Christmas Cherry Bars


The holidays just wouldn’t be the same without indulging in delicious desserts and treats. If you’re looking for a new recipe that captures the flavors of the season, these Christmas cherry bars need to be on your list! Read on for tips, tricks, and answers to common questions about making and enjoying these cherry-topped bars.

What Kind of Pan Should I Use for the Cherry Bars?

The recipe calls for baking the bars in a 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan. This size and shape allows for the thick, sweet cherry filling to spread evenly over the crust bottom. The larger pan also provides plenty of space for a topping of dollops of dough baked over the fruit filling. This creates a pretty presentation once cooled and sliced. While you can use a standard baking sheet, the jelly roll pan is ideal.

How Do I Get Cleanly Sliced Bars?

Allowing the bars to cool completely before cutting and removing from the pan is key. Cooling allows the filling to set so the bars hold together better. Use a sharp knife sprayed with nonstick spray to get clean cuts when slicing. Wipe the blade between each cut for prettiest results. Carefully lift each sliced bar out using a spatula.

What Other Fruit Fillings Can I Substitute?

The recipe creator suggests trying peach, strawberry, apple, or blueberry pie fillings in place of cherry. You can use store-bought canned pie fillings or make your own fruit filling from scratch. Just maintain the same volume of fruit called for. The flavors and colors of different fruits make for fun variety.

Should I Adjust Ingredients If Using Other Fillings?

You likely won’t need to alter the main dough ingredients no matter what fruit filling is used. The only exception would possibly be adding a complementary extract. For example, almond extract boosts cherry flavor. So if using a different fruit, consider adding a little matching extract like lemon or vanilla to enhance it.

Can I Cut the Sugar or Use Sugar Substitutes?

Since these bars rely on a sweet dough and fruit filling, reducing sugar could impact texture and flavor. For the best results, stick with the full sugar amount listed. However, you can experiment with sugar substitute options like Splenda or stevia. Just use an equivalent 1:1 sugar substitute amount. The results may vary depending on the specific substitute used.

How Do I Store and Freeze the Bars?

The bars can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap or foil and frozen for longer term storage. Allow to thaw overnight in the fridge before serving. For short term storage, keep baked bars in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days. The bars also freeze well sliced or whole. Layer sliced bars between sheets of parchment paper before freezing.

Should I Adjust Baking Time If Making Ahead?

The 30-35 minute bake time remains the same whether the bars are fresh or frozen. However, check a few minutes early when baking frozen bars as they may not need the full time. Allow to cool completely no matter what before glazing or devouring.

What Glaze Goes Best with the Cherry Bars?

The powdered sugar glaze flavored with almond and vanilla extracts complements the cherry bars perfectly. Feel free to sprinkle the bars with a little coarse sugar before baking for extra sparkle and crunch too. And garnish with maraschino cherries if desired!

Christmas Cherry Bars Recipe


  • For the Bars:
    • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • ¼ tsp almond extract
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 cans (21 oz each) cherry pie filling
  • For the Glaze:
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • ½ tsp vanilla extract
    • ½ tsp almond extract
    • 2-3 tbsp milk


  1. Preparation:
    • Preheat oven to 350°F.
    • Grease a 15x10x1-in. baking pan.
  2. Making the Dough:
    • In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy.
    • Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
    • Mix in vanilla and almond extracts.
    • Gradually add flour to the mixture.
  3. Assembling:
    • Spread 3 cups of dough evenly in the prepared pan.
    • Layer with cherry pie filling.
    • Drop remaining dough in teaspoonfuls over the filling.
  4. Baking:
    • Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
    • Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
  5. Preparing the Glaze:
    • In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, vanilla and almond extracts, and milk to reach desired consistency.
    • Drizzle the glaze over the cooled bars.
  6. Serving:
    • Cut into slices and serve.

Enjoy your homemade Cherry Pie Bars!