Transcriptional characterization and classification has potential to resolve the inter-tumor heterogeneity of colorectal cancer and improve patient management. Yet, robust transcriptional profiling is difficult using formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples, which complicates testing in clinical and archival material. We present MethCORR, an approach that allows uniform molecular characterization and classification of fresh-frozen and FFPE samples. MethCORR identifies genome-wide correlations between RNA expression and DNA methylation in fresh-frozen samples. This information is used to infer gene expression information in FFPE samples from their methylation profiles. MethCORR is here applied to methylation profiles from 877 fresh-frozen/FFPE samples and comparative analysis identifies the same two subtypes in four independent cohorts. Furthermore, subtype-specific prognostic biomarkers that better predicts relapse-free survival (HR = 2.66, 95%CI [1.67-4.22], P value < 0.001 (log-rank test)) than UICC tumor, node, metastasis (TNM) staging and microsatellite instability status are identified and validated using DNA methylation-specific PCR. The MethCORR approach is general, and may be similarly successful for other cancer types.