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Desserts | August 12, 2021

Best Cherry Pie Bars with Crumble Topping and Lemon Glaze

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!

Best Cherry Pie Bars with Crumble Topping and Lemon Glaze

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!

Flathead Lake Cherries

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.

Classic Cherry 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!

Fresh Cherry Bars

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.
Best Cherry Pie Bars with Crumble Topping and Lemon Glaze

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!

Cherry Crumble Bars
5 from 6 votes

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!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword bars, cherry, fruit dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
cool time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 12


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

crumble topping:

  • 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.


  1. 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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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:

  1. 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!

  2. Spread the prepared cherry mixture over the dough.

  3. Evenly distribute the crumble topping over the fruit layer.

Bake, prepare glaze:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

Recipe Notes

  • 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. 

9 thoughts on “Best Cherry Pie Bars with Crumble Topping and Lemon Glaze

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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    Another delicious recipe! The crumbly topping puts it over the top in taste! Perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! Will absolutely make again!
    Thank you!

    1. Thanks Tracey! I’m so glad you loved this recipe as much as I do! Thank you for your positive feedback. Thanks for reading ABK.

  2. 5 stars
    This is very very good. Mine didn’t turn out as gorgeous as Si’s but the flavors are extraordinary. Highly recommend for a group gathering!

  3. 5 stars
    These were delicious! I used frozen cherries so I baked them 5 minutes longer because there was extra liquid. Used almond extract. Will make again!

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Thank you for your positive feedback! I love the combination of lemon glaze, cherries and almond. Great choice! Thanks for reading ABK and thank you for sending me a review.

  4. 5 stars
    As the title says, they are the best! I have also done them with fresh strawberries and frozen wild blueberries. They are a hit! Thanks!

  5. 5 stars
    These are fantastic! With a little ice cream, served a little warm, my whole family was raving about them! The cherry taste comes out, the cookie crust is not too sweet or too strong and the crumble and glaze are also well balanced. I used home-bottled sweet cherries, I just cut them in half and I used probably half the sugar called for here and it was great. Thanks for another great classic!!

  6. I will make these! Especially since I read the Recipe Notes about frozen cherries being ok to use. When I first saw this recipe I immediately went to my grocery so and lo and behold, cherries are $4.97 in my part of the world, East Tn.
    Thanks for sharing. I so enjoy your recipes.

  7. 5 stars
    Delicious, love the way they hold together! I used 2-15 oz. cans of Oregon cherries in heavy syrup draining the syrup for later use and roughly chopping the cherries. I was craving almond flavoring so I went with that and love the cherry/almond combo. Perfect for Valentines Day! ❤ 🍒 May try adding chocolate next time as suggested.