Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars.

Apple pie is my favorite dessert, but baking this classic dessert as bars is so much easier! 

These Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars are mind-blowing delicious! So much easier to make than an entire apple pie, too. Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

Happy 4th of July weekend! It’s officially been one year since I posted my most favorite dessert on the planet. If I had every single dessert on my blog on the table in front of me (can you imagine?! gluttony.) and could only choose one… this dessert would win. By a landslide.

Apple pie is my favorite dessert; it’s also an American classic. And to celebrate our country’s independence, I vow to make an apple pie recipe on the 4th of July every year. A new tradition to celebrate this patriotic holiday. And my excuse to eat apple pie things.

These Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars are mind-blowing delicious! So much easier to make than an entire apple pie, too. Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

I have a confession. I made and shot these salted caramel apple pie bars 2 weeks ago and have made them 3 more times since. They are THAT good. Imagine a slice of apple pie, but better. A buttery shortbread crust. A brown sugary oat streusel. Gooey cinnamon apples. And silky smooth salted caramel.

…all in one.

By the way, I didn’t eat all three batches. Though after running 7 miles one day, I definitely wanted to. One batch was a hit at a book signing, another batch went to Kevin’s friends, and I froze the 3rd batch for a party tomorrow.

These Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars are mind-blowing delicious! So much easier to make than an entire apple pie, too. Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

(I am so excited to dig into these.)

These apple pie bars are a cinch to make. A few steps and you’ll be ready to go. First, make a simple shortbread crust. Nothing fancy here! Butter, flour, sugar, vanilla, salt. Nothing more, nothing less. Simplicity is key when you are making shortbread.

The buttery shortbread crust is just like my favorite pie crust recipe, only easier. And perfect as the base layer for all your favorite bar desserts. I use this shortbread crust in a few of my cookbook recipes – I’ve heard nothing but great feedback. Plus, it’s easy.

Next, add the apples. Tons and tons and tons of ’em. Use your favorite variety. I like to use two different kinds for more depth of flavor. Think… a tart Granny Smith and a sweet Pink Lady. You’ll need two apples for the filling.

STREUSEL. Yes, I am a streusel cheerleader. I’m also a huge nerd for just typing streusel that way, but whatever. It’s a holiday, forgive my silliness. Brown sugar cinnamon oat streusel is the third layer on top of the apple pie bars. It’s a heavy layer.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: the more streusel, the better.

These Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars are mind-blowing delicious! So much easier to make than an entire apple pie, too. Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

These Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars are mind-blowing delicious! So much easier to make than an entire apple pie, too. Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

Salted caramel is my love language. It also takes these incredible apple pie bars to a whole other level. Have you ever made salted caramel before? You must.

Make my recipe for simple salted caramel sauce and you will be a super hero in your family’s eyes. Seriously. This stuff is liquid gold. Dangerously good.

Be warned: your loved ones will have to pry the spoon from your hand. My good friend Megan made it about 5 times during the holidays last year. She gave it to friends and family as gifts. Wouldn’t YOU like to receive a jar of this stuff?

Pour it generously over the apple pie bars and get ready to dig in.

Salted caramel sauce on sallysbakingaddiction.com

These Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars are mind-blowing delicious! So much easier to make than an entire apple pie, too. Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

There is so much going on in these salty ‘n sweet caramel apple pie bars, that you will HAVE go back for seconds. But who’s complaining?! Happy 4th, everyone.

*Don’t be overwhelmed by the ingredient list. A lot of the ingredients are repeated in each layer.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

Ingredients:

Shortbread Crust

  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)

Apple Filling

  • 2 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced (1/4 inch thick)1
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Streusel

