Tropical Escape Soft Pineapple Crumble Bars

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Soft Pineapple Bars — In need of a tropical pineapple dessert? Look no further than these pineapple bars! There’s an abundance of pineapple chunks in every bite, which are surrounded by a custardy, creamy filling! 

Tropical Escape Soft Pineapple Crumble Bars - Sweet, soft bars with big pineapple chunks that taste like a tropical vacation!

Tropical Pineapple Dessert

I love pineapple. I’ve made cakes, breadsdips, and umpteen smoothies with it. It was time to make bars with it. These pineapple bars are soft, sweet, and the pineapple makes me feel like I’m on a tropical vacation.

This pineapple dessert is made in one bowl, without a mixer, and even though they’re a layered bar, they’re not fussy. The crust and crumble topping are made from the same mixture to save time. It’s not always possible to make both the crust and topping from the same mixture, but if it is, I use the double-duty approach.

They’re similar to lemon bars because of the tender shortbread crust and the signature citrus filling, but these have the crumble topping and an abundance of pineapple chunks.

I love being able to sink my teeth into the pineapple pieces and I relish the texture. 

Tropical Escape Soft Pineapple Crumble Bars - Sweet, soft bars with big pineapple chunks that taste like a tropical vacation!

Surrounding the pineapple chunks is a custardy, creamy filling that’s made using an egg, sugar, flour, and McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract. I grew up watching my mom and grandma bake with McCormick’s Vanilla. Cookie dough and beater licking just wasn’t the same without it. Nor were my mom’s cakes or my grandma’s signature cinnamon rolls and the powdered sugar frosting with plenty of vanilla that topped them.

The pineapple bars are tender, delicate, and the firmer crust, in contrast with the soft, custardy interior, and the crumble topping make for so many great textures in each bite.

The bars are a perfect springtime or summery dessert and would be a great Mother’s Day or Easter treat. What I wouldn’t give to have these show up on a breakfast-in-bed tray with a pot of coffee along with a mimosa or two! 

I can dream, right?

Tropical Escape Soft Pineapple Crumble Bars - Sweet, soft bars with big pineapple chunks that taste like a tropical vacation!

What’s in Pineapple Bars?

To make this tropical spring dessert recipe, you’ll need: 

  • Unsalted butter
  • All-purpose flour
  • Granulated sugar
  • Salt 
  • Egg
  • Sour cream
  • Vanilla extract
  • Canned pineapple chunks

Tropical Escape Soft Pineapple Crumble Bars - Sweet, soft bars with big pineapple chunks that taste like a tropical vacation!

How to Make Pineapple Bars

You’ll first need to make the buttery crust. Combine the flour, butter, sugar, and salt and use two forks (or a pastry cutter) to cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Reserve 3/4 cup of this mixture, and press the rest into an 8×8-inch baking dish. 

Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then make the pineapple custard filling. To do so, simply stir together the sugar, sour cream, vanilla extract, and more flour. 

When the crust is out of the oven, top with pineapple chunks and then pour the custard mixture on top. Return the pineapple bars to the oven and bake until the edges and top are set.

Tropical Escape Soft Pineapple Crumble Bars - Sweet, soft bars with big pineapple chunks that taste like a tropical vacation!

Can I Use Fresh Pineapple Instead of Canned? 

I used canned pineapple in this easy pineapple recipe, but I’m sure you could use fresh or frozen, although I haven’t tried.

Can I Double This Pineapple Recipe? 

Readers have reported success with doubling this pineapple dessert recipe and baking it off in a 9×13-inch baking dish. I haven’t tried it myself though! 

Tropical Escape Soft Pineapple Crumble Bars - Sweet, soft bars with big pineapple chunks that taste like a tropical vacation!

Tips for Making Pineapple Bars

I’ve always adored vanilla and use it liberally. And then some. Many of my recipes call for 1 tablespoon of vanilla and I’m frequently asked if I meant a teaspoon. No, I meant a tablespoon. Pineapple and vanilla are just made for each other and it helps accentuate the tropical vibe.

If you keep this tropical dessert covered, as time passes the topping becomes softer, less pebbley, and looks less like a true crumble topping due to the overall moisture level in the bars from the juicy pineapple. Juicy beats dry any day.

You can likely freeze these pineapple bars for later, although there are never any left over for me to do so! 

Soft Pineapple Bars — In need of a tropical pineapple dessert? Look no further than these pineapple bars! There’s an abundance of pineapple chunks in every bite, which are surrounded by a custardy, creamy filling! 

