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Cherry Crumble Bars

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I used to think I disliked cherries, because I hated cherry-flavored candies, vitamins, drinks, and especially cherry cough drops. But I don’t think I’d ever tasted an actual cherry until I was a teenager. Weird, right?

After that first taste, I was in love!

Now, in the summertime, I’ll almost always have fresh cherries in my kitchen. Such was the case yesterday, when a neighbor came to me with a special request…

cherry crumble bars

She is a huge fan of my Buttery Berry Crumble Bars.

And she asked if she could hire me to make her a batch. Someone requesting a vegan baked good?? Obviously I told her I’d be happy to make them for free!  To deviate a little different from last time, I decided to make the bars with fresh cherries:

cherry bars

Cherry Crumble Bars

(Makes 10-14 bars)

  • 1.5 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (or white flour, or Bob’s gluten-free)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar or coconut brown sugar (or xylitol, for a sugar-free option)
  • pinch stevia OR add another tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp cold butter sub (Or click for: Fat-Free Option.)
  • 2 tbsp milk of choice
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cherries, chopped (8oz)
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup, agave, or honey
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • optional: a handful of chocolate chips

Cherry Bars Recipe: Stir together the first eight ingredients, making sure to break the butter up really well so that little crumbs form. Scoop 2/3 of the dough into a 4×7, oiled glass dish (or any small pan), and press down firmly. In a separate bowl, stir together the other ingredients. Layer them into the pan, then top with the rest of the dough from the first pan and press down a bit. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 F, then cool at least 30 minutes before cutting into bars. Store uncovered, unless you want a soft crust (in which case, you should cover completely with saran wrap).

View Cherry Crumble Bars Nutrition Facts



1 Minute Chocolate Cake

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
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  1. Jennifer JCD says:

    I’m on the fence with cherries. I detest anything chery-flavoured, even jams and squares, but I enjoy fresh cherries once in a while. Weird?

  2. Definitely yummy! I had exactly the same experience as you and I feel the same way about strawberries – love the fruit, hate strawberry-flavoured things! And people think I’m weird 😉

    These look really good Katie!

  3. Stefanie says:

    I used to think I hated cherries too. Now, it is hard to keep them in my house because I could eat the whole bag in one day if I am not careful.

  4. Ragnhild says:

    A big YAY to cherries, I love them so much! I actually just, like 2 minuts ago, posted about uncook chocolate cherry pancakes- YUM 😀
    These bars looks wonderful. Cherries and chocolate are a combination made in heaven!

  5. kate says:

    yum these look delish I love cherries but rarely buy them because organic are so expensive !!

  6. 100% YUMMMY! 😀 Except when they’re super sour. Its too bad I can’t have them often.. they’re really expensive!! :-(

  7. frozen cherries and chocolate smoothie is one of my favorite ways! I do not like the tiny red cherries, only the big dark ones with a pit! These look soooo dense and delicious wooooo!

  8. I love cherries — my favorite is actually the frozen pitted cherries — they are so sweet and so refreshing!

  9. I love cherries in all forms: fresh, dried, in baked goods. Yum.

  10. Cherries are so yummy! Cherries + Chocolate = DELICIOUS

  11. I’ve always been a huuuuge cherry fan, but you’re so right – the fake cherry flavor (or the creepy jarred maraschinos!) don’t do the fruit justice! A good real cherry pie though seriously can’t be beat, especially with a scoop of vanilla soy ice cream :)

  12. Jess says:

    Cherries are YUMMY! I usually just eat them by the handful :)

  13. Oh my gosh I loooooooove cherries. This is my favorite time of year just because cherries are in season. Well, I like clementine season, too. Have you tried roasting your cherries? Whole new level of flavor – amazing!! I’ve got a recipe for roasted cherry brownies on my blog – that’s how I discovered that roasting cherries is so amazing. It is my new favorite topping for, well, everything dessertish!

    1. I haven’t tried it! I need to try this!!! It sounds so yummy!

  14. Cherries are like my favorite food right now! Just a perfect summer treat! I bet this would taste great with one of your ice cream recipes! :)

  15. Natalie S. says:

    I’m the same way!!! I looatthhee cherry-flavored stuff, but I LOVE cherries! I rarely cook with them though, because they’re such a pain in the a$$ to pit. Frozen cherries are a good idea though! I’m going to try these crumble bars — they look delish!

  16. Lenna says:

    I love cherries, the darker the better! And the same applies to chocolate – a coincidence? :) I don´t think so :) So what really works for me is blending cherries with dark cocoa or carob powder (you can a banana, but it is not neccesary) – delicious! I also love cherries blended in oatmeal.

