These buttery Strawberry Jam Shortbread Bars begin with a classic shortbread cookie crust, have a sweet strawberry jam filling, and are finished off with shortbread crumbs (you use the shortbread cookie dough for the top and the bottom!). They use only a few ingredients, come together quickly, and are always a dessert favorite!
Shortbread, the humble cookie made with just a few simple ingredients, is one of my favorite desserts.
When made properly, it’s perfectly buttery, slightly melts-in-your-mouth, and is subtly sweet. Shortbread is made with easy ingredients, namely flour, butter, and sugar, among other ingredients, and it comes together quickly.
While plain shortbread is perfectly fine in its simplicity, I love shortbread cookies and shortbread bars with jam (aka jam crumb bars, strawberry crumble bars, etc.). Sweet fruit jam or preserves complement the buttery shortbread base perfectly.
It’s amazing that simple ingredients can make such a beautiful and tasty dessert without too much effort. These Strawberry Jam Shortbreads are one of my favorite cookie bars (and desserts in general), and it’s a dessert recipe I make over and over again. It’s my favorite go-to dessert (and it’s beloved by all!), and hopefully it’ll be yours too!
My Four Favorite Things About These Shortbread Bars with Strawberry Jam:
- Simple: As I’ve mentioned above, these shortbread bars are simple! The top and bottom layer of the shortbread bars is the same recipe, and the filling is made with store bought jam. If you prefer, you can make it with homemade strawberry jam (or any flavor of jam you prefer).
- Make Ahead: This is one dessert bar you can make ahead of time, because they actually get better as they sit! The shortbread and jam merry together as it sits.
- Versatile: You can easily use a different jam. Raspberry, apricot, orange, etc. would all work incredibly well. I love making shortbread with strawberry jam (or even strawberrry rhubarb jam!), but raspberry is a close second.
- Almond Extract: My secret ingredient is almond extract. A little bit goes a long way, and it truly enhances the strawberry jam flavor without overpowering the flavor.
- Unsalted Butter: Unsalted butter is my favorite choice for baking, because I have more control of the salt content in my shortbreads. The amount of salt in salted butter varies a lot with different brands.
- All Purpose Flour
- Granulated Sugar
- Almond Extract: This is my secret ingredient! It’s one of my favorite flavors to add to shortbread bars, especially these jam ones, because almond enhances the flavor of both the buttery shortbread bars and the jam.
- Vanilla Extract: The subtle sweetness of vanilla extract brings out the shortbread and jam flavors.
- Strawberry Jam: Use a really quality strawberry jam, or a brand you really like. The more flavorful the strawberry jam, the more flavorful your jam shortbread bars will be.
- Powdered Sugar: I like to dust powdered sugar on top of the bars. It’s elegant, and it adds a little bit more sweetness too. It’s optional though.
How To Make Shortbread Jam Bars From Scratch:
Shortbread Base: Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract and the almond extract, and mix until combined. Add in the flour and mix until combined.
Bottom Layer: Press about 1/2 to 2/3 of the shortbread dough into the bottom of a 9×9 baking dish.
Jam: Spread the jam on top of the shortbread.
Top Layer: Sprinkle the remaining shortbread dough on top of the jam.
Bake: Bake until the jam is bubbling and the tops of the bars are just turning a light golden brown.
Serve: Allow the bars to cool before cutting. Store in the fridge too, if desired. (They taste great cold!) Before serving, dust with powdered sugar.
One of my favorite things about these Shortbread Bars with Strawberry Jam is that they last a few days in the fridge (that is, if they don’t all get eaten at once!), and they get even more flavorful as they sit.
After the bars have baked and cooled, cut into squares, and store in an airtight container. They can be stored at room temperature or in the fridge. As previously mentioned, they taste great cold (I think they even taste better straight out of the fridge!).
I don’t have any experience freezing these bars so I can’t offer any tips on freezer storage.
Make Ahead Tips:
One of my other favorite things about these cookie bars is that you can make these a day or two ahead of time, store them in the fridge, and serve them when you’re ready. Dust with powdered sugar right before serving.
Don’t Have Strawberry Jam? Try This Instead:
- Raspberry Jam
- Orange Jam or Preserves (I use orange jam all of the time and love keeping it on hand. These Orange Cinnaon Rolls are my latest recipe using Orange Jam.)
- Apricot Jam
- Blueberry Jam (I used Blueberry Jam in these Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookie Bars.)
- Peach Jam
- Or, add a little lemon zest or orange zest to the bars! The citrus will add a little extra zing to the bars.
Like these Strawberry Shortbread Bars? Try These Recipes Next:
- Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars
- Lemon Bars with a Shortbread Crust
- Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars
- Blueberry Lemon Cream Pie with a Shortbread Pie Crust
- Strawberries and Citrus Cream Pie with a Shortbread Crust
Quick and Easy Baking Tips:
- Shortbread: The shortbread cookie dough is used for both the bottom and the top of the cookie bars. So easy!
- Parchment Paper: Line your baking pan with parchment paper or non-stick foil. It’ll make it so much easier to cut and serve.
- Jam: You can add a little more jam if you prefer a more jam to shortbread ratio. And you mix the jams! Use part strawberry and part raspberry, for example.
- Almond Extract: Don’t skip the almond extract! It will really enahnce the flavor of the shortbread. And, it’s an ingredient I use all of the time so it’s worth purchasing.
- Powdered Sugar: Dust with powdered sugar before serving. It adds a pinch of sweetness and it looks elegant.
Make these. You won’t regret it.
These buttery Strawberry Jam Shortbread Bars begin with a classic shortbread cookie crust, have a sweet strawberry jam filling, and are finished off with shortbread crumbs. They use only a few ingredients, come together quickly, and are always a dessert favorite!
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 - 1 cup strawberry jam (or preserves)
- powdered sugar, for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9x9 baking pan with parchment paper (or grease well). Set aside.
- With a hand mixer or standing mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
- Add in the granulated sugar. Cream the mixture until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
Add in the vanilla extract and the almond extract, and mix until combined.
- Lastly, add in the all purpose flour and mix until combined.
Press about 1/2 - 2/3 of the shortbread dough into the bottom of the pan, pressing the dough into an even layer.
- Spread the strawberry jam (or strawberry preserves) on top of the dough, in an even layer. (Use 3/4 cup if you want less jam filling; use 1 cup for more jam filling. Whatever your preference.)
Sprinkle the remaining shortbread dough on top of the jam (don’t press the crumbs into the jam).
- Bake for 35-38 minutes, or until the jam is bubbling and the shortbread is just lightly golden brown.
- Allow to cool before cutting and serving. I suggest letting it cool to room temperature, then letting it sit in the fridge before serving (these taste fantastic cold!). However, you can serve them room temperature as well.
- Top with powdered sugar, if desired.
These would make a perfect Valentine’s Day dessert bar! If you’re looking for other Valentine’s Day inspiration, check out these recipes: