EASY CHERRY PIE BARS

Easy Cherry Pie Bars Recipe

Cherry pie filling tucked between buttery, tender shortbread layers and topped with a sweet vanilla glaze – what’s not to love about these scrumptious and easy cherry pie bars! I’m thrilled to share my go-to recipe that results in the perfect sweet treat to satisfy any cherry pie craving without spending hours in the kitchen.

Why I Love This Easy Cherry Pie Dessert

As soon as I took my first bite of these magnificent cherry pie bars, I was hooked. The base starts with the simplest shortbread dough, providing the ideal buttery and slightly crisp foundation. Dollopped on top is a generous layer of bright, jammy cherry pie filling. Each cherry pops with flavor and the hint of almond extract enhances their sweetness. The second layer of dough seals everything in before baking. When finished, these bars have a top golden brown crust and melted cherry filling oozing out the sides if you cut them just right. A dusting of powdered sugar or drizzle of glaze takes these already wonderful bars over the top.

Not only does the taste make my heart sing, but I love how easy these cherry pie bars come together. Starting with store-bought canned pie filling eliminates the step of pitting and cooking fresh cherries. I simply mix up a shortbread in minutes, layer everything in the pan, and bake. In about 30 minutes I have a full pan of tender, flaky cherry pie bars that disappear fast whenever I bring them to a party or potluck. They always earn rave reviews!

Kitchen Tools Needed

Part of why this recipe comes together so quickly is that you likely have everything needed on hand in your kitchen already:

  • Stand mixer or electric beaters
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Rubber spatula
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Sifter (optional)
  • Whisk
  • 9×13 baking pan or similarly sized dish
  • Parchment paper
  • Wire cooling rack
  • Mixing bowls for glaze

Having the right simple kitchen tools makes baking a breeze. I especially love using my stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment to easily cream the butter and sugar and mix the dough. If you don’t have one, don’t worry – electric beaters or even doing it by hand works fine too. The results will be just as tasty.

How to Make Easy Cherry Pie Bars

Lets make this recipe with these simple ingredients by following step by step instructions.

Ingredients Needed:

For Shortbread Crust and Topping:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt

For Cherry Pie Filling Layer:

  • 2 (21 oz) cans cherry pie filling

For Vanilla Glaze (Optional):

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp milk

Instructions:

Make Shortbread Dough:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan and line with parchment, leaving overhang to easily lift finished bars out.
  2. In a large bowl using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy and pale in color, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract and beat until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. With mixer on low speed, slowly incorporate dry ingredients into wet ingredients until a dough forms.

Assemble and Bake Bars:

  1. Press half the dough evenly into the prepared baking pan. Use slightly damp fingers to help prevent sticking.
  2. Carefully spread both cans of cherry pie filling in an even layer over the crust.
  3. Drop small spoonfuls of remaining dough over pie filling layer. Using damp fingers, press dough gently to cover filling completely.
  4. Bake 30-35 minutes until golden. Allow to cool at least 15 minutes before cutting.

Make Vanilla Glaze:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk powdered sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract, and milk until smooth.
  2. Drizzle glaze decoratively over completely cooled cherry pie bars. Allow glaze to set before serving.

Tips and Variations

  • If you don’t have almond extract, feel free to leave it out of both the dough and glaze with no issue. It simply enhances the cherry flavor.
  • These bars can easily be made with other canned fruit pie fillings such as apple, blueberry, peach, etc. Simply substitute 2 cans of your favorite.
  • For a crumbly oatmeal crusted version, substitute 1 cup of the flour with 1 cup quick oats or old fashioned oats.
  • To make them even easier, skip the glaze step altogether. The bars still taste phenomenal on their own. A dusting of powdered sugar provides subtle sweetness.
  • For perfectly cut bars with gooey cherries visible at the edges, refrigerate at least 2 hours after baking then slice with a sharp knife cleaned between each cut.
  • Refrigerate any leftovers covered up to 5 days or freeze up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before enjoying.