  17. Jen says:

    I could seriously eat an entire bag of dark cherries. I love summertime because it yields the best fruit…but I spend too much money on organic berries and cherries! I usually eat cherries plain, or accompanied by a few pieces of dark chocolate. Cherries + chocolate = heaven. But I don’t need to tell YOU that.

  18. I love cherries! They are my favorite fruit. My favovorite cake is blackforest so I love that you added chocolate to these. I love this recipe I am going to try it ASAP!

  19. LOVE cherries…Just had some for dinner last night…and breakfast this morning…..and I wouldn’t be surprised if I ate them again for lunch!

    I just had an awesome idea this morning after eating my cherries and bitter chocolate pancakes…and I saw some of my grain-free fudge brownies on the counter! Since Cake pops are such a hit right now, why don’t I roll the cherries in a bit of chocolate cake (or brownies), and them dip them into melted chocolate? They would look like giant chocolate-covered cherries..only it’s chocolate cherry cake! hehe….I think I’m going to try it. Hope it works!

  20. Lauren B. says:

    I LOVE cherries! We eat them like candy around here. And yesterday, I made a delicious cherry-almond oatmeal for breakfast. For a healthy dessert, sometimes I will warm up frozen cherries and top them with banana “nice cream” and granola for a fake-out cherry crisp! YUM!

  21. I am like you…I love cherries but I HATE cherry flavored things! Yuck…..cough medicine thats cherry flavored was not allowed in my house when I was a kid! But these look fabulous! I love the fruit center mixed the crumbly, chewy outside! Looks delish!

  22. Tangy says:

    I love cherries! This recipe looks so good!

  23. Love cherries, I just bought some this morning!!! Can’t wait to give these babies a try!

  24. I dont think I’ve ever tried a cherry! Due to the fact that cherry flavored medicine, coughdrops etc gross me out!

  25. Cherries = Yummy. Maraschino Cherries = Yucky.

  26. Lisa says:

    oh HOW convenient. Im eating cherries right now we just bought! what better way to use the rest of the bag up then make these :)

  27. Yum! Love that cherry filling 😀 I’m always loved cherries. And then working in a cherry packing plant and living on a cherry orchard I got so sick of them for a couple years but I love them now 😀 Can’t get enough!

  28. I love cherries ! They are so delicious! But I am with you with not liking cherry flavoured things. I am the same with banana things- like bananas, do not like banana flavoured things- think that goes back to having horrible fake banana medicine when I was little!

  29. Kaleigh says:

    Oooh! These are a must-make! I’ll let you know if I make them with coconut oil too :)

  30. I love cherries! I made cupcakes once with tart cherry jam in the center – they were out of this world! Your bars look fantastic :)

  31. Marissa says:

    Funny–I’m the opposite! I always steal the cherry-flavored vitamins out of the jar and leave the yucky grape and orange ones for my little brother, haha. Isn’t it weird how fruit flavored things don’t taste at all like the real fruit? Especially grape flavor!

  32. Michaela says:

    I love cherries! And guess, what I ate today? Yep, cherries! I am totally with you, though, I hate cherry flavor that does only taste artifical and nothing like cherry. Also I love cherry earrings 😀

  33. um, i LOVE cherries. I have an obsession with them every time they’re in season. But only fresh cherries. Cherry flavored things, I’m not so much a fan of. I always think of cherry flavored cough syrup.

  34. Ann Claire says:

    Cherrries = yummy in my book. Regulur cherries are decent, but I love Rainier cherries and I recently tried strawberry cherries and love them too (they aren’t really strwaberry-ie, but they are delicious!).

    1. Sarah says:

      I had no idea there was such a thing as strawberry cherries! Where can i get them?

      1. Ann Claire says:

        I got mine at Safeway!

      2. Sarah says:

        Thanks Ann!

  35. I don’t really like cherries! I am ok with dried cherries in things or things with cherry flavor but I don’t like to eat just raw cherries. I’m working on liking them though! But those look delicious! And I love that you added a little chocolate to them! :) I might do that for the mixed berry ones!

