raspberry bars


I’m a big fan of raspberries. I like them fresh, and in cheesecake, and as a sauce for other desserts. My wedding cake was chocolate cake with raspberry mousse. And because I like raspberries so much, I’m often disappointed by raspberry bars – there’s not enough raspberry flavor. When jam is the only source of fruit, the bars seem dry and the raspberry flavor is overcooked and muted. This recipe solves this problem in the simplest way – adding real raspberries.


These bars are wonderful and addicting. The raspberry flavor is bright and fresh without being too tart. The shortbread base is buttery and tender, but stable enough to support the cookie. And the streusel topping is crunchy and pretty. Plus, there’s oats in the topping, and that makes these cookies healthy. A half cup of oats offsets 18 tablespoons of butter, right?


Raspberry Streusel Bars (from Cooks Illustrated September 2005)

Makes twenty-four 2-inch squares

CI note: This recipe can be made in a standing mixer or a food processor. Frozen raspberries can be substituted for fresh; be sure to defrost them before combining with the raspberry preserves. If your fresh raspberries are very tart, add only 1 or 2 teaspoons of lemon juice to the filling. The bars are best eaten the day they are baked but can be kept in an airtight container for up to 3 days (the crust and streusel will soften slightly with storage).

Bridget note: I prefer walnuts in this recipe.

2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12½ ounces)
2/3 cup granulated sugar (about 4¾ ounces)
½ teaspoon table salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons, cut into ½-inch pieces and softened to cool room temperature
¼ cup packed brown sugar (1¾ ounces), light or dark
½ cup rolled oats (1½ ounces), old-fashioned
½ cup pecans (2 ounces), chopped fine
¾ cup rasberry preserves (8½ ounces)
¾ cup fresh raspberries (3½ ounces)
1 tablespoon lemon juice from 1 lemon

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut 18-inch length foil and fold lengthwise to 8-inch width. Fit foil into length of 13 by 9-inch baking dish, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhang pan edges. Cut 14-inch length foil and fit into width of baking pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet. (If using extra-wide foil, fold second sheet lengthwise to 12-inch width.) Spray foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with flat beater, mix flour, granulated sugar, and salt at low speed until combined, about 5 seconds. With machine on low, add 16 tablespoons butter one piece at a time; then continue mixing on low until mixture resembles damp sand, 1 to 1½ minutes. (If using food processor, process flour, granulated sugar, and salt until combined, about 5 seconds. Scatter 16 tablespoons butter pieces over flour mixture and pulse until mixture resembles damp sand, about twenty 1-second pulses.)

3. Measure 1 ¼ cups flour mixture into medium bowl and set aside; distribute remaining flour mixture evenly in bottom of prepared baking pan. Using hands or flat-bottomed measuring cup, firmly press mixture into even layer to form bottom crust. Bake until edges begin to brown, 14 to 18 minutes.

4. While crust is baking, add brown sugar, oats, and nuts to reserved flour mixture; toss to combine. Work in remaining 2 tablespoons butter by rubbing mixture between fingers until butter is fully incorporated. Pinch mixture with fingers to create hazelnut-sized clumps; set streusel aside.

5. Combine preserves, raspberries, and lemon juice in small bowl; mash with fork until combined but some berry pieces remain.

6. Spread filling evenly over hot crust; sprinkle streusel topping evenly over filling (do not press streusel into filling). Return pan to oven and bake until topping is deep golden brown and filling is bubbling, 22 to 25 minutes. Cool to room temperature on wire rack, 1 to 2 hours; remove from baking pan by lifting foil extensions. Using chef’s knife, cut into squares and serve.



  1. yum! i love raspberry, too. if you don’t have fresh raspberries on hand and only have the preserves, you should try the ones in my blog 🙂

  2. bakingblonde says:

    Those look so good! I love raspberry and oatmeal. I bet chocolate chips would be great with the filling as well! I will be making these for Mother’s Day for sure! Thanks.

  3. How wonderful do these look! I like raspberry but I would prefer them with strawberry. Thanks for sharing I will have to star this recipe.

  4. Raspberries are *my* favorite fruit of all! I am SOOO in love with this recipe. Your bars look FABULOUS. I’m totally starring this post!Thanks!

  5. I share Katie’s love of raspberries, so these are most definitely on my list. I can’t wait to make them and post it! (Giving you the credit, of course!)

  6. I love raspberries too – I’ll have to try that, and check out my site, I gave your site the excellent award 😉

  7. superluckykitchen says:

    yum! these look great! i have some raspberries in my freezer from the summer, think i could defrost and use them?

  8. Mmm that looks really great! Plus, I have raspberries in the fridge!!

  9. ayesha says:

    I made these because they looked so good in the picture. Mine where not as thick though, but -oh man- they taste so good!

  10. Karen says:

    Wonderful – made the raspberry twice and then tried it with blueberries and almonds, which worked very well too.

  11. Sandy K. says:


  12. I made these for Mother’s Day yesterday and they were a total hit. They looked exactly like yours which never happens when I make a recipe. I’ll be using this recipe again and again. Thank you!

  13. Jessica says:

    Just have to say that I have made these bars several times now and I get the same response every time: WOW!! They are fabulous!

  14. Paula says:

    These are the best raspberry bars every! Last time I made them I used blueberry-lime jam and fresh blueberries and the were wonderful too.

  15. These are great to make and to eat!

  16. Interalia says:

    I substituted granola for the oats and nuts and doubled the amount of raspberry filling. Quite tasty

  17. I made these for my boyfriend today, but now that I’ve tasted them raspberry bars are going to be one of my favorite cookies too. I warmed the butter so it was a little over room temp ( in a bain maire–super easy to improvise) then I mixed the flour mixture into it bit by bit instead of the otther way round, because it’s easier to mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. It turned out great, just like the pictures you posted, and delicious to boot. I also used a different size pan, and that worked too. Thanks for posting this recipe!

  18. Kris C. says:

    I made these last night and they were WONDERFUL! They were a surprise for the BF, who loves raspberry bars but complained that the fruit layer was far too thin in the bakery versions he’s had. Ironically, after Googling ‘raspberry bars’, I almost immediately found this site with a remedy for that very problem!

    In anticipation of a thicker fruit layer, I actually over-estimated the measures for both the fresh raspberries and the jam. I mixed up two cups of each, rather than 3/4c as the recipe called for. I adjusted the lemon juice and added 3 tbsp sugar to counter the extra tartness. This left me AMPLE fruit filling for the middle layer! I cannot imagine making these with just the 3/4c of each- I used at least 75% of my fruit mixture and it was PERFECT. With only 1 1/2 c of fruit filling, I think these bars would have been insufficiently fruity, which is odd since the whole point of this recipe! The shortbread-fruit ratio would have been way off, so if you’re looking for an extra-thick bar, keep this in mind when mixing ingredients for the fruit layer. Speaking of shortbread, this. was. scrumptious. So buttery! I would eat it plain.

    Having never made them before, the BF wanted to cut into them early, which we did and discovered that you actually DO need to wait for it to totally cool. We had a gooey mess, almost like a cobbler. No worries. A big dollop of whipped cream and we were nomming this in blissful silence. These bars, with that tiny adjustment (go big or go home, right???), were SCRUMDIDDLYUMPTIOUS. Win win win.

    Thank you so much! Happy baking! 🙂


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