Strawberry Vanilla Jam Crumb Bars - Savory Simple

Ever since I made spicy strawberry jam a few weeks ago, I’ve been wanting to incorporate homemade jam into a dessert recipe. I made another batch a few days ago without the peppers and this time I used vanilla sugar instead of regular sugar. Oh my goodness. Just macerating the fresh berries in vanilla sugar for 10 minutes created the most delicious treat I’ve had in quite some time. 

In the cooking world, macerating refers to softening or breaking down an ingredient and allowing the natural liquids to release. Macerated strawberries are a treat by themselves or over ice cream. And they are the perfect base for homemade strawberry jam. I’ve used Nielsen-Massey vanilla sugar in this recipe (which can also easily be made from scratch). These jam crumb bars have a buttery shortbread base, homemade strawberry vanilla jam in the middle and then a light, nutty crumb topping. They’re sweet, sticky and totally amazing.

Strawberry Vanilla Jam Crumb Bars
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 12 bars
For the Strawberry Jam Filling:
  • 2 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped
  • 1¾ cups vanilla sugar, such as Nielsen-Massey (regular sugar may be substituted)
  • juice from 1 small lemon, approximately 2 tablespoons
For the Shortbread:
  • 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1¾ cups all purpose flour
For the Crumb Topping:
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup toasted slivered almonds, finely chopped
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  1. Place strawberries and sugar in a large skillet. Stir until combined and allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes to allow some of the liquid to release from the berries. Add the lemon juice.
  2. Turn the heat to medium and allow the mixture to come to a simmer, stirring frequently. The skillet will fill with liquid as it releases from the strawberries. Continue stirring until most of the liquid has evaporated or thickened up. This may take anywhere from 15-30 minutes. Once the jam is thick, remove it from the heat. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
  3. Spray the inside of a 9x9 inch pan with baking spray and line it with parchment, allowing the paper to hang over two sides of the pan.
  4. Cream the butter, powdered sugar and salt in a stand mixer on medium-high until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, lower the speed and gradually add the flour until the dough is smooth. Briefly stir to ensure the dough is evenly combined.
  5. Using plastic wrap, press the dough evenly into the prepared pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the shortbread for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly golden on top. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  7. To prepare the topping, combine the flour, brown sugar, almonds, salt and butter in a small bowl. Use a fork to mash the ingredients together until crumbly.
  8. Spread 1½ cups of the strawberry jam on top of the shortbread. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the jam.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the topping is brown. Allow to cool completely before slicing into bars.


More Bar Recipes

Savory Simple – Rosemary Apricot Bars
Savory Simple – Brown Butter Vanilla Bean Blondies
Savory Simple – Chocolate Pretzel Peanut Butter Blondies
Gourmande in the Kitchen – Lavender Lotion Bars
Cooking with Books – Graham Cracker Brownie Bars
A Thought For Food – No Bake S’more Bites

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks

    OMG I WANT! They look amazing, Jen! I have made a variety of shortbread-ish bars and with crumble topping but never like this. Each and every layer looks like my cup of tea!

  • Nutmeg Nanny

    Oh my goodness! These bars are mouthwatering :) I love them

  • Kelly

    Yum these look delicious Jen! :)

  • Tieghan

    Oh yum! These are gorgeous and I LOVE that you made the jam yourself. Homemade is always better!

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci)

    i’ve never met a crumb bar I didn’t like, and these look heavenly! Your strawberry jam is gorgeous!

  • Kate@Diethood

    Why did I see these at midnight?! Holy mo, they look amazing! That jam needs to meet up with me… :-D

  • Hari Chandana

    Looks super tempting.. Awesome job :D

  • Christina @ The Beautiful Balance

    I love jam bars! Such a great way to utilize all the amazing summer fruits while they are in season. I also make jam bars when my fruit is on its last life and I refuse to throw it away. Making jam gives it another chance without sacrificing money or flavor :)

  • Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers

    Your bars are just beautiful! Going to head over and check them out!!

  • Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough

    These look absolutely gorgeous, Jen! I can’t even imagine how much more amazing they taste. Bookmarking to try soon!

  • Shana Norris

    That crust looks AMAZING, and love love love strawberries. Can’t wait to try these next time strawberries are on sale.

  • steph@stephsbitebybite

    These just sounds heavenly and I love that the jam layer is so THICK!

  • Gina

    Don’t those look divine- I think I might need to make them today.

  • Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic

    Macerated strawberries in vanilla sugar sounds perfect as is! These crumb bars look great, I want to reach into my computer and grab one :)

  • Jackie {The Beeroness}

    Those look fabulous. I bought some plates at a thrift store a few months ago that look exactly like those and I still call them my Savory Simple plates.

    • Jennifer Farley


  • Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking

    I love crumbly, fruity bars this time of year – can’t get enough! These are perfect, Jennifer!

  • Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet

    I am obsessed with crumb bars this year and these babies look fabulous!! Gorgeous photos, Jen!

  • Carla

    I love how THICK that strawberry jam layer is! I wish I still had strawberries left, but I have peaches now, so there may be a variation in the future…

  • Marie

    Having the family over for a bbq in the next few days…will definitely be making these!

  • Tracey

    Vanilla sugar is the best!! I love that you used it in this jam! The bars look awesome, such a thick crust and layer of jam – yum :)

  • Melanie @ Just Some Salt and Pepper

    These look gorgeous and sound delicious!

  • Jennifer @ Not Your Momma’s Cookie

    Gorgeous – I’m sure they are totally divine! :)

  • Amy @Very Culinary

    Just showed these to Trevor, my strawberry fiend. Pure excitement.

  • Laura

    YUM. Love this! I love crumb bars and I love strawberry jam. Win win. :)

  • Anne

    This recipe is two for one: A delicious jam, and a yummy bar cookie. I’ve got it marked to try next spring, when real strawberries are back in season. Looks great! Thank you.