  36. I love cherries! When they’re fresh they have to be very crisp, though. Mushy fresh cherries aren’t so awesome.

    Those bars look so chewy! YUM :)

  37. Sarah says:

    Oh, i am in LOVE with cherries. But same as you, i can’t stand cherry flavored things. It just tastes like chemicals! Not even close to the real stuff. Same thing with grapes – its a love/hate relationship. Love grapes, hate the flavored things. When I have cherries, i like to eat ’em plain or with whipped cream (come to think of it, i like everything with whipped cream!) Only problem is that sometimes there’s way more cream than cherry…oops. Also i love them in a reduction served on biscuits or pancakes- this is where i stop and go grab me some grub before i pass out:)

  38. I have to say, cherries are one of the few foods I like best on their own. I actually prefer cherries in their birthday suits to cherries adorned with chocolate or crumbly crispy crusts….which is not to say that I’d turn down such a decadent dessert if it were to cross my path, but generally speaking I think cherries are upstanding standalone fruits. I’ll concede though – these bars do look prettyfrickinyummy :)

  39. Val says:

    Love that you chose cherries!!!!!!! I can’t wait to make this!

  40. Mellie says:

    I love cherries, especially black cherries! Those bars look yummy!

  41. cherries=yummy
    And your bars look fantastic!
    I like frozen ones in shakes-I put an approximate recipe here:

  42. Irina says:

    I was exactly like you! I used to think cherry anything was nasty but then came a wave of understanding and healthy eating and the rest is history :)

    Those bars look amazing!!! I can’t wait for Whole Foods to have another $2.99/lb cherry sale haha

  43. Bethany says:

    I’ve never liked cherries until I had some that were fresh….OMG!!! Super delicious. I like to eat them on a hot summer day fresh out of the bowl.

    Interesting fact that I recently learned: cherries help produce melatonin, which helps you go to sleep. So maybe eat some cherries for a bedtime snack??

    Can’t wait to try these bars out!

  44. yummmmmmm looks so good!!! i am only a fan of cherries when its paired with chocolate :)

  45. I freaking LOVE cherries!! And these look so good. J’adoreee.

  46. Cherries are my love. I bought a bag of them yesterday at the groc store. They were on sale and are perfect!!!

    The only thing I hate about cherries is pitting them. For me, I just spit the pits (classy) but Skylar still doesn’t quite grasp the spitting concept so after 1 or 2 attempts, that’s it :)

    I have a cherry de-pitter (works but cherry juice sprays everywhere and sometimes it doesnt always get out the pit) and so I have to de-pit with my knife and get cherry juice all over my hands. I’m such a whiner, eh?

    But yeah, I LOVE cherries!!!

  47. I love cherries, the darker the better!
    Favourite way to eat them – by handfuls, from the bag you’ve just bought from a roadside stall, getting home to realise they’ve all mysteriously vanished… :-)

  48. I love Ranier cherries! :) They are so good on their own! I’m not much of a fan of the chocolate/cherry combo though!

  49. I can’t believe how excited I am to have seen this post!!! That picture is so beautiful, I want to cry. Or just find a lot of crumbly bars in my life very soon.

    I’m going farmers’ market exploring tomorrow, with the highest hopes to find cherries. And I am only missing cornstarch from the other ingredients! That never happens, haha. So excited. Thanks, Katie!

  50. YES! fo cherrries :) I got so excited when I saw this post title! I knew it was going to be amazing!

  51. Aja says:

    Ooh! Sounds good. Cherries are delish.

  52. Yummy for sure!! And my dad especially loves them so I’ll have to make these bars for him sometime! :)

    Cherries bring back such great memories! My best friend and I have cherry downs about once a year. We’re currently tied on winnings, so the next cherry down will be the tie breaker! Aww… good times, good times 😉

    Have the most fabulous weekend ever, Katie!! 😀

    <3 <3

  53. Wow… those are some seriously pretty bars! I’m okay with cherries. It just depends on the batch.. some are lovely and some are SO gross

  54. BroccoliHut says:

    Totally yummy! I think I must have inherited it from my granddaddy–he can eat an entire pound in a sitting!
    I had cherries twice today, just to prove my enthusiasm:)

  55. Love, LOVE, love cheeries!!! In every way I love them!!!

  56. Em says:

    r u kidding!? Cherries are THE BOMB!!! JUST NOT THE ARTIFICIAL CRAP THEY SELL! (= (=

  57. vogelstar says:

    totally yummy! I make chocolate covered cherries, and sometimes whirl them in a blender for chocolate covered cherry shakes

  58. Ashley C says:

    LOVE cherries!! honestly i really just like them by themselves, but i also love cherry flavored soda!! (although im guessing thats probably artificial flavoring and not real cherries, its still delish!!)

