Chocolate Chip Cherry Bars

Chocolate Chip Cherry Bars — These cherry bars use my favorite blondie base and turn out perfectly every single time! You can use fresh or frozen cherries, or a blend of mixed berries. These bars are seriously so good! 

Chocolate Chip Cherry Bars stacked next to fresh cherries

Ooey Gooey Cherry Bars

Have you been buying your weight in summer fruit every time you go to the grocery store or pass a farmers market? Okay, well I have. Especially cherries.

I love cherries. They are just so perfect. Their sweetness, their hearty flesh, the chewiness. The only thing not perfect about them are their little pits. Pits are a PITA.

I do have a cherry pitter, but I find it just splatters cherry juice everywhere and doesn’t always poke out the pit. More misfires than proper pokes. If the cherry pit is slightly off-center, the gadget just stabs the cherry down the middle, misses the pit, and said cherry juice splatters even more, so I tend to just slice the cherries with a paring knife and am pretty fast with that.

I’m also pretty fast with polishing off a one-pound bag of fresh cherries. But between the watermelon, nectarines, blueberries, grapes, standard issue bananas and apples, and then the cherries, even I was running out room. In both my stomach and crisper drawer.

So I decided to make chocolate chip cherry bars. The beauty of this cherry dessert recipe is that it’s fast, one-bowl, and no mixer is required.

I almost used white chocolate chips but then thought, no, semi-sweet chocolate and cherries just go together. After all, dark chocolate-covered cherries are the confections that overpriced Valentine’s Day candy assortment boxes are made of. Because of the fruit and the fruit juices released while baking, to say they’re moist and juicy is an understatement.

There’s no granulated sugar in them; just brown sugar. In cookie baking, a higher ratio of brown to white sugar keeps cookies extra soft and moist, and it does the same thing for blondies. It also imparts a caramely-buttery richness that I adore.

The chocolate chips melted everywhere. Can you say hot juicy beautiful mess? Cherries and summer fruit never tasted so good.

stack of Chocolate Chip Cherry Bars

What’s in These Cherry Bars? 

For these amazing chocolate chip cherry bars, you’ll need: 

  • Unsalted butter
  • Light brown sugar
  • Egg 
  • Vanilla extract
  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt 
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Cherries 

Chocolate Chip Cherry Bar

How to Make Chocolate Chip Cherry Bars

Melt a stick of butter in a big mixing bowl in the microwave. Then stir in the brown sugar, an egg, vanilla, and flour. Fold in cherries (and maybe a few raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, or blueberries) and chocolate chips and you’re ready to bake.

You’ll know these cherry bars are ready to come out of the oven when the edges start to pull away from the pan and the center is set. Depending on how gooey you like your blondies, you may want to bake these for a little more or less time than the recipe calls for. 

Should I Use Fresh or Frozen Cherries? 

You can use whatever you have on hand! Either way, make sure the cherries are pitted. If using frozen cherries, add them to the batter frozen (do not thaw). You’ll likely need to bake these cherry bars for a little longer since the batter will be going into the oven cold. 

Can I Make These Bars with Dried Cherries? 

If you have dried cherries on hand, I recommend making my Cranberry Chocolate Chip Blondies (just use dried cherries instead of cranberries, it’ll definitely work!). It’s pretty much the same recipe, but I know for sure that one works well with dried fruit. 

uncooked Chocolate Chip Cherry Bars in square baking pan

Tips for Making Cherry Bars

You can doctor these up with white chocolate chips or coconut flakes, or add most any other type of fruit from peaches to blackberries, fresh or frozen; I’ve tried many combos of fresh, frozen, half-and-half, and things always work out with this blondie base.

Note that baking times will vary based on the types of fruit used, whether the fruit is fresh or frozen, and the moisture content of the fruit; and how gooey you like your blondies. A toothpick inserted into the middle may not come out clean due to the chocolate chips or juicy fruit. So use your best judgement when taking these babies out of the oven! 

Lastly, you can freeze these bars for up to 3 months. Let them cool completely on your counter, then slice and store in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. When you’re ready to enjoy them, either reheat them in the oven until the chocolate starts to get gooey, or set them on your counter to thaw. 

close up of gooey Chocolate Chip Cherry Bars

More Cherry Desserts: 

  • Mini Cherry Oreo Cheesecakes – EASY mini cheesecakes loaded with cherries and an Oreo cookie crust!
  • Triple Chocolate Cherry Cake — This cake is loaded with juicy cherries and topped with an easy homemade chocolate frosting. I used a few shortcuts in this recipe to save time, but this cake tastes completely homemade! 
  • Glazed Cherry Pie Bars — The bars are like cherry pie, but easier. There’s a buttery, soft, tender crust topped with cherry pie filling before being baked and glazed.
  • Glazed Cherry Bonbon Cookies — Soft, buttery, pink cookies with the surprise of a juicy, sweet maraschino cherry in the middle that also helps keep the cookies moist.
  • Cherry & Cream Cheese Turnovers — The turnovers are so good that people will think you bought them from a local bakery, but they’re so easy, ready in 20 minutes, and you’ll never need to settle for storebought turnovers again.

