These strawberry crumb bars have a buttery shortbread base, a layer of fresh juicy strawberries & are topped with delicious cinnamon streusel. The perfect way to enjoy fresh, in-season berries.
**This recipe was originally published May 25, 2016 and updated April 20, 2020**
Spring and summer are the best times for baking fruit crisps, crumbles and pies. Fresh berries are coming into season, meaning your desserts using those berries are the sweetest and juiciest. If you’ve been around Just So Tasty for a while, you know how much I love I fruit crisp/crumble bars – and these strawberry crumb bars are no different.
They have a buttery shortbread base, juicy strawberries in the middle, and brown sugar streusel on top. If you ever eat a fruit crisp and yearn for more crunchy, buttery topping – then these strawberry bars are definitely for you. They’re the type of bars that are perfect with a cup of coffee in the afternoon, or a scoop of ice cream for an easy summer dessert.
The Perfect Strawberry Crumb Bars
The base is made with just butter, a little sugar, flour & some cornstarch. It’s shortbread-esque, and perfectly firm to support the thick layer of berries. The base will bake for about 20 minutes on its own first, before adding the additional layers. This stage helps it firm up, and support the berries without getting soggy.
For the strawberry layer, we’ll simply chop up our berries and then toss in a little cornstarch and sugar to help thicken the mixture. I added a little orange zest for extra flavor – which is quite divine to say the least. You can also use lemon zest instead. The citrus really highlights the fresh strawberry flavor.
Then for the streusel topping. I may have gone a bit overboard with the amount – but no one complained. The streusel has large crumbles with a nice crunch, and the delicate butter flavor pairs so well with the strawberries. Before baking it may look like there’s a lot of crumb topping, but some will sink into the strawberry mixture as it bakes.
- I do not recommend using frozen berries for this recipe because they add too much moisture and can make the bars soggy.
- This recipe can be doubled and made in a 9×13 inch pan. The bake time will be slightly longer.
- I don’t recommend making these bars in a 9×9 inch pan, as there is not quite enough batter.
- Make sure the bars are 100% cooled before slicing into them – otherwise they can fall apart.
I love these bars for spring & summertime. They’re seriously easy to make – and the buttery, crumbly, streusel deliciousness is perfect with the fresh strawberries. And since you can never have too many easy summertime desserts – these should definitely be added to your kitchen to-do list.
For more strawberry recipes, make sure to try this strawberry pie or this strawberry rhubarb crisp.
Strawberry Crumb Bars
For the Base
- ¾ cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- ⅓ cup white sugar
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt to taste
For the Strawberry Layer
- 2 cups sliced strawberries*
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons orange zest or lemon zest
For the Streusel Topping
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar light or dark (I used light)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup unsalted butter melted
- Preheat the oven to 300F degrees.
- Line an 8x8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminium foil, leaving an overhang on each side. If using aluminum foil, lightly grease with butter or non-stick cooking spray.
Make the Base
- In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until combined.
- Turn the mixer down to low and beat in the flour, cornstarch and salt until combined. The mixture will be crumbly.
- Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn the oven to 350F degrees.
- In a medium bowl, toss together the sliced strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, and orange zest until the straberries are evenly coated.
- In a medium bowl stir together the flour, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon and salt until evenly combined.
- Stir in the melted butter. The mixture should look like wet/damp sand.
Assemble and Bake
- Carefully spoon the strawberry mixture over the shortbread base until it's evenly covered. Any juice in the bottom of the bowl does not need to be spooned onto the shortbread base.
- Then crumble the topping over the strawberry layer. If you make a fist around the streusel and release your hand - it should form crumbles.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until the streusel topping begins to turn golden brown and you can see the strawberry layer bubbling underneath.
- Remove from the oven and cool completely (about 4 hours or more) before slicing.
- To slice the bars, lift them out of the pan using the overhang of the parchment paper/aluminum foil. Place on a cutting board and slice using a shin, sharp knife (do not use a butter knife).
- You'll need about 1 lb (454 grams) strawberries total, before slicing. Measuring strawberries after hauling and slicing.
- Store bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Nutrition information is based on 1 bar, assuming the pan is cut into 9 equal bars.
Amazing. Yes. I need these in my life right now. Love love love the freshness and easiness and I cannot wait to try these out!
Yay! I hope you love them!
Tez @ Chile and Salt
YUM is all I can say Fiona! These look absolutely AMAZING! These are so happening in my house this weekend!
Thanks Tez! Let me know what you think of the recipe – I hope you love them!
Soon will be strawberry season again so I’ll be baking these again. They were a great success the last time.
My kids are strawberry bar addicts and they LOVE this recipe! I don’t use the regular sugar for the top but it is still tasty! Thank you for this recipe! We’ll keep coming back to it!
I made them and they were amazing! The orange zest is essential! Was wondering if I could make them with Morello cherries and how much cornstarch I would need?
I haven’t tried, so I’m not sure of the results. I do have a separate recipe for cherry bars using sweet cherries that you could try here: https://www.justsotasty.com/cherry-almond-bars/ I’m guessing if you used sour cherries you’d want to increase the sugar, and for 2 cups of cherries you’d probably want about the same amount of cornstarch.
This is amazing! The bottom crust is so buttery it melts in your mouth. The strawberries and streusel complement each other perfectly. I will be adding this to my family recipe collection. Thank you!
Our 11 year old found this recipe today, and we made it with thawed (previously frozen) strawberries… OH MY DELICIOUS! The entire family voted to make it again… and again… I think this will be a family favorite. Many, many thanks!
These bars were amazing! I doubled the recipe and I am so glad I did. I will definitely make these again. Thank you!
Thanks so much Kellie! I don’t think you can ever go wrong with an extra big batch 😉
Could you make these gluten free? Would I need to do anything different?
You could. To be honest, I find different gluten-free flours perform quite differently. So if you have one that you typically use and love that you find works well with a 1:1 substitution, then go for it!
Made these today and I am speechless! A perfect shortbread base and sweet filling, definitely adding to my favorites! 11/10 recommend!!!