Berry Bars (vegan, whole grain, dairy-free options)

These berry bars have a thick layer of blueberries mixed with berry jam nestled between a crumble-like crust and topping! They can be made with all-purpose, gluten-free or whole wheat flour. This recipe also includes a dairy-free and vegan option.

These delightful bars are an adaption of my chocolate raspberry oat bars. In today’s all berry version, I’ve upped the amount of berries and added lemon zest.

Berries + lemon zest is the best, right? That combination always cheers me up!

I used blueberries and raspberry jam, but I think any combination of berry and jam type would work well! I can’t wait to try them with my homemade strawberry jam.

These berry bars have a thick layer of blueberries mixed with berry jam nestled between a crumb-like crust and topping! Can be made with all-purpose, gluten-free or whole wheat flour. Can also be made vegan and dairy-free.

Normally I’d say no to using strawberries in a bar recipe since they’re so juicy but I know they work because I’ve made these strawberry oat bars with the same base several times.

One thing that I really love about this recipe is that it uses the same dough for the crust and the topping (like in my pumpkin pie bars). A lot of crumb bar recipes have you make a crust and a separate topping.

I’m sure they’re delicious but I can’t imagine them being more delicious than these and this way saves time and dishes!

I had posted this berry bars recipe previously with whole wheat flour and had been meaning to try these with gluten-free flour for years. I finally did.

These berry bars have a thick layer of blueberries mixed with berry jam nestled between a crumb-like crust and topping! Can be made with all-purpose, gluten-free or whole wheat flour. Can also be made vegan and dairy-free.

They came out wonderfully so I thought I should post them again.

I used this 1-to-1 Gluten-free Baking Flour and am not sure if other brands work just as well. You can use all-purpose flour in this recipe so I’d hope that other blends that are supposed to be a 1-to-1 sub for all-purpose flour would work well here (but since I haven’t tried any other brands, I can’t say!).

Do note that if you use gluten-free flour, your berry bars won’t be as pretty. The topping doesn’t hold its shape as well as the whole wheat version, which is what’s shown. And the whole wheat version looks like the all-purpose flour version.

These berry bars have a thick layer of blueberries mixed with berry jam nestled between a crumb-like crust and topping! Can be made with all-purpose, gluten-free or whole wheat flour. Can also be made vegan and dairy-free.

If you want to use whole wheat in these crumble bars, make sure to use white whole wheat, which is also called ivory whole wheat. It lets the lemony taste shine through.

Even though white whole wheat is quite mild in taste, I still like to add some flavor to the batter or dough to cover up the little whole grain taste it does have. Citrus zest and extract (like in these blueberry cookies), cocoa powder, and spices are all awesome ways to hide any whole grain taste. Or rum, as in the case of this coconut rum cake. ;)

If you use traditional whole wheat, I’m pretty sure these bars would taste whole wheaty rather than bright and lemony. What you could do is use cinnamon (I’m guessing 2 teaspoons) in the base / topping. That should cover up the whole wheat taste!

These berry bars have a thick layer of blueberries mixed with berry jam nestled between a crumb-like crust and topping! Can be made with all-purpose, gluten-free or whole wheat flour. Can also be made vegan and dairy-free.

These blueberry crumb bars are also easy to make vegan. You just have to choose the coconut oil option instead of butter. Or use vegan butter if you want.

In the mood for something even more citrusy? Try these paleo vegan lemon bars! These gluten-free lemon bars also look great. And for something with a bit of protein, try these triple berry SunButter bars! They’re also gluten-free and vegan.

These berry bars have a thick layer of blueberries mixed with berry jam nestled between a crumb-like crust and topping! Can be made with all-purpose, gluten-free or whole wheat flour. Can also be made vegan and dairy-free.

Questions about these berry bars?

  • Can I use something instead of rolled oats / omit them?

    Quicks oat likely would work but not instant oats, steel cut oats, or oat groats. You can not omit them.

  • Can I use a different flour?

    Those are the only ones I’ve tested. If you have another flour that’s a good direct sub for wheat flour, you could give it a try.

  • Can I use a different type of sugar?

    A liquid sweetener won’t work. You could use probably use granulated sugar or a sugar sub that’s meant as a 1:1 sub for brown sugar. But I don’t recommend coconut sugar. It’s a weird flavor combination with the lemon.

  • Can I use something instead of coconut oil or butter?

    Those are the only two I’ve tried and so the only two that I can recommend.

  • Do they taste like coconut if using coconut oil?

    Not if you use refined coconut oil. If you unrefined, they’ll probably have some coconut taste to them.

  • Do I have to use fresh berries?

