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 crumb 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 crumb bars. They combine everything wonderful about a traditional fruit crisp or pie, but are portable, can be made in advance, keep well for a few days, and are easier to transport and 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. 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
They’re filled with whole oats, brown sugar, a pinch of cinnamon and ginger, and a good dose of butter. The crust and crumble topping on these strawberry bars is one and the same. 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. You could add also add a splash of vanilla or almond extract, or top with your favorite nuts. It bakes into the buttery crumbs and yields a sweet, chewy, gooey, lick-your-fingers delicious bar.
Ingredients in these strawberry crumble bars
These jam crumb bars are a breeze to whip up with simple pantry staples – in just one bowl! Here’s what you’ll need to make them:
- Oats: old-fashioned rolled oats add great flavor, texture, and a little nutritional boost to the crust and crumble topping.
- Flour: all-purpose flour makes up the base of these crumb bars. You can also easily swap in gluten-free flour (see notes in FAQs below)
- White and brown sugar: a combination of both granulated sugar and light brown sugar adds sweetness and caramel flavor to these buttery bars.
- Baking soda: just the right amount of lift for the perfect crumb texture.
- Cinnamon and ginger: for lots of cozy spice.
- Salt: to intensify all the other flavors. My favorite to bake with is Diamond Crystal.
- Butter: for lots of buttery goodness (and to hold the crust together) we’ll use two sticks of softened unsalted butter. For a vegan option, feel free to substitute with plant based butter.
- Strawberry jam: use your favorite good quality berry jam or preserve. I think a chunkier style work best (with bonus points for pieces of actual fruit throughout). Both homemade and store-bought will be winners here.
- Strawberries: I like to add a handful of chopped fresh strawberries atop the jam layer for extra bursts of berry flavor.
- Lemon zest: The lemon zest is optional, but I think it lends a welcome brightness to the berries and richness of the buttery crumb. You could also swirl a few drops of good vanilla into the jam before adding it to the crust.
Find all of the measurements and recipe instructions below.
How to make jam crumble bars
Making these strawberry jam crumble bars is super easy. They don’t require a mixer or special baking equipment and come together in one big mixing bowl. And if you weigh your ingredients there are even less dishes to wash at the end!
- Make the crust and crumble topping
Whisk together the oats, flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, and spices until combined. Add the softened butter and using a pastry blender or your fingers, smoosh the butter into the dry ingredients until completely incorporated and you have a chunky crumb.
- Assemble the strawberry crumb bar layers
Press about 2/3 of the crumbs into an even layer in the bottom of a parchment paper lined 9×9-inch baking pan. Top with strawberry jam, sliced strawberries, and lemon zest, if using. Add the remaining crumb topping.
- Bake and serve
Bake until the bars are lightly golden and gently puffed. The jam may be beginning to bubble up around the edges. Let cool completely before slicing. Enjoy!!
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 can 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.
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…
Strawberry crumb bars: frequently asked questions
These crumb bars will keep for a 1-2 days in an airtight container at room temperature, or 4-5 days in the fridge, so can easily be made in advance.
Yes! These jam bars freeze well. Wrapped tightly, the bars will keep for 2-3 months. How to freeze: once cooled completely, place the bars flat on a baking sheet in the freezer for about an hour, then transfer to a freezer bag or other airtight container. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room-temperature before serving or heat for a few seconds in the microwave.
Yes! You can easily make small batch crumb bars by halving the recipe and baking in a standard loaf pan. Or, for a larger batch, double the recipe and bake in a 9×13-inch pan. Be sure to watch the baking time as the bars may take slightly more or less time in the oven.
Be sure to wait until the bars are completely cool (at least an hour) for the cleanest slices, otherwise, they’ll still taste great, but fall apart. Use a large sharp knife, and wipe the knife down after each slice.
Simply swap the flour for an equal amount of an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend. I tested with King Arthur Flour gluten-free all-purpose flour (which does not include xanthum gum). I use 2 cups (312g) and bake for 35-40 minutes. Be sure your rolled oats are also gluten-free, as needed.
You can use an equal amount of vegan butter in place of the regular butter and be sure to use organic sugar that is produced without the use of animal products.
Other easy and delicious crumble recipes you’ll love:
- Caramel apple crumble bars
- Blackberry chocolate fig bars
- Strawberry rhubarb crisp
- Brown sugar raspberry jam crumble bars
- Apple cranberry crumble
If you make these strawberry crumb bars, be sure to tag me on Instagram with the hashtag #forkknifeswoon and leave a comment and rating below letting me know how you liked them! Star ratings are especially helpful because they help others find my recipes too. xo, LauraPrint
Originally published March 28, 2018.