Strawberry Bars — Easy, no mixer bars with a shortbread crust, one pound of fresh berries, a layer of sweet custard, and creamy whipped topping!! A perfect warm weather dessert that everyone LOVES!!
Easy Fresh Strawberry Dessert
If you’re like me when summer rolls around, your eyes are often bigger than your stomach or your refrigerator storage when it comes to buying fresh fruit. Seeing all those berries makes me think I may never see them again and I bought a few too many strawberries. Just a few pounds extra, no biggie.
These easy, one bowl, no mixer custard bars came to the rescue. I love dessert recipes that have a minimal amount of dishes and those that don’t require me to drag out my mixer.
The strawberry bars recipe starts with a shortbread crust, topped with one pound of diced strawberries, before a custard filling is poured over the the top. After baking, whipped topping is added.
The crust has subtle crunch and texture and it’s the perfect contrast for the creamy, soft custard filling with chunks of juicy strawberries in every bite.
I kept the bars in the fridge until I sliced them so I could get clean cuts, but after about 30 minutes at room temp, the custard softens to a pudding-like consistency and it’s heavenly. Strawberries and whipped cream (or in my case, Cool Whip), plus the custard, are everything fabulous about summer.
What’s in the Strawberry Bars?
To make this fresh strawberry dessert, you’ll need:
- All-purpose flour
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Fresh strawberries
- Heavy whipping cream
- Vanilla extract
- Whipped topping
How to Make Strawberry Bars
This is one of the easiest desserts to make with strawberries! Simply Mix together the shortbread crust, then press it into a foil-lined 8×8-inch baking dish. Bake the crust just until set.
While the crust bakes, dice the strawberries. Once the crust comes out of the oven, evenly top with the diced berries.
Then, whisk together the custard filling and pour over the strawberry layer. Return the bars to the oven and bake until golden and the custard is set.
The strawberry bars need to cool for about 4 hours in the fridge before spreading the whipped topping on top.
Can I Use Frozen Strawberries?
I’ve only made this recipe with fresh, and I don’t think frozen berries would work. Frozen strawberries release lots of moisture and I worry they’d make the crust and filling soggy.
Can I Double This Recipe?
Yes! Double the ingredients list and bake in a 9×13-inch pan.
Tips for Making Strawberry Custard Bars
Lining the pan with foil is technically optional, but it makes cleanup so much easier! If you’re out of foil, spray the pan with non-stick spray.
I recommend using whipped topping, such as Cool Whip, because it holds it shape for longer and doesn’t deflate. You can also make this recipe with homemade whipped cream, but know that it will only last for about a day before deflating.
These bars need to be stored in the fridge. The filling and topping will become runny if they’re left out at room temperature for too long.
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- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 pound fresh strawberries, diced into small pieces (reserve about 5 whole strawberries for garnishing)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- about 3/4 of one 8-ounce container whipped topping (I used fat-free; homemade whipped cream may be substituted)
- strawberry slices, for garnishing
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil; set aside.
- To a large mixing bowl, add the flour, butter, sugar, salt, and using two forks or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Turn mixture out into prepared pan and hard-pack with a spatula to form an even, smooth, crust layer.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and set on a wire rack to cool. While crust bakes, dice the strawberries.
- After crust has cooled for about 5 minutes, evenly top with strawberries; set aside.
- To a large mixing bowl (the same one used for the crust is fine, just wipe it out with a paper towel), add the eggs, sugar, cream, vanilla, and whisk vigorously for about 1 minute to combine.
- Add the flour and stir to combine; don’t overmix.
- Evenly pour filling mixture over the strawberries.
- Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes or until top is lightly golden brown and custard is set. Tip – In the last 10 to 15 minutes of baking, if the top is already looking fairly browned, tent the pan with a sheet of foil (loosely drape a sheet of foil over the pan) to prevent additional browning.
- Allow bars to cool uncovered on a wire rack for about 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours (or overnight), or until chilled.
- Evenly spread the whipped topping over the top and garnish with strawberry slices. Serve immediately.
Topping: If using homemade whipped cream, it will be prone to deflating after the first day. For that reason, I prefer using whipped topping.
Storage: Bars will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 416Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 83mgSodium: 146mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 2gSugar: 34gProtein: 5g
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