Layers of spiced shortbread crust, sweet peach filling, and a buttery crumb topping make these Peach Crumble Bars the ultimate peach dessert. As a bonus, these peach bars can be made in or out of peach season with fresh peaches, frozen peaches, or even canned peaches.
An Easy Dessert Bar Recipe
I love dessert bars. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve made my lemon bars and these easy peach bars are about to reach that point as well! One of the reasons I love dessert bars so much is that you often get all the flavor of a pie (in this case peach pie) with a fraction of the work. Served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream it is my favorite fresh peach dessert recipe.
These peach crumble bars come together quickly and easily – if making a pie has ever felt too intimidating or just time-consuming, this is the recipe for you! It’s very similar to a peach cobbler but sets a bit more to make cutting the bars easier.
The shortbread crust is soft and crumbly, as is the topping, because it’s made with frozen butter (one of my recipe secrets!) and a warm spice flavor from the cardamom. Peaches and cardamom is actually one of my favorite flavor combination so it’s no surprise that it made it into this recipe!
These delicious peach crumble bars are a great potluck dessert for sharing – but equally as good enjoyed at home with a big cup of coffee. I even enjoy them for breakfast!
What You’ll Need
The most important ingredient in this recipe is of course the peaches. Fresh peaches that are ripe and in-season are my first choice. You can also use frozen peaches, or canned peaches that have been drained and rinsed, both of which are available year round.
If you opt for chopped frozen peaches you don’t even have to let them thaw, you can cook them from frozen. If they are sliced, let them thaw enough that you can safely chop them into chunks.
The rest of the ingredients in this recipe can likely be found in your pantry already!
Ingredients for the Peach Filling
- Peaches – Fresh peaches: look for large, ripe peaches that feel heavy for their size and have started to soften. Frozen peaches: if they are sliced,let them thaw enough that you can safely chop into chunks. Canned peaches: drain the syrup and give them a rinse to remove the extra sugar.
- Sugar – A relatively small amount of sugar is in the filling, since peaches are naturally sweet.
- Cornstarch – Dissolved in cold water to make a slurry before adding to the filling.
- Vanilla extract – Just a splash for added flavor.
Ingredients for the Shortbread Crust
- Flour – Regular, all-purpose flour is my go to. You can also sub pastry flour if you prefer.
- Granulated Sugar – Granulated white sugar sweetens the crust.
- Cornstarch – Helps hold it all together.
- Salt – Just a pinch, it brightens all the flavors.
- Cardamom – Adds a warm flavor with a hint of spice to the shortbread.
- Frozen Butter – It’s essential that the butter is frozen when you begin making your crumb bars.
Recommended Kitchen Tools
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- Medium sized pot
- Slotted spoon (blanching the peaches)
- Heat safe spatula or spoon
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups and spoons or a kitchen scale
- Cutting board and chef’s knife
- Box grater
- Parchment paper
- 8″x8″ square cake pan
How to Make Peach Crumble Bars
Dessert bars are notoriously easy to make and these peach crumble bars are no exception! You’ll get all the flavor of peach pie with none of the work!
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Prepare the peach filling. Blanch, peel and dice the peaches. (If using frozen peaches: defrost slightly and chop. If using canned peaches: drain, rinse, then chop.) Combine the diced peaches with the sugar, cornstarch slurry, and salt. Bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, and set aside.
- Make the shortbread crust and topping. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Grate frozen butter and add it to the mixing bowl. Combining until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
- Layer the bars. Line the baking pan parchment paper. Press 2/3 of the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Pour the peach filling over the crust. Gently press together the remaining shortbread to create bigger chunks of crumble topping, then layer it over the peach mixture.
- Bake. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until the top is a light golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Let cool completely, likely around an hour, before serving.
How to Blanch Peaches
The easiest way to peel thin skinned fruits and vegetables like peaches and tomatoes is to blanch them. In short, you quickly boil them then rapidly chill them to release the skins. Here it is in detail:
- Bring water to boil. Fill a medium size pot with enough water to submerge the peaches and bring it to a boil.
- Create an ice bath. Fill a large bowl with water and ice.
