Lemon Strawberry Crumb Bars

These lemon strawberry crumb bars are like strawberry lemonade in handheld form. Simply combine a buttery brown sugar crust, sweet strawberry filling, and crumbly topping. The crust and crumble topping are made from the same mixture, so there’s no need to dirty an additional bowl. Lemon glaze is the perfect finishing touch!

lemon strawberry crumb bars

Here’s a sweet and juicy square to brighten up your day. These lemon strawberry crumb bars are like my raspberry streusel bars in that there’s a crust layer, fruit layer, topping, and glaze. They’re similar to my cranberry crumble pie bars and strawberry rhubarb crumb bars, too. Totally irresistible and seasonally fresh, the bars are relatively easy and pack big flavor.

What I love most in this recipe– and what you’ll find mega convenient– is that they feature a crust and crumb topping that are made from the same dough.

These Lemon Strawberry Crumb Bars:

  • Have a crumbly yet moist brown sugar crust
  • Are filled with jammy strawberries
  • Go from mixing bowl to oven fairly quickly
  • Taste divine with or without lemon glaze
  • Are very easy to slice, serve, eat, and freeze

lemon strawberry crumb bars

Ingredients in Lemon Strawberry Crumb Bars:

We’re using a similar recipe to both my strawberry rhubarb crumb bars and cranberry bars. You don’t need a fully stocked pantry to make these. In fact, I guarantee you have most of the ingredients on hand!

  • All-Purpose Flour: Flour is the base of this recipe.
  • Brown Sugar Granulated Sugar: Sugar sweetens the crust/crumble and the strawberry rhubarb filling. I use brown sugar in the crust/crumble and white granulated sugar in the filling. Feel free to swap these around using all brown sugar for both or all granulated sugar for both. I’ve tested it all and there’s no huge difference except that the crust/crumb topping is a little crumblier when using granulated sugar instead of brown.
  • Baking Powder: Baking powder keeps the crust/crumble on the lighter side. Without it, the texture would be a little too hard and dense.
  • Salt Vanilla: Both add flavor.
  • Cold Butter: Just like pie crustbiscuits, and scones, cold butter is necessary. We’re cutting the butter into the dry ingredients to create the buttery, flaky, and crumbly texture. The texture would completely change if we used softened or melted butter.
  • Eggs: 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk bind the crust/crumble ingredients together. My cranberry crumble bars use 1 egg and some milk, but I find no big difference swapping in eggs. You can also use 2 full eggs if that’s more convenient. (I do this with my strawberry rhubarb bars.) This base recipe is pretty forgiving.
  • Strawberries: You can use fresh or frozen strawberries.
  • Cornstarch: We’re essentially making a jam as the filling, so cornstarch is necessary to keep the strawberries thick and combined.
  • Lemon Zest: Strawberries are pretty soft, so I don’t add additional liquid (like orange or lemon juice) as I do with the cranberry version. However, flavor from a little lemon zest is definitely welcome!

crust and crumble mixture

Cold Cold Cold

Make sure the butter is extra cold. If you use warmer butter, the butter will melt before the bars hit the oven. You’ll have a pan of greasy strawberry blobs, not bars. After that, mix in the rest of the crust/crumble mixture. Honestly, the best tool for mixing these wet ingredients into the butter/flour crumbs is your HANDS! It takes me forever to mix with a spoon or spatula.

And here’s a tip: don’t overwork the mixture because your hands may heat up the dough. Remember, we want cold!

crumbly crust mixture

Then press about 2/3 of the mixture into a pan. The rest will be used for the crumb topping over the fresh strawberries.

strawberry filling for bars

lemon strawberry crumb bars before baking

The bars are on the thick side, so they take a good 45-50 minutes in the oven. Then, and here’s where your patience really has to kick in, wait until the bars completely cool before digging in. While SO GOOD when they’re warm, they completely fall apart. Definitely test your patience and wait for them to cool.

Lemon Glaze

If you really want to kick things into high gear, add some lemon glaze. Made from lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar, this 2 ingredient icing couldn’t be easier. Whisk together, then drizzle over the cooled bars.

lemon glaze on strawberry bars

More Dessert Bar Recipes

I love serving brownies & bars because they’re handheld and easy to eat, plus they’re great for freezing and transporting too. I have plenty more flavors and variations:

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lemon strawberry crumb bars

Lemon Strawberry Crumb Bars

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 10 minutes (includes cooling)
  • Yield: 18-24 bars
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Lemon strawberry crumb bars bring some blissful sunshine inside with a buttery crust and topping, fresh strawberries, and sweet lemon glaze.


Ingredients

  • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, very cold and cubed
  • 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk*
  • 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups (650g) chopped strawberries*
  • 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

Lemon Glaze

  • 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line the bottom and sides of a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the finished bars out (makes cutting easier!). Set aside.
  2. Make the crumble mixture for the crust and topping: Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the cubed butter and using a pastry cutter, two forks, or a food processor, cut in the butter until all the flour is coated and resembles pea-sized crumbles. (See photo above for a visual.) This takes at least 5 minutes of cutting in with a pastry cutter.
  3. Whisk the egg, egg yolk, brown sugar, and vanilla together in a small bowl. Pour over the flour/butter mixture and gently mix together until the mixture resembles moist crumbly sand. Use your hands if needed– the mixture comes together easier with your hands than with a spoon. See photo above for a visual.
  4. You will have about 6 cups of the crust/crumble mixture. Set 2 cups aside. Pour the remaining into the prepared pan and flatten down with your hands or a flat spatula to form an even crust. It will be a little crumbly– that’s ok. Set aside.
  5. For the filling: Mix the strawberries, granulated sugar, cornstarch, and lemon zest together. Spoon evenly over crust. Crumble the remaining butter/flour mixture on top and gently press down so it’s snug on the strawberry layer.
  6. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the strawberry filling is bubbling on the sides. Remove from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely. I stick mine in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process.
  7. Whisk the glaze ingredients together and drizzle on top (or you can drizzle on individual squares). Lift the cooled bars out using the overhang on the sides. Cut into squares.
  8. Cover and store leftover strawberry bars (with or without icing) at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: Bars freeze well up to 3 months. Arrange in even layers in a large freezer container between sheets of parchment. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature before serving.
  2. Special Tools (affiliate links): Pastry Cutter, Zester, 9×13 inch Baking Pan
  3. Eggs: You need 1 whole egg + 1 extra egg yolk. Honestly, using 2 full eggs works too– with no other changes to the recipe. (It’s what I do for my strawberry rhubarb bars.) Use 2 full eggs if desired.
  4. Strawberries: This is about 1 and 1/2 – 2 lbs whole strawberries. Use frozen (do not thaw) if needed.
  5. No Lemon? Feel free to skip the lemon zest in the bars and swap the lemon glaze for vanilla icing. (Or leave off the icing/glaze completely.)
  6. Smaller Batch: If a 9×13 pan is too much, you can easily halve the recipe in a 9-inch square pan. And, if you do that, just use 1 egg instead of 1 egg + egg yolk. Bake at 350°F (177°C) for 35-37 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the filling is bubbling on the sides.

Keywords: crumb bars, lemon strawberry

94 Comments

  1. Thanks for this recipe! The flavor was great. The lemon glaze may actually be my fave. However, my bars did not rise at all. They are quite flat (less than 1” tall). The top crust did puff up a tiny bit. My baking powder is brand new. I triple-checked the ingredients. I also had this problem yesterday when I made your strawberry cake (cupcakes and a 9×9 – the cupcakes didn’t rise past the cup space and the cake remained quite flat). I used brand new cake flour for that recipe. Any idea what might be going on? I’m getting so frustrated!

    1. Hi Jamie, I’m concerned some of your recent bakes, including these, aren’t rising. These don’t rise too much though– they’re more of a flatter bar with only 1 teaspoon of baking powder per 3 cups of flour. What brand of baking powder are you using? You can check to see if it’s still active. (Here’s my post on baking powder.) I know you said you just bought it, but perhaps it’s just an off container? I usually use Clabber Girl– it’s my favorite.

      1. Thanks, Sally. I also use Clabber Girl. Maybe I’ll just try a new container!

  2. I made half recipe and used about 4 tablespoons of milk instead of an egg after reading other comments regarding a wet crumble. My product came out looking just Sally’s. I didn’t feel that it was that flavorful. It wasn’t sweet, just blah. No outstanding strawberry flavor even though the raw fruit was very tasty. Oh well…

    1. If I wanted to make these ahead and freeze, is it best to add the lemon glaze after thawing and bringing to room temp? Or should freeze with the glaze already on? Will making ahead and freezing, maybe 1 week ahead, make a huge difference as far as it tasting fresh?

      1. Hi HerShe, I find that baked goods that are usually served with glaze/icing taste best with fresh glaze/icing. I recommend freezing the bars without it on top, then making it fresh to drizzle.

  3. Love these!! So yummy

  4. Do you recommend regular raspberries or frozen raspberries for this recipe? I would like to use raspberries instead of strawberries.

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sarah, either will work great! If using frozen raspberries, do not thaw before using.

  5. Savanah Guinther says:

    I’m making these for the 4th of July this weekend. Is it possible to add blueberries in with the tops crumble layer? Will they bake okay being in the oven for that long?

    1. Hi Savanah, you can certainly try that but I haven’t tested it. Or you can try using half blueberries and half strawberries in the filling.

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