  • 1/2 cup (40g) old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup (70g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (30g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • homemade salted caramel sauce (step-by-step photos included)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F (149°C). Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving enough overhang on all sides. Set aside.
  2. Make the crust: Stir the melted butter, granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the flour and stir until everything is combined. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes while you prepare the filling and streusel.
  3. Make the apple filling: Combine the sliced apples, flour, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl until all of the apples are evenly coated. Set aside.
  4. Make the streusel: Whisk the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour together in a medium bowl. Cut in the chilled butter with a pastry blender or two forks (or even with your hands) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
  5. Remove the crust from the oven, and turn the oven up to 350°F (177°C). Evenly layer the apples on top of the warm crust. It will look like there are too many apple slices, so layer them tightly and press them down to fit. Sprinkle the apple layer with streusel and bake for 30–35 minutes or until the streusel is golden brown.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes at room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (or overnight). Lift the foil or parchment out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars. I usually cut them into 16 smaller bars, but you can cut them into 12 larger bars. Once cut, drizzle some salted caramel sauce on top of each. These apple pie bars can be enjoyed warm, at room temperature, or even cold.

Make ahead tip: The bars will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days. You can freeze the bars for up to 3 months. Then, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving and drizzling with caramel.

Recipe Notes:

  1. I like to use two different kinds of apples for a more complex flavor. I typically use 1 tart apple variety such as Granny Smith, and 1 sweeter apple variety such as Pink Lady. You'll end up with about 3-4 cups. A little more or less is OK, based on your preference of filling.

Larger batch: Recipe can easily be doubled and baked in a 9x13 pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes and cool completely as directed in this recipe.

Did you make a recipe?

Tag @sallysbakeblog on Instagram and hashtag it #sallysbakingaddiction.

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

Try these similar recipes next…

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Salted Caramel Apple Pie on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Glazed Apple Crumb Muffins – amazing, amazing!

Glazed Apple Crumb Muffins

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cheesecakes

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cheesecakes

See more recipes with apples.

See more caramel recipes.

See more salty/sweet recipes.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars - click through for the recipe!

356 comments

  1. Just made these now, planning on freezing, after cooling I  cut them in squares, should i remove them from pan and remove parchment before freezing or just leave in pan with parchment

  2. If I plan to make these for Thanksgiving and will be making them ahead of time, what temperature do you like these best? Room temp, warm, or cold? You mention all three ways are fine, but which way do you prefer? Thanks Sally!!

  3. Oh my goodness were these good. Double the recipe and baked in 9×13 in pan. Took them for the church pot luck and had many recipe requests. The only thing I would do different is prebake the crust a big longer since my apples were juicy. The caramel sauce was amazing. So worth it to make homemade. Recipe was simple and easy to follow. Since I baked them the morning of the pot luck they were still slightly warm when we ate them.

  4. These were outstanding!

    I was hosting my best friend and her husband for an intimate Thanksgiving. I found this recipe and knew it had to be part of our dinner plans! My friends are not dessert people, so I was very excited when she said it looked outstanding. I had to go out of town suddenly on Wednesday and didn’t have time to bake so my friend made these. She doesn’t cook or bake and she did a great job! She said the recipe was simple and easy to follow! The bars were fantastic! It was perfect! My husband doesn’t like apples and sat down and ate half of the 8×8 pan. My only suggestion would be to use European (or Irish) butter for the Salted Caramel. It makes a lot of difference and is really delicious! Thanks, Sally! These were wonderful!

  5. I doubled these and added in an extra apple.  They were delicious and a great way to get the apple pie flavor without all the work of making a full apple pie.  I’ve always been intimidated by making caramel but this salted caramel is totally do-able and so delicious.  Way better than store bought! Totally recommend these and would definitely make them again. Thanks Sally! I can always come to your site and be guaranteed delicious results. 

  6. I made these Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars today. They came out very good though they didn’t look as good as yours! I had a question about the shortbread crust Sally, when removing them from the oven, they seemed under baked. Just would like to get your input on what are they supposed to look or feel like to the touch, should they be on the firm side, etc. I never made shortbread before so not quiet sure what consistency is supposed to be like. I also changed the position of my oven racks so that could be part of it too. Anyhow, would love you input. And thanks again for a most yummy dessert!

