Cherry Pie Bars|Recipes Spots

Cherry Pie Bars

Stack of Two Cherry Pie Bars
Simply Recipes / Hannah Zimmerman

Cherry pie is a staple of summer, but baking a pie is a tedious task. These cherry pie bars give you all the delicious, buttery sweetness of a cherry pie but without the fuss. They are much easier to slice and serve and there’s no fork required, making them a lovely dessert for a dinner party or summer barbecue.

This easy recipe is also forgiving—use sweet or tart cherries, fresh or frozen, or swap with store-bought pie filling. You can even swap the fruit out altogether to put your own spin on it. The buttery crust doubles as the crumble topping, and an optional icing makes it feel and look fancy.

Slices of Cherry Pie Bars on a Parchment Lined Tray Next to a Bowl of Icing and a Bowl of Cherries
Simply Recipes / Hannah Zimmerman

The Best Kind of Cherries for this Recipe

This recipe works with both fresh and frozen cherries, but I prefer frozen. Frozen cherries release more juices when cooked, so they will give you a more syrupy pie filling (plus they’re cheaper and available year-round). If you use fresh cherries, I recommend adding an extra few tablespoons of water to the cornstarch slurry to get the right texture.

Cherry pie bars can be made with sour cherries or sweet cherries. I prefer sour cherries for their complex tart flavor, but they can be hard to find in grocery stores. If you are using sweet cherries, just taste the pie filling before baking and add an extra tablespoon of lemon juice if needed.

Can I Use Store-Bought Pie Filling?

You can simplify this recipe by swapping the homemade cherry pie filling with 1 (21-ounce) can of store-bought pie filling. Ignore the filling ingredients and steps for making the filling and instead add the can of pie filling to the bottom crust before topping with crumble.

Slice of a Cherry Pie Bar Next to Another Piece and a Bowl of Cherries
Simply Recipes / Hannah Zimmerman

Tips for Making Cherry Pie Bars

Cherry pie bars are easy to make, but these tips and tricks will make sure they come out perfect every time.

  • Be careful not to overmix the shortbread dough. The less you mix, the more crumbly and tender it will be.
  • If your shortbread dough is sticky and you are having trouble working with it, place it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes before assembling your bars.
  • Taste the filling as you cook it. Depending on the cherries you use, you may want to adjust the sugar or lemon juice.

Easy Recipe Variations

This recipe is super adaptable. You can use it to make just about any fruit pie in bar form. Try swapping out the cherries with blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, peach slices, or a combination. Here are some other ways you can customize the bars:

  • Add 1/2 a teaspoon of almond extract to the pie filling for even more flavor.
  • Add a dash of cinnamon to the cherry pie filling to give this summer recipe a warm fall twist.
  • Add a handful of rolled oats to the shortbread crumble topping for texture.
Two Cherry Pie Bars Stacked Together Next to Another Bar, All on a Tray, and in the Surroundings, a Bowl of Cherries and a Bowl of Icing
Simply Recipes / Hannah Zimmerman

Make-Ahead Instructions

One reason why I love this recipe is you can do most of the prep work ahead of time. Here’s how:

Make the cherry pie filling, let it cool to room temperature, and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Make the shortbread dough, shape it into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and store it in the fridge for up to a week. When you are ready to make your cherry pie bars, all you have to do is assemble and bake!

Cherry Treat Recipes

  • Cherry Clafoutis
  • Cherry Cake
  • Cherry Hand Pies
  • Sweet Cherry Cobbler
  • Bourbon Cherry Crisp

Make a cornstarch slurry: 

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water until smooth. Set aside.

Bowl of Cornstarch Slurry
Simply Recipes / Hannah Zimmerman

Make the cherry pie filling:

Add the cherries, sugar, and lemon juice to a medium pot over medium-high heat. Stir over heat until the cherries start releasing their juices. This should take 5 to 6 minutes for frozen cherries, 3 to 4 minutes for fresh cherries. 

Add the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture to a simmer and turn the heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cherries are soft and the liquid has thickened to a syrup-like consistency, 3 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Pitted Cherries and Sugar Added to a Pot for Spring Cherry Pie Recipe
Simply Recipes / Hannah Zimmerman
Jar Filled With Cherry Filling for Pie Bar Recipe
Simply Recipes / Hannah Zimmerman

Prepare the oven and prepare the baking dish:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×9-inch baking dish and line with parchment paper, leaving some parchment hanging over the sides so it is easy to lift the bars out of the pan after baking.

Make the shortbread dough:

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. 

Add the butter and sugar to a separate bowl. Using a hand mixer with beater attachments, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until combined. 

Add the dry ingredients and mix until all ingredients are combined to form a crumbly dough.

Pie Crust (Smaller Chunks, Not a Ball) in a Bowl
Simply Recipes / Hannah Zimmerman

Assemble the cherry pie bars:

Press 2/3 of the shortbread dough into an even layer at the bottom of the baking dish, reserving the remaining 1/3. Pour the cherry pie filling on top and spread into an even layer. Crumble the remaining dough into small, pea-sized pieces and sprinkle it over the top of the cherry pie filling.

Pie Crust Spread and Flattened on a Parchment Paper Lined Casserole Dish
Simply Recipes / Hannah Zimmerman
Cherry Filling Placed on Top of Crust on a Parchment Paper Lined Casserole Dish
Simply Recipes / Hannah Zimmerman
Remainder of Shortbread Dough Placed on Top of Filling in the Parchment Paper Lined Casserole Dish
Simply Recipes / Hannah Zimmerman


Bake until the shortbread on top of the bars is a light golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan for at least 1 hour before serving.

Make the icing (optional):

Add the powdered sugar to a medium bowl. Add the heavy cream and vanilla extract and mix with a fork or whisk until all the ingredients are combined in a smooth, thick glaze with no lumps. Drizzle the icing over the bars just before serving.

If you are lucky enough to have leftover cherry pie bars, you can place them back in the baking dish, cover the dish with plastic wrap, and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. These bars are great served cold, but you can place them on the counter to come back to room temperature for 1 to 2 hours before serving. 

Alternatively, you can wrap your bars individually in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let them sit at room temperature to thaw for at least 4 hours before serving.

Love the recipe? Leave us stars and a comment below!

Spoon Lifting Some Icing From a Bowl With More for Cherry Bar Recipes
Simply Recipes / Hannah Zimmerman
Slice of a Cherry Pie Bar With a Bite Taken Out of It
Simply Recipes / Hannah Zimmerman
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