Sour Cherry Almond Bars

cherry almond bars, with fork

Sour Cherry Almond Bars ~ these brown sugar and oatmeal cherry almond bars are officially my new favorite sweet snack. The cherries are nice and tart, the almond scented crumble dough is chewy and butterscotch-y ~ these are a must make!

Sour cherry almond bars with knife

These little sour cherry almond bars are bound to become your favorites too

These bars are delicious, and so convenient to make using pantry ingredients and a jar of jam. For this crumble recipe you’ll use the same dough for the bottom crust and the crumble topping, so they’re super simple to throw together. The topping bakes up and spreads just enough over the jammy surface while still allowing those vibrant cherries to peek through. Kinda perfect.

The word ‘crumble’ features in so many of my desserts here on tvfgi. I just love the ease of this kind of recipe, and the way it can play with so many different kinds of fruit fillings. Here the sour cherries mingle nicely with the brown sugar and oats, which in turn make these bars extra chewy. Once cooled they’re easy to eat right out of hand, so even though I photographed them with a fork, you won’t need one.

A sour cherry almond bar with fork

The difference between sour (Montmorency) cherries and regular cherries

  • Sour cherries are a variety of cherry that happens to be quite tart, and have a very short growing season. Unless you frequent a farmers market, or are part of a CSA, you probably won’t see them in their fresh form.
  • They’re used in cooking rather than for eating out of hand, like sweet cherries.
  • Like so many tart fruits, sour cherries have an intensely wonderful flavor when baked, and so have a cult following among their fans.
  • You can find sour cherries in your supermarket juiced, frozen, dried, or canned.
  • If you’re lucky enough to live in the right area (California, Michigan or Wisconsin for instance) you might be able to pick your own sour cherries; check for your location in the PICK YOUR OWN farm locator.
  • Sour cherries can be in season from June through August.

Sour Cherry Almond Bar with fork on parchment paper

My sour cherry bars make great grab and go snacks

Because these are so sturdy, they’re ideal for grabbing and going. Think school, work, or travel (once you’ve made these you’ll never be a slave to pricey airport food again.)  Lunch boxes, care packages…absolutely. This recipe makes a lot ~ you’ll get 20 decent bars ~ so you’ll still have some leftover for kitchen counter snacking…my favorite kind.

cherry almond bars, with fork

I love the combination of cherries and almonds

The classic combination really shines in these bars, I use a heavy amount of almond extract in the dough. If you aren’t a fan you can substitute vanilla extract.

Try my sweet cherry almond bars for a fresh cherry version.

 

Sour almond cherry bars in a pan with parchment paper

 

Ingredient spotlight: SOUR CHERRY JAM

Sour cherry jam

You’ll need some sour cherry jam for these bars, and I’m a big fan of Stonewall Kitchen, which is the one I used today. It’s got that extra tang that only sour cherries can give you. And although you could certainly make these bars with regular cherry jam, the flavor won’t be the same. The recipe calls for 12 ounces of jam, and this jar is 12.5 ounces. It was meant to be. Don’t throw away the jar, either, it makes a great salad dressing shaker!

 

an empty jar of jam for Sour Cherry Bars

 


Reader Rave ~

“I made this recipe last week for a “girl’s night” and WOW all of us enjoyed them tremendously. Today I went to 3 stores to track down more jam and when I found it I bought THREE jars so that I can make these again and again. So easy, so delicious. Thank you Sue.” ~Deb


cherry almond bars, with fork
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3.53 from 130 votes

Sour Cherry Almond Bars

Sour Cherry Almond Bars ~ these brown sugar and oatmeal cherry almond bars are officially my new favorite sweet snack!  The cherries are nice and tart, the almond scented crumble dough is chewy and butterscotch-y ~ these are a must make!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Yield 20 bars
Calories 244kcal
Author Sue Moran

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 packed cups brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 12 ounces sour cherry jam

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350F
  • Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper with long ends. The parchment is optional, but helps with lifting out the bars for easy cutting later. If you don't line the pan, spray or butter it lightly.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Beat in the egg, baking powder, and almond extract.
  • With the mixer on low, beat in the flour, one cup at a time, and then the oats. Finish the mixing by hand with a big spoon, and fold in the almonds.
  • Remove 2/3 cup of the dough and set aside for the topping. Then press the rest into the bottom of your pan. I like to crumble it all over the bottom first to distribute it, and then gently press with my fingers. Make sure to get the whole bottom surface covered.
  • Top the dough with the jam, spreading it out into an even layer, and then crumble the remaining dough in little pieces over the top.
  • Bake for about 35 minutes, just until the topping starts to turn golden.
  • Let cool in the pan, on a rack, and then gently lift the bars out with the ends of the parchment paper to cut them into 20 pieces.

notes and variations

  • I think chopped walnuts would be a good substitute for the almonds.
  • Other jams would work, I like apricot, marmalade, or lemon curd.  Hint: you can always add a little lemon juice to jam to give it some extra zing.
  • Regular rolled oats have the best texture for these sour cherry almond bars, but if you only have quick cooking oats, use them.
*Lightly adapted from Better Homes & Gardens

Nutrition

Calories: 244kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 11mg | Potassium: 144mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 296IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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67 Comments

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  • Reply
    Amy
    July 10, 2021 at 10:41 am

    5 stars
    Can I freeze these?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      July 10, 2021 at 1:38 pm

      Yes, they’ll freeze nicely.

  • Reply
    Sue
    July 4, 2021 at 2:23 pm

    Love the cherry almond bars but I have to cook them about 10 minutes longer or they are jiggly when I check them at 35 minutes. Is that normal for them to be not set up? I use an oven thermometer oven cooks fine.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      July 5, 2021 at 7:44 am

      Ovens and pans cook differently, so definitely cook them longer if you need to. It could also be a difference in your jam, etc.

  • Reply
    Staci
    January 21, 2021 at 6:32 am

    Thank you! I am excited about these. That jam is my very favorite! Looking forward to a new way to enjoy it.

  • Reply
    Michelle V.
    January 17, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    5 stars
    Delicious and easy. Made the recipe same day I received it and it was a hit. I have already shared the recipe with family and friends, and I will most certainly be making again. Thank you.

  • Reply
    craig
    January 9, 2021 at 11:52 am

    5 stars
    What if I can’t find almond extract ?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      January 9, 2021 at 3:04 pm

      You can substitute vanilla, that will taste good too.

  • Reply
    craig
    January 9, 2021 at 11:51 am

    5 stars
    what if I only have slivered almonds?

  • Reply
    Diana
    December 30, 2020 at 5:31 am

    Hello again, I’m new to baking. I’m confused with the measurements. Is one cup 250mil, grams or ounces.
    Diana

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 30, 2020 at 7:21 am

      The weight of a cup will depend on the ingredient. A cup of brown sugar is about 200 grams, a cup of flour is about 135 grams, a cup of rolled oats, 90 grams, and a cup of sliced almonds, about 70 grams.

  • Reply
    Diana
    December 30, 2020 at 5:03 am

    Hello, I’m going to try your sour cherry receipe but what do you mean by 2 sticks of butter.
    Diana

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 30, 2020 at 7:15 am

      Hey Diana, 2 sticks is 1 cup or 226 grams.

  • Reply
    EPB
    September 19, 2020 at 6:32 pm

    5 stars
    Awesome recipe. Easy to make esp because of the same batter for the bottom and top. I have homemade sour plum preserves (“povidla”) that needed to get used, which was nice paired with the almond flavor. I made the whole 9×13 recipe and gave away some to 2 friends who raved.

  • Reply
    Angela McDarren
    August 24, 2020 at 10:57 am

    5 stars
    Made these bars yesterday. Absolutely delicious. Didn’t have almonds so used walnuts. Couldn’t find Stonewall Kitchen sour cherry jam locally so ordered on Amazon. It was delivered next day.
    Love all Stonewall products. A visit to their amazing Flagship Store in Maine is a must for anyone visiting that area. Thanks for another wonderful recipe, Sue

  • Reply
    Kate F.
    August 20, 2020 at 10:55 am

    5 stars
    This recipe is simple and delicious. I halved it and wish I would have made the 9×13 – a hit with everyone in my family. I used cherry preserves on half and sliced peeled peaches on the other. The peach portion was perfectly cooked through in the suggested time.

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 20, 2020 at 11:05 am

      Love the combo you came up with!

  • Reply
    Hannah
    April 22, 2020 at 3:58 pm

    5 stars
    Sue, I live for this recipe! But I find myself and family dipping the bars in tea or milk as they go really dry. I live in a really hot and dry city in Canada, and due to our climate. I typically add oil or butter to my recipe cause I know that lots of my food will turn dry if I don’t.
    Is there anything I could add to this recipe to make it more moist?
    Thank you!!

    • Reply
      Joycelyn
      January 16, 2021 at 8:19 am

      Hannah if you’re still checking in, I’ve lived in Canada ( Metro Vancouver BC ) for over 75 years and am ever so curious as to what really hot and dry city and climate in Canada you live that most Canadians don’t know of, because I’d love to move there rather than be thinking of joining the Canadian snowbirds who head south to a warm place to spend the winter months.
      Also, I can only guess you must have missed the ingredient list for this recipes that states 1 cup of butter is needed, as that would take care of your worry about the bars being really dry.

  • Reply
    janice fulton
    November 29, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    can I substitute fresh frozen sour cherries for the jam?

  • Reply
    Teri
    September 15, 2019 at 5:41 am

    5 stars
    Sue l am completely obsessed with these sour cherry almond bars! I live in Canada and found a local fruit/vegetable store that sells sour cherries frozen and already pitted. I have made these bars and taken them in to work and l was told this is the best dessert l have ever brought in! I look so forward to trying your other recipes! Thanks again.

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 15, 2019 at 10:10 am

      What a great resource you have for sour cherries! Enjoy Teri, and hope you find lots more to try here 🙂

  • Reply
    Ann
    September 14, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    have you tried this recipe with gluten free flour?

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 14, 2019 at 1:22 pm

      I haven’t but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. The texture will be different, but if you eat gluten free you’ll know what to expect.

  • Reply
    Teri
    July 23, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    Sue, l was given some sour cherries and would like to try these bars but dont have the jam. Can l just use sour cherries instead?

    • Reply
      Sue
      July 23, 2019 at 8:31 pm

      You can, but you’re going to want to briefly cook them down with some sugar and maybe a little liquid to make a jam-like consistency.

      • Reply
        Teri Crosmas
        July 27, 2019 at 6:42 am

        If l have about 2-3 cups of sour cherries do you know how much sugar and liquid (water?) I should add? Thank you for your response!

        • Reply
          Sue
          July 27, 2019 at 9:26 am

          Pit and give them a rough chop, then just add enough water to get them started cooking and breaking down into a jam. Add sugar to taste. Cook until the mixture is thick, you may want to puree or use an immersion blender to blend to a smoother consistency, then let cool, then chill before using. The jam will thicken further as it chills.

          • Teri
            July 27, 2019 at 8:23 pm

            Thank you! I can’t wait to try these!!

          • Teri
            August 5, 2019 at 10:03 am

            Well Sue l made my jam and the bars. They are sooo good! This is definately a keeper recipe. Now l will have to wait until sour cherries are in season again. I am from Canada and my boss gave me some and said to do whatever l want with them. Thanks for posting.

  • Reply
    Evie
    February 18, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    I am looking for a way to use jars of sourcherries in juice. How do I turn these into sour jam?

    • Reply
      Sue
      July 27, 2019 at 9:28 am

      You’d need to chop and then cook down on the stove until thick Evie. You will probably want to puree or use an immersion blender to blend them up. Sweeten to taste. Cook until they are thick, then cool, then chill overnight.

  • Reply
    Mary Conti
    March 7, 2018 at 7:13 am

    I am planning to make these for a dinner party I am hosting on Friday. It is only Wednesday. Will they keep or should I wait to make them?

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 7, 2018 at 7:45 am

      I would wait as long as you can, Mary. These will keep, but the texture is so much better fresh. If you want to get a head start you could make the dough ahead, and keep it in a zip lock baggie in the fridge, then assemble and bake later.

      • Reply
        Mary Conti
        March 7, 2018 at 9:37 am

        Thank you so much! I will do at least t part ahead.

  • Reply
    Deb
    February 22, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    5 stars
    I made this recipe last week for a “girl’s night” and WOW all of us enjoyed them tremendously. Today I went to 3 stores to track down more jam and when I found it I bought THREE jars so that I can make these again and again. So easy, so delicious. Thank you Sue.

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 22, 2018 at 4:00 pm

      Yay!!!

  • Reply
    Adrienne
    February 14, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    This looks great, but I’d love to make it with frozen sour cherries. I hope you will let me know how to alter the recipe.

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 14, 2018 at 7:37 pm

      Depending on how sour they are, I would defrost and make a simple jam by cooking them with sugar to taste. Once they have released a little of their juice You may want to add some cornstarch to thicken it. If they aren’t terribly sour you might defrost them and use them whole.

  • Reply
    Liz
    February 12, 2018 at 5:50 am

    Just wondering, can I use less brown sugar and will it still work on the crumb? I have cut back on sugar in my diet and now everything tastes too sweet ! What is the least amount that can be used? This dessert looks so tempting !

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 12, 2018 at 7:39 am

      I haven’t tried, Liz, great question. I assume you can reduce the sugar, and I would try for cutting it in half.

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    February 11, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    There’s nothing I love more than a good crumb bar – these look incredible!

  • Reply
    Debra Jean
    February 9, 2018 at 5:27 am

    I try to stay away from using white flour when possible in recipes. Would almond meal work with this recipe and then eliminate the almond extract?
    Thanks.

  • Reply
    JoAnn Marek
    February 7, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    Just finished making these bars. I couldn’t find sour cherries at the grocery store probably because I live in Canada. I had a jar of lemon curd in my pantry so I decided to give it a try. Other than changing to lemon curd, I also put in half a cup of coconut instead of the almonds. I did this only because my husband’s favorite deserts contain lemon and coconut. I made no other changes except decreased cooking time to 30 minutes. This recipe was so good with a nice sweet/tart taste. Will keep looking for the sour cherries!

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 7, 2018 at 3:20 pm

      Love this combination JoAnn, those are two of my favorite flavors but for some reason I’ve never combined them on the blog, thanks for the inspiration!

    • Reply
      Heidi Quinlivan
      July 4, 2019 at 4:22 pm

      Hi I just made from jam I made from my own sour cherry tree. Just awesome ! Thank you.

    • Reply
      Jmo
      July 29, 2019 at 10:56 pm

      Hi! I live in Canada too, near Regina. Just finished picking 5 ice cream pails of sour cherries at a friend’s house! I have never seen them in the grocery store though, but they are grown in areas of BC. Can’t wait to make jam and try these bars.

  • Reply
    Candace
    February 6, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    I made these this morning, Sue. I happened to have Mr. Squash’s favorite Black Cherry preserves, so I used that and substituted Vanilla for Almond Extract and walnuts for almonds. It’s wonderful! As usual, another terrific dessert! I’ll be making it again – especially when the sour cherries come into the valley here!
    Cheers!

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 6, 2018 at 3:21 pm

      Love this Candace ~ I forgot how much I love black cherries 🙂

  • Reply
    Traci | Vanilla And Bean
    February 6, 2018 at 6:20 am

    Oh my goodness Sue! I loooove SK sour cherry jam! What a delicious way to enjoy it too.. I mean oats, brown sugar and butter? Hello! Deliciously captured too!

  • Reply
    Terrie
    February 5, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    Theses bars look great. My question is can you freeze these?

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 5, 2018 at 8:41 pm

      These would freeze beautifully ~ just wrap them nice and airtight.

  • Reply
    Lynne
    February 5, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    Hi Sue, A new recipe is one of the best ways to start a week! I didn’t have sour cherry jam but did have a jar of red currant jelly I had put up last summer. Not quite the same but I thought that the tang of the red currant would at least be similar to the sour cherry. It worked beautifully and the bars look so pretty. Though I love the almond flavor, I think next time I might cut it back so that the oatmeal comes through a bit stronger. I used a good brand (I live in Europe so McCormicks is really hard to find) and it’s possible that it’s more concentrated as I’ve noticed this also with the vanilla flavorings here.

    The bottom line though is that the bars are gorgeous and the recipe is a keeper. Thank you so much for posting this!

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 5, 2018 at 1:43 pm

      You’re so welcome, Lynne, and I bet your homemade currant jelly was delish.

  • Reply
    Albert Bevia
    February 5, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    I can see why these are your new favorite snack! the sound and look so delicious! plus I love anything with almonds in it, thank you for the recipe 🙂

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    February 5, 2018 at 11:17 am

    We adore anything with crumble or streusel! This looks incredibly delicious and beautiful as well.

  • Reply
    [email protected] is How I Cook
    February 5, 2018 at 11:10 am

    I buy sour cherries every year at the farmer’s market. It’s time to get some out of the freezer! Thanks Sue!

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 6, 2018 at 7:48 am

      I’m going to have to look for them this year 🙂

  • Reply
    Debs
    February 5, 2018 at 9:45 am

    Love these bars Sue. I’m also a HUGE fan of a crumble anything! I love the way they go chunky and crumbly with that hit of buttery brown sugar. And with that sour cherry here… divine! Pinned.

  • Reply
    Brenda Whiting
    February 5, 2018 at 8:37 am

    Two tsp. of almond extract sounds like a LOT! It’s so strong! Are you sure?

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 5, 2018 at 9:07 am

      It is a lot compared to most recipes, but I love the flavor. Feel free to reduce, but I don’t find it overpowering!

      • Reply
        Sue
        February 5, 2018 at 9:24 am

        I should also say, use a good quality, mine was McCormick, I can imagine an inferior quality extract might be overpowering.

  • Reply
    Karen @ Seasonal Cravings
    February 5, 2018 at 8:09 am

    I love using cherries in baking. These would be perfect to bake for a loved one for the big V Day or for after school snacks for my kiddos!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    February 5, 2018 at 5:22 am

    Absolutely beautiful, Sue and I love the idea of using a great jam for these. Perfect!

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    February 5, 2018 at 4:27 am

    Wow, I’m a huge cherry fan and these bars look amazing! Cherries and almond are a match made in heaven!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    February 5, 2018 at 3:51 am

    These are just wonderful Sue – love the almond combination with sour cherries. I’m a big fan of Stonewall Kitchen and always have something from their long line of delicious jars in my refrigerator. Try their country ketchup sometime – wow! These are wonderful bars, so pretty and no doubt delicious – you’re right … a must try recipe!

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