  7. Delicious!  I will definitely make again in the near futute.  Thanks for sharing.

  8. These are amazing! I doubled the recipe and baked the crust for 25-30 minutes (can’t remember exactly) then baked the whole thing for 45 minutes and it came out perfectly. Didn’t change a thing about the recipe except for the bake time of the shortbread crust. I will make these again and again, I’m sure! Do not skip the caramel! It was super easy to make and to die for. 

  9. These look delicious! I’d love to serve them warm with some ice cream, how do you recommend heating them? Leave them in the pan and put back in the oven or cut them up and then reheat them?

  10. These are incredibly delicious. I’ve never cared for Apple pie but love these. I had two young girls each make their own pan and they loved it! I do have a question about moisture. I know you recommend refrigerating them, and storing in the fridge. They seem to end up very “wet”. I’ve made them several times, with varying lengths of  crust pre baking. After setting in the fridge, they are quite juicy and have even dripped. They are still yummy, but messy. Does this happen to yours? What could I be doing wrong? I am using extra apples and a mandolin to cut them. Thanks a lot.

  11. Hi, I was wondering, why do we have to refrigerate them? I usually like deserts hot out of the oven, and I sort of envisioned these as hot caramelly apple pie bar heaven! Plus my younger siblings…well…they don’t do waiting. Do I have to refrigerate (is this a major step?) or can I just add the caramel. Will the caramel get ruined or something? Thank you in advance! 🙂

    • Refrigerating is not a major step, but they won’t cut very nicely or neatly when warm. 🙂 Hope you enjoy!

      • Omg!! you answered! True they weren’t perfect squares, but we all loved them! thank you so much for this recipe, it’s much easier than apple pie and my mom claims that it even tastes better! <3

  12. Are they too deep to make in a  12 x 18 cookie sheet?  I would quadruple the recipe.

  13. I made these for a party yesterday for the first time and they were a hit for adults and kids too! I doubled the recipe and also baked the crust 10 min longer as it didnt look quite done at 15 min. The salted caramel recipe is a must for these bars! I love your recipes they are easy and always turn out great! Thanks!

  14. I’ve made these several times and a friend even requested them for her birthday! Always a big hit. One question: As much as I’m loving the salted caramel sauce, there are times when I don’t want salted caramel sauce. Would making it with unsalted butter and eliminating the salt at the end still make a delicious (but not salted) caramel sauce?

    • Hi Candace! You would simply reduce the salt to 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon. The caramel wouldn’t have a very nice flavor without ANY salt at all. You can use unsalted butter.

  15. These are AMAZING!!!! I mean, I expected them to be good…but wow! I had no trouble with the bake times and I had even doubled the recipe and put it in a 9×13 pan like you said. The only thing I did different was reduce the butter and cream in the caramel sauce so it was a bit thicker. Thanks for another great recipe! Next, I’m going to try the caramel apple pie!

  16. Okay, I made these for my sister’s engagement party and they (also your chocolate chip cookies) were immediately gone AND everyone was asking for the recipe! I wanted to travel with these to another family party and was wondering how they would be if kept at room temperature for two days? I was planning on making them Thursday and then take out of the fridge and drizzle the caramel Friday morning and we would be driving Friday and the party is on a Saturday night? I’m hoping they would be okay and would love your advice!!

    thanks!

  17. Is there a way to make these gluten free?

  18. Hi, Sally, Can you clarify, your recipe calls for a 1/2 cup 115 g of melted butter, however, a 1/2 cup of butter is 227 g, did you mean a 1/4 cup of melted butter?

  19. Just made these. I actually doubled the recipe and make a second batch (of a doubled recipe) and I know they won’t last. They are delicious. Made exactly as directed.

  20. If I’m planning to freeze, should I freeze them without the caramel sauce and then out the caramel sauce in when serving? Or can freeze with the caramel sauce? Thanks!

  21. My boyfriend is obsessed with these. He says they could easily be served in a restaurant and that all the flavours blend together so nicely. Clearly THE recipe to a man’s heart!

  22. I made these this weekend as a thank you to a couple for babysitting for us. So good! I find them very rich, so like them with a little ice cream.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *