Strawberry Shortcake Bars

Mmmm, these bars just scream summer. Fresh, juicy strawberries snuggle right in there with a buttery, oatmeal crust, and a little creamy goodness is thrown in for good measure too.

I like the idea of desserty fruit bars. But when it comes down to it, the jam-filled numbers that crowd my google searches usually don’t do it for me. If I’m forgoing my first love (um, chocolate of course) for a dessert featuring fruit, it better be ridiculously awesome. And strawberries are right at the top of my list for acceptable fruits to replace chocolate (but only temporarily, of course) and only if the strawberries are completely loaded on.

Strawberry Shortcake Bars

These bars deliver in a big way. The streusel topping and abundant layer of bright, delectably sweet strawberries are the first flavors and textures to explode in your mouth followed by the subtle creaminess and slightly crunchy crust. Heavenly. Beautiful, tasty, fruity and completely heavenly.

With all the potlucks and neighborhood BBQ’s and entertaining that may/will/should come over the summer, you probably ought to keep this strawberry shortcake bar recipe handy. I mean, I won’t even judge if you sleep with it under your pillow. Gotta be prepared.

PS: If lasagna calls to you like it does to me, consider your day made because I just updated one of my favorite classic and simple lasagna recipes (it’s been on my site since 2008 which means it’s an oldie and a goodie) with new pictures (holy moly the old ones were awful) and details in the recipe. We triple heart this lasagna. So yummy.

Strawberry Shortcake Bars

One Year Ago: Classic Chocolate Mint Brownies
Two Years Ago: Black Bean Hummus
Three Years Ago: The Lava Flow Drink

Strawberry Shortcake Bars

Yield: Makes a 9X13-inch pan of bars

Strawberry Shortcake Bars

You could substitute old-fashioned rolled oats for the quick oats but I'd suggest giving them a quick whirl in the blender/food processor to refine the texture just a bit.

Update: I have to apologize because when I posted the recipe this morning, I typed up the filling to have 1/2 cup flour instead of 1 1/2 cups flour. I'm very sorry to anyone who made these bars today and had issues (thanks to Hollie who alerted me in the comments). I've edited the recipe and it is correct now.

Ingredients

    Crust:
  • 1 1/4 (6.25 ounces) cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) quick oatmeal (see note above)
  • 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 14 tablespoons (7 ounces) cold butter, cut into cubes
  • Filling:
  • 1 1/2 cups (7.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • Strawberry Topping:
  • 2 pounds diced fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9X13-inch pan with foil and lightly grease (the foil makes for easier cleanup but you can leave it out and just grease the pan).
  2. For the crust, in a large bowl combine the flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, salt and nutmeg. Toss in the cubed butter and cut it into the dry mixture using a pastry blender or two knives or just your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Measure out 1 cup of the mixture and set it aside for later.
  3. Press the rest of the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 8 minutes.
  4. While the crust bakes, make the filling by whisking together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar (you can use the same bowl as the crust without washing it out if you want to save a dish). Make a well in the center and pour in the butter and egg. Stir with a rubber spatula until smooth and combined - it will be pretty thick.
  5. Crumble this mixture over the warm crust and pat into a relatively even layer (doesn't have to be perfect).
  6. In a medium bowl, toss the strawberries with the sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg and vanilla. Spread evenly over the filling and sprinkle the reserved streusel/crust mixture over the top.
  7. Bake the bars for 40-45 minutes until they are just lightly golden around the edges and the center is no longer soft/jiggly.
  8. Cool completely in the pan. Cut into bars and serve. Store the bars in the refrigerator if not serving within an hour or two (I like to let them sit at room temperature out of the fridge for 20-30 minutes to take the chill off).
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/strawberry-shortcake-bars/

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (inspired by a scribbled down fruit bar recipe found in my old recipe binders)

55 Responses to Strawberry Shortcake Bars

  1. Sheila says:

    I’m heading to the store for some quick oats. I only have steel cut in food cupboard. Thank you for digging this recipe out.

    It was so much fun following your latest “Let’s Talk” post this weekend. Every time I needed a break from my never ending list of chores that needed done, I would zoom to the computer and rejoice in all the heartfelt comments to you. 🙂 In shock and disbelief, I read one of the comments that stated your oatmeal pancakes were a family favorite. How did I miss these? So I too, dug back in your archives and found them. They are on the breakfast menu for Saturday so I had to go get quick oats anyway.