    I’ve tried these with frozen blueberries and the result was a soupy mess. Some of the commenters have used frozen. Deb said she “coated the blueberries in a 1/2 tsp of sugar and a tablespoon of flour” and that they came out great.

  • Do I have to use the jam?

    Yes! I’ve tried making these without the jam and they just kind of fell apart. The jam holds everything together. You can use whatever flavor you’d like!

If you try these berry bars, I’d love to hear how they come out!

These berry bars have a thick layer of blueberries mixed with berry jam nestled between a crumb-like crust and topping! Can be made with all-purpose, gluten-free or whole wheat flour. Can also be made vegan and dairy-free.

Berry Bars (vegan, gluten-free options)

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Rated 4.9 by 20 readers
Berry Bars (vegan, whole grain, dairy-free options)
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 16 bars

Ingredients

    For the crust and topping:

  • 1 1/2 cups (150 grams) rolled oats (make sure to use certified gluten-free oats for a gluten-free version)
  • 3/4 cup (94 grams) ivory whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour or for a gluten-free version, use 3/4 cup (104 grams) Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-free Baking Flour
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) brown sugar or raw sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup (149 grams) room temperature coconut oil1 (should be as soft as room temperature butter) or 3/4 cup (168 grams) unsalted butter for a non-vegan and non-dairy-free version
  • For the filling:

  • 2 1/2 cups (355 grams) fresh blueberries (do not use frozen)
  • 7 tablespoons (125 grams) raspberry or another type of berry jam (make sure to use vegan jam, if necessary)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and line an 8"x8" (20cmx20cm) baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the rolled oats, flour, sugar, lemon zest, baking powder and salt.
  3. Use your hands to incorporate the coconut oil and mix just until a dough forms. It should not be very crumbly, but should stick together.
  4. Gently press a little less than two-thirds of the dough onto the bottom of the prepared baking pan.
  5. Bake for 10-13 minutes or until the edges have just started to brown.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, mix together the berries, jam, vanilla extract and salt. Spoon this over the still warm crust and sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the berries.
  7. Bake for another 22-27 minutes or until the top has lightly browned and the filling is bubbly.
  8. Remove from the oven and let the bars cool completely. Refrigerate for 2 hours before cutting.
  9. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. These can also be frozen.

Notes

  1. If you use unrefined coconut oil as opposed to refined coconut oil, these bars will likely have a coconut taste to them. If your coconut oil is liquid at room temperature, you can use melted coconut oil in these bars. Mix all the crust / topping ingredients together and then put the bowl in the refrigerator for 10-20 minutes or until firm enough to be pressed onto the bottom of the pan.

Recipe by  | www.texanerin.com

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149 comments on “Berry Bars (vegan, whole grain, dairy-free options)” — Add one!

  • Nora
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    June 16, 2020 @ 8:37 am

    Erin, these bars are fantastic!!! They really hit the spot and honestly, tasted pretty much like the original less healthier version. I only had frozen berries on hand and saw someone comment the same, so I took their tip of coating the berries in flour/cornstarch, and it did the trick. It worked perfectly! I made these for breakfast, but my partner said he’d rather have it for dessert instead (with ice cream of course). Safe to say this recipe will definitely be a go-to. Thanks for a great recipe!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Nora
      June 25, 2020 @ 2:14 pm

      Hi Nora! I’m sorry for just now seeing your comment. You’re welcome for the recipe. :) I’m so glad that you enjoyed the bars and that they came out well with frozen berries! I like that you made them for breakfast. ;) Thanks for your feedback and sorry again for my slow reply!

      Reply
  • Ashley says
    May 15, 2020 @ 8:00 pm

    Do the rolled oat need to be cooked

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Ashley
      May 17, 2020 @ 12:37 pm

      No, they should be raw.

      Reply
  • Tate says
    April 4, 2020 @ 4:59 pm

    Dangerously delicious. My whole non-vegan family devoured them in 2 days! I recommend drizzling a lemon glaze over the top. 3T margarine, 2T lemon juice, 1.5cups powdered sugar. Yum!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Tate
      April 7, 2020 @ 7:37 pm

      That drizzle sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing. I’m so glad that your family enjoyed the bars. :) Thanks for your feedback!

      Reply
      • Marty replies to Erin
        April 11, 2020 @ 6:40 pm

        Just a fyi margarine is not vegan as it contains whey, which is what most are allergic to.

