Strawberry Basil Crumb Bars

I love basil, which is why I have committed to never owning another basil plant. It’s just too painful to watch them enter the house with bright hopes and green leaves, only to see them quickly wither and die under my not-so-watchful eye.

I have the best of intentions, I do…but maybe potted basil + hot Southern California sun + my balcony + my forgetfulness are not the best combination. After chucking one too many shriveled-up husks of basil plants into the trash, I’ve decided I’m strictly a buy-it-by-the-bunch sort of girl, at least until I can be trusted with the task of watering them responsibly. RIP, good buddies.

Strawberry Basil Crumb Bars |

I put some of that store-bought and oh-so-healthy basil to good use in these Strawberry Basil Crumb Bars. They look simple—and they are easy to make!—but they’re packed with different flavors: strawberry preserves, fresh strawberries, lemon zest, and fresh basil. They’re light and summery, perfect for picnics and alfresco dinners and eating cold from the refrigerator when you intended to have fresh fruit instead…whoops.



Strawberry Basil Crumb Bars | SugarHero.comI don’t think you can ever go wrong with combining strawberries and basil, but if the thought makes you nervous, you are a) a wussy who could use some adventure in your life and b) welcome to sub in fresh mint leaves instead, or leave out the herbs entirely. The strawberry and lemon will still be all up in your bars, making them taste amazing.

Strawberry Basil Crumb Bars |

The genius of this recipe is that although it’s 3 layers, the top and bottom layer are made from the same base recipe, so it’s really like you’re making 2 layers. And if one of those layers is basically jam and berries, it’s really more like 1.5 layers. See, these bars practically make themselves while you paint your nails and/or watch your summer television show of choice. It’s a good life.

Strawberry Basil Crumb Bars |

You all know I’m usually a chocolate sort of girl, but these bars made me a believer in the power of the berry. (Buuuut if you did want to throw in some chocolate, I’m sure a handful of mini chips wouldn’t be a bad addition either.) Let’s give summer a big bear hug and stuff our desserts with all the fresh produce & flavors we can find. Happy baking!

Strawberry Basil Crumb Bars |


Strawberry Basil Crumb Bars
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: brownies and bars
  • 10⅔ oz ( 2½ cups) all-purpose flour
  • 4⅔ oz (2/3 cup) granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 9 oz (2 sticks + 2 tbsp) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
  • 1¾ oz (1/4 cup) packed brown sugar
  • 2 oz (1/2 cup) old-fashioned oats
  • 2¼ oz (1/2 cup) finely chopped toasted pecans
  • 9 oz (2cups) coarsely chopped fresh strawberries
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 6 large basil leaves, finely chopped
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 15 oz (1¼ cups) good-quality strawberry jam
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9x13-inch pan with foil, and spray the foil lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Combine the flour, ⅔ cup granulated sugar, and salt in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix them together on low speed until well-combined. Add 8 oz (2 sticks) of softened butter, a tablespoon at a time, to the mixer and mix on low until the crust mixture starts to hold together and has the texture of wet sand.
  3. Set aside 1 cup of the flour mixture in a medium bowl, then scatter the rest in the prepared 9x13 pan. Press it down into an even layer. Bake the crust at 350 F for 16-18 minutes, until it starts to take on a golden brown color.
  4. While the crust is baking, prepare the crumb topping: add the brown sugar, oats, and pecans to the reserved flour mixture and stir them together. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of butter and work it into the mixture until you have a pebbly texture, then refrigerate the crumble topping until you're ready to use it.
  5. Stir together the chopped strawberries, 2 tbsp granulated sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and chopped basil leaves in a large bowl. Let them sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, until the strawberries start to release their juice. Add the strawberry preserves and gently mash them together just to break up the berries a little bit.
  6. When the bottom crust is done baking, spread the strawberry mixture on top of the crust, then top it with the crumble topping. Raise the oven's temperature to 375 F and bake the pan for an additional 25-30 minutes, until it is golden brown on top and the filling is bubbling out.
  7. Cool the bars at room temperature for several hours, then use the foil as handles to lift them out of the baking pan. Cut them into small bars to serve.


20 Responses to Strawberry Basil Crumb Bars
  1. I would never want to leave the basil out!!!! Fruity-herby flavors make my stomach rumble and I’m looking at these beauties and salivating!!!! I feel you on the dead plant front! I’ve tried growing my own curry leaves too and realized it’s not my thing! LOL! :D But these crumb bars are TOTALLLLY my thing! Pinning! <3

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks Samina! Yep, I’ve decided to leave the growing to the professionals and stick to what I’m good at–baking and eating. ;)

  2. Medeja says:

    I wouldn’t have thought of pairing strawberries with basil in sweet bars! It sounds really good when you think about it :)

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks! I’ve done other strawberry/basil pairings in the past and always loved it. Definitely a winning combo!

  3. Azu says:

    I have heard about the pairing basil and apple, but never with strawberry. Can’t wait to try it

  4. Danguole says:

    You know I’m 100% pro-basil here! #notawuss

    I actually made a strawberry-basil-balsamic gelato once. It was breathtaking, and I’m sure these would have the same effect on me!

    • Elizabeth says:

      You, my dear, are the definition of #notawuss. You combine flavors like a boss, and could totally teach me a thing or two about baking with herbs. And that gelato sounds INSANE! Pretty sure you need to send me some so I can taste-test it for myself.

  5. These look ridiculously good! Strawberry and basil, IMHO, were meant to be together.

  6. I adore basil too, but everytim I attempt to grow my own, I always end up killing it ahhh :( These bars look fantastic to me, and I can’t get over how easy to make they are! Perfect summer dessert if you ask me! ;) Enjoy your Sunday!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Haha, glad I’m not the only one! At least it’s easy to find and inexpensive to buy, right? It definitely makes this a summery dessert!

  7. I wouldn’t deviate from this recipe at all. I love all of the flavors in here. Fruit bars are my favorite Summer treat. Yours are gorgeous as always!

  8. Basil and strawberry together? That sounds amazing!

  9. I love the combo of basil with fruit…and these bars sound fantastic! I really need to try growing some of my own herbs not that I have an actual yard. I can’t put them indoors or my cat would eat them :)

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks Amy! And yes, you should definitely try growing your own basil! I think one reason mine keeps failing is that I keep it in the pot instead of replanting…but we apartment-dwellers are sometimes left without many options! So please enjoy your home-grown basil for the rest of us. :)

  10. I am a basil LOVER. I actually don’t like mint, so this is perfection for me! Also love the oats and pecans in the cookie crumble top. Yay for summer produce! Also? I continue to buy basil plants. By the time it dies, it’s already lasted me through several would-be basil-bunch purchases. But they do alwaya – shrivel up and die. Because I never re-pot them like I am supposed to.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks Sara! I’m giving you the side-eye about not liking mint, but since we are friends I will let it slide, hoard all the mint to myself, and buy you a basil plant in a nice big pot to make up for it. :)

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