    • Mel says:

      Oh, Sheila, I think you’ll love that oatmeal pancake mix. It’s a winner. And I agree, those comments on the Let’s Talk post have been so uplifting to me. Honestly. I can’t even describe it. And don’t worry, my friend, I read your comment and haven’t responded back yet but I promise to be careful about my time and commitments. A lot of the time I spend during the week blogging is cooking and baking and photographing and those are the parts I love. Thank you for being such a great “virtual” friend!

  2. Kim in MD says:

    I’ve been waiting for you to post this recipe, Mel! These bars look amazing. I can’t wait to make them this week!

  3. These do look amazing. I often make bars with jam, but only when you can’t find fresh fruit in season. I don’t think these fresh strawberry bars can be beat!

  4. Rachael Whitton says:

    Hi Mel

    I am a UK follower i love your blog I haven’t made anything yet as i’ve not long since found you but i think these will be the first things i make they look lovely xx

  5. I love fruit bars. Strawberries are done here but raspberries and all the other berries are here so I will try one of those.

  6. Maureen says:

    These look so good — the first pic I saw I was thinking strawberry-rhubarb… I may just have to try them that way too. 🙂

  7. Y-U-M! I’m totally with you on the fruity dessert bars thing – as long as there are fresh berries around, those jam dessert bars will be taking a back seat. These look sooooo delish!

  8. Jenn says:

    Not only do these look AMAZING(!) but I LOVE that the majority of the recipe is made of ingredients I would already have in my kitchen! I can’t wait to try these! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Laurel says:

    You put nutmeg in everything! I always thought of it as purely a quick bread spice. Do you always grate it fresh? I don’t love pre grated nutmeg from a bottle. I’ve hesitated spending an arm and a leg for a bottle of whole nutmeg worried I won’t like it. My small town store sells it for a bagillion dollars. I guess I could make the trek to orem for some. It’s in a ton of your recipes that I already love without it. Ugh, the battle goes on. To buy or not to buy?

    This looks so delicious! I’m totally going to try it with rhubarb mixed in. I have to use up the large amounts piling up. im sure it will, once again, make me look like a total rock star.

    • Mel says:

      Hey Laurel – I know, I am a nutmeg lover and I do think there is a significant taste difference between already ground and if you grate it fresh. Having said that, I have a handy dandy bottle of Trader Joe’s ground nutmeg in my pantry and I use it when I’m lazy. I buy my fresh whole nutmeg at Penzey’s spices (online) – if you wait for a coupon code or sale, it’s not a bad price and it lasts a long long time.

  10. Michelle says:

    These look fabulous!! I was already planning on going to a local berry stand today and getting some strawberries- these look like the perfect use for them. 🙂

    Just to clarify what I’ve read from you before- when you post bar recipes like these, you’re using a metal pan, correct? Thanks Mel!

  11. Kimberli says:

    Hi Mel. What do you think about using a rhubarb or strawberry rhubarb filling for these? I have some rhubarb to use up and was looking at your strawberry rhubarb pie recipe, but like the idea of a bar better. Thanks for the help!

    • Mel says:

      I think it would be fantastic!

      • Kimberli says:

        We always have homemade ice cream and treats with our extended family as we watch the 4th of July fireworks. I brought these bars (adding the rhubarb) for my contribution and they were wonderful! Thanks so much!

  12. Sheila says:

    So glad this recipe has real fruit and not preserves. Save the jam in bars for when fruit is out of season.

  13. Jenny says:

    I’d love to make these for a crowd! Have you doubled this recipe in a cookie sheet? I’m wondering if it would work, and if the baking time would be the same?

    • Mel says:

      That’s a good question, Jenny. I haven’t tried doubling in a bigger pan. The bars are on the thicker side so the only thing I’d be concerned about it overflowing since those larger cookie sheets don’t have quite as high of sides.

      • Jenny says:

        Thanks! Maybe I’ll just do 2 9×13 pans and not risk spillage! They will be a hit at our family reunion!

