These Raspberry Oatmeal Bars are a true weeknight dessert. They are not fancy, nor do they try to be. 5 ingredients and 30 minutes is all you need to make a dessert that if you take it to a bake sale will have at least three people asking for the recipe.
When I was a little girl, wild raspberry bushes grew on the roadside down the street from my house. On quiet June evenings my mother and I would find the largest vessel we could manage and steal down the street, sure that if we were caught, we would be stopped. We would schlep our berries back to the house, giggling with our shared knowledge of this bounty and immediately eat them straight out of bowls with milk and sugar on top, gorging ourselves on sweet summer fruit until we felt sick.
Those berry bushes are long gone at this point, replaced sometime in the last 20 years with condos and low-priced student housing but I’ll always, always remember those warm summer nights and a sweet, secret ritual shared with my mother.
Despite my deep and abiding love for raspberries, I hardly ever cook with them. I prefer them plain, straight out of the container, or as a garnish on a salad; little pops of color followed by a sweet burst of juice.
One of the recipe cards that I got from my Grandma was for Raspberry Oatmeal Bars. The recipe is scribbled on one side of an index card, and the handwriting is atrocious but in the upper left hand corner in bright pink ink she has written “fast! good!”
And as I trust my Grandma’s notes, I decided this recipe needed to be made immediately. And lo and behold (because she’s usually right) these were indeed fast and good. So good I made them a second time. And then a third.
These come together in just a few minutes, and only take 5 ingredients, most of which are pantry staples, and one of which is water. That’s how easy these are.
Tips for Raspberry Bars:
Try to vary the size of the crumbs – it just looks better, and has a better texture that way.
If raspberries aren’t your thing, I’m sure this would work with any type of jam.
Make sure to let them cool all the way before cutting, or it will be a mess.
I’ve made these with both “fancy” jam and just regular store bought jam, and honestly, the store bought version was better. This is not a fancy dessert. This is a weeknight dessert if there ever was one. A good thing to take to a bake sale. But it doesn’t need to be anything it’s not.
These are perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream but they hold up super well on their own, too.
To Make Raspberry Oatmeal Bars:
Start by mixing the cake mix and the oats together in a large bowl and then pour the melted butter over that mixture and stir until you see varying sizes of crumbs. Remove 2 cups of the cake/oat mixture to another bowl and set aside. Line a 9-13 baking dish with parchment paper.
This isn’t totally necessary, but it makes cleanup a breeze. Press the crumbs (minus the two cups) into the bottom of the baking dish. In a bowl, mix together the raspberry jam and 1-2 tablespoons of water, until it’s a little bit looser and looks easily spreadable.
Spread the jam over the bottom crust, and then sprinkle the set aside crumbs over the top. Bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until well browned on top. Cool and cut.
Five Ingredient Raspberry Oatmeal Bars
- 1 15.75 ounce package of yellow cake mix
- 2 ½ cups One Minute Oats
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 12 ounce jar of raspberry jam
- 1-2 tablespoons of water
- ½ cup confectioners sugar
- 2 ½ tablespoons milk
- ⅛ teaspoon almond extract*
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- In a large bowl mix cake mix and oats, and then pour the melted butter over it and stir to combine.
- Remove 2 cups of this mixture to a separate bowl.
- Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of a parchment lined 9x13 baking dish.
- In a small bowl mix together the jam and 1-2 tablespoons of water (start with one and see how it looks - if it still seems too thick, add the second tablespoon) and then spread the jam over the crust.
- Sprinkle the set aside crumbs over the top of the jam, and then bake for 20-25 minutes, or until browned on top.
- Cool and cut into squares.
- In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients until thin enough to drizzle over the bars.
*the almond extract is totally optional, but the flavor with the raspberries is out of this world.