        Reply
  • Jessica Wyatt
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    says
    March 8, 2020 @ 9:39 pm

    Just made this today, delicious!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Jessica Wyatt
      March 13, 2020 @ 6:00 am

      I’m so glad to hear that! Thanks for your feedback. :)

      Reply
  • Annica Bendall says
    February 28, 2020 @ 9:08 pm

    What is the difference in the final product if you use white sugar instead of brown? Thanks

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Annica Bendall
      March 4, 2020 @ 1:34 pm

      Brown sugar adds a little more taste but I believe it’ll work just fine with white!

      Reply
  • Brenda
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    January 21, 2020 @ 4:25 pm

    I made these yesterday, everyone loved love. They were so easy to make and taste terrific. I will definitely make them again. I couldn’t find any white/ivory wheat flour, so i used organic all-purpose flour. I was wondering if you think almond, coconut or tapioca flour would taste good in this recipe?
    5 stars!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Brenda
      February 11, 2020 @ 9:48 am

      I’m so sorry for just now seeing your comment! We’ve had the flu / other fun stuff for the last few weeks. It’s good that AP flour worked well! Those flours you mentioned aren’t a sub for wheat flour so they wouldn’t work. I wish they would as those are the three flours I use most often. :/ Thanks for your feedback and sorry again for my slow reply!

      Reply
  • Stephanie L Hare says
    December 24, 2019 @ 2:24 am

    I needed a dessert to bring to a vegan potluck a couple of weeks ago and this recipe fit the bill perfectly. These bars were sooo good. Looking forward to making them again.
    (I used a nondairy butter substitute in place of the coconut oil/butter)

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Stephanie L Hare
      January 9, 2020 @ 11:33 am

      I’m so sorry for just now seeing your comment! A bunch of comments landed up in spam over the holidays for some reason. I’m glad that the bars worked out well, especially with your butter sub! Thanks for the tip and your feedback. :)

      Reply
  • Stela says
    September 23, 2019 @ 1:03 pm

    Hello. Could plain vegetable oil be substituted for the coconut one? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Stela
      September 30, 2019 @ 11:56 am

      I’m sorry for just now seeing your question! I haven’t tried it but I’m not so sure that that would work. You could use butter, though. :)

      Reply
  • Jenny
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    September 20, 2019 @ 5:25 pm

    Outstanding! I didn’t have enough blueberries to make up the full 2.5 cups so I did a combination of blueberries and strawberries. For the jam I used blueberry spread from Polaner. I would not have thought to mix jam in with the berries – it’s genius. It really holds everything together nicely. I used butter instead of coconut oil (my oil had apparently gone bad). For the sugar I went with brown sugar (did not pack it). We love cinnamon so added a bit of that to the crumble top. We couldn’t wait for them to firm up in the fridge so we just spooned the ‘bars’ out of the dish once cooled off. I am saving this recipe and can’t wait to share it with other family members. Thanks

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Jenny
      September 22, 2019 @ 7:08 am

      You’re welcome! I’m glad that it worked out so well with strawberries added. I’m a big fan of just eating these from the pan with a spoon, too. ;) Much more practical than waiting around! Thanks a bunch for your feedback.

      Reply
  • christa says
    August 8, 2019 @ 3:29 am

    I would prefer to keep these just blueberry and not use any jam .. Any suggestions to modify?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to christa
      August 13, 2019 @ 8:46 pm

      I’m sorry for just now seeing your question! I just returned from vacation. I’ve tried making lots of blueberry bar recipes without jam and just a bit of sweetener but they never cooked properly and fell apart. So I can’t recommend anything. Sorry about that!

      Reply
  • Caitlin says
    August 4, 2019 @ 12:23 am

    What are the calories for this?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Caitlin
      August 8, 2019 @ 6:37 pm

      I don’t have the calories but you could use this recipe analyzer for the nutritional profile.

      Reply
  • Deb L says
    June 25, 2019 @ 1:03 pm

    Outstanding!! I did try it with frozen blueberries – as that’s all I had on hand – and used homemade Strawberry jam. I coated the blueberries in a 1/2 tsp of sugar and a tablespoon of flour before adding them to the jam. Worked perfectly – not a liquidy mess! :)
    Thank you for a yummy vegan recipe!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Deb L
      June 25, 2019 @ 5:15 pm

      You’re welcome for the recipe. :) That’s great that it worked out well! The soupy mess was quite sad and I’m glad you didn’t end up with that. ;) Thanks so much for your feedback!

      Reply
  • Shelbe
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    says
    June 4, 2019 @ 9:32 pm

    Absolutely delicious! I was short coconut oil by 9g and didn’t have vanilla extract and used almond extract instead.. still turned out amazing. Highly recommended!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Shelbe
      June 7, 2019 @ 1:20 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed them! And almond extract is really great in these, right?! I love it. Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
  • Joanne says
    March 5, 2019 @ 2:10 am

    Do they have to be refrigerated? I was thinking of mailing these out to a friend.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Joanne
      March 9, 2019 @ 7:55 pm

      I’m so sorry for just now seeing your question! I wouldn’t recommend sending these in the mail. The berries might get moldy and I think they’re too fragile.