Chocolate Chip Cherry Bars

Chocolate Chip Cherry Bars

These cherry bars use my favorite blondie base and turn out perfectly every single time!

Yield: 9 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Cooling Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, optional
  • 3/4 to 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup cherries (fresh or frozen)*

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 60 seconds.
  3. To the melted butter, add the brown sugar and stir to combine.
  4. Add the egg, vanilla, and stir to combine. Add the flour, salt, and stir until just combined, taking care not to over mix or the blondies will be tough.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips, fruit (I don’t halve the cherries: I like them chunky and big), and pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing it lightly with a spatula or offset knife if necessary.
  6. Bake for 27 to 32 minutes, or until edges begin to slightly pull away from sides of pan and center is set.**
  7. Allow bars to cool for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving. Blondies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months.

Notes

*Can also use a combination of raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries.

**Baking time will vary based on types of fruit used, fresh, frozen, and the moisture content of the fruit; and how gooey you like your blondies. A toothpick inserted into the middle may not come out clean due to the chocolate chips or juicy fruit.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

9

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 309 Total Fat: 15g Saturated Fat: 9g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 48mg Sodium: 76mg Carbohydrates: 43g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 30g Protein: 3g

Even More Dessert Bars: 

Blueberry Pie Bars — These pie bars are one of my all-time favorite frozen blueberry recipes! They have the flavors you love in a blueberry pie, but you don’t have to mess around with homemade pie crust.

Raspberry Oatmeal Crumble Bars — These easy Raspberry Bars are made with a delicious oatmeal crumble topping. They require less than 10 minutes of hands-on prep and everyone loves these!

Fudgy Banana Bars with Vanilla Bean Browned Butter Glaze — Fudgy is the only word that describes these bars! They’re the banana equivalent of moist, fudgy brownies with zero trace of cakiness.

Peanut Butter Blossom Cookie Bars — Just like the classic cookies except made as cookie bars rather than individual cookies.

276 comments on “Chocolate Chip Cherry Bars”

  1. Made these for a youth Bible study and they were a huge hit. I used white chips and added pecans. I also browned the butter by accident, but it gave them an amazing toffee flavor. I will probably reduce the sugar next time but only because this has become our family preference. Thanks for a great recipe.

    Rating: 5
  2. I made this recipe over the holidays, and it was loved by all. Keeping the cherries whole was great. I used 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1 tsp almond extract. (I come from a family of German’s and anything almond is always loved) I suspect pecans or walnuts would be great in this also. I will definitely being making these again. Thanks for sharing this great recipe!!!

    Rating: 5
  3. SO great and wonderful I swear I had to stop eating them TO many! Stomach ache ! Came across this recipe and yes finally!!! Everyone love’s them!!!!!

    Rating: 5
  4. I made this recipe with canned black cherries that I drained and cut in half. It is great and easy. I didn’t have butter so I used margarine and they still were great. Super easy.

    Rating: 5
  5. Made these with with dried Michigan cherries just reconcentrated them in orange juice. They were easy and tastes amazing!

    Rating: 5
  6. Had some cherries to use up and came across this recipe. First time making Blondies and I must admit I messed up some of the ingredients converting from cups to grams but these tasted great in spite of this! Cherry adds a fresh taste and they’re not too sickly. Will definitely make again. Thank you

    Rating: 5
  7. Thanks for such a quick and delicious recipe. They were a hit and I will definitely make them again!

    Rating: 5
  8. I love everything from Avery
    I made lemon loaf this morning.

  9. I made these tonight with fresh cherries and they are delicious! My husband declared them to be dangerously good and had to force himself to stop eating them.

    Rating: 5
  10. In the oven now. Kept coming back to look at the recipe. No baking soda or powder? Hope I don’t have a chocolate cherry pancake!

  11. I’m baking them right now & can’t wait to try them! unfortunately I didn’t have light brown sugar and had to use regular. how is the longest I can bake it without messing the recipe? I’m using a cake pan and it’s 8”.

  12. These are absolutely spectacular and insanely easy! I made them for a birthday last week and they were A HUGE hit. Since I still had cherries, I decided to make a second batch tonight for myself and didn’t even need the recipe. So simple! I added some almond extract this time too because why not, really.

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for the 5 star review and I am glad these turned out spectacular for you and they were insanely easy and a huge hit at the birthday! And mmmm….almond extract would be amazing in these I am sure!

  13. hello

    I have made this 3 times and it has always been way too soft like soft fudge or pudding
    after first time, I double checked recipe, used a different oven, and baked for 32 minutes. didn’t help.
    for third try, I increased flour to 1 1/4 cups and baking time to 40 minutes. a little better but still no straight edge when I cut. best eaten with a spoon
    I waited to cut for 1 1/2 -3 hours.
    taste is good. any suggestion to improve texture?

    Mrs. L.

    • I really can’t say since you’ve tried a variety of tweaks. Maybe use less cherries or increase the flour to 1 1/2 cups. Or just accept that this is more like a cobbler/berry crisp style dessert for you rather than bars. Not sure what is going on in your situation that it’s not working well for bars but glad you are enjoying the taste.

  14. Hi, I’m thinking of using a cookie scoop and making these into cookies instead. What do you think?
    Thanks!

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