While apricots may be one of Summer's most underrated fruits, they get their moment to shine in these Vegan Apricot Jam Bars! These easy apricot squares are dairy-free, eggless, filled with layers of homemade jam, and have a delicious almond cookie crumble on top.
*Recipe originally shared August, 2018 and updated July, 2021*
On their own, apricots can be bitter if not perfectly ripe. However, add them to a pan with a little sugar and lemon juice and you have liquid summer gold on your hands.
Like my Blueberry Bars & Apple Pie Bars, these fruit bars are filled with 3 layers including a shortbread crust, fruit layer, and a crumble topping. In fact, these vegan apricot bars taste just like a sugar cookie with the bonus of a sticky sweet apricot jam layer. Can we say- perfect summer dessert?!
Steps to make apricot jam
The first step to making these apricot crumble bars is making the homemade apricot jam.
One thing to remember about homemade jam is the end volume can vary by batch depending on how ripe your fruit is. That's why this jam is best made with ripe and soft apricots for the best results!
First, chop up the apricots:
I like to cut them into slices, but you can cut them into smaller chunks if you would like. As they cook down, they will lose their shape entirely.
Add to saucepan with sugar & lemon juice
Since apricots contain less pectin than citrus fruits, we are adding in some lemon juice to help it gel together without any extra pectin needed.
Stir & bring to boil
Mix all the ingredients together, then reduce to simmer & cook 20-30 minutes until the apricots have broken down and the jam is thick.
You will know the jam is done when it very slowly drips off a spoon or if you run your finger through a spoonful of jam and it moves back together slowly.
Pro Tip: Just make sure NOT to overcook the jam. If you overcook and caramelize the sugar, it will actually turn into a hard candy and not be spreadable. The jam will still be a bit runny when it's done, but as soon as it has some time to cool and set in the fridge, it thickens up a lot.
How to make apricot shortbread bars
Once the jam is ready & cooling, it's time to make the shortbread crust and put together these apricot crumble bars.
First, make the shortbread dough
Since we are using liquid melted coconut oil, there is no creaming required for this dough.
First, mix together the wet ingredients including the coconut oil, cane sugar, flax egg, and vanilla. Then, add in the flour, salt, and baking powder and mix into a thick stiff dough.
The dough will be pretty firm, so use your hands if you have trouble mixing it at the end!
The dough should be pretty firm and not sticky, though it should not be crumbly. If your dough is too crumbly, add in 1 tablespoon of water or plant-based milk to help it stick together.
Set aside ¼ dough & mix with almond slices
Once you have the vegan shortbread dough, set aside ¼ and mix it with the slivered almonds. This makes up the crumble topping we will use to top the vegan apricot crumble bars later.
Press dough into 8*8 pan
Layer an 8* 8-inch pan with parchment paper or generously grease it.
Then, take the remaining ¾ of the dough and press it into the pan until it is evenly dispersed. I like to use a spatula to do this step, however, a spoon or even your hands can work.
Pro Tip: My best tip for baking with parchment paper is to cut the parchment paper so it only goes up one side of the pan. Also, using METAL CLIPS is a great way to hold the parchment paper in place while baking. Just make sure they're safe to bake with before using!
Par bake the crust for 10 minutes
Add the pan to the oven and par-bake the crust for 10 minutes. This makes sure it cooks fully and that we don't have greasy soggy bottoms.
Layer with apricot jam & the crumble topping
Remove the tray from the oven and top with the apricot jam. It'll be a pretty thick layer of jam, but I promise it will turn out amazing! Then, sprinkle the crumble topping on top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes
Add the pan back to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked through. The apricot fruit bars will be done when the jam is bubbling on the edges and the crumble topping is just beginning to brown.
Let cool, slice, and enjoy!
This part is really important- but you really need to let these apricot squares cool completely before slicing. Otherwise, they risk falling apart from the dough being soft while warm.
Once they're completely cool, cut into 9 evenly sized squares and dig into these apricot bar cookies!
FAQ & Tips:
The short answer is YES! It's an easy 1:1 swap with any other jam you might be wanting to bake with. I'm obviously biased and feel apricot jam is the best choice, but I have tried this recipe with raspberry jam and orange marmalade and loved it with all of those flavors!
