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Raisin Bars

  • Yield: Makes about 3 dozen
Raisin Bars

Source: Holiday Cookies 2005, Special Issue Holiday 2005


  • Unsalted butter, softened, for baking sheet
  • 2 cups raisins (about 13 ounces)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-by-15-inch rimmed baking sheet. Line bottom with parchment paper, and butter parchment; set sheet aside.

  2. Make filling: Pulse raisins and sugar in a food processor until almost pureed. Transfer to a saucepan. Whisk cornstarch into 1 cup cold water; whisk into raisin mixture. Stir in cider. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens and sugar has dissolved, about 6 minutes.
    Let cool completely.

  3. Make dough: Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Put shortening in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until smooth. Add brown sugar, and mix until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, and mix until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Mix in oats.

  4. Press half the dough into prepared baking sheet. Spread raisin filling evenly over top of dough. Crumble remaining dough on top of filling using your fingers, gently pressing down so that topping covers filling. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until top is golden brown, about 35 minutes. Let cool completely in sheet on a wire rack. Cut into 2-inch
    squares. Bars can be stored between layers of parchment in airtight containers at room temperature up to 5 days.

Reviews (32)

  • Donna J Errett 26 Jan, 2013

    Very good cookie. Surprisingly light and not too sweet. If If you don't have the parchment paper, greasing the pan works fine. Also grease the sides or the raisin filling will stick. Who has 1/2 cup of apple cider on hand? Water works fine. Why coarse salt? Regular works fine. Very stiff dough required mixing in the oats with my hands, but that also works fine. A taster commented that this would make a good breakfast cookie.

  • wmbck5 22 Nov, 2011

    Raisin Bars~roughly figuring the nutrition figures on this recipe, a piece 2 1/4” x 3” has 300 calories and 60 carbs, definitely off limits for anyone trying to eat a heart healthy diet or a diabetic.
    I would love to see a nutrition breakdown on every recipe.

  • jeancham56 3 Mar, 2011

    Need to update this recipe for a more heart healthy life for everyone. 1 1/2 cups shortening? That'll stop a heart cold.

  • mykele 3 Mar, 2011

    Here we go again...preheat oven at least 30 minutes before baking starts.
    Rosalie, these would travel very well, just wrap very well and pack securily.
    I also agree with others that half unsalted butter and half vegetable shorting
    will work well to enhance the flavor. Does anyone else have a
    problem seing all of the comments? I could only see 15 and there should
    be at least 28...happens a lot lately. Mykele

  • RosalieCeurvels 3 Mar, 2011

    Can anyone tell me if these travel well and can be sent out to a service man?

  • RosalieCeurvels 3 Mar, 2011

    Can anyone tell me if these travel well and can be sent out to a service man?

  • auntiemaryann 28 Jun, 2010

    this recipe is very similar to "goodie bars", but that recipe didn't call for an egg. instead of one cup of shortening it calls for i use 1/c cup of butter and 1/c cup of canola oil. that's usually a safe substitution for shortening. enjoy!

  • Junecutie 28 Mar, 2009

    I made this using Savedone's date filling, and it was fabulous! By the way, I
    substituted Coconut Oil (room temp is solid like shortening but much better for your
    health) and cut the amount in half to 3/4 cup. I really can't tell the difference
    taste-wise between using butter or coconut oil in baked goods. My husband likes
    it, and he is beyond picky. Good thing I'm so crazy in love with him. LOL

  • smd1227 2 Feb, 2009

    Didn't let me finish my paragraph. I'm going to try dried cranberries and blueberries next time. I also substituted half butter. It tastes so much better.

  • smd1227 2 Feb, 2009

    I didn't have any raisins, so I used dried cherries. Holy mackerel, were they good. I'm going to try dried cranberies

  • JennieMarie 30 Jan, 2009

    These bars were wonderful. I admit that using shortening is something I don't do often except for pie crust and then I use half butter. I was wondering if anyone else used butter instead of shortening as I would like to try that the next time I make them. Apple cider is available here in Canada almost all year round, so I tend to use apple cider. Apple cider and apple juice are almost the same. It's a great recipe which we shared at pot lucks etc. Very yummy!

