Sweet, sliceable and buttery, these peach crumble bars are made for summer. They're made with a mouthwatering shortbread crust, lightly sweetened fresh peach filling, and a golden oat crumb topping.
What better way to get into the summer spirit than with a delicious peach dessert? I love a good peach cobbler, but these peach crumble bars might be my new favorite summer dessert.
I came up with this recipe after picking up a big paper sack of peaches somewhere on the country roads of Georgia. It's always a treat when peaches are in season here.
Peach crumble bars are sweet, sliceable, and can be made with fresh, frozen, or canned peaches.
They are great for sharing, but I understand if you want to keep them all to yourself!
- Sweet and buttery: Made with a buttery shortbread crust, peachy filling, and golden oat crumb topping. The shortbread crust makes these peach bars easy to slice.
- Versatile: Although these bars are best made in the summer with fresh peaches, they can be made with fresh, frozen, or canned peaches.
- Perfect for get-togethers: These peach bars are sliceable and shareable at summer potlucks and get-togethers.
- Versatile: This recipe can be adapted to use any summer fruit, not just peaches!
- Easier than it looks: Don't be scared away by the number of steps. You can multitask a lot with this recipe and the process to make these peach bars is actually very easy. I just added a lot of tips to make sure that you have perfect peach bars every single time!
Peach crumb bars use mostly traditional baking ingredients that you probably already have on hand.
- Peaches: Choose ripe, yellow-fleshed peaches. I use fresh peaches but frozen and canned will work. See below for tips on how to get the best results with those. Peaches are available as freestone or clingstone, which just means the pit either clings to the flesh or doesn't. Freestone are easier to prepare, but either variety works.
- Corn starch helps bind the peach layer together. Arrowroot starch also works.
- All-purpose flour is used to make the shortbread crust. I use King Arthur's flour but any white wheat flour should work. I have not tested this with whole wheat flour or gluten-free flour, but I do think an all-purpose gluten-free flour should work.
- Butter: Choose unsalted butter. One stick should be melted and the other will be cold.
- Sugar: We use a combination of white sugar and light brown sugar. Dark brown sugar works in a pinch.
- Lemon juice adds a punch of brightness to the peach filling that balances out the overall sweetness of these peach crumbs bars. One medium lemon usually yields 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice.
Step by step instructions
There are three different components to this recipe: the bottom crust, the peach filling and the oat crumb topping.
You can make the filling and oat crumb topping while the crust blind bakes in the oven.
The easiest way to make the shortbread-style crust is in a food processor (this is the one I use).
Add sliced cold butter, white sugar, a pinch of salt, and all-purpose flour to a food processor with a standard blade attachment.
Pulse until the butter is crumbly. It will look very dry and only small pieces will hold together - don't worry, this is normal! As the crust cooks the butter melts and combines with the sugar to hold the crust together.
To do this part by hand: If you don't have a food processor you can do this by hand. Just cut the dough into pea-sized pieces or use a pastry cutter to break it down (like you would with biscuits). Mix and mash until you have crumb-like pieces of butter.
Line an 8x8 or similarly sized (I used 7x11 in the photos but have tested with both) metal baking dish with parchment paper. I usually only line one side so that I have handles to lift the bars out.
Grease or slightly oil any inside parts of the pan that aren't covered with parchment paper.
Pat the pie filling into an even layer on the parchment paper. This is similar to a classic pat-in-place pie crust (actually a lot like how I use my oil pie crust recipe).
Bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes. Bake until golden on the edges but not completely cooked through. It will have puffed up a little bit in the oven.
If you're using whole peaches the easiest way to remove the skins is by blanching. I use this method in my peach cobbler.
To blanch peaches: Simply bring a large pot of water to a boil. Score the bottom of your peaches with a small X and put them in the water. Boil for 2 minutes.
Drain off the water and transfer the peaches to a large bowl filled with cold water and ice. The shock of the cold water will help the peach skins slip right off!
From there, cut the peaches up and transfer them to a bowl with the white sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract, cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mash until about half of the peaches are broken down.
The filling will be a little liquidy and that's why we're adding the corn starch. Set aside.
Oat crumb topping
This step is easy. Just combine the rolled oats, melted butter, pinch of salt, and brown sugar in a small bowl.
Peach crumble bar assembly
Now we can make the bars! Take the bottom crust from earlier and top with the peach filling. Sprinkle with the oatmeal crumble.
Bake the peach bars at 350F on the middle oven rack for 40-45 minutes. The crumb topping should be golden and the filling will be bubbling when you remove it from the oven.
