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two cherry oatmeal bars stacked with more in background

Oatmeal Cherry Bars

These oatmeal cherry bars are packed with fresh cherry flavor and a crumbly buttery oatmeal base and topping. Use frozen cherries to save money and eat them year round.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 9 bars
Author Rebecca


  • Small sauce pot
  • Rubber scraper
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Measuring Cups
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Two knives or pastry cutter
  • 8x8 pan
  • Parchment Paper


Cherry Filling

  • 2.5 cups frozen cherries
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1-3 tablespoons lemon juice about the juice of ½ lemon
  • pinch salt

Oatmeal Base & Topping

  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup cold butter cut into chunks


  • Add all cherry filling ingredients to small sauce pot (2.5 c frozen cherries, 3 T water, ¼ c white sugar, 1 T corn starch, 1 T lemon juice, pinch of salt). Cook, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens. This should take between 5-8 minuets. Break up cherries with a spoon or your rubber scraper if you desire smaller chunks of cherries. Add 1-2 T more lemon juice depending on how sweet the filling is. Place in refrigerator to cool.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While cherry filling is cooling, prepare oatmeal mixture. This will be used for the base and for the topping. Add ¾ c whole wheat flour, 1 c old fashioned rolled oats, ½ c dark brown sugar, ½ teaspoon baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt to large mixing bowl. Mix together. Add ½ cup chopped cold butter. Cut into flower/oat mixture with two knives or with a pastry cutter until butter is pea sized. (watch video to learn how to cut butter into flour mixture.
  • Prepare bars by placing parchment paper in an 8x8 metal baking pan, then add ½ of the flour/oatmeal mixture into baking pan. Press down with a measuring cup or your clean hands to form a pressed crust with an even thickness. Pour cooled cherry mixture over base, spread over crust. Sprinkle remaining flour/oatmeal mixture to make crumbly topping. Do not press down topping. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until cherry filling is bubbling and topping is golden brown. Remove and cool before serving. Eat as is or serve with vanilla ice cream or yogurt. Refrigerate leftovers for 3-5 days.



  • Use fresh pitted cherries if you have them. Add an additional tablespoon of water (or maybe more) if it gets too thick while cooking.
  • Start with 1 T lemon juice. Add 1-2 additional tablespoons of lemon juice depending on how sweet your cherries are. If the filling is just a bit too tart, it's perfect. The buttery, sweet crust cuts some of the tartness of the filling.
  • Swap whole wheat flour for all purpose flour if that's what you have. You can also use light or regular brown sugar instead of dark brown sugar. The dark brown sugar has more molasses in it than the others, and the flavor is great. But use what you have/can find.
  • Use cold butter to get a slightly flaky crust.