These are true cherry pie bars! With a pie crust base and lattice top, they are filled with homemade cherry pie filling and baked into bars. Perfect for when you’re craving cherry pie, but in half the time!

A cherry pie bar with pie crust on brown parchment paper with fresh cherries.

As a former pastry chef, I have really leaned into transforming time-consuming bakes into short and sweet ones that still hit all of the same flavors (like my cherry cheesecake cupcakes!).

These cherry pie bars capture all of the flavors of a classic cherry pie but are much easier to make and serve. With a buttery, flaky pie crust and sweet cherry filling, these bars offer the same deliciousness without the fuss of a full pie!

But if you’re still craving a whole pie, try my strawberry peach pie instead!

Tips for the Best Pie Crust

Use a kitchen scale. Baking with a scale is my #1 baking tip! If you don’t have a scale, use a spoon to fluff the flour first, then spoon it into your measuring cup.

Use cold ingredients. Ensure all your pie crust ingredients, especially the butter, are cold. This helps create a flakier crust. You can even chill your mixing bowl!

Chill the dough. After making the dough, chill it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This helps relax the gluten, making it easier to roll out.

Pre-bake the crust. Bake the bottom crust until golden brown first. This will prevent the dough from being raw since it doesn’t need long to bake once the filling is added.

Freeze the lattice. Once assembled, the lattice top will be very hard to move. Freezing it will make it super firm, so you can easily place it on top of the cherry filling.

Cool before cutting. Allow the cherry pie bars to cool completely before cutting. This helps the filling set and makes for cleaner slices!

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

Ingredients needed to make cherry bars in bowls with labels.

Cherries: For convenience and ease, I love using frozen cherries! Feel free to substitute them with fresh cherries (don’t forget to remove the pits) or canned cherries. For a sweet filling, use sweet red cherries. If you prefer a more tart flavor, use sour cherries or half and half!

Vanilla paste: This is my secret ingredient to the most flavorful bakery-style pie crust! While you can still use regular vanilla extract, I found that the paste gives the dough a more intense and richer vanilla flavor.

Vodka (optional): Adding vodka to your pie dough helps create a flakier crust because the alcohol inhibits gluten formation. It also evaporates during baking, resulting in a tender and flaky crust. You can substitute it with white vinegar or leave it out completely.

Recipe Instructions

Step 1: Mix the butter into the dry ingredients. I always freeze two butter sticks the night before, then use a food processor with the grater attachment or grate them by hand into the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients. Then, it’s just a quick mix until the butter is coated in flour. (Image 1 below)

Step 2: Mix in the ice water. It’s crucial to use ice water to keep the butter chunks cold and prevent them from melting. Stream the water into the mixing bowl until the dough starts to clump together. Don’t add too much; the dough should feel soft, hydrated, and never sticky. (Image 2 below)

A process collage of the steps for making cherry bars with pie crust.

Step 3: Chill the pie dough. Press half of the pie dough evenly into the 8×8 baking pan. Then, wrap the other half in plastic wrap and use a rolling pin to roll it into a flat slab. Chill both in the fridge for 30 minutes. (Image 3 above)

Step 4: Make the cherry pie filling. Cook the cherries, sugar, and lemon juice, mashing occasionally until the cherries have released their juices and are bubbling. Stir in the cornstarch slurry, cook a few minutes longer until thickened, then set aside. (Image 4 above)

Step 5: Assemble the lattice top. Roll the pie dough slab into a 9×9″ square. Use a pizza cutter, a fluted cutter, or a knife to cut it into 1/2″ strips. Place 8 strips down first, then weave another 8 strips together into the lattice. Freeze until ready to use. (Image 5 below)

A process collage of the steps for assembling homemade cherry pie bars.

Step 6: Bake the bottom crust. Once chilled, bake the pan of pie crust until the top and edges are golden brown. (Image 6 above)

Step 7: Assemble the bars. Evenly spread the cherry filling on top of the baked crust. Then, transfer the lattice on top. (Image 7 above)

Step 8: Bake! Brush the top of the lattice with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake until the top crust is golden brown, then let cool for at least 2-3 hours before slicing. (Image 8 above)

Storage, Freezing, and Make Ahead

Storage: Any leftover squares should be kept in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Freezing: You can freeze them in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to one month!

Make ahead: The pie dough can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also make the cherry filling up to a week in advance and keep it in the fridge.

FAQs

How do I know when they are done baking?

You’ll know they’re done when the lattice top is a golden brown color.

Can I use a bigger pan?

You can double the recipe and bake them in a 9×13 pan.

Can I use tart cherries instead of sweet ones?

Definitely! I recommend adjusting the sugar in the filling, as you may need to add more to offset the sweetness.

Do I need to let the bars cool before cutting?

Yes, allow the bars to cool completely in the pan before cutting into squares. This helps the filling set and makes for cleaner cuts.

Can I use fresh or canned cherries instead of frozen?

Yes! If the filling is too thin, you may need to adjust the cooking time and amount of cornstarch.

Two cherry pie bars on top of each other to show the juicy cherry filling.

If you tried this or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how it went in the comments; I love hearing from you! Also, please leave a star rating while you’re there! You can also tag me on Instagram or Facebook so I can check it out!

A cherry pie bar on brown parchment paper surrounded by fresh cherries.

Cherry Pie Bars

5 from 1 vote
– by Cambrea Gordon

These are true cherry pie bars! With a pie crust base and lattice top, they are filled with homemade cherry pie filling and baked into bars. Perfect for when you're craving cherry pie, but in half the time!
Print Recipe Save Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 16 servings
Need Metric Measurements?Use the button options below to toggle between US cups and Metric grams!

Ingredients 
 

Pie Dough

  • 1 cup frozen unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, *see notes below for measuring*
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
  • 1 tablespoon vodka, optional
  • 7-10 tablespoons ice water

Cherry Pie Filling

  • 2 1/2 cups frozen sweet red cherries, *see notes below for fresh*
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Turbinado sugar, optional

Instructions

  • Grate the frozen sticks of butter into a bowl and keep in the freezer until ready to use.
    1 cup (226 g) frozen unsalted butter
  • Line a metal 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper to cover all four sides. Set aside.
  • In a stand mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.
    2 1/2 cups (325 g) all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoons (36 g) granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Mix in the frozen grated butter on low speed until coated in flour. Then mix in the vanilla, vodka, and 7-10 tablespoons of the water, and as needed, until the dough starts to clump together. It should feel soft and hydrated, never sticky.
    1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract, 1 tablespoon vodka, 7-10 tablespoons ice water
  • Separate the dough into equal parts (about 355 grams each). Press one half into a slab and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Press the other half of the dough into the bottom of the lined pan. Chill both in the fridge for 30 minutes. While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C and make the cherry pie filling.
  • Combine the cherries, sugar, and lemon juice in a pot. Cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring and mashing occasionally, until the cherries have released all of their juices, are bubbling, and starting to thicken. Stir in the cornstarch slurry and cook 2-3 minutes longer until thickened. Set aside until ready to use.
    2 1/2 cups (350 g) frozen sweet red cherries, 2 tablespoons (28 g) granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 tablespoon water
  • When the dough is chilled, bake the bottom crust for 25-35 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the top looks dry.
  • While the bottom crust is baking, roll out the second slab of pie dough on a lightly floured surface into a 9×9” square. Cut the dough into 1/2-inch strips.
  • On a parchment-lined baking sheet, assemble the lattice top by weaving the strips of pie dough together. For reference, see the post or video below.
  • Trim each side of the lattice square for clean edges so that it is roughly 7.5×7.5”. Freeze until ready to use. The lattice should feel very firm and be able to be picked up as one.
  • When the crust is done, evenly spread the cherry filling, then transfer the lattice crust on top. Brush the lattice with the egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the lattice crust is golden brown.
    1 egg, Turbinado sugar
  • Let the pan cool on a wire rack for 1-2 hours, until completely cooled, then cut into 16 small bars or 6-8 large ones. Enjoy!

Video

Notes

*Measure your dry ingredients properly. This is my #1 baking tip! Do not ever scoop a measuring cup into your flour, as this always leads to using too much flour. Instead, use the spoon-level method. This means fluffing the flour first, then spooning it into your measuring cup/spoon. For the BEST results, use a kitchen scale!*
Notes on using fresh cherries: Make sure to remove the pits. Because they aren’t as cold, fresh cherries will cook down faster than frozen cherries. You may only need to cook them for 10-12 minutes before adding the cornstarch slurry!
Notes on pans: Double the recipe and bake it in a 9×13 pan for a large batch. I recommend making the pie dough in two batches, or it will be too much for the mixer! I also highly recommend using a metal baking pan, not glass or ceramic, as they conduct heat differently.
Serving: 1serving | Calories: 210kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 241mg | Potassium: 76mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 383IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg

The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.

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One Comment

  1. Amazing! Loved every bite of them. Huge hit at the office for our 4th potluck!5 stars