Strawberry Oatmeal Bars
Strawberry Oatmeal Bars are a healthier fruit dessert made with fresh strawberries, whole grain butter crumb topping, and a lightly sweetened vanilla glaze. This healthier oatmeal bars recipe is a favorite, because these delicious treats are easy to make and just 100 calories each!
Now that spring is in bloom, I wanted to reshare one of my and YOUR favorite healthy desserts, fresh Strawberry Oatmeal Bars!
These Strawberry Oatmeal Bars have become one of the most cherished recipes on my site over the years. I love hearing the different ways you’ve stumbled upon it, often through word of mouth, but equally as much because you were looking for healthy desserts under 100 calories, healthy desserts for kids, easy oatmeal bars, or (and perhaps best of all) healthy strawberry recipes you could feel completely justified eating for breakfast.
This Strawberry Oatmeal Bars recipe has a special meaning for me too. Since starting my blog, every year on Ben and my wedding anniversary, I’ve shared a strawberry dessert recipe, because strawberry was the flavor of our wedding cake.
Plus, I never turn down a good excuse to add more healthy fruit desserts to my life.
I originally baked strawberry oat crumble bars on our four-year anniversary, and I still bake them often. They’re unbelievably easy (one bowl, no mixer!), work with fresh or frozen strawberries, and, as the reviews attest, they are wonderful: scrumptious, buttery, fruity, and sweet—everything a strawberry dessert can and should be.
As it so happens, tomorrow is Ben and my SIX YEAR wedding anniversary! SIX YEARS. When did that happen???
We’ll be spending a romantic day celebrating exactly how I’m sure Ben always imagined it: with his in-laws.
We’re in Kansas City for Easter weekend with my family, and while I didn’t get around to baking a special strawberry dessert (or feel up to carrying one with me on the plane), I have full confidence that what we’re doing instead—a family beer and BBQ tour—won’t be regretted by either of us.
So, while a new, fresh strawberry dessert will have to wait until our return (I’m thinking maybe a new spin on a frozen strawberry pie like this Strawberry Frozen Yogurt Pie?), for today, I’m happy to relive the delicious magic that is this easy Strawberry Oatmeal Bar recipe.
I also added a new video to the bottom of the post where I show you step-by-step how to make these fresh strawberry bars. (SO EASY!)
Finally, for those of you who share my love of wedding pics, I have a few unsolicited ones from our wedding for you too! Prepare yourself: it’s about to get sentimental.
Fear not. The best recipe for Strawberry Oatmeal Bars is waiting for you at the end!
Why do I feel like we’d be a bit less light on our feet if we tried to reenact this one six years later?
My mom walking me down the aisle. My dad passed away unexpectedly 10 years ago, so my mom did me the honor.
While—to put it weakly, incompletely, and as a total cliché—my life will never be the same without my dad, I am unbelievably fortunate to have another wonderful man in my life, my husband, Ben. I am married to the best person I know.
OK, now that we have that little jaunt down memory lane out of the way, let’s talk more about these healthy Strawberry Oatmeal Bars!
The Best Strawberry Oatmeal Bars. EVER.
A bewitching cross between a soft bar cookie and a streusel-topped crumb bar, these sweet treats are the perfect use for the fresh strawberries that are finally starting to make their way into grocery stores in big, juicy quantities.
(If you are looking for frozen strawberry recipes, these Strawberry Oatmeal Bars will work with them too! See the recipe notes for more details.)
The top and bottom “crust” of the oatmeal bars comes together in a single bowl, and since the recipe calls for melted, not softened, butter, you don’t even need to wait for the butter to come to room temperature first.
If you are looking for a strawberry oatmeal bars vegan recipe, many readers have successfully swapped coconut oil.
Our next easy oatmeal bar victory: Most strawberry oatmeal bar recipes require making the filling in a separate bowl; these fresh strawberry bars do not.
Once you’ve pressed the first crust layer into the pan, simply scatter the filling ingredients—diced strawberries, lemon juice, and a touch of sugar and cornstarch—right over it, then sprinkle the remaining oatmeal crumble on top.
In the oven, the strawberries “cook” into a bright, strawberry-pie-like filling that’s reminiscent of homemade strawberry jam.
Made with oatmeal, whole wheat flour, and little added sugar (the sweetness of these bars comes almost entirely from the fresh strawberries themselves), these healthy oatmeal bars are wholesome enough for breakfast or an afternoon snack. Try one warmed up with a dollop of Greek yogurt.