Serving Suggestions

A pan of these easy cherry pie bars can be served:

  • On their own for dessert
  • As part of a dessert bar at parties
  • For breakfast or brunch alongside coffee and tea
  • In lunches as a sweet mid-day treat

No matter when you indulge, serve them straight from the pan or adorn your serving plate with dollops of fresh whipped cream. The contrast of sweet cream and tart cherry makes every bite even more luxurious.

For easy transporting, cut bars ahead of time and store covered until ready to serve. These bars make wonderful gifts too – simply arrange a few on a pretty plate, tie with ribbon or wrap in plastic wrap, and share the cherry joy!

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

  • Allow bars to completely cool first before covering tightly and storing.
  • Refrigerate leftovers up to 5 days. Bars freeze beautifully up to 2 months – simply thaw overnight in the fridge still wrapped.
  • While I love these bars chilled straight from the fridge, you can refresh leftovers by heating 10-15 seconds to soften them before serving if desired.
  • Whenever reheating, don’t overheat or the glaze may melt. Warm just until the chill comes off but bars still hold their shape when handled.
EASY CHERRY PIE BARS

Easy Cherry Pie Bars Recipe

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

EASY CHERRY PIE BARS – Cherry pie in its most delicious form: cherry pie bars! Using cherry pie filling, you can make a complete pan of these bars in minutes. They’re lovely, simple to make, and always a crowd pleaser!

Ingredients

For Shortbread Crust and Topping:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt

For Cherry Pie Filling Layer:

  • 2 (21 oz) cans cherry pie filling

For Vanilla Glaze (Optional):

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan and line with parchment, leaving overhang to easily lift finished bars out.
  2. In a large bowl using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy and pale in color, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract and beat until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. With mixer on low speed, slowly incorporate dry ingredients into wet ingredients until a dough forms.

Assemble and Bake Bars: Fried Chicken Batter:

  1. Press half the dough evenly into the prepared baking pan. Use slightly damp fingers to help prevent sticking.
  2. Carefully spread both cans of cherry pie filling in an even layer over the crust.
  3. Drop small spoonfuls of remaining dough over pie filling layer. Using damp fingers, press dough gently to cover filling completely.
  4. Bake 30-35 minutes until golden. Allow to cool at least 15 minutes before cutting.

Make Vanilla Glaze:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk powdered sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract, and milk until smooth.
  2. Drizzle glaze decoratively over completely cooled cherry pie bars. Allow glaze to set before serving.

FAQs

What type of cherries are used in canned cherry pie filling?

Canned cherry pie filling is typically made from tart red pie cherries that balance sweetness and a hint of tanginess. Common varieties include Montmorency and Balaton cherries. These hold up well to canning without breaking down.

Can I use a glass baking dish instead of metal?

Yes, you can bake these in a 9×13 inch glass baking dish with the same delicious results. Simply prepare the pan the same way by greasing and lining with parchment paper. Check a minute or two early when baking as glass tends to heat more rapidly.

What if my dough seems too sticky?

If the dough doesn’t come together easily and seems sticky, incorporate a little extra flour 1 Tablespoon at a time just until it forms a nice, smooth ball that pulls away cleanly from the sides of the bowl. Humidity can affect the exact amount needed.

Why do you need parchment paper for these bars?

Parchment paper ensures nothing sticks to the bottom as these soft, buttery bars bake. It also provides overhangs making lifting finished bars out of the pan easy. Parchment saves on scrubbing baked on sugary spills too!

Can I freeze leftover bars?

Absolutely! Cover bars tightly and place in a freezer bag or airtight container. Frozen properly, these will last 2-3 months. Let thaw overnight in the fridge before enjoying.

The Perfect Sweet for Cherry Pie Lovers

I truly believe everyone should have an easy, go-to cherry pie bar recipe like this in their back pocket. Quick to throw together using convenient canned fillings, it creates incredible homemade flavor perfect for dessert cravings, potlucks, bake sales, and anytime you need a sweet treat fast. Loaded with bright cherry goodness sandwiched between melt-in-your-mouth shortbread dough and topped with glaze, even cherry pie connoisseurs agree that this recipe is top notch. I hope you’ll give my favorite easy cherry pie bars a try soon – happy baking!

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