Cherry Bars

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These Cherry Bars are easy to make from scratch with no cans or box mixes. In this cherry bars recipe, a from-scratch cherry filling is sandwiched between a homemade buttery crust and topped with a delicious glaze for a festive, crowd-pleasing dessert!

one Cherry Bar with glaze


If cherry pie and a sugar cookie got together – their love child would be these delicious cherry bars.

I created this irresistible cherry bars recipe made completely from scratch – no boxed mixes or pie filling in a can. Because I truly believe homemade is always best!

In this recipe, a buttery crust that is a cross between a sugar cookie and pie crust is stuffed with a homemade cherry filling and baked to bubbly perfection. Then, the bars are cooled and drizzled with a delicious homemade glaze.

This recipe is festive for holidays like Christmas, 4th of July, Valentine’s day, etc. Plus you can use frozen cherries when they’re not in season.

Cherry Bars cut into 4 squares

Ingredients & Substitutions

overhead photo of the ingredients in this Cherry Bars Recipe
  • Salted butter. Unsalted butter is a good substitute.
  • Granulated sugar. Organic cane sugar works well in place of white sugar.
  • Almond extract is a key ingredient to the flavor of this recipe – however, you can simply increase the vanilla extract buy ¼ tsp if necessary.
  • All-purpose flour. gluten-free baking flour should work well as a substitute.
  • Cherries. Fresh or frozen cherries both work well in this recipe. If using frozen, be sure thaw them in a colander in the sink or over a bowl to remove excess liquid before using them in this recipe.
  • Cornstarch. tapioca starch works too.
  • Whole milk. heavy cream or half and half are good substitutes for whole milk in the glaze.
6 Cherry Bars with glaze

How to Make Cherry Bars

Let’s walk through this cherry pie bars recipe step-by-step, and don’t forget to watch the video.

Make the cherry filling

Begin by making the cherry filling. Cook the cherries, sugar lemon juice, cinnamon and sea salt in a 5-quart saucepan over medium heat, until the cherries are soft and begin to release their juice and the sugar is dissolved (about 5 minutes).

two photos showing how to make cherry bars filling from scratch

In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water,

two photos showing how to make cherry bars filling from scratch

Then, pour the cornstarch mixture into the cherries and cook until the mixture begins to thicken, stirring often (about 2-3 minutes).

two photos showing how to make cherry bars filling from scratch

Once thick, remove from heat and stir in vanilla, then set it aside to cool.

Cherry Bars filling cooling

Make the Crust/Crumble

While the filling is cooling slightly, make the crust/crumble layer.

Begin by beating the butter and sugar together for 1 minute either in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer.

two photos showing how to make cherry bars - beating butter and sugar together

Then, add the vanilla and eggs and beat until light and fluffy.  

two photos showing how to make cherry bars - adding egg and extracts

Next, mix in the flour and sea salt and beat until large “crumbs” form. Dough should be soft but not wet.

two photos showing how to make cherry bars - combining wet and dry ingredients

Assemble the Cherry Bars

To assemble the cherry bars, begin by pressing ⅔ of the crust mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

Then, spread the cooled cherry filling over the bottom crust in an even layer.

two photos showing how to assemble this cherry bars recipe - bottom crust then cherry filling layer

Next, form small “crumbs” of the remaining crust mixture with your hands and place them on top of the cherry filling gently.

Bake the cherry bars in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is lightly golden brown and the filling is bubbling.

two photos showing assembled cherry bars recipe before and after baking

Then, remove the cherry pie bars from the oven and let them cool completely.

cherry bars in a baking pan after baking

Make the glaze

Once the bars are cooled, make the glaze by whisking the ingredients together until the mixture is smooth.

two photos showing how to make glaze for this Cherry Bars Recipe

Then, drizzle the glaze over the cooled bars, then let it set at room temperature until hardened. Or you can put them in the refrigerator to speed up the process.

two photos showing glazing the cherry pie bars after cooling

Once the glaze is hardened, slice the cherry bars into squares and serve.

glazed cherry pie bars cut into 24 squares

Serve

Serve these cherry bars at room temperature or slightly chilled.

6 cherry pie bars

Store/Freeze

Store leftover bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or for an hour at room temperature before eating frozen bars.

a stack of 2 Cherry Bars, the top one has a bite taken out of it

Cherry Bars Recipe FAQS

Can I use canned cherry pie filling?

Yes, if desired you can use canned cherry pie filling, although I suggest following the recipe for the best results.

Can I halve the recipe?

Yes, you can cut the recipe in half and bake them in a 9×9″ baking dish.

What else can I make with Cherries?

Try making cherry pie, cherry muffins, or cherry smoothie!

a cherry pie bar with a bite taken out of it

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Cherry Bars

Laura
These Cherry Bars are easy to make from scratch with no cans or box mixes. In this cherry bars recipe, a from-scratch cherry filling is sandwiched between a homemade buttery crust and topped with a delicious glaze for a festive, crowd-pleasing dessert!
5 from 1 vote
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24 Servings
Calories 252
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Cooling2 hours
Total Time3 hours 5 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Crust/Crumb

Filling

Glaze

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line a 9×13” baking pan with parchment paper, set aside.

Make the cherry filling

  • Cook cherries, sugar lemon juice, cinnamon and sea salt in a 5-quart saucepan over medium heat, until the cherries are soft and begin to release their juice and the sugar is dissolved (about 5 minutes).
  • In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water, then pour the mixture into the cherries.
  • Cook until the mixture begins to thicken, stirring often (about 2-3 minutes)
  • Once thick, remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  • Set aside to cool.

Make the Crust/Crumble

  • In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer, beat butter and sugar together for 1 minute.
  • Add vanilla and eggs and beat until light and fluffy.
  • Add flour and sea salt and beat until large “crumbs” form. Dough should be soft but not wet.
  • Press 2/3 of the crust mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  • Spread the cooled cherry filling over the bottom crust in an even layer.
  • Form small “crumbs” with your hands and place them on top of the cherry filling gently.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is lightly golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
  • Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Make the glaze

  • Whisk together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth.
  • Pour over the cooled bars, then let it set at room temperature until hardened.
  • Slice and serve.

Video

Notes

Ingredient Notes/Substitutions
  • Salted butter. Unsalted butter is a good substitute.
  • Granulated sugar. Organic cane sugar works well in place of white sugar.
  • Almond extract is a key ingredient to the flavor of this recipe – however, you can simply increase the vanilla extract buy ¼ tsp if necessary.
  • All-purpose flour. gluten-free baking flour should work well as a substitute.
  • Cherries. Fresh or frozen cherries both work well in this recipe. If using frozen, be sure thaw them in a colander in the sink or over a bowl to remove excess liquid before using them in this recipe.
  • Cornstarch. tapioca starch works too.
  • Whole milk. heavy cream or half and half are good substitutes for whole milk in the glaze.
Store/freeze
Store leftover bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or for an hour at room temperature before eating frozen bars.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1bar | Calories: 252kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 116mg | Potassium: 111mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 282IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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