Cherry Oatmeal Bars

By Maria Lichty

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Cherry Oatmeal Bars-tart cherries are spread between buttery oatmeal layers to create a delicious dessert. If you like cherry pie, you will LOVE these easy bars. 

Cherry Oatmeal Bars Recipe

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I am sharing a dessert from my childhood, Cherry Oatmeal Bars, also known as Cherry Dessert. Our good friends, who we consider family, made these easy cherry bars every February to celebrate George Washington’s birthday and I was always happy to help them eat them. Cherry dessert became a dessert staple in February and was often requested later in the year. Everyone loves these bars!

So why cherries and George Washington? You know, because of the whole chopping down the cherry tree story. George Washington will always be associated with cherries. I am sure he would be more than ok with with these Cherry Oatmeal Bars for his birthday dessert. They are delicious!

Cherry Oatmeal Bars

Our friends recently came to visit us and I asked if I could have the famous Cherry Dessert recipe and they happily shared it with me. Yay! I made the bars and they are just as good as I remembered.

If you like cherry pie, you are going to looooooove these bars! I think they are even better than pie because they are super easy to make and the bars have an oatmeal crumb crust AND topping!

Easy Cherry Oatmeal Bars

The cherry filling is made with tart cherries, not cherry pie filling, so make sure you buy canned cherries and not pie filling. You cook the tart cherry juice on the stove with flour and sugar until it thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the cherries. If you want the cherries to be bright red you can stir in a few drops of red food coloring. I also stir in a little vanilla extract.

Make the oatmeal mixture and press half of it into the pan, top with the cherry filling, and top with the remaining oat mixture. Bake until golden brown.

Cherry Oatmeal Bars in pan

We like to serve the bars warm with vanilla ice cream. The tart juicy cherries surrounded by buttery oatmeal crust and topping with creamy vanilla ice cream….soooooo good!

These Cherry Oatmeal Bars remind me of my childhood and will always be one of my favorite desserts. I am so glad I have the recipe! I am going to make them all of the time, not just in February:) But make sure you make them this week to celebrate George. I am glad he cut down that cherry tree because it means we get to eat cherry dessert in his honor:)

Cherry Oatmeal Bars with ice cream

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Cherry Oatmeal Bars

Cherry Oatmeal Bars-tart cherries are spread between buttery oatmeal layers to create a delicious dessert. If you like cherry pie, you will LOVE these easy bars. 
4.60 from 5 votes


For the Filling:

For the Oatmeal Crust and Topping:


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  • To make the filling, combine flour and sugar in a medium saucepan. Add the liquid from the cherry cans, setting the cherries aside. Cook over medium heat until the mixture bubbles and thickens to the consistency of pie filling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the cherries, vanilla, and red food coloring, if using. Set filling aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, brown sugar, and oats. Cut in the cold butter until particles are the size of small peas. Press half of the oat mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread cherry filling evenly over the mixture.Cover gently with remaining oatmeal mixture. Smooth with hands so no cherry filling shows through.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bars are light golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. Cut into bars and serve.


We like to serve the bars with vanilla ice cream. The bars will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


Calories: 291kcal, Carbohydrates: 50g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 19mg, Sodium: 247mg, Potassium: 105mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 26g, Vitamin A: 219IU, Calcium: 26mg, Iron: 2mg

Have you tried this recipe?

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. Wow, how amazing do these oatmeal bars sound! Cherries are one of my favorite fruits, so this would be the ideal dessert! 

  2. My grandmother used to make cherry pie using the tart cherries, not pie filling and this just took me back to my childhood! I’ll definitely be giving this recipe a try. Thanks for helping me remember!!

  3. I would like to use fresh cherries that are picked off the tree in the spring. How could I make these bars using the fresh cherries?

    1. I haven’t tried it with fresh cherries. You would need to create a juice if you don’t have the liquid from the can…and pit the cherries:)

    2. We have a cherry tree and we’ve made something similar by simmering pitted cherries with sugar to taste and always almond extract. The longer you cook it the thicker the sauce gets. 

      We’ll definitely make this in July, Maria! Thanks. 

  4. This looks delicious! Thank you for developing a cherry dessert without Almonds or Almond extract (they are hard to come by)… my son has a tree nut allergy. I am definitely going to add this to my must-make list!

  5. You can’t miss with this recipe – so yummy!! I halved the recipe and baked it in an 8×8 inch Pyrex. Served with vanilla ice cream – delish!!!

  6. I admit I’m not that good and experienced in the kitchen, but I must say this is one of the best recipes I’ve tried. It’s just so delicious! Thank you so much for posting!

  7. This looks like a really good recipe! The cherries will ripen on the trees soon, I’m looking forward to making this recipe my favorite combination cherries and oatmeal.

  8. What would the substitution be if you wanted to use fresh cherries?
    I am wanting to use the cherries I have in the fridge before I they have to be thrown out.

    1. I want to do the same. So I heard put 1-2 cups of cherries in a pot, add sugar to taste and let it simmer away. Making a sauce that is thick like the canned pie filling. 

  9. 5 stars
    I made these for the family and they raved about them. So, I decided to make 4 batches at once for a church supper. They were a hit again. This one is a keeper.

    1. I haven’t tried it. I am sure they will be fine, I usually prefer old fashioned though!

  10. This is almost exactly the recipe my grandmother passed down! The only difference is we add a little almond extract to the cherries. It’s awesome to have this recipe written down so I can keep making it!

  11. I would love to make these, they sound delicious but I need to watch my carbs. Can you tell me what the nutrition facts are?

  12. Wondering about cutting down sugar in either topping or filling. Everything seems to be too sweet for me.