Strawberry Bars: Buttery shortbread, sweet, fruity jam, and a layer of crumb topping. Simple to make & so delicious!

Strawberry bars in a stack with a red checked cloth.

I seriously can’t believe we are already halfway through summer! Where is the time going???

It’s about time I get my butt in gear and share these strawberry bars with you. I’ve been meaning to do it for way too long!

I’ve been making these jam bars over and over again since early spring. The minute the weather starts warming up I start craving fruity desserts! Pineapple upside-down cake, lemon meringue pie, peach cobbler… you name it, I just can’t get enough!

And these bars are no different. There’s just something about the contrast of buttery, crumbly shortbread and sweet strawberries! It calls to me. Give these a try and you’ll see what I mean.

Strawberry jam bars cut into squares, with a text banner above that reads "Strawberry Jam Bars."

WHAT ARE STRAWBERRY BARS?

These bars are made up of 3 different components:

  1. A tender, buttery shortbread base,
  2. sweet, summery strawberry jam, and
  3. a generous layer of crumb topping.

Everything gets layered into a square baking pan and baked to golden perfection.

Then it can be cut into squares and devoured!

HOW TO MAKE STRAWBERRY BARS

While there are 3 different pieces to this recipe, each one is super simple.

Let’s start with the bottom layer.

THE SHORTBREAD BASE

Begin by stirring flour, powdered sugar, and salt together in a large bowl.

Then cut in the cold butter.

Cutting cold butter into dry ingredients for shortbread.

Make sure your butter is COLD. This way the shortbread will come out so, so tender.

I use a pastry blender to cut in. It’s great for making just about any kind of pastry. Besides shortbread, I also use it for pie crust, biscuits, scones, puff pastry… even for croissants, if you can believe it.

If you don’t have one, here’s a link: Pastry Blender. Only a few dollars and you’ll definitely get a lot of use out of it if you like to bake.

Or, you can use 2 knives, or just rub the butter in with your fingertips.

You’re looking for a mixture that resembles large bread crumbs. Pieces of butter no larger than a pea, all coated in the flour mixture.

Pea-sized butter pieces for pastry.

Press this into the bottom of your greased, lined baking pan. I used a 9×9 pan, but an 8×8 will work too- your bars will just come out a little thicker and smaller.

Partially bake this base layer for about 20 minutes, or until it’s starting to look set.

THE STRAWBERRY FILLING

The next layer is just strawberry jam. Easy as can be, right?

If you really want to dazzle, try using homemade strawberry jam. You only need 3 simple ingredients, and it tastes like nothing else! Check out my old standby recipe: Strawberry Jam. I’ve been making it every summer for years!

But store-bought works great. And it doesn’t have to be strawberry! Use any kind of jam you like.

Here are a few ideas:

Just to name a few!

Spreading strawberry jam over shortbread.

I find the perfect flavor balance with about 8 ounces of jam. It’s a thin layer that really allows the buttery-ness of the shortbread and crumb topping to shine. But if you like your desserts on the sweeter side, use up to 12 ounces of jam.

THE CRUMB TOPPING

This topping is just a variation on my Basic Streusel Recipe.

Start with melted butter, then add flour, sugar, oats, lemon zest, and salt.

Stirring crumb topping with a fork.

Toss everything together until crumbly, then sprinkle it all overtop the jam.

Sprinkling crumb topping on jam bars.

Bake until just barely starting to look golden on the top. (In my oven, this takes about 35 minutes.)

Dusting powdered sugar on jam bars.

Then cut into squares and garnish with a flurry of powdered sugar!

ARE THESE HEALTHY?

We all have our own definitions of what is or isn’t healthy these days, so I’ll refer you to the nutritional label in the recipe card below for the nitty-gritty details.

But I can tell you that these jam bars are egg-free and nut-free, so if you or someone in your life has sensitivities, this is a great recipe to make.

I have not tested it myself, so I can’t guarantee the results, but if you’d like to try making a gluten-free version, use a gluten-free flour blend that subs 1:1 for regular flour.

I’d love to hear about your results! Drop a comment below; I’m sure it will be helpful to other readers.

And if you’d like to make this dairy-free and vegan, use a dairy-free butter product that subs 1:1 for regular dairy.

Overhead image of strawberry jam bars recipe, prepared and cut into squares, with a sifter of powdered sugar.

CAN YOU USE FRESH STRAWBERRIES?

I’ve tried adding fresh sliced strawberries to the filling, and while it looks gorgeous and tastes incredible, it will make the bars a little soggy. Personally, I would leave them out.

But if you absolutely must, use them sparingly, and err on the side of slightly overbaking to help evaporate out some of the excess moisture.

CAN THIS BE MADE IN A DIFFERENT SIZED PAN?

If you need to feed a crowd, double this recipe and it can be made in a 9×13 pan.

I will also add that the bars you see in the images and videos here are pretty large, at about 3-inches square. And that is reflected in the nutritional info. It looks great but personally, I can only eat about half a bar in one sitting.

HOW TO STORE

These keep really well at room temperature, for quite a while! Just keep them in a zip-top bag and they should be good for at least a week!

Or you can freeze them. They should last for a few months in the freezer. Thaw them at room temperature or in the microwave for about a minute or two on a low setting.

Strawberry jam bar recipe, prepared and served on a sheet of parchment, with a silver cake server.

As an amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Strawberry Bars
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 

Strawberry Bars: Buttery shortbread, sweet, fruity jam, and a layer of crumb topping. Simple to make & so delicious!

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: jam bars, strawberry bars, strawberry jam bar recipe, strawberry jam bars, strawberry jam bars recipe
Servings: 9 3-inch squares
Calories: 484 kcal
Ingredients
For the Shortbread Crust:
For the Strawberry Filling:
For the Crumb Topping:
Instructions
To Make the Shortbread Crust:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Lightly mist a 9x9-inch baking pan with non-stick spray, and line it with parchment.

  3. Place the flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine.

  4. Cut in the cold butter until it's no larger than pea-sized.

  5. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, and par-bake for 20 minutes.

To Make the Strawberry Filling:
  1. Spread a thin layer of jam over the partially baked shortbread (it's ok if it's still hot from the oven).

To Make the Crumb Topping:
  1. Stir the melted butter, flour, sugar, oats, lemon zest, and salt together with a fork until crumbly.

  2. Sprinkle the crumb topping all over the jam layer.

  3. Bake until just barely beginning to turn golden on top (approximately 30 to 40 minutes).

  4. Cool completely, then cut into squares and garnish with powdered sugar.

Recipe Video

Nutrition Facts
Strawberry Bars
Amount Per Serving (1 square)
Calories 484 Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Fat 21g32%
Saturated Fat 13g81%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 54mg18%
Sodium 206mg9%
Potassium 81mg2%
Carbohydrates 69g23%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 30g33%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 630IU13%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 19mg2%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.