For those who prefer a sweeter take, a drizzle of vanilla glaze (recipe included below) sweetens the strawberry bars enough for dessert. (Another dessert option: these Strawberry Jam Bars!)
Though, if you feel the need to garnish them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, you have my blessing to say “I do!”
Speaking of “I do,” in keeping with prior years’ anniversary post traditions, here is a brief excerpt of what I learned about marriage this year. A few of these are from the prior post (I should take my own advice more often), and a few I just added. I’m sure that to many, these lessons will seem trite; however, they are sincere, and as all good lessons should be, they are practical too.
- Leave three things a day unsaid. I owe Gretchen Rubin for this nugget. That little critique you are dying to utter or grievance you want to air? Don’t. It will feel good for all of two seconds. A pleasant, positive atmosphere feels good all night.
- Put your phone away. I don’t mean face-down on the table “away.” I mean, AWAY. During dinner or another shared activity (reading in bed, watching Netflix, etc.), put your phone somewhere where you can’t get to it without physically standing up and walking. Maybe I’m supremely lazy, but placing my phone where I’d have to go to the trouble to haul myself up from the chair/couch/pillow and walk over to pick it up removes the temptation. No matter how quickly I glance at my notification screen or check to see how many Instagram likes my most recent post received, looking at my phone silently says to Ben, “What I’m looking at is more important than what we are doing together right now.”
- Say thank you when your spouse completes shared household tasks, like unloading the dishwasher or taking out the trash. It’s nice to be appreciated, even for the chores that are “expected.” I may have mentioned this one in years past, but it is worth repeating. Gratitude never goes out of fashion.
- Say yes when your spouse asks you to look at something, even if that “something” is YouTube video of a hockey goal that you can’t possibly hope to follow despite your spouse’s detailed, five-minute explanation. It’s an opportunity to share an activity that’s important to them, so let it be important to you too.
OK, let’s eat some Strawberry Oatmeal Bars!
Past Years’ Anniversary Posts (and More Strawberry Desserts)
- One Year: Sprinkle’s Bakery Strawberry Cake
- Two Year: Strawberry Almond Skillet Cake
- Three Year: Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
- Four Year: Strawberry Oatmeal Bars (original post date)
- Five Year: Chocolate Mousse Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
Recommended Tools to Make This Healthy Dessert Recipe
Healthy Strawberry Oatmeal Bars
For the Strawberry Bars:
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats - gluten free if needed
- 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour - or substitute all-purpose flour or 1:1 baking flour to make gluten free
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter - melted (or substitute melted coconut oil to make vegan/dairy free)
- 2 cups small-diced strawberries - about 10 ounces, divided
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice - from about 1/2 small lemon
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar - divided
For the Vanilla Glaze (optional but delicious, especially if you prefer a sweeter bar):
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar - sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon milk - any kind you like
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper so that the paper overhangs two sides like handles.
- In a medium bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, ginger, and salt. Pour in the melted butter and stir until it forms clumps and the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Set aside 1/2 cup of the crumble mixture, then press the rest into an even layer in the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Scatter half of the strawberries over the crust. Sprinkle the cornstarch evenly over the top, then sprinkle on the lemon juice and 1/2 tablespoon of the granulated sugar. Scatter on the remaining berries, then the remaining 1/2 tablespoon sugar. Sprinkle the reserved crumbs evenly over the top. You will have some fruit showing through.
- Bake the bars for 35 to 40 minutes, until the fruit is bubbly and the crumb topping smells toasty and looks golden. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool completely (you can speed this process along in the refrigerator).
- While the bars cool, prepare the glaze: In a medium bowl, briskly whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk until smooth. Feel free to add more milk if a thinner consistency is desired. Using the parchment-paper handles, lift the bars from the pan. Drizzle with glaze, slice, and serve.
- The recipe can be doubled and baked in a 9x13-inch baking pan. The bars will be a bit thicker but will still be delicious. To make them gluten free, substitute the white whole wheat flour with a 1:1 baking mix.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- To freeze, let the bars cool completely and do not glaze. Wrap tightly in plastic before placing in the freezer. Let thaw in the refrigerator and top with glaze before serving. (Bars can be frozen already glazed if needed.)
- If you want to use frozen strawberries, let them thaw completely and pat them dry before making the recipe.
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