Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

Made with a shortbread crust, spiced apple filling, streusel topping, and homemade salted caramel, apple pie bars are just as delicious as apple pie, but much simpler to make. You’ll love this fun twist on a classic dessert!

stack of apple pie bars with salted caramel sauce on top

Without a doubt, apple pie is my favorite dessert. I love the combination of sweet and tart spiced apples with the buttery, flaky pie crust. It’s cozy, comforting, and simply irresistible. I have the recipe memorized and make it year-round, not just at Thanksgiving. Today’s recipe is the bar version of my salted caramel apple pie (the first apple pie recipe I ever shