These blueberry oatmeal bars are just the right amount of sweet with their juicy blueberry filling, soft and buttery oatmeal crust, and golden crumb topping! Keep the blueberry train rolling with my blueberry muffin bread or blueberry smoothie bowl.
Deep thought on this Sunday: What if they had called blueberries “purpleberries”?
Every time I mash or cook a blueberry and I see the purple inside, that’s what I think. It’s almost like I resent them for being called blueberries.
Because it’s almost like false advertising. Sure, they’re blue on the outside, but aren’t we taught that it’s what’s on the inside that counts?
What if this recipe were actually called Purpleberry Oatmeal Bars? It sounds like something straight out of Willy Wonka. But I guess we have plenty of oddly named fruits: dragon fruit, kumquats, boysenberries.
And breadfruit – IT’S NOT BREAD, PEOPLE. FFS.
I should really put in charge of naming things, I’m really good at it. Examples:
Dragon fruit = Pink Poppy Seed Alien Football
Kumquat = Oblong Oranges
Boysenberries = Almost Raspberries
Breadfruit = Goosebump Limes
Impressed? Thought so.
What if it’s not blueberry season?
Depending on where you live, you might be looking at this recipe thinking to yourself, “Leslie, it is not yet the appropriate time for me to go blueberry picking and now you have made me sad”.
Fear not! I usually make these with frozen blueberries and they are equally as delicious. So just grab a bag out of your store’s frozen section and you’re all set.
If you can make this recipe as is, fabulous! Easy peasy. But if you have dietary restrictions, or maybe your pantry is just lacking in the right ingredients, there are some substitutes you can make without it getting complicated.
Don’t have fresh blueberries? Just grab some frozen ones! All you’ll need to do is thaw them, rinse them and drain them before using.
Dairy free? Swap out the melted butter for some melted coconut oil – same amount.
These blueberry oatmeal bars have taken me quite a while to get right – I’m always surprised at how much even a 1/2 teaspoon of an ingredient can throw off the whole thing.
I wanted the base to be chewy, buttery and sturdy enough to hold the filling. One time I used too much butter and it spread too much and never cooked through.
Another time I tried a 1:1 ratio of oatmeal and flour, and the crust was too thick and seemed dry.
I had tried to avoid adding sugar, but it needed it for the right flavor. And the 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract is what really brought it all together for me.
I had also tried making the crust and crumb topping as two separate things, with two different sets of ingredients. It was entirely too complicated, and didn’t need to be. Using the same thing for both works out perfectly.
I also wanted the filling to be freshly made and not some canned pie filling – but I struggled with getting the right mix of ingredients for a long time. An embarrassingly long time.
Additionally, I knew I wanted lemon juice and zest in there, because blueberries + lemon = <3. But the amount of liquid that the lemon juice added really screwed me up. Blueberries get super juicy when they cook, and I just couldn’t get the ratios right.
The key to my eventual success was the right amount of cornstarch. Too much and it was weirdly gelatinous. Too little, and the filling was too wet and the bars just fell apart. One teaspoon was just right.
Can I make them in a 9″x13″ pan?
I haven’t tried to make these in a 9 x 13 dish, but I would imagine if you doubled the recipe you’ll just end up with slightly thicker bars as a result.
This recipe (made in an 8″x8″ pan) can yield 9 large bars, or 16 smaller bars. Another way of saying that is, “You can cut these into 16 bars, or 9 if you want to be able say you only ate one and get more bang for your buck.”
I also have not tried making these with a mix of berries, but I’m aiming to soon. I’m thinking blueberries and blackberries, with a little extra lemon zest.
Or maybe I’ll make a 9 x 13 dish that’s half and half. Or maybe I’ll just double all the things, still bake it in an 8 x 8 dish, and make monstrously sized blueberry oatmeal bars that may or may not be a huge mistake.
Woah I’m just truly digging the design and style/strategy of this web page.
Sunday 23rd of August 2020
Great recipe! I’ve made it twice and tweaked both times. Once, I used a full stick of butter and doubled the brown sugar. The second time, I doubled the brown sugar and added some extra granulated sugar In the blueberries. Can you tell I like sweets?
Sunday 23rd of August 2020
Sounds good to me! :-D
Friday 24th of July 2020
I made these tonight with a combination of fresh and frozen blueberries. I used gluten free flour and Earth Balance Organic Coconut spread. I didn’t have any cornstarch so I used GF flour. It worked fine. I can’t wait for our grandkids to try these. I know they’ll be a big hit. It’s blueberry season here in Michigan. Thanks for the yummy recipe!
Cindy Hagerup-Grand Rapids, Michigan
Thursday 20th of August 2020
I substituted blueberries for fresh blackberries from our garden. I mashed them up a bit and used closer to 3 cups and worked great. My crust “dough” was really dry so I ended up adding an extra tablespoon to reach a good consistency. It was delicious! I cut them up and stored them in the fridge and they get just thick enough to be tender but hold their shape. Perfect! Huge hit in our family, they were gone in a day.
Saturday 25th of July 2020
So glad you liked it! Thanks so much for coming back to leave a comment and rating to share your experience.
Thursday 16th of July 2020
Hi, just found this recipe and looking forward to making it. Has anyone experimented with substituting stevia sweetener for the sugar? If so, how did they turn out?
Saturday 6th of June 2020
Great recipe! I doubled the batch. I’m going to freeze the remainder and use as crumbles on ice cream or in yogurt. Wish I could post a pic!
Saturday 6th of June 2020
Ooo, that sounds great! I'd love to see what you made - feel free to email me (email@example.com), or tag me on social media!