These cherry bars are a soft cookie crust topped with cherry pie filling, more cookie dough and a drizzle of vanilla glaze. An easy and impressive dessert that’s perfect to feed a crowd!
I love a good pie, and these bar cookies are almost like a handheld pie, but with much less work. They are perfect holiday cookies to serve on a platter with molasses cookies, thumbprint cookies and snowball cookies.
I have to admit, I made these cherry bars because I found some cans of cherry pie filling in the pantry that I needed to use up. I wasn’t expecting a lot, but let me tell you, my expectations were absolutely wrong. These cherry bars are incredibly delicious and have found their way onto my regular dessert rotation. I may or may not have even had some of the leftovers for breakfast.
This recipe is one of my favorite holiday desserts. If you want more Christmas dessert recipes check out my eggnog cake, peppermint bark, cake truffles, rum balls and my favorite Christmas cookie recipes.
Table of Contents
Cherry Bars Ingredients
To make cherry bars with vanilla glaze you will need butter, sugar, salt, eggs, flour, vanilla extract, almond extract and cherry pie filling. For the glaze you will want to have powdered sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract and milk.
How Do You Make Cherry Bars?
This cherry bars recipe starts with a making a cookie dough by beating together butter, sugar and salt in a stand mixer or with an electric mixer. Add the eggs and mix them together. Slowly add in flour, vanilla extract and almond extract at low speed until combined. Spread some of the dough on the bottom of a jelly roll pan. Spread two cans of cherry pie filling over the top of the dough. Dollops of dough go on top. Then the whole pan goes into the oven to bake until golden brown. After your bars have cooled, make a glaze by whisking together powdered sugar, almond extract, vanilla extract and milk. Drizzle the glaze over the tp. Cut your pan of cookies into squares and you’re ready to serve!
Tips For The Perfect Cherry Bars
- This cherry bars recipe calls for a 15″ x 10″ pan which is a somewhat unusual size. You can make the bars in a 9″ x 13″ pan instead. The bars will be thicker and therefore take longer to cook.
- You can also make your own homemade cherry pie filling for an extra special treat.
- This recipe calls for basic ingredients that you most likely already have in the house with the exception of one: almond extract. The almond extract really makes these bars special, so I urge you to make a special trip to the store to grab some for this recipe. You won’t regret it.
Using an offset spatula makes spreading the dough and pie filling easy tasks.
Cherry bars last up to 5 days in an airtight container in a refrigerator.
You can also freeze cherry bars for 2 months. Simply cut them into individual bars and place them in an airtight container in a freezer. Thaw individual bars in a microwave by heating the bars for 20 second increments.
This recipe makes fantastic cherry bars; however, you can modify the recipe to suit your own tastes.
- Filling: You can use different fillings to make different flavor bars like my apple pie filling or even blueberry or peach pie filling.
- Ice Cream: Cherry pie bars are perfect served as is, but a scoop of vanilla ice cream never hurts.
- Chocolate: For chocolate and cherry bars, mix 1 cup of chocolate chips into the dough.
- Crumble Topping: Add a crumble topping by mixing together in a small bowl with two forks 1/3 cup of granulated sugar, 1/4 cup of all purpose flour, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 cup cold butter cut into small pieces. Sprinkle the crumble on top and bake the bars.
- Orange Glaze: For an orange glaze omit the almond extract and the milk and add 1 1/2 tablespoons of orange juice.
Cherry bars make a great potluck offering. They are perfect for a holiday cookie tray, or are great for when you need dessert to feed a lot of people. Everyone that has tried these bars has asked me for the recipe, they’re really that good! Think cherry pie meets almond sugar cookie. Cherry bars always get rave reviews and are super festive for a holiday gathering.
Love This Recipe?
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For the bars
- 1 cup butter softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cans cherry pie filling
- cooking spray
For the glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 tablespoons milk
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 10″ x 15″ jelly roll pan with cooking spray.
- Place the butter, sugar and salt in the bowl of a mixer. Beat until fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour. Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts.
- Spread 2/3 of the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan.
- Spread the pie filling over the dough.
- Place teaspoon sized dollops of dough all over the surface of the pie filling.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely in the pan.
- To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, extracts and milk. Add more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, if you prefer a thinner glaze.
- Drizzle the glaze over the bars. Let the glaze harden, then cut into squares and serve.
- Using an offset spatula makes spreading the dough and pie filling easy tasks.
- This recipe calls for a 15″ x 10″ pan which is a somewhat unusual size. You can make the bars in a 9″ x 13″ pan instead, but the bars will be thicker and therefore take longer to cook.