Pin This Recipe

Yield: 9

Tropical Escape Soft Pineapple Crumble Bars

Tropical Escape Soft Pineapple Crumble Bars

In need of a tropical pineapple dessert? Look no further than these pineapple bars! There’s an abundance of pineapple chunks in every bite, which are surrounded by a custardy, creamy filling! 

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours

Ingredients

For the Crust:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste

For the Filling:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup sour cream (plain or vanilla Greek yogurt may be substituted)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • one 20-ounce can pineapple chunks, drained (fresh or frozen could likely be substituted)

Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 350F and line an 8×8-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.

    Make the Crust:

    1. To a large bowl, add the butter, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and optional salt. Using two forks or a pastry cutter, cut butter into dry ingredients until a sandy mixture with peas-sized buttery bits forms.
    2. Reserve 3/4 cup of this mixture; set aside.
    3. Transfer remaining mixture into prepared pan and using your fingertips or the back of a spatula, lightly press crumbs evenly into pan to form a crust.
    4. Bake for 10 minutes. While crust bakes, make the filling.

    Make the Filling:

    1. In a large bowl (same one used to make the crust mixture is fine) add the egg, 1/2 cup sugar, sour cream, vanilla extract, 1/4 cup flour, and whisk until smooth; set aside.
    2. Remove crust from oven and top evenly with pineapple chunks. About 90% of the surface area will be covered with pineapple; chunks will be very close to each other but not quite touching.
    3. Carefully and evenly pour the sour cream mixture over the pineapple, making sure to get it into the corners.
    4. Evenly sprinkle the reserved crust mixture over the top to create the crumble topping.
    5. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until edges and top are set.
    6. Place pan on top of a wire rack and allow bars to cool for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving.

Notes

  • Bars will keep airtight at room temp for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months. If you keep them covered and as time passes, the topping becomes softer, less pebbley, and looks less like a true crumble topping due to the overall moisture level in the bars from the juicy pineapple.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

9

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 304Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 28mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 1gSugar: 32gProtein: 3g

More Pineapple Desserts: 

The Best Pineapple Upside-Down Cake — So soft, moist & really is The Best! A cheery, happy cake that’s sure to put a smile on anyone’s face!

The Best Pineapple Upside-Down Cake 

Pineapple Coconut Oil Banana Bread — No butter used in this soft, moist, fluffy loaf that reminds me of a tropical vacation

Pineapple Coconut Oil Banana Bread

Pineapple Poke Cake with Pineapple Glaze — This pineapple cake is an easy, from-scratch poke cake recipe! It’s screaming with pineapple flavor from the crushed pineapple in the cake and the pineapple juice in the glaze.

Pineapple Poke Cake with Pineapple Glaze 

Angel Pineapple Lush Parfaits — This is a 4-ingredient, no-bake dessert that’s ridiculously easy, you don’t need a mixer, and you don’t have to turn your oven on. It’s fluffy, light, airy, and refreshing.

Angel Pineapple Lush Parfaits

Pina Colada Seven Layer Bars — I combined my love of pina coladas and seven layer bars into a fast, easy, no-mixer dessert that tastes like the tropics.

Pina Colada Seven Layer Bars

This post was brought to you by McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract. The recipe and opinions expressed are my own.

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Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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Comments

  1. I had my 11 year old make this (yes I supervised) and overall the flavor was good, albeit a little underwhelming. Maybe fresh pineapple would’ve had more of a tart bite? I think we will try this again with some more citrus to brighten it up, possibly lemon and blueberry or even cranberry 

    1. I don’t know if you are looking for tart or sweet – I find this dessert reads on the sweeter side. I used canned pineapple and enjoy it and it would depend on the fresh pineapple you get if it’s going to be more tart or sweet as they can really vary. You could incorporate other citrus flavors too if you wanted. This is more of a nice and mellow dessert, not dramatically one way or the other. I have other pineapple recipes if you are looking for bolder flavors https://www.averiecooks.com/the-best-pineapple-upside-down-cake/

      And I also have some stunning lemon desserts if you’re looking for tart https://www.averiecooks.com/lemon-olive-oil-cake/ one of my fave lemon desserts of all time!

  2. I made the Tropical Escape Soft Pineapple Crumble Bars and they are delicious! I didn’t have canned pineapple so I used fresh pineapple. My bars crust and top turned golden brown but I don’t think that had a negative effect on taste.

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and glad they turned out great with fresh pineapple. Due to the sugar content in pineapple, and with it’s juice, that is why it browned. You could drape a sheet of foil over it about halfway through next time to reduce the visual browning but as you said, doubtful it effected the taste.