P.S- I also have a similar (but gluten-free) recipe for Vegan Blueberry Bars if you're looking to try another flavor.
I haven't personally tried it, but this recipe should work with a GF all-purpose 1:1 flour mix like Bob's Red Mill. Please note that coconut flour, almond flour, or other flour alternatives won't work for this recipe as it's not a 1:1 substitution.
Definitely! Just skip the almonds in the crumble topping. Otherwise, this recipe is already nut-free.
Apricot bars are best stored in a closed container between layers of parchment paper. They can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
- Coconut oil: Can be subsituted 1:1 for melted vegan butter or any liquid vegetable oil.
- Sugar: If you are looking to make these bars refined sugar-free you can substitute cane sugar for any granulated sugar such as coconut sugar, maple sugar, or monkfruit sugar. Just keep in mind, it will affect the end flavor of the apricot bars and will change the color of the bars and jam.
I really hope you enjoy these Vegan Apricot Jam Crumble Bars! I know they're a favorite in my house right now, and I've already been requested to bring them to several summer gatherings to come. Happy Summer Baking!
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Vegan Apricot Bars
Vegan Apricot Jam
- 2 cups chopped apricots about 5-6 apricots
- ½ cup cane sugar
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
Vegan Crumble Bars
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup cane sugar
- ½ cup melted coconut oil measure coconut oil before melting
- 1 flax egg 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 Tablespoon water/almond milk only use if needed and dough is crumbly
- ¾ cup apricot jam made above
- ¼ cup slivered almonds
First, make the apricot jam:
- First, chop up the apricots into slices and discard the pits.
- Then, add the apricot slices, sugar, and lemon juice to a saucepan. Stir together and bring to a boil.
- Once the jam is boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer so that the jam is still bubbling but more slowly. Stir consistently and cook the jam anywhere from 20-30 minutes until it has thickened and the apricot slices have broken down completely.
- You can check if the jam is ready through several methods, but I like to dip a spoon into the jam at the 20-minute mark to check. If the jam easily runs off the spoon, continue to cook. If the jam slowly falls off the spoon, it is likely ready and can be removed from the heat. If you have a candy thermometer the setting point for Jam is 220F/105C which is the most accurate way to check your jam.
- Once the jam is ready, remove it from the stove and set it aside to cool and thicken.
Then, make the crumble bar crust:
- Preheat your oven to 350F and line an 8*8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl add in your brown sugar, cane sugar, melted coconut oil, flax egg, and vanilla bean paste and use a standing mixer/whisk to combine.
- Once combined, add in the flour, salt, and baking powder making sure to add the flour first and the other two ingredients on top.
- Then, mix together until a thick batter forms. The batter will be thick like cookie dough, but should not be dry and crumbly. If the batter is too dry, add 1 tablespoon of water or almond milk until the dough holds together.
- Take out ¼ of the dough and mix it with the ¼ cup of chopped/slivered almonds. Then, set aside for later.
- Take the remaining ¾ of the dough and add it to a parchment-lined baking dish. Use a spatula, spoon, or your hands to pat the dough down so that it is spread evenly.
- Then, add the pan to the oven to par-bake the crust for 10 minutes.
- Remove the baking dish from the oven at the 10-minute mark and evenly coat with the ¾ cup of apricot jam. Next, take the remaining dough that was mixed with the almonds, break into chunks, and sprinkle the junks of dough on top of the jam. This will be the almond cookie topping.
- Add the pan back to the oven and bake an additional 20-25 minutes until the crust has cooked through and the crumble topping is beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before slicing. It's crucial to let the bars cool completely for even slices as the dough will still be soft while warm. Then, serve and enjoy!
- Apricot Jam can be subbed 1:1 with any store-bought jam including other flavored jams.
- If your homemade jam makes less than ¾ cup jam- that's okay! The bars will still taste great with a jam amount anywhere from ½ cup-¾ cup of jam
- To make gluten-free, substitute the all-purpose flour with a GF 1:1 Baking flour like Bob's Red Mill
- To make nut-free, remove the almonds from the crumble topping
- Leftover apricot bars are best stored in a closed container between layers of parchment paper. They can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.