Let cool to room temp (this will take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours) before transferring to the fridge to cool completely. This will take 3 to 4 hours.
Tips and variations
The peaches should be ripe enough to use but not overripe.
A few tips:
- They should be soft and fragrant.
- Deeper colors usually means riper peaches.
- There should be a slight give when you squeeze them gently.
- If your peaches aren't ripe enough to use, place them in a paper bag with a ripe banana or avocado and they will ripen much more quickly.
Canned and frozen peaches can be used to cut back on prep time but you will end up with a slightly different (softer) texture in both cases.
Make sure to drain off all of the juice from canned peaches and thaw the frozen peaches completely before using.
Using different fruit: You can make this recipe with fresh raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, etc. Just use the same weight amount as the peaches.
I recommend using peaches that are at least mostly ripe because they will be easier to mash. If you use unripe peaches you'll have to cut the peach into small pieces with a knife and they won't be as sweet.
Yes. If you skip refrigeration the peach filling will still be soft and it will be more like a crumble. Putting it in the fridge is what allows the filling to cool and be sliced into neat pieces.
Yes, this recipe can easily be made vegan. Just use vegan butter in place of butter and use organic sugars.
Keep bars refrigerated in a closed container for 4-5 days for best quality. If you need to stack the bars I recommend using a piece of wax paper or parchment paper between layers.
I haven't doubled it myself but you should be able to. Just use a larger dish, like 9x16. Bake for the same amount of time as you do the original recipe.
Leftovers: Keep bars refrigerated in a closed container for 4-5 days for best quality. If you need to stack the bars I recommend using a piece of wax paper or parchment paper between layers.
Freeze the bars for up to 3 months. They are actually delicious right out of the freezer, but otherwise, I recommend letting them thaw overnight in the fridge.
Making in advance: The peach filling can be made up to 48 hours in advance. Cover and keep refrigerated until ready to use. I do not recommend making the shortbread crust or crumble in advance.
Looking for more summer favorites?
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Fresh Peach Crumb Bars
- ½ cup cold unsalted butter sliced
- 1 cup all purpose flour spooned and leveled into measuring cup
- ¼ cup white sugar
- pinch table salt
- 2 pounds ripe peaches about 2 cups of diced peaches
- ½ cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice from one small lemon
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ½ cup light brown sugar packed
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted
- pinch table salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8 or 7x11 metal baking pan with parchment paper. Leave enough parchment paper on the sides to use as handles.
- In a food processor with a standard blade attachment: Add the sliced butter, flour, sugar and salt. Pulse a few times, until the butter is broken down into tiny pieces and the mixture resembles medium crumbs.
- OR by hand: Add all ingredients in a medium bowl. Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into tiny pieces. Mix until the mixture resembles medium crumbs.
- Pat the pie crust into the parchment paper paper lined pan. It will be quite dry and crumbly but will hold together enough to pat into the pan. Bake on the middle oven rack at 350F for 12-15 minutes, or until the crust is golden around the edges and starting to puff up. It won't be 100% cooked through.
Peach Filling and Crumb Topping
- Peel the peaches OR blanch them (I prefer to blanch). Bring a large pot filled with water to a boil over high heat. Score the bottom of the peaches with a small X. Once boiling, add in the peaches. Boil for 2 minutes. Transfer drained peaches to a bowl filled with water and ice. The peach skins should peel right off.
- Slice the peaches into wedges. Add to a medium bowl with the white sugar, lemon juice, corn starch, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg. Mash with a fork or potato masher until half of the peaches are broken down.
- Make the crumb topping in a small bowl by mixing together the rolled oats, brown sugar, melted butter and pinch of salt.
- Pour the peach filling on top of the baked crust. Evenly top with the oatmeal crumb. Bake on the middle oven rack at 350F for 40-45 minutes. The bars are ready when the oat topping is golden and the peach filling is bubbling.
- Remove from the oven and let cool to room temp. Transfer to the fridge and let cool completely before slicing. Enjoy with a dollop of whipped cream or scoop of vanilla ice cream.
- Measuring flour: I recommend using the spoon-and-level method for measuring flour. Simply spoon flour into a measuring cup then use the back of a knife to wipe off excess. This gives most consistent results.
- Can I use canned or frozen peaches? Yes, but it will yield a slightly softer texture. Let frozen peaches thaw completely before using. Make sure to drain all of the liquid off of canned peaches.
- Leftovers: Keep bars refrigerated in a closed container for 4-5 days for best quality. If you need to stack the bars I recommend using a piece of wax paper or parchment paper between layers.
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