  3. These were so delicious! I made them gluten free but  only had crushed pineapple. I think gf needs to bake longer as they got increasingly most the few days following, or it was wetness in the drained/squeezed crushed pineapple?  Still  has outstanding flavour.  Will definitely make again! 

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and glad you will make them again!

      Multiple factors with the moistness: time of year being humid, using crushed pineapple because it has so much liquid in it, GF flour is not absorbent like AP flour is.

  4. Was looking for something to do this morning with my three and a half year old during this time of quarantine. I was lucky enough to come across this recipe. She loved that she was able to help in every step if the recipe. Other than putting it in and taking it out of the oven of course. My 9 month old even helped to stir the wet ingredients. This is delicious and simple. Thank you for taking the time to put this out where we could find it. Delicious!

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the five star and glad these turned out delicious and were a nice little project!

  5. Love this recipe! I made it with fresh pineapple and it turned out great. I’m not a baker but was able to follow the easy instructions (with my toddler “helping”) for a delicious and fool-proof result. Thanks for sharing! 

    Rating: 5
  6. The Tropical Escape Pineapple Bars are some serious deliciousness. I used canned, crushed pineapple in place of the chunks since that is what was in the pantry. Some toasted coconut would be good on top. Husband says they need a scoop of vanilla ice cream, which would just be decadent. This is a keeper recipe for sure and will make it again. Love this recipe!!!

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and glad these came out delicious for you and is a keeper recipe you’ll make again!

  7. While in quarantine I was really craving a (fresh) pineapple dessert with the limited ingredients we had at home. I decided to make this one. I made it for a bunch of my friends and family. All of them loved it. I also made a second batch (of filling, just split the crust a bit thin) with brown sugar, a little less vanilla, and a hint of cinnamon. Such a good recipe overall!

    Rating: 5
  8. Hi Averie. I made this with fresh pineapple. It was very mushy, so I sliced it and froze the portions separately. We love it this way. I will make this more come summer time.

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and glad you will make this again come summer! These bars are super soft, you are right about that. Fine line between super soft-vs-mushy but glad the freezer trick worked!

  9. I’ve made this recipe with fresh pineapple and Greek yogurt dozens of times. It’s always a hit! And so seamless and quick to make!

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and glad you’ve made this dozen of times and that it’s always a hit!

  10. I made this. Sadly only had half a cup of sugar so subbed agave nectar. And had no butter so use veggie oil. I think it would have came out better if I hadn’t all ingredients. But I added a twist to it with a lime glaze using 1 cup or confectioners sugar, 2 teaspoons of lime juice, and lime zest!!!

    Rating: 5
  11. Living in Singapore for the past 3 years I’ve tried tons of traditional Chinese New Year recipes for all the different festivals and seasons. This year I wanted something with pineapple, which is traditional for the CNY, but I also wanted something to remind me of home (USA). Ta da! Your amazing, easy recipe answered my craving perfectly. I made this today and it turned out golden and sweet, delightfully delicious. Thank you so much for a new way to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

    Rating: 5
  12. I made these as an Easter dessert with fresh pineapple that I crushed slightly into chunks and drained. It worked wonderfully with the fresh pineapple and has excellent texture. I doubled and used a 9×13, used parchment paper to line the pan so it lifted out with ease. Thank you for this great recipe!

  13. I’m hobbling around the house with a torn Achilles & wanted something to bake using what I had on hand & found this recipe I’d saved. I only had crushed pineapple & didn’t use quite the whole can – didn’t want them too wet. These were so buttery & delicious! Thanks for a great recipe.

    1. Glad the recipe worked out great for you based on what you had on hand! Sorry about your torn achilles! OUCH! Feel better!

    1. I think they’ll hold up fine, although I haven’t personally tried since it’s a small pan and they go fast!

      1. I do that all the time with desserts…lol. They are usually always just fine for me too :)

  14. Thanks for the Instagram info. I forgot to tell you I doubled the recipe and made a 13×9 pan. Only a few pieces left!

    1. Oh even better that it was a 9×13 double batch – that’s great to hear they were so popular! :)

  15. Averie, I made these last night to bring to work today. Love pineapple and absolutely love these bars. They are over half gone already. I posted a picture of them on Instagram and tried to credit you but I am not sure of your Insta name. Thank you for a wonderful recipe.

