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Award Winning Almond Bars

These unbelievably delicious Almond Bars are so good, they won 1st place at a local baking contest. The baker of these bars was kind enough to share the recipe with us. 

almond bars finished cut squares.
These dessert bars have three delicious layers of buttery shortbread, custardy almond filling, and creamy frosting.

Video: Watch Us Make This Recipe

Why This Recipe Stands Out

These buttery, custardy Almond Bars took home 1st place in a local baking contest! Special thanks to Jim Schmidt, who was kind enough to share this recipe with us. Here’s why we love this recipe:

  • Layers: These almond bars have 3 delicious layers of buttery shortbread, creamy custard, and an almond-infused buttercream frosting.
  • Simple Ingredients: Most of the ingredients are like our recipes that use simple pantry staples – you probably already have them on hand.
  • Smells: The almond extract in this recipe will have your kitchen smelling like a dream for hours!
  • Freezable: Just like many of our favorite dessert bar recipes, these Almond Bars freeze wonderfully making them a great meal-prep breakfast or dessert.
  • Versatile Frosting: The almond frosting is so good, you’ll want to put it on everything! It’s a great topping for cakes and cupcakes.
  • Gatherings: This recipe can easily be doubled or quadrupled making it great for parties, holidays, and potlucks.

Key Recipe Ingredients

Almond Bars Ingredients
  • Crust – This recipe uses a simple shortbread crust made with butter, powdered sugar, and all-purpose flour.
  • Cream Cheese – Cream cheese makes the filling extremely creamy and custardy. It also perfectly balances the sweetness in this recipe.
  • Almond Extract – The key ingredient for this recipe, almond extract, is added to both the filling and frosting for serious almond flavor.
  • Buttercream Frosting – The bars are covered in a sweet, creamy, and buttery almond frosting that melts in your mouth.

Substitutions And Variations

Take a look at some fun flavor variations and serving suggestions for these sweet and buttery almond dessert bars:

  • Add Coconut: We love a good coconut treat from time to time, like these mouthwateringly delicious Samoas Cookie Bars. If you’re a coconut-lover, try mixing coconut shreds into the custard and sprinkling more on top as a garnish.
  • Add Chocolate: We love the combo of almonds and chocolate. Feel free to drizzle on dark, milk, or white chocolate once these bars have cooled. You can also use this Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce.
  • Make It Gluten-Free: To make these almond dessert bars gluten-free, simply substitute the all-purpose flour in the crust for 1:1 GF Baking Flour.
  • Serve with Ice Cream: We absolutely love serving a scoop of ice cream alongside our favorite desserts. For homemade options, check out these easy recipes for Egg-Free Vanilla and Chocolate Ice Cream.

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Then, gently add flour and mix on low speed until combined. The mixture should be crumbly.
  2. Press dough evenly into the bottom of a greased 9×13 pan, and bake at 350F for 18 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven.
  1. While crust is baking, combine eggs, very-soft cream cheese, and sugar in a large bowl until creamy with no lumps. Add almond extract and mix to combine.
  2. Pour the filling over crust, using a rubber spatula to scrape all filling from the bowl. Bake 15-20 min or until set. Let cool completely before frosting.
  1. In a bowl, whisk together all frosting ingredients until smooth with no lumps. Once the bars are completely cooled, frost evenly.
  2. Cover, chill, and serve almond bars with almond slices on top. Enjoy!

For full list of ingredients and instructions, see recipe card below.

How To Prep Ahead

There are so many ways you can prep these dessert bars ahead of time to make enjoying them super easy. Take a look at our favorite prep-ahead strategies:

  • Crust: Feel free to make the dough for the shortbread crust ahead of time. Simply form it into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and store in the fridge for up to a week. When you’re ready to bake, give it some time to warm so you can work with it.
  • Frosting: The buttercream frosting can also be made in advance. Just store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. When you’re ready to use it, let it warm to room temperature and give it another good mix.
  • The Bars: These almond dessert bars are a great make-ahead dessert. After they’ve completely cooled, you can store them in the fridge for up to 4 days. If you want them for longer, they also freeze amazingly! We recommend storing them in a gallon bag in one layer or with parchment paper separating layers. They’ll freeze well for up to 3 months.
almond bar squares finished.

Commonly Asked Questions

How long do almond bars keep?

Store these bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can also freeze them in a bag in a single layer or with parchment paper separating layers for up to 3 months.

How do I know my almond bars are done?

