Looking for a delicious, but easy dessert to serve company? These gluten-free cherry pie bars are a crowd pleaser, and work for your gluten-free guests too!
When I was a kid, my mom was the queen of making delicious, but easy recipe. With 8 kids running around underfoot, she had to be.
One of her specialities was easy desserts on Sunday night that knocked it out of the park. Visitors often asked for her recipes before they left.
One of those recipes, which we referred too as “square dessert pizza” back then, was cherry pie bars. They’re quick and easy to make, but have the buttery deviousness of a more complicated dessert.
All it takes is a short bread crust, a can of cherry pie filling, and a few minutes to get it into the oven.
One important note about this recipe is that it’s incredibly easy to switch between making a regular (wheat) version for visitors, and gluten-free cherry pie bars fro my husband. Almost any quality gluten-free flour will work in this unfussy recipe, but I like to use homemade gluten-free flour mix.
This is a great dessert to share at a potluck, or to serve after a dinner of sous vide pork loin.
As you know, I do my best to eat somewhat in season, so why am I sharing a cherry recipe in December? It’s true that it’s slightly out of place, but whereas the cherry crumble recipe I shared this summer uses fresh cherries, as does our no-churn cherry cheesecake ice cream, this is canned cherry pie filling we’re talking about right now.
I believe that sticking with a seasonal schedule for eating fruits and vegetables helps heighten our enjoyment of foods because we don’t have access to them all year long, but I’m also not a stickler.
Special occasions, like the Christmas season, call for enjoying the produce that was harvested and canned during the summer for exactly that reason.
Gluten-Free Cherry Pie Bars
- A few things to know about this recipe:
- As mentioned above, this is an easy one to swap between regular white flour, and gluten-free flours. Just be sure to omit the xanthan/guar gum if either your gluten-free flour mix already contains it, or you’re using white (wheat) flour.
- Don’t limit yourself to cherry! Try other canned pie fillings such as apple or blueberry for variety. They’re delicious too! Another great option would be canned (mostly drained) peaches.
- Don’t stress about pressing the crust perfectly evenly into your pan. Nobody gets it perfectly level.
- Line your pan with parchment paper to make it easier to serve your cherry pie bars. This way, you can let them cool in the pan with no worries about them sticking.
- Cut them with a pizza cutter! This is the easiest way to serve bars ever. Saves time, saves mess. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about these cherry pie bars, sugar cookie bars, or some other dessert bars recipe you found on Pinterest. Use a pizza cutter.
Gluten-Free Cherry Pie Bars
- 2 1/4 cups gluten-free flour mix or all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon guar or xanthan gum (omit if your flour mix already contains gum, or you’re using all-purpose flour)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter at room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cans cherry pie filling (20oz each)
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees
- Line a 9x15” jelly roll baking pan with parchment paper or spray with non-stick spray and set aside
- Stir together flour, guar/xanthan gum, sugar, baking powder and salt
- Cut in butter, a few tablespoons at a time until the mixture forms a crumbly consistency
- Add the egg and vanilla extract and stir to combine
- Press half of the dough into the prepared baking dish
- Spread cherry pie filling on top Then crumble the remaining dough until most of the top is covered (It may not completely cover the pie filling)
- Bake for 30–40 minutes, or until the top turns a light golden color.
- Remove from oven and let cool for about 30 minutes
- cut into bars and serve
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