  16. I made these and absolutely loved them. I only had pineapple tidbits on-hand so that is what I used & will probably use the same any time I make these in the future (which I will be doing). I doubled the sour cream batter recipe because the called for amounts just did not seem like enough. I will also so that in the future. Next time I make these, I am going to also sprinkle on shredded coconut and coarsely chopped macadamia nuts on top of the pineapple. Other ideas are to substitute craisins and chopped walnuts, or fresh strawberries and slivered almonds, marchino cherries and choc chips, the possibilities are as endless as your imagination. Thanks for a great base recipe Averie. These pineapple bars were wonderful!!

    1. I think tidbits and chunks are fairly similar – I think the tidbits are just smaller although some brands the tidbits are big and the chunks are small :) And the amount of the batter does make enough (I promise!) but what you did sounds great and I would love to add berries to this, choc chips, coconut (purposely kept it out bc lots of people hate it and I didn’t want to hear about it..ha!). LMK if you try other variations!

  17. These will haunt me until I surrender… Unfortunately I am the only
    Pineapple LOVER in the household… Any substitution suggestions (until I get the house to myself for a weekend).. I figure I could have them made and eaten in that time ;)

    1. You could likely use most any chunky fruit…like mango chunks, strawberries, peaches (fresh or frozen on any of those) and just bake until done!

  18. I made these this afternoon and had to hold myself back to wait the one hour of cooling time to dig in! Oh my! So delicious and so different!

    These pineapple bars were SO easy to make. I DID add a layer of shredded coconut flakes over the pineapple…and instead of reserving some of the shortbread for the topping, I used it all for the bottom crust. I made a brown sugar and walnut streusel topping instead.

    This is the first recipe I’ve made from your blog Averie, and I can’t wait to try more of them!

    1. Thanks for trying these, Debbi, and what you said about unique and different, YES! I totally agree. They’re unlike many of my other bars and set up so nicely with that filling… hard to describe. It’s custardy, but not overly, and we just loved these. Your idea of the brown sugar and walnut streusel topping instead and using all the crust mixture as crust, and then with the coconut, you sound like you totally know what you’re doing in the kitchen and are very creative! That’s wonderful! Please LMK what else you try from my site!

  19. I adore pineapple upside down cake and lemon bars…and this looks like the perfect combo of the two! Really scrumptious! Can’t wait to try!

  20. If only your daughter read every word of your blog… You’d have the best Mother’s Day breakfast in bed ever! Using pineapple to create sweet buttery bars is such an awesome idea. It makes me miss our Hawaii family vacations where we’d sip pineapple smoothies and watch hula shows and watch the deep rosy sunsets over the ocean. Maybe an extra bar or two would make me feel a little better! ;)

    1. Wow your vacays sound amazing and that you remember them for a lifetime is the best! One day I hope I can somehow put my entire blog into a book and give it to my daughter. She’ll have every recipe I ever made and the stories!

      1. That’s the sweetest idea, and your daughter will really appreciate it! I really hope you do. It’s so special to share something with our families, especially something that they remember and were a part of too. One of the best ways to bond!

  21. I recently rediscovered my love of pineapple. These bars look like quite a treat! There’s just something about a custardy filling and shortbread crust.

    1. Laura knowing what I know about your tastes, you would LOVE these bars. They’re delicate, custardy, full of citrus flavor, creamy, and that’s all contrasted with the shortbread crust. I think you’d love them!

  22. I made these last night and they were so good, and I usually can’t eat pineapple. I used crushed instead of chunks and I added coconut flakes. There is only half of it left already.

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe and glad that half of it was gone the first day. That means it was a successful recipe :) And so glad you are able to eat the pineapple in this recipe. And I bet coconut would be great in them (I kept it out purposely b/c so many people don’t like it and then I get all kinds of questions but yes, I know it would be so good!)

  23. I love how gooey and buttery these are — a total tropical dream, since we aren’t all lucky enough to experience the Aruba beaches ;) the pineapple chunks look so heavenly, too!!

    1. Thanks for the comments today and the linkup the other day with your bars you made :) I have a feeling knowing that you really like lemon desserts that you’d be into these pineapple bars!

  24. Loving all the pineapple in these beautiful bars, Averie. The pineapple I had in Mexico was out of this world, I’m sure you can imagine how juicy and sweet it was! Probably have some just like it in Aruba. Pair a couple of these with a tall glass of your pineapple sangria and it certainly would feel like vacay!

    1. Either pineapple sangria or a pina colada, wouldn’t matter…LOL :) The pineapple down there is yes, so sweet. It’s almost like candy! Nothing like American grocery-store pineapple, that’s for sure. Boy, I miss it! I am so glad you had a great trip! xo