Cherry Bars are a delicious dessert made with quick homemade cherry pie filling & a buttery brown sugar crumble that doubles as the base and crumble topping. Finish them with a sweet almond glaze to compliment the cherry flavor.
Posted: July 2019. Updated June 2023.
Why you’ll love these Easy Cherry Pie Bars:
- Cherry Pie Filling – A luscious sour cherry filling stuffs the inside of these easy bars!
- Brown Sugar Crumble Base – An easy cookie dough made of melted butter, flour, brown sugar, oats, and cinnamon comes together in one bowl and forms both the base and crumble topping!
- Easy Recipe – This cherry dessert has two components but is still very simple to make for bakers of any skill level! It uses simple ingredients, too.
As always, the full recipe with measurements & directions can be found at the bottom of this post.
- Sour Cherries – I used sour cherries for that classic cherry pie flavor.
- All-purpose flour – Spoon & level your flour for best results, or use a scale. Scooping the measuring cup directly in will lead to too much flour.
- Butter – I always use salted buter for the best flavor, but feel free to use unsalted butter if you prefer.
- Vanilla Extract – Use real vanilla for best results.
- Gluten-free – I have not tested a gluten-free version of this recipe.
- Dairy-free – Use your favorite dairy-free butter to make this recipe dairy-free.
- Cherry Filling – You can use the same quantity from a can of cherry pie filling or cherry preserves instead fo the homemade filling.
- Cherries – If you want to use dark sweet cherries, reduce the sugar by a few tablespoons, and taste and adjust as desired.
How to Make this Cherry Pie Bar Recipe Step-by-Step:
Step 1: Make Cherry Pie Filling. Cook sour cherries, sugar, and almond extract together in a saucepan over medium heat, adding a cornstarch slurry to thicken. Set aside to cool completely.
Step 2: Make the Bar Mixture. In a large bowl melt the butter. Stir in the dry ingredients for a quick dough that will be the buttery shortbread crust and crumble topping for the bars.
Step 3: Bake the Base. Reserve 3/4 cup of the crumble for the topping. Press the remaining dough into the bottom of a parchment paper lined 9×9 pan and bake for 10 minutes.
Step 4: Finish Assembling & Bake. Spread the cooled cherry pie filling over the par-baked crust, then sprinkle on the remaining topping. Bake as directed in the recipe card below, in a 350 degree preheated oven.
Step 5: Add Glaze. Let the bars cool for 1-2 hours on a wire rack, or completely, then drizzle on a simple glaze made from powdered sugar, milk, and almond extract. (Optional, but delicious!)
Serving + Storing this Recipe:
Slice into squares and serve! These easy cherry bars are delicious a bit warm or at room temperature. Store leftover bars in an airtight container at room temperature overnight, or in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Expert Success Tips:
- Oven Thermometer – An oven thermometer will tell you if your oven is actually running at the temperature you set it to. Your oven may not be accurate. Accurate oven temperature is crucial for most bakes, so I leave an oven thermometer in at all times to keep an eye on my oven’s calibration.
- Kitchen Scale – A food scale is the best way to make sure your flour is at the proper weight, since amounts will vary SO widely based on how you measure it, as well as the measuring cup you use, as they are not standardized.
Yes, but reduce the sugar by a few tablespoons. Taste and adjust as desired.
Yes! The cherry filling can be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated, and the bars can be baked, cooled at room temperature, and covered and stored at room temperature overnight before serving. I wouldn’t make them more than 1 day ahead.
No, I don’t think that would work well. I recommend my cherry filling recipe, canned cherry pie filling, or cherry preserves.
- Strawberry Bars – Try my Strawberry Compote if you’d like to make these into strawberry bars.
- Blueberry Bars – Use my Blueberry Sauce if you want blueberry bars.
- Cranberry Bars – Use my cranberry sauce to make cranberry bars.
- Lemon Juice – Add a little bit of lemon juice, to taste, if you feel the cherry filling is too sweet for a sour cherry filling.
- 9×9 Pan – A ceramic or metal 9×9 square pan is ideal for this recipe.
- Cordless Mixer – I love the flexibility of a cordless electric mixer!
- Offset Spatula – An offset spatula makes spreading batter a breeze, and I use it for tons of things – especially when frosting cakes, bars, etc.
More Cherry Recipes to Love:
- Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake
- Black Forest Cookies
- Cherry Pie Cookies
- Bourbon Cherry Crumble Pie
- White Forest Cake
More Easy Dessert Bars:
- Life-Changing Butterscotch Blondies
- Chai Spiced Snickerdoodle Bars
- Biscoff Blondies
- Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Did you make this recipe? Snap a photo and leave a comment!
Cherry Pie Bars
For the Cherry Pie Filling:
- 4 cups sour cherries, rinsed & pitted or frozen – do not thaw
- 2 and 1/2 tbsp water, plus 2 additional tbsp
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp almond extract add and extra 1/4 tsp to taste
For the Bars:
- 3/4 cup salted butter, melted
- 1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup old-fashioned whole rolled oats
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp milk
- 1/2 tsp almond extract or vanilla
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 350℉. Line a 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper and set aside. If using fresh cherries, rinse and pit them. If using frozen, leave them frozen.
- Make the Cherry Filling: Stir 2 tbsp of water and corn starch together in a small bowl until the starch is fully dissolved. Add cherries to a medium saucepan with sugar & 2.5 tbsp of water. Cook over medium heat for 10-12 minutes, stirring lazily, until the cherries have released their juices and softened. Re-stir the cornstarch (it will have settled some), then add it to the cherry sauce. Cook 30 seconds to 1 minute more, stirring constantly, until the sauce gently thickens. It should separate and hold when you drag your finger through the sauce on the back of a wooden spoon. Add the almond extract and adjust to taste. Transfer immediately to a shallow bowl and chill in the fridge completely (30 minutes, or 10 in the freezer) before using.Note: If your sauce seems runny, you can always re-heat it to thicken. Bring it to a low boil, stirring, and heat for an additional 1-2 minutes until it looks like the consistency of the sauce in my photos.
- Make the Bars: Melt the butter in a medium bowl. Stir in the remaining bar ingredients. Reserve 1 cup of the topping. Press the rest into your prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes.Evenly spread the cooled cherry filling over the crust. Sprinkle the reserved crumble mixture over the top of the cherries. Return to the oven and bake for 28 to 33 minutes – the topping will be golden brown and the bars will only have a slight jiggle when you move the pan.
- Glaze: If using, whisk together all glaze ingredients, and adjust to a thinner or thicker consistency as desired, by adding a splash more milk or a spoonful more powdered sugar.
- Serve + Store: Let cool completely before cutting into bars, if you want nice neat squares. If not, dig in after 1-2 hours. Drizzle on the glaze just before slicing!Store bars in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days.