  59. Char says:

    Mmmmm I heart cherries!! I used to dislike them too, because I tasted cherry-flavored candies & such before trying the real thing. This is the first year I actually gave the fruit itself a chance & OH EM GEE WAS I MISSING OUT!! I’ve been eating them by the bowl full 😀 hehe

    Those bars look delicious with cherries & chocolate in them! Great idea :)

  60. i luv cherries but i’m not a fan of the whole spit the pit thing! haha..that and as a kid i was a total dorkette and would always somehow manage to swallow a stray pit and be afraid that something would start growing in my belly!

    but i really like cherry flavored anything…but not gonna lie i think the first thing i’d dive into there is the crumble! 😉

  61. Elise says:

    I adore cherries!! They’re grown in kent at this time of year so I get them whenever I can :) This recipe looks amazing, if I get time on Sunday I’m making them!

  62. LizAshlee says:

    Cherries…yum!! These bars look amazing!

  63. I love cherries, especially if mixed with chocolate.

  64. Amber K says:

    Yeah, why is it that cherries are so good and yet cherry-flavored things taste like concentrated evil? Blech!

  65. Cherries are alright, but I’m really not a fan of sweet cherries. I like the sour ones you make pies and stuff with, but then again, I’m kind of a fan of sour fruit, lol.

    I too, used to hate cherries… but that was until a ate a real one. Real ones are so much more awesome. And I LOVE dried sweet cherries, they really make a bowl of oatmeal. I’ve also made various batches of cookies and subbed out raisins for cut-up dried cherries. Works like a charm!

    1. LOL you sound like my sister! I was lamenting how much I dislike the tiny blueberries because they aren’t sweet, and she said, “But I love sour blueberries! Sour fruit is way yummier than sweet fruit!”

  66. just like with oreos, i wanna dig into that cherry center asap, then enjoy the delicious crumble layers afterwards- these are so impressive Katie!! <3

    1. Mmm Kelsey, cherry oreos actually sound good lol!

  67. Dorothy says:

    I doubled the recipe, used half www flour and cake flour. WW pastry flour is not available here. I used 1/2 cup plus 3 T coconut oil. They taste great, though they are a bit crumbly.

    Thanks for the great recipe.

    1. Thank YOU, Dorothy. I am so glad someone tried them with coconut oil and reported back! :)

  68. Marianne says:

    Cherries are great, but I refrain from buying them, because they are so damn expensive, even though we grow them in our province! Bah. I almost bought some on my way home from work today, but bought peaches that were on sale instead because of the cost. I love making choco-cherry smoothies with them…you know, when I have a working blender.

  69. I used to despise cherry flavoured things like yogurt too, but have always loveeddd fresh cherries and this looks like the most perfect recipe to showcase their yumminess :) Wonderful as always Katie!

  70. Kristin says:

    I love that you always emphasize they’re healthy enough to eat more than one ;). That’s why we want dessert right? Cause we’re hungry… These look yummy.

    1. LOL no kidding! I don’t know how anyone can be satisfied after just one cookie for snack. I think, after eating one, I’m even HUNGRIER for a second ;).

  71. Kayla says:

    OMG!!! Katie, I saw these on foodgawker and was excited to see I had all the ingredients, so I made them right away. They are AWESOME!

    To anyone reading this, MAKE THESE!!! They are so so good and you will be glad you did!

  72. Lorin says:

    I made these after a failed attempt at another recipe (not yours!) I have a huge bag of cherries and so I made it for a birthday party. The people seemed to enjoy it! They were very tasty. :] Enjoy New York, so jealous :)

    1. Awww this made me so happy!!! :)

  73. Hey! I tried these with coconut oil (and also strawberries as the fruits) and they are amazing! I love them so much! What an amazing recipe :)
    (you have to scroll down to see them, but seriously strawberry and coconut is a perfect combo).

  74. Brandi says:

    I am totally drooling over here.. I gotta make this ASAP!

  75. i have a bag of cherries in my freezer just waiting to be used! this looks perfect, my dad (lover of all things cherry) will swoooon over these. thanks for the great (healthier) recipes!

  76. Hey- I used this recipe again, this time to make autumnal spiced apple crumble bars. They are so amazing (and with coconut butter again).
    Love your recipes :)

  77. Eli says:

    Hi Katie,
    I don’t generally like desserts, but I savored every last bite of these! I made them with coconut oil and they turned out great.

    1. I am so glad you liked them! And thanks for letting me know they work with coconut oil; I was really curious about that! :)

  78. Hey- I adapted these again to make a festive version this time- with some mincemeat (not sure you get that in the USA? It is dried fruit, spices, sometimes apples- no meat!).

