocolate chip cookies.
If you like white chocolate chips, though, use them. I suggest splitting them with chocolate and not using them alone; they’re too sweet.
You know how everyone makes cookies with Halloween candy leftovers? That’s not something that ever happens in my house because primarily, we live in the middle of nowhere and get zero trick or treaters but also because even if we did, I dislike most candy out there and would just throw out any leftovers.
But let’s take that concept and roll with it. With bags of cranberries in everyone’s fridge and freezers during the couple months of the year, these ooey-gooey cranberry chocolate cookies are begging you to make them.
I think if you do, they’ll quickly become a new favorite Christmas cookie.
More seasonal cranberry recipes to try
Cranberry almond chocolate chip cookies — These are infused with orange flavor and an excellent holiday combination.
Cranberry curd tart — A bit more involved than a simple drop cookie, but my, oh my, is this a stunning holiday dessert.
Cranberry orange thumbprints — These cookies are a unique recipe that uses discarded almond pulp with a festive jammy center.
Cornflake cookies — the combination of a classic cereal with cranberries and white chocolate will have some people loving this fun holiday treat.
Soft & Chewy Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1 cup oat flour
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, or gluten-free all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350°F degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
- Combine flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
- Add the butter and sugar to a large mixing bowl and use a handheld electric mixer on medium speed to cream the two together for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg and vanilla and beat again for another 30 seconds until incorporated.
- Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and use the electric mixer on a low speed to combine. Alternatively, you can do this by hand with a spatula.
- Gently fold in the cranberries and chocolate chips until well mixed.
- Using a medium cookie dough scoop, scoop the cookie batter out onto the prepared baking sheets in heaping spoonfuls. You can roll them a bit in your hands to make them more of a ball shape.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes until slightly golden on top. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.