Do you love cherry pie? And cookies? And icing? Our Best Cherry Pie Bars with Crumble Topping and Lemon Glaze are going to be your new favorite dessert!
A few days ago, our friends in Montana gave us a huge box of freshly picked Flathead Cherries. We ate cherries until we could not eat any more and then I went to work on a recipe to celebrate this delicious fruit. If you have been tentative to make a cherry pie, start with this dessert. It is quick and easy and a treat you may love more than pie!
When you don’t have time to make cherry pie!
I am a huge fan of cherry pie, but sometimes I don’t have time to make a pie. Cherry pie bars to the rescue! This bar cookie celebrates a buttery cookie crust, sweet and juicy cherries and a crumble topping that is similar to an apple crisp topping. The fresh lemon glaze gives the cherry bars a bit of a tart and sweet finish!
Feeds a family or a crowd
It is easy to get 12 large servings out of each pan of this cherry dessert with crumble topping. If you are feeding a crowd, cut the pieces into 4 across and 6 down, which equals 24 pieces. This recipe can also easily be doubled in a jelly roll pan. When using a jelly roll pan (approx 16 x 11 inches), it will yield 24 generous pieces or up to 60 small pieces if cutting 10 across and 6 wide, similar to these Coconut Lime Bars.
Fresh or frozen cherries?
If you don’t have access to fresh cherries, frozen may be substituted. If using canned cherries, there are a couple of options. Canned sour cherries (which I use in my Sour Cherry Pie recipe) will work in this recipe. Simply drain and use the same as if using fresh cherries. The second option is to use canned cherry pie filling for this cherry pie bar recipe. Make sure to read the recipe notes for additional instructions!
How to make Best Cherry Pie Bars with Crumble Topping and Lemon Glaze:
- Make the dough and spread into a 9×13 pan.
- Prepare the crumble topping.
- Prepare the fruit filling.
- Assemble the cherry bars by spreading the fruit over the dough.
- Top the fruit with crumble topping.
- Bake, cool.
- Spoon lemon glaze over the top of cherry bars.
I know you will love this easy dessert that’s absolutely made for summer months. Leave a comment and let me know if you try this new recipe. I’d also love to know if you add in any of the variations noted in the recipe ingredients!
Best Cherry Pie Bars with Crumble Topping and Lemon Glaze
Soft cookie base, fresh cherry filling and crumble top. Easier than pie, and can be adapted to serve a crowd!
base of bars:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
cherry filling (see recipe notes for substitutions):
- 2 cups fresh or frozen cherries, pitted and cut in half or sliced. About 1 lb cherries, weighed before pitting I measure the cherries heaping in the cup or about 2 1/4 cups total
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
- zest from 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, barely soft
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- cream or milk to thin if needed
optional mix in items:
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips with cherries, 1/2 to 1 cup chopped or slivered almonds in crumble topping, 1/2 cup coconut in base or crumble topping.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and set rack in middle of oven. Generously grease a 9×13 pan.
Prepare the crumble topping and fruit layer:
Mix the crumble ingredients in a bowl or with the blade attachment, use a food processor to pulse the crumble topping ingredients together. Set aside.
If using fresh cherries, wash, pit and chop the cherries. Measure 2 heaping cups of fruit. If using frozen, do not thaw, place fruit in a bowl and toss with cornstarch, sugar and lemon zest. Set aside.
Prepare the base layer:
In a large bowl, beat 1/2 cup of butter and 1 cup of sugar together. Turn off mixer. Add eggs and extract and mix again until smooth about 30-60 seconds.
Turn off mixer and add salt and flour to the mixing bowl. Mix on low just until flour dissapears into the butter mixture.
Assemble the bars:
Using a large spatula, spread the mixture evenly into the prepared 9×13 pan. Sprinkle a light layer (about 1 tablespoon) of flour over the dough, this will make it easier to spread the dough. Use your hands to pat the base layer out if it is easier!
Spread the prepared cherry mixture over the dough.
Evenly distribute the crumble topping over the fruit layer.
Bake, prepare glaze:
Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes or until golden brown on top. Remove and let cool for 20-30 minutes. Prepare the glaze by mixing the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
When the bars have cooled a bit, drizzle the glaze with a spoon over the bars. Cut and serve warm or at room temperature with a scoop of ice cream.
- If fresh cherries are not available, you may use frozen pitted cherries, thawed and drained or canned cherries, drained. For the frozen and canned cherry options, measure out 2 to 2 1/4 cups.
- Canned cherry pie filling may also be used. Use 1- 21 oz can of cherry pie filling. Because the filling is so sweet, cut the sugar in the dough down to 3/4 cup instead of 1 cup. Do not add sugar and cornstarch to the filling if using canned cherry pie filling.
- This bar cookie will keep for two days on countertop after baking. The top will loose a bit of its crispy texture, but the dessert will stay fresh for two days.
- This recipe may be doubled easily and baked in a standard jelly roll pan.