Here are my simple raspberry streusel bars with four incredible layers: a buttery shortbread crust, thick raspberry filling, brown sugar streusel, and a drizzle of sweet vanilla icing.
Remember the raspberry bars I had at my sister’s bridal shower a few weeks ago? No? You’ve probably moved on with your life since reading me gush about said raspberry bars. I, however, have not. Those raspberry bars have been front and center on my mind and I finally got around to making them.
I realize I’m not talking about chocolate layer cake or some Oreo stuffed caramel cookie concoction and that these are just… raspberry bars… but no. No, no, no. They are so much more than “just raspberry bars.” Look at them! That crumble! That vanilla icing!
This is a wonderful dessert for the upcoming warmer weather, Mother’s Day, showers, and the like. They’re something everyone is guaranteed to love and you can easily double the recipe to make a larger batch to feed partygoers, family, raspberry lovers, streusel addicts, icing-aholics.
The bars are so simple to make and each layer is completely different. Many raspberry bar recipes typically call for a single dough for both the top and bottom crust, but I find that the simple shortbread dough is a little lacking in the “wow” factor on top. Rather, I desire texture and brown sugar goodness that can only come from a streusel crumb topping. The answer to all of life’s problems, right?
The buttery shortbread is the perfect bottom layer for my raspberry bars. Let’s talk about the crust for a minute. This shortbread crust is one of my favorites. It makes a couple appearances in Sally’s Baking Addiction Cookbook as well as in my Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars. (<–Have you made those? omg.) There is nothing fancy about the crust, but that is what makes it so lovely. Just butter, sugar, vanilla, and flour mixed together to form a uniquely crumbly, yet dense crust.
Most raspberry bar recipes use plain raspberry jam for the filling and while that is tasty– I find that there is usually a pièce de résistance missing from the bars. So, I add fresh raspberries as well. This amps up the raspberry flavor making the filling the center of attention between all the layers.
The streusel on top? Well, that’s a necessary layer of indulgence of course. I use a simple brown sugar cinnamon oat streusel to layer on top of the raspberry filling. It’s my go-to streusel for these types of bars. Here is my apple version and my pumpkin version, both using this exact streusel topping.
Hey. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
The vanilla icing is completely unnecessary but on this beautiful spring day, I’ve got the windows wide open, music blasting, the cool breeze blowing in, strawberry lemonade in hand, and my god I’m feeling jazzy! So, let me rephrase. The vanilla icing is completely NECESSARY.
*The ingredient list looks long, right? Don’t get nervous! A lot of the ingredients are repeated in each layer.
Raspberry Streusel Bars
Here are my simple raspberry streusel bars with four incredible flavors: a buttery shortbread crust, thick raspberry filling, brown sugar streusel, and a drizzle of sweet vanilla icing.
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
- 3/4 cup raspberry preserves1
- 12-16 fresh raspberries2
- 1/2 cup (40g) old-fashioned oats
- 1/3 cup (70g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup (30g) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- Optional (but encouraged!): vanilla icing for topping
- Preheat the oven to 300°F (149°C). Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving enough overhang on all sides. Set aside.
- Make the crust: Stir the melted butter, granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the flour and stir until everything is combined. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove the crust from the oven, and turn the oven up to 350°F (177°C).
- Spread preserves over warm crust. Dot the preserves with raspberries on top.
- Make the streusel: Whisk the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour together in a medium bowl. Cut in the chilled butter with a pastry blender or two forks (or even with your hands) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the filling with streusel and bake for 30–35 minutes or until the streusel is golden brown. The raspberry filling should be bubbling on the edges.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes at room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (or overnight). Lift the foil or parchment out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars. I usually cut them into 16 smaller bars, but you can cut them into 12 larger bars. Drizzle the bars with vanilla icing, if using. These raspberry bars can be enjoyed at room temperature or cold. I personally like them cold.
- Make ahead tip: The bars will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 days. You can freeze the bars for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving and glazing.
- Try these bars with other flavors! Strawberry preserves, peach preserves, orange preserves, you name it.
- You can use frozen raspberries instead. Thaw and pat dry before using.
Larger batch: This recipe can easily be doubled and baked in a 9x13 pan. Bake for 45 minutes and cool completely as directed in this recipe.
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