These simple but hearty oatmeal jam bars are a wonderful weeknight dessert or afternoon snack.
It never fails, three o’clock rolls around my kids are suddenly in dire need of a snack. (I am too, if I’m being honest.) It’s like they haven’t eaten anything all day and I better hurry up and get those bellies something to eat before the crankiness takes over.
For this afternoon snack we usually enjoy a sweet treat, often whatever I happened to have baked that day or earlier in the week. And these oatmeal jam bars are by far my favorite afternoon treat yet! They’re a treat for sure, but they’re also hearty and satisfying.
These oatmeal jam bars are filled with oats, whole wheat flour, brown sugar, and a hint of cinnamon. In between the crumbly topping and crust, you can layer whatever jam you prefer. I’m a strawberry jam lover through and through, so that’s what I used. But it’s totally up to you!
Up your snack game with these oatmeal jam bars, you’re gonna love ’em.
baking tip:The difference between steel cut, rolled, and instant oats
Steel cut oats— The whole oat is cut into pieces which look like grains of rice. These oats take the longest to cook and typically aren’t used in baking recipes.
Old-fashioned/rolled oats— The whole oat is pressed flat during processing. These oats cook much faster than steel cut oats and are the most common oats used in baking recipes.
Quick-cooking/instant oats— These oats are precooked, dried, and pressed flat. They cook very quickly, but don’t retain much of their texture. They can be used in baking recipes, but the baking time will need to be adjusted.
Oatmeal Jam Bars
- ¾ cup old-fashioned rolled oats (75 grams)
- ⅔ cup all-purpose flour (80 grams)
- ⅔ cup whole wheat flour (75 grams)
- ⅓ cup packed light or dark brown sugar (70 grams)
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 6 ounces cream cheese , at room temperature (170 grams)
- ¼ cup unsalted butter , at room temperature (56 grams)
- ¾ cup seedless jam , such as strawberry (275 grams, about a 10 oz jar)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or greased foil.
- In a large bowl combine the oats, flour, whole wheat flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and lemon zest.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand-held mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together until creamy. Add the oat mixture and mix just until it forms a crumbly dough.
- Reserve 1 cup of the dough for the topping and set aside. Press remaining dough into the prepared pan. Bake until set and just appears to turn brown, about 15 minutes.
- Combine jam and lemon juice and spread on top of the hot crust. Scatter remaining dough on top of jam. Bake until topping is golden, about 15-20 minutes more. Let cool completely, then slice into bars.