These raspberry bars are so deliciously moreish! They have a buttery shortbread crust and a smooth raspberry curd layer on top. Dust with powdered sugar for an added sweet delight.
The raspberry curd can be made using fresh or frozen raspberries and are one of my favourite homemade fruit bars. A little squeeze of lemon juice in them ups the tangy flavour, so they’re sweet with a zesty kick you’ll love.
I always think shortbread bars like this are perfect for a Spring or Summer picnic, a classy afternoon tea or even a bake sale. They're bright, colourful and taste delicious!
The gorgeous raspberry red also makes them a great Galentine's / Valentine's Day gift or sweet treat.
✏️ Making a tasty and easy recipe
I wanted to make the best ever raspberry dessert bars recipe without any oat, streusel or crumble on top. These raspberry bars are pure smooth berry goodness on a vanilla shortbread base that practically melts in your mouth. They’re basically a raspberry flavour version of the all-time classic lemon bars.
For this recipe, I wanted to be able to use fresh or frozen raspberries and get the same tasty result. This is actually one of my favourite recipes for using up fresh raspberries though! Using real raspberries rather than jam also gives them a much stronger and more tangy flavour.
By heating the raspberries, it allows them to burst and liquefy, then reduce down enough to pack as much delicious raspberry flavour into your raspberry squares as possible. Sieving the mixture will give you all of that flavour in a smooth reduction for your curd.
The first time I attempted these raspberry bars, I accidentally made a jam-like top that was much more jelly-like than curd-like. Still tasty, but not what I was after. After a bit of tweaking and several more attempts, I finally got to the ultimate raspberry bars.
🥘 Ingredients notes
- I prefer to start with room temperature butter for the shortbread crust dough. This way it’s easier to mix together with the other ingredients. The butter should be soft enough to indent when you press it, but not be able to press your finger through it.
- If using frozen raspberries for this recipe, you might need to heat them for an extra 5mins to break them down and reduce the liquid. Alternatively, you can thaw them first before using.
- When measuring your ingredients, I always recommend using weights rather than cups where possible for greater accuracy. Accuracy is important for the amount of flour used.
🔪 Equipment notes
I usually use an 8inch (20cm) square tin for these brownies, like this tin from Wilton.
I find it easiest to grease and then line the pan with parchment paper (greaseproof paper), leaving a small overhang over the sides.
I like to use digital scales for weighing my ingredients as it's easier and more accurate than other scales. I'm a fan of these KitchenAid or Salter ones! Weighing your ingredients is much more accurate than using cups and will give you better results.
Use measuring spoons for your tsp and tbsp amounts where possible.
🍱 Storing your bars
- I usually keep my raspberry bars in an airtight container at room temperature. They should last for up to 4 days stored like this.
- If you live somewhere hot (lucky you!), I'd recommend storing these bars in the fridge instead. Your raspberry bars should keep for up to a week in the fridge. Take them out of the fridge for 30mins before serving to bring to room temperature. A cold shortbread base would be pretty hard to bite into!
💭 Top tips for success
- To help your buttery shortbread base bake evenly, once the dough has been pressed into the baking tin, use a fork to poke holes spaced across the surface before the initial bake.
- When sieving your reduced raspberry mixture, try to push through as much through your sieve as possible. Mash through all that berry goodness! This is what gives your dessert bars their flavour so the more you can get, the stronger the flavour will be. When I make mine, I usually get around 160ml / 11tbsp of raspberry juice through.
- It’s best to let your raspberry bars cool completely before removing from the tin and cutting into squares.
- If you’re planning to dust your raspberry bars with powdered sugar, they should be cooked and cooled first. It’s best to dust them right before serving though. If the raspberry shortbread squares a bit moist, then they will absorb the powdered sugar. This can almost turn into a little icing layer. Nothing to worry about, they’ll still taste great!
If you’ve got any specific questions on making these tasty raspberry bars, please feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll try my best to help out!
♻️ Alternatives and substitutions
Personally, I think raspberry and coconut are a match made in heaven. If you’re a big fan of the combo too, why not sprinkle some sweetened desiccated (shredded) coconut over the top of your bars after they’ve baked. Alternatively, you can replace ⅓ cups (40g) of plain/all-purpose flour with the desiccated coconut to give your shortbread base a lovely coconut flavour.
I haven’t had a chance to try this myself, but I reckon these raspberry bars would also be delicious using black raspberries instead. If you get a chance to give it a go, let me know how it went in the comments below!
I like to add a few drops of red food colouring to my raspberry curd filling to make it really eye-catching, but they will look great without this too!
For a gluten-free version, you can swap the regular plain/all-purpose flour for a gluten-free plain/all-purpose flour blend of the same quantity.
If anything, this can make your shortbread even “shorter”. You'll get a lovely soft crumbly crust for your raspberry bars!
To be safe, always check your other ingredients for allergen warnings on the nutritional label, as they may have cross-contamination warnings.
🧁 Other goodies
I definitely recommend that you whip up a batch of these easy raspberry shortbread squares! But as an avid home baker, I’m sure you’re asking yourself “what next?”.
Well, if you love a homemade fruit shortbread slice, then why not take a look at my classic lemon bars? Or if you want a twist on the classic, check out my recipe for Bakewell shortbread slices – they’re delicious!
If you’re a fan of all things fruity, then take a look at my recipe for passionfruit curd or passionfruit Viennese biscuits or the adorable strawberry hearts melting moments sandwich cookies.
Or if you’d like to hear about our latest recipes, why not subscribe to our newsletter?
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- 3 cups (360 g) raspberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1 ⅛ cups (225 g) caster sugar
- ½ lemon’s juice (roughly 2 tbsp)
- ⅓ cups (40 g) plain/all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs
- red food colouring (optional)
- ¾ cups (170 g) unsalted butter (room temp.)
- ⅓ cups (70 g) caster sugar (golden or white)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cups (155 g) plain/all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp cornstarch (cornflour in the UK)
- Heat the raspberries in a medium saucepan, simmering for 10mins (or 15mins if frozen), breaking down the raspberries as you stir continuously.
- Press the mix through a mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl, mashing through as much of the mixture as you can before discarding the solids. Allow this to cool on the side while you make the shortbread base.
- Pre-heat oven: 180°C / 160°C (fan) / Gas Mark 4 / 350°F
- Mix shortbread base ingredients together and press into a lined 8inch square tin. Make sure to press all the way to the edges. Use a fork to prod little holes in the base to help cook.
- Bake the base for 20mins until lightly golden. While the base cooks, prepare the filling.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar and flour until fully combined.
- Add the lemon juice and cooled raspberry liquid into the egg mix, beating together until smooth.
- If using, add in a few drops of red food colouring to the filling mix and stir until combined. Add a few more drops at a time until the desired colour is reached.
- Once the base has cooked, pour the raspberry mix over the top and return to the oven to cook for a further 25-30mins until the bars have set and there is no wobble in the middle.
* The nutrition information provided is an estimate based on an online nutritional calculator and actual values may vary.