You’ll know the almond bars are done baking when the custard filling has set. You don’t want anything other than the very edges to brown. The rest should stay fairly light.

What do almond bars taste like?

These almond bars have three layers: a shortbread crust, an almond custard filling, and an almond frosting. So, you’ll get a super buttery flavor and a creamy, dense texture with that amazing taste that almond extract brings.

Why didn’t my almond bars set?

If your almond bars didn’t set, you may not have baked them long enough. You’ll want to wait to take them out of the oven till they set. Otherwise, you may not have let them cool long enough. They’ll continue to set as they cool and are actually easiest to cut after they’ve sat in the fridge around 30 minutes.

Can you overmix buttercream frosting?

You technically can, but it’s not a big deal. Overmixing buttercream won’t affect it as much as it would something like whipped cream. The more you mix this kind of frosting, the more light and airy it will get. For this recipe, we just whisk until it’s smooth.

Did you make this?

Please give us a rating and comment below. We love hearing from you!

almond dessert bars with slivered almonds on top, cut into squares

Almond Bars

4.74 from 121 ratings
These unbelievably delicious almond bars are so good, they won 1st place at a local baking contest. The baker of these bars was kind enough to share the recipe with us. 
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 18
Author: Amy Dong

Ingredients  

For the Crust:

For Filling:

For Frosting:

Instructions

For the Crust

  • Preheat oven to 350F with rack on lower middle position. Grease a 9×13 pan and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the butter and powdered sugar; using electric mixer or stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix together on medium high speed until light and fluffy, 3-4min.
  • Gently add flour and mix on low speed just until combined. Mixture will be crumbly, so use hands to form a dough ball.
  • Press evenly into prepared glass pan to form bottom crust.* Bake 18 minutes or until lightly browned and set. Remove from oven, but leave oven on.

For the Filling

  • While the crust is baking, combine eggs, very-soft cream cheese, and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk together until creamy and no lumps remain (it really helps if your cream cheese is quite soft to start with).
  • Add almond extract and mix to combine. Evenly pour the filling over crust, using rubber spatula to scrape all filling.
  • Bake 15-20 min or until set. Let dessert cool completely on wire rack.

For the Frosting

  • In a bowl, combine all frosting ingredients. Whisk until smooth and no more lumps.
  • Once dessert is fully cooled, evenly frost the top. Cover and chill. Remove from fridge 30 minutes before slicing. Cut into bars and place almond slices on top to serve.

Notes

  • I use the bottom of a flat glass cup to press crust down evenly in pan before baking. 
  • This recipe can be made a day ahead of time. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
  • Plan for the cooling time needed before frosting.
  • Dessert is easiest to slice if you take it out of the fridge 30 min before serving.
  • Leftover bars can be covered airtight and chilled for up to a week. 
  • If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating. We ❤️ hearing from you! 

Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 232kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 150mg | Potassium: 46mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 595IU | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegetarian
Method: Bake, mix, Whisk

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  • Pumpkin Pie Bars – This recipe gives you all the amazing flavors of pumpkin pie, but with much less time and effort. We especially love the crumble topping.
  • Chewy Monster Cookie Bars – Not only do we love that this is the bar version of our favorite cookies, but we’re also all about the easy clean-up with this recipe. It uses just one bowl.
  • Chewy Blondie Recipe – These blondies are chewy, chocolatey, and easier than cookies! You can have this amazing treat in just 35 minutes.
4.74 from 121 votes (107 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




72 comments

    • Judy Dunn

    Why did the filling separate from the crust?

      • Amy Dong

      Hi, Judy! One reason it may separate is over-baking; you can try taking the bars out 5 minutes earlier and see if that doesn’t fix it! 🙂

    • Lois
    • 5 stars

    Bar is delicious but why does the filling separate from the crust.

      • Amy Dong

      Hmm, it should not separate…try letting it cool completely at room temperature to fully set. And take care not to over-bake it.

    • Cinnamon Glassbrenner
    • 5 stars

    Who isn’t giving these 5 stars?

    • Irene
    • 5 stars

    I made these today and they are yummy! I had the same concern about the frosting being on the runny side, but saw in other comments that it should thicken. I will see how they are in the morning! I have to wonder if I over did it on the almond extract for the frosting. (I poured the extract into measuring spoon over the frosting bowl, stupid mistake). The almond flavor was pretty intense.

      • Amy Dong

      Thanks, Irene!

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