Easy homemade strawberry jam crumble bars. They’re filled with everything to love about a classic strawberry fruit crisp – flavorful strawberries nestled between a buttery brown sugar and oat crust and crumble topping – but in convenient hand held form! Made with simple pantry ingredients, easily adaptable (egg free, vegan, gluten free options), and perfect for sharing.
It’s no secret that I love a good fruit crumble – I’ve filled this blog with countless variations of them. What’s not to love about juicy seasonal fruit nestled under a buttery blanket of gently-spiced, brown sugar-laced, oat crumble goodness?
If that’s so wrong, I don’t want to be right.
I’m especially fond of jammy crumble bars. They combine everything wonderful about a traditional fruit crisp, but are portable, can be made in advance, keep well for a few days, and are easier to serve to a berry loving, crumble adoring, crowd.
These days, I have a new metric for how easy a recipe really is: can I easily get everything prepped, assembled, and into the oven during nap time? Bonus points for normal ingredients already in the pantry that don’t require an extra trip to the store.
Double bonus points if I can get anything missing online. #toddlermomlife
These strawberry jam crumble bars check off all of those boxes. And they’re irresistible to boot.
What you’ll love about these strawberry jam crumble bars
The crust and crumble topping on these strawberry bars is one and the same. They’re filled with whole oats, brown sugar, a pinch of cinnamon and ginger, and a good dose of butter. It comes together in minutes, with ingredients you most likely have on hand. They may be humble, but the results are a chewy, crumbly, buttery, flavorful combination.
Thick and flavorful strawberry preserves, a handful of chopped fresh berries, and a dash of lemon zest round out the filling. It bakes into the buttery crumbs and yields a sweet, chewy, gooey, lick-your-fingers delicious bar.
how to make the best jam filling from scratch: don’t!
Strawberry preserves are just about the easiest thing to make, and I usually keep a few jars of homemade jam in the freezer from my always overabundant Summer berry haul. However, this is a scenario where it honestly doesn’t matter all that much if you use store-bought jam. I’m a big fan of Bonne Maman, and their strawberry preserves are lovely here.
You could just use strawberry jam, but I like to also add some fresh chopped berries on top for added flavor and texture. They cook down into the filling, and become soft and jammy in their own right.
The lemon zest is optional here, but I think it lends a welcome brightness to the berries, especially in these early days of Spring. You could also swirl a few drops of good vanilla into the jam before adding it to the crust.
Really, the hardest part of this whole recipe is remembering to take the butter out of the fridge a little before you’re ready to get baking. That way it can soften up just enough to smoosh between your fingers to form the crumbles. Well, that and waiting for the bars to cool, when they emerge golden and fragrant from the oven, begging for a bite.
It’s best to wait until the bars are completely set up before slicing into bars, but, if appearances and the occasional wonky edge doesn’t bother you, or if, maybe you don’t feel like sharing, these are quite wonderful warm from the oven with a spoon…Print
Easy homemade strawberry jam crumble bars. They’re filled with everything to love about a classic strawberry fruit crisp – flavorful strawberries nestled between a buttery brown sugar and oat crust and crumble topping – but in convenient hand held form!
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup organic cane sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
10 oz strawberry preserves¹
1/2 cup chopped strawberries
zest of half a lemon (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350℉. Line a 9×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving about an inch overhang on two sides. Set aside.
Make the crumble: In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oats, flour, sugars, baking soda and spices until well-combined.
Cut the butter into cubes, then use your fingers to gently knead the butter into the dry ingredients, until completely incorporated, and you’ve formed a shaggy, crumbly dough, that easily sticks together when pinched. This will take a few minutes.
Assemble: Scoop about two thirds of the crumble dough into the baking pan, and press into an even layer along the bottom. Spoon the jam over the bottom crust, leaving about 1/4 border around the sides. Top with the chopped strawberries and lemon zest (if using).
Sprinkle the remaining crumble mixture over top, from edge to edge. Very gently press the crumbles into the jam.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the crumble topping is golden brown and has puffed up a bit. The jam may be starting to bubble up through the crumbs, slightly. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before cutting into bars.
¹ My favorite store-bought strawberry preserves are from Bonne Maman. You can also make your own! Just about any type of fruit or berry jam will work, so use whatever you’ve got.
Make it gluten free by substituting all-purpose gluten free flour.
Make it vegan by using vegan butter (such as Earth Balance buttery baking sticks), or in a pinch, melted coconut oil.
Keywords: strawberry jam crumble bars, berries, egg free, easy, oat crumble, oatmeal bars, crumb bars, fruit bars, strawberry preserves
Originally published March 28, 2018.