  14. Mmmm those look delicious. Great job!

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  15. Linda Turco says:

    Ok Mel, I’m going to put you on the spot. I’m going to a 4th of July BBQ and I was planning on bringing your Blueberry coconut bars with lemon sauce, and now I don’t know if I should make these instead ?? ? This is all your fault for posting too many yummy desserts!!! Help me please

  16. Hollie says:

    Mel,
    Hey, you know I love everything you make, and this is my first fail. I made these, but I think I did something wrong. So, my filling wasn’t thick or able to “crumble” on top of the bottom crust like suggested in the directions–more like the consistency of waffle batter. It was just a 1/2 cup flour, right? Then the top crumble got too moist, I think, and they didn’t look struesal-ish like yours. Or do you think it may be the fact that my fridge had slightly frozen my berries–just a little. They did tast deelish though–just not pretty. xoxo

    • Mel says:

      Hollie! I feel terrible. I read your comment and thought that didn’t sound right about the filling and sure enough – it was my error. I had left out an entire cup of flour in the filling when I was typing up the recipe to post it. Oh my goodness! I’m so sorry! But I’m so grateful you commented so I could fix the recipe. I’m going to have to make this up to you big time. Seriously. I feel awful. I’m sure there are others that made them today and had the same issue. A million apologies!

      • Hollie says:

        Mel, oh please! You owe me nothing–you save my bacon every day. I just thought I better ask because everything you post turns out 99.9% of the time, and if it doesn’t it’s usually my fault.

  17. Leslie says:

    I just made these (in oven as we speak) and I had printed out recipe a few days ago with filling having only 1/2 cup. Made for company and hate to serve if not right. What do you think?

    • Becky says:

      I made them using the recipe as originally printed too. The filling was definitely more of a pourable batter and not cumbly, but I don’t think that’s my problem in the final product. My bigger issue was that my streusel topping melted into a gooey layer and didn’t stay as crumbs. I did notice as I mixed up the crust/streusel mixture that it seemed like a very small amount. I wasn’t able to reserve a full cup of streusel and still have enough to cover the pan with crust, so I ended up saving only 1/2 c for the top. Then that top layer melted rather than staying as crumbles. So, the final product looked nothing like Mel’s, but they are delicious. The flavor is wonderful. Obviously I’ll use the corrected amount of flour in the filling next time, but I still can’t figure out what went wrong with the crust/streusel. I checked my measurements a couple times and I think I did them right. I can only think of two things that might have made a difference. 1) I used regular oats, so as Mel suggested I gave them a whirl in the processor to break them up. Maybe I overprocessed? or 2) I used my fingers to cut in the butter, and by the time I got the butter incorporated the mixture had turned into a ball of dough that was holding together, rather than crumbles. Don’t know if either of those would have contributed to a melting streusel layer, but will try again for sure. They taste too good not to get it right!

      • Mel says:

        Hi Becky – thanks for checking in on the recipe. Again, I’m sorry the recipe was incomplete when I first posted it. I think the issues you had with the bars are a combination of several things. Like you mentioned, over processing the oats could definitely make the streusel more like a dough vs. crumbly – the oats should still have the same slightly chunky texture of quick oats and not be ground like a coarse flour. Also, using fingers to combine the streusel can work but it’s easier to overwork the dough (and the body heat from fingers vs. a metal utensil is more likely to soften the butter even more contributing to a streusel that is dough-like instead of crumbly). Also, the thinner filling (which was my error by omitting the 1 cup flour) will impact how the streuseled bars bake up. As an FYI: in the bars pictured in my post, the streusel on top is definitely on the soft side. Even though it crumbles like a good streusel should, it rests right on the juicy strawberries while baking contributing to the soft vs. crunchy texture. I hope these work out if you dare try them again!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Leslie – I’m so sorry about the error in the recipe! My friend Hollie who made them with only 1/2 cup flour said they were delicious (her teenage son and friends ate them up) despite the lack of flour so I think yours should be ok, too, even if they might not look exactly like the photos in the post.

  18. Sharri says:

    I didn’t have strawberries, so decided to make these using the abundance of plums from a friend’s tree. They are amazing!! I followed the recipe, with the following adjustments: used about 3 cups of diced plums, used 2 TBSP of cornstarch instead of 1 to compensate for moisture in the plums, and used 1/8 tsp nutmeg and added 1/8 tsp of cinnamon to the fruit (just my preference). I’m glad I have somewhere to take them tonight or my intention to diet 😉 would be out the window! Thank you for another great one!!

  19. Sarah says:

    Dear Mel,
    I have been addicted to your blog since I first heard about it 4 years ago in a session on families eating dinner together at the BYU Women’s Conference. I typically make something new from your blog each week and repeat family favorites from your blog regularly. I have never been disappointed with any of your recipes. I made these bars last night and didn’t have any strawberries so I used fresh blueberries. They are supremely delicious! Thank you.
    Sarah

  20. Jolie says:

    Made these with blueberries and strawberries mixed together and they are so, so, so, so yummy! Great recipe, Mel! Thanks!

  21. Katie says:

    Hi! Has anyone made these the night before? I would love to get as much done before the 4th as possible. Did they keep well? Should I refrigerate them?

  22. Sara says:

    Do you think a glass 13×9 baking dish would be fine? I do not have a metal pan that size.
    Thank you for the fabulous recipes – I have been cooking with you for many years!

    • Mel says:

      I think glass will work – I usually decrease the baking time by 25 degrees when using glass so the bottom/edges won’t burn.

  23. I didn’t buy enough strawberries for the recipe today, so I used half blueberries and half strawberries and am crossing my fingers that it tastes good. They are baking now! If anything, the red, white-ish, and blue will be festive and patriotic. The amount of butter in this treat alone, makes me not worry about whether or not it will be the usual awesome Mel-goodness!

  24. Leslie says:

    I am a perfectionist so I just remade them. I realized after I submitted a comment that you had mentioned above about the mistake so sorry to make you explain it again. They were fantastic, esp cold!! I’m a chocolate lover but I couldn’t quit eating these! Thank you, Leslie

  25. Linda Turco says:

    Hi Mel,

    I told you that I’d report back and let you know all the rave reviews I received from these scrumptious bars. Everyone at the BBQ LOVED them!!! One of my friend’s son who is 13 years old came up to me and told me he was on his 5th one and couldn’t stop !! Thank you so much for posting this recipe . I will certainly make it again!! I thought it was a little more labor intensive than your other recipes, but it was totally worth it !!!! Plus, the “one bowl” that you need to make these was awesome!!! Yummy yummy yummy !!!

  26. Sandi says:

    LOVED these bars!! Everyone asked for the recipe!! Thank you!!

  27. JessicaG says:

    Just made these for a 4th of July bbq and everyone loved them! Made them the day before and omitted the nutmeg only as a personal preference. Took out of fridge about a half hour before serving and added a dollop of whipped cream. Awesome!! Will definitely make again. Thank u

  28. Sarah says:

    I made these as soon as I saw the recipe, but also wanted to bring them to a 4th of July cookout…so I went ahead and made them (and ate, um, several myself) and froze the rest. They were just as good thawed when I served them at the party and I got a lot of compliments! So if you were wondering if these freeze well, YES they do!

  29. charisse says:

    Made these Sunday. Amazing!!!!! So most and delicious. I also got tons of compliments!! Thanks!

  30. Sarah says:

    Delicious! I made these with Ontario strawberries and they were very well-received. Only a few were left and we ate them for breakfast the next morning.

  31. Cara says:

    Made these for the 4th, DELICIOUS!!! Especially with ice cream….:)

  32. Pete Mathis says:

    Crust portion is pretty skimpy…I dumped my pan and added another 3/4 c of both flour and oats (no more butter) to the mixture.
    Next time I think I’ll melt the butter instead of cutting it in.

  33. jp says:

    My first thought: “that’s a lot of butter!” But they look so pretty I tried them anyway. Yeah, too much butter for me. I don’t care about calories in dessert, but this was heavy with a greasy mouthfeel the strawberries couldn’t quite overcome. I won’t make it again, but my family had no problem eating it all! So if your first thought is also “that’s a lot of butter” I’d give this a pass, but others will likely enjoy it.

  34. Heidi says:

    Usually more of a chocolate person but tried these and they were incredibly delicious!

  35. Rachael says:

    Made these twice: First time with strawberries, Second time with red plums. Absolutely delicious.

  36. Leslie says:

    Mel,

    Have you ever tried these with fresh in season peaches? How do you think that would go? Too liquidy?

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t, Leslie, but it sounds yummy! Maybe if you let the peaches drain slightly before using (even fresh peaches)? Strawberries have a really high water content so if they work in this recipe, I think peaches would too.

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