  • cookiesgalore 30 Dec, 2008

    This is a fantastic addictive recipe, Ha! My mom made these, as did her mom (some 80 yrs. ago), but they always made it with dates. I'll have to try it with raisins. OR I bet the recipe substitute called Lighter Bake by Sunsweet would be good too. It's just pureed apples and plums and sweetener.

  • susu707 28 Nov, 2008

    I substituted pitted and chopped dates for the raisins. I'll make this again.

  • peaceandlove 9 Nov, 2008

    This recipe is as old as the hills. My Mother has been making it for years!!!!!

  • noideas 8 Nov, 2008

    way too much fat. I used just half the amout and splenda as raisins are high in sugar.

  • savedone 7 Nov, 2008

    sorry I don't know WHAT is happening to my recipe folks - too bad you would have loved it!

  • savedone 7 Nov, 2008

    ok here is the rest of my recipe:-
    Cook dates water sugar

  • savedone 7 Nov, 2008

    where did the rest of my date filling recipe go??

  • savedone 7 Nov, 2008

    this date filling would be great for this:-
    1/2 lb chopped dates
    1/2 cup cold water
    2 Tblsp brown sugar
    grated rind of one orange
    Cook dates, water, sugar

  • Bonnie2chefs 7 Nov, 2008

    I made these using Craisins,added 1 teaspoon of cinnamon,

  • zzoo 7 Nov, 2008

    Kind Commenters: I'll bet the Raisin Bars are good whether they're made with vegetable shortening; with butter; with lard; or with some 'fantastical' fat-free, oil-free, cholesterol-free, trans-fat-free flavorless substance. Let's be daring or creative or conservative. Whatever floats your particular boat = )

  • theparke21 6 Nov, 2008

    You might try "Simply Apple" that is in the refrigerated section in the grocery store. It is delicious. It's next to the orange juice by the same name. I too agree that 1-1/4 cups Crisco seems like alot. Has anyone actually made these? I would love to make them for my office.

  • bchall12 6 Nov, 2008

    Yes, look up your facts. My Crisco is trans fat free and has LESS saturated fat than butter! Again, it's not like you are going to eat the whole pan.

  • vickifoss 6 Nov, 2008

    Ladies, It's vegetable shortning. Margarine isn't good for us either plus you have to figure how much water is in margarine. It doesn't bake right. Just use butter, it's natural. If you don't eat the whole pan or make this kind of stuff everyday how can it hurt? It's a treat.

  • Mumra1st 6 Nov, 2008

    What bothers me about this recipe is the continued use of shortening. It is loaded with trans fat and is extremely unhealthy for you. I substitute butter or margarine (unhydrogenated) and of course the flavour is just that much better. Has anyone made these?

  • sweetie23 6 Nov, 2008

    Wezbo-I would try all organic fresh pressed apple juice if you can find it. That to me is the closest thing to apple cider because it is dark and not as processed. Good luck! mykele-yes 1 1/4 cup of shortening is a TON!

  • mykele 6 Nov, 2008

    Don't you all think that 1 1/4 cups of shortening is a
    bit much? Frankly, I always double check all of
    the proportions in any of these recipes for
    cookie of the day. Also sheet pans for
    cookies are usually 11 X 15 not 10 X 15.

  • dbsander 6 Nov, 2008

    These are very similar to the Raisin Mumbles my mother always makes at Christmas. I like the idea of using cider instead of water as liquid and am partial to the whole raisins as in the Mumbles. I'm going to try both recipes, as written, this Thanksgiving and see which one will remain or become the new tradition.
    Yes, dried cranberries sound great too.

  • Grandmomofseven 6 Nov, 2008

    Sounds like a good recipe, but for people like me that are allergic to apples, is there a substitution for apple cider?
    Cranberries sound good too!

  • jode411 6 Nov, 2008

    these sound wonderful! but, do you think it would be okay to substitute dried cranberries in place of the raisins?

  • LittleLisaLee 6 Nov, 2008

    Basically, it is just apple juice. No bubbly and no alcohol. Maybe you should experiment with European Cider and let us know how it tastes!!

  • wezbo 6 Nov, 2008

    from visits to the states I remember apple cider as something seasonal and o delicious but the only cider we europeans get is always alcoholic and bubbly. (yummy too !!) What exactly is american cider?

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