      Reply
  • Lucy says
    February 24, 2019 @ 9:08 pm

    I used frozen blueberries and had no problems. They were delicious thank you.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Lucy
      February 25, 2019 @ 7:58 pm

      That’s great! I’m glad that they came out well. Thanks for your feedback. :)

      Reply
  • Macy says
    February 10, 2019 @ 4:10 am

    These were absolutely DELICIOUS!!! We actually just ate it fresh out of the oven, because we didn’t want to wait for it to cool and set in the refrigerator. So it was more of a blueberry crumble, but was absolutely fantastic with some vanilla ice cream and fresh berries on top!! everyone in the family loved it and was super satisfied :) definitely making these again!!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Macy
      June 25, 2020 @ 2:10 pm

      Oh my. I have no idea how I just now came across your comment! I feel ridiculous answering 1 year + 4 months later but it was such a nice comment so I wanted to say thank you. I’m so glad that you enjoyed the bars! Nothing wrong with eating them straight from the oven if you don’t mind them being crumble-like. ;) Thanks for your feedback and sorry again!

      Reply
  • Samantha Jane says
    November 21, 2018 @ 7:14 pm

    Haven’t had a chance to bite into one ye, but the mix itself was absolutely delicious! Me standing there by the sink licking my hands like an animal trying not to waste a single crumb…
    These are going with me to my vegan friend tomorrow as a thank you for all the times she’s housed me overnight when I had appointments at silly times near hers.
    I think she’ll absolutely love them!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Samantha Jane
      November 25, 2018 @ 7:55 pm

      Haha. I have a problem with recipes like this in that I always eat at least a fourth of the crumbly topping / crust part before patting it in the pan. ;) I hope that your friend enjoyed them! What a nice thing to do for her. :) Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
      • Samantha Jane replies to Erin
        December 20, 2018 @ 11:09 am

        I’ve made them twice more since! Except the shop was low on blueberries so they were a mix of raspberry, strawberry and blueberry.
        Both times they went down a storm and we had very few left over, which quickly disappeared anyway.
        Some very picky eaters were happy to dig into them.

        Reply
        • Erin replies to Samantha Jane
          December 21, 2018 @ 9:41 pm

          A mixed berry version sounds delicious! I’ll have to try that next time. :) I’m happy that they picky eaters were happy! I’m super picky myself so I know how hard that can be. ;) Thanks again for your comment!

  • Lily says
    November 5, 2018 @ 3:16 am

    Was wondering why we can’t use frozen berries? What would happen if I do?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Lily
      November 6, 2018 @ 7:51 pm

      Sorry for just now seeing your question! Hope you found the answer (after the last picture :)) It made the bars a very liquidy mess.

      Reply
  • Rachael
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    August 17, 2018 @ 10:20 pm

    No joke, I’ve made this recipe three times in three weeks. It was an instant favorite and I’m so glad I found it–I absolutely love it, and so does everyone else who has tried it. Thanks for such a winning recipe, Erin!

    I’ve made it twice with raspberries and raspberry jam, and once with a cup each of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberry jam. Both fantastic! I’ll have to try it with just blueberries at some point. Wondering if I can kick the lemon up a notch–perhaps with more zest and/or some lemon juice in with the berries? I’m not much good at experimenting so if anyone has any recommendations with that I’m all ears!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Rachael
      August 19, 2018 @ 10:16 am

      You’re welcome! I’m so happy to hear that it’s a favorite. :) You can definitely increase the lemon taste! I think doubling the zest and using lemon extract instead of vanilla extract would work well. Then the next time, increase the extract to 1 teaspoon if you want even more lemon flavor. Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
      • Rachael replies to Erin
        August 27, 2018 @ 3:37 pm

        Thank you for the tips, I’ll definitely give them a try!

        Reply
  • Carol Riccardi
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    says
    July 30, 2018 @ 2:29 pm

    Made this yesterday as a vegan dessert for my son’s birthday. It was a hit! All, vegan or not raved about this blueberry treat. I followed the recipe, using Kinf Arthur’s White whole wheat flour , crisp o shortening and Huckabee jam. 5 stars ⭐️

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Carol Riccardi
      August 1, 2018 @ 2:39 pm

      I’m happy to hear that it was a hit with everyone! And huckleberry jam sounds amazing. :) Yum! Thanks for your comment!

      Reply

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