- Blanch peaches. Cut a small X on the bottom of the peaches. Boil for 1-3 minutes then transfer to an ice bath for 1-3 minutes.
- Remove skins. Once you remove the peaches from the ice bath, the skins should fall off easily. If they don’t place them back in the boiling water for an extra minute.
Tips for Success
If you’re making these peach crumb bars for the first time, here are a couple things to keep in mind that will make it even easier to get it right on the first try.
- Measure ingredients by weight. You’ll notice in the ingredients I list both the volume and weight of many ingredients. When possible, I recommend weighing ingredients for accuracy. Too much or too little of any ingredient can affect the texture of the final product, particularly the shortbread.
- Use frozen butter. Frozen grated butter is KEY to getting this recipe to turn out correctly. Using frozen instead of refrigerator cold helps the butter pieces to stay separate and get evenly coated by the flour mixture, creating a flakier crust.
- Let them cool completely before cutting. I know this is the hardest part, but it will be worth it. If you cut these bars while still hot from the oven, the filling will ooze out making a mess and leaving you with something closer to shortbread slathered in homemade peach jam. Delicious? Yes. A peach bar? Not quite. You can cut them while warm, just not hot.
- Try this other with other fruits. This peach crumb bar recipe can be adapted to almost any summer fruit, including berries, apricots, and apples. You can even get creative and try a mixture – blackberry peach bars and apple crumb bars are two of my favorites. Use the same quantities of fruit by volume for best results.
- Swap out the spice. I love the combination of cardamom and peaches, but cardamom can be expensive and I know that not everyone has it on hand. You can substitute in ground ginger or ground cinnamon or try a warming spice blend like apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice.
- Try different extracts. Vanilla extract is a great staple, but you can also make these with almond extract, rum extract, or coconut extract would be good substitutions.
Enjoy these fresh peach crumb bars warm or at room temperature. If you time it right so that you can enjoy them while still slightly warm from the oven, you’ll have an epic dessert on your hands! Of course, you can easily pop them into the microwave for a few seconds to enjoy them warm later.
To take these delicious peach bars to the next level, serve them topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or try them with Maple Bourbon Whipped Cream.
How to Store Leftovers
Like most fruit pies any leftover peach crumble bars can be stored at room temperature for 2 – 3 days. My grandmother would cover hers with a clean tea towel, while I prefer to keep mine under a glass cake dome.
Want to keep them out of sight and out of mind? Try the microwave.
If you live in a very warm climate, you’ll have the best luck storing the bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 or 5 days (though good luck keeping them around for that long!)
To serve warm, reheat each crumble bar in the microwave for a few seconds.
Can I Freeze These?
Yes! You can freeze these dessert bars for up to 9 months! Make some extras when peaches are in-season to enjoy it all summer long.
Place individual crumb bars on a baking sheet in the freezer for a couple hours until frozen solid, then transfer to a freezer safe airtight container. It takes about 30 minutes on the countertop to thaw an individual dessert bar.
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Peach Crumble Bars
For the filling
- 4 large peaches (about 1 1/4 lbs)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the shortbread
- 1 1/2 cups flour (6.5 oz)
- 1/2 cup sugar (3.5 oz)
- 1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch (12 grams)
- 3/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 3/4 cup frozen butter (6 oz)
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Blanch peaches, then peel and chop.
- In a medium sauce pot combine peaches, 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch slurry, and pinch of salt.
- Bring to a boil, drop heat and simmer 10 minutes to dissolve sugar and thicken the sauce.
- Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, and set aside.
- Combine together flour, sugar cornstarch, salt, and cardamom in a medium mixing bowl. Using a box grater, grate frozen butter and add into the flour mixture, crumbling to break up any
chunks of butter. Butter should be pea sized or smaller.
- Line a 9” square pan with parchment paper. Press 2/3 of the mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan, ensuring the corners are filled and the paper is pressed flat against the sides of the
pan. Pour the filing over the crust.
- With the remaining shortbread, gently climb the butter together to create bigger chunks of crumble, then cover with remaining shortbread.
- Bake crumble bars for 45 – 55 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
- Remove from the oven. Let cool at room temperature for 1 hour to set.
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated and is for general information purposes only. For the most accurate information, calculate using your select brands and exact measurements.