    1. Awww I love them!
      You’re awesome, Maria :).
      I think they sell mincemeat here… but it’s in the British section of the grocery store, next to the McVitties crackers and tinned beans :).

  79. Sapphire says:

    I love cherries as well, but I don’t have any on hand today. I DO have blackberries and raspberries, though. I think I may try this recipe with blackberries.

  80. vogelstar says:


    I made these bars today but used strawberries instaed because i had so many. They are just tastilicious. I posted a pic of them on my blog if you care to see how they look. Keep baking!

    1. They are beautiful! I’m so honored you tried them, and I think strawberries sound like a delicious variation.
      ALL your blog photos are beautiful. Makes me *almost* wish for snow. Almost!

      I couldn’t find a place to comment on your blog, so I hope you see this :).

  81. KayT says:

    Hey Katie, when making it with the vegan butter, does that make the recipe dairy free? I am trying to make a dessert for a friend who is allergic to gluten and dairy. Thanks! (These look delicious and I cannot wait to try them out)

    1. Yes! Every recipe on my site is dairy free :).

      Just be sure to use something like Earth Balance, which is dairy-free. And use almond or soymilk (or another nondairy milk).

      1. KayT says:

        great.. thank you!

  82. Amy says:

    I like to bake cherries and fresh apples in the oven. I make a glaze to pour over them before baking; olive oil, brown sugar, cinnamon and walnuts. I bake them at 350 until the apples are soft and serve warm with vanilla frozen yogurt or by its self. Very yummy!

  83. Tricia says:

    I made these yesterday using coconut oil instead of vegan butter. They turned out great.! So yummy!!

  84. Felicia says:

    I do not like cherries! I give them a chance every summer when my siblings go crazy and buy them in bulk- but yuck. Mostly, I’m just pick about having to pick out a seed in between each bite.

  85. Aimee says:

    LOVE Cherries, detest cherry-flavored things.
    I grew up picking cherries every summer in my Grandparent’s orchard (Washington State), and then we’d help pit them (with a big, counter-top pitter), and my Grandma would can them (great for cold fruit-soup, thickened with tapioca!). :)
    Now, living in eastern Washington we pick TONS (like 120lbs!!) of cherries every year, pit & freeze them for year-round cherry “ice cream” (100% fruit, like banana ice cream…in the vita-mix), smoothies, cobblers, oatmeal, and anything else we can think of). It helps that we’ve found an orchard where we can get Bing (the super-dark, nearly black-purple), Rainier, Royal Anne, even pie cherries, for just $.80/lb.

  86. Christy says:

    Sorry if you’ve been asked this before and dealt with it on a post, but I’m always unsure as to how to convert stevia amounts when I don’t have it in “packets”. I have a bottle of powdered stevia that I don’t love to bake with because it has a weird aftertaste, and some vanilla-flavored liquid stevia that is much yummier but requires that I just make a wild guess on amounts when it’s called for in your recipes. Thoughts?

    1. CCK says:

      I highly recommend Nu-Naturals Stevia because it has less of an aftertaste than other brands. If you use that brand, then 1/2 a teaspoon equals one packet. :)

  87. Melody says:

    So glad for this recipe. I have some cherries in the fridge I need to eat before they go bad. I love cherries so I always buy more than my family can eat.

  88. Aisha says:

    katie , could i use water instead of milk? I can’t wait to try thease!

  89. christina.eats says:

    I made these into a kind of a crisp – put the cherry layer in a pan and topped it with the crumble layer (subbed out a third of the flour for oats and added in about 1/4 c extra oats). It was delicious! Also, I added in about 1/4 almond extract in place of some of the vanilla extract and it just added that extra something-something.

    Thanks Katie!

  90. Sunnie says:

    That’s how I am with artificial fruit-flavors…I detest them, and therefore think that I’ll probably hate their authentic counterparts (ex. I HATE artificial grape, and therefore am wary to try concord grapes, although they’re probably quite yummy…maybe…). These look awesome! :)

  91. Sonja says:

    I LOVE cherries and eat them almost every day! During the off-season period (and sometime during the in-season, because they are pricey), I buy large bags of pitted frozen cherries. I pack them in my lunch and by morning snack they are thawed. But, I like them frozen also. They also go great in a cup of hot tea… they cool the tea down a bit and you get to eat them when the tea is gone! Can’t wait to try this recipe and so glad a friend turned me on to your blog.

  92. moi says:

    I bet rhubarb would be another fruit that would work well with these!