Tropical Escape Soft Pineapple Crumble Bars

I love pineapple. I’ve made cakes, breadsdips, and umpteen smoothies with it.

It was time to make bars with it.

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

They’re soft, sweet, and the pineapple makes me feel like I’m on a tropical vacation.

The bars are 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.

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

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. I used canned pineapple and I’m sure you could use fresh or frozen, although I haven’t tried.

Surrounding the pineapple chunks is a custardy, creamy filling that’s made using an egg, sugar, flour, and McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract. In 2014, McCormick marks its 125th anniversary by celebrating the role flavor plays in all of our lives, inspiring flavorful conversation, and giving back to communities around the world. McCormick’s Flavor of Together program is a yearlong initiative to share 1.25 million stories about how flavor both unites and defines people across the globe.

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

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.

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.

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

The 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.

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. Juicy beats dry any day.

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

The bars are a perfect springtime or summery dessert and would be a great Mother’s Day 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!

Tropical Escape Soft Pineapple Crumble Bars

The bars are soft, sweet, and the pineapple makes me feel like I’m on a tropical vacation. They’re made in one bowl, without a mixer, and even though they’re a layered bar, they’re not fussy because the crust and topping are made from the same mixture to save time. There’s an abundance of pineapple chunks in every bite, which are surrounded by a custardy, creamy filling. The 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. 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. The bars are a perfect springtime or summery dessert and would be a great Easter or Mother’s Day treat.

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Ingredients:

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

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line an 8×8-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. Reserve 3/4 cup of this mixture; set aside.
  4. 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.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes. While crust bakes, make the filling.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Carefully and evenly pour the sour cream mixture over the pineapple, making sure to get it into the corners.
  9. Evenly sprinkle the reserved crust mixture over the top to create the crumble topping.
  10. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until edges and top are set. Place pan on top of a wire rack and allow bars to cool for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving. 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.
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This post was brought to you by McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract. The recipe and opinions expressed are my own.

100 comments on “Tropical Escape Soft Pineapple Crumble Bars”

  1. Me O’ MY! These look soooo good! I love pineapple and adding the crumble topping just makes these outstanding!

  2. Oh Yum! I think this would be a great recipe to try cuz I always have pineapple chunks on hand!

  3. I love pineapple…eat it everyday…these bars are calling my name!!!!

  4. Have never heard of a crumble bar before but this sounds lovely! Crust + pineapples + creamy filling + crumb would be so good. Pineapple is the perfect fruit for this too it has such a nice chew to it. Would maybe go full-on with the tropical theme and add coconut to it (I adore coconut).

    • I do too and almost did BUT there are some coconut haters out there and I figured, well, I’ll do my best not to upset the apple cart on this one :) But it would be great in this…even some coconut extract!

  5. Averie, you mind-reader you! I was just craving something tangy sweet and these bars would totally hit the spot. Looks like you’re enjoying the LA summer weather as well ;) thanks for sharing these!

  6. These are seriously so brilliant!!

  7. Looks like we both have tropical flavors on the brain! These bars look wonderful Averie….pinned!!

  8. Probably I will substitute pineapple for another fruit. I love pineapple but my body does not tolerate it:( Great recipe!

    • I’m sure you know this, but there are enzymes you can take to help you digest pineapple. It’s a pretty common issue that I learned about from my naturopath years ago. Sorry to be the bearer of (old) news if you already knew this or it’s not relevant :)

  9. These sound amazing! I’ve never paired pineapple and vanilla together, but you’re making me think about it. I think the clincher though was the “one bowl no mixer” line. That just called out to me as dishes are my enemy! I could use a bit a tropical vacation over here :)

  10. These looked so good/1 I went in to make up a batch but I am out of Pineapple ! Sooooo Made them up with mandarin oranges instead and put pineapple on the list. They re in the oven now…

  11. I have a feeling I’ll be dreaming about these bars tonight, Averie! They look crazy good and they make me think of tasty tropical drinks with pineapple and rum. One of these bars with one of those drinks would be perfect. Pinned!

  12. These make me so happy just looking at them! I want a few of these babies right now! Yum!

  13. I can’t figure out where to use that last 1/4 cup of flour…. is it supposed to go into the custard part?

    • Yes it does go with the custard part. I rewrote it to make it more clear. Hopefully that clears it up now :)
      Step 6.
      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.

  14. I am loving the flavors here!

  15. These are brilliant Averie! I don’t think I’ve ever seen pineapple bars before and they sound amazing! They look insanely delicious! I love anything pineapple and your pictures are gorgeous as always – love this – pinning :)

  16. 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!

    • 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

  17. 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!!

    • 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!

  18. 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.

    • 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!)

  19. 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.

    • 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!

  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! ;)

    • 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!

      • 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 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!

  22. 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!

    • 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!

  23. 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 ;)

  24. 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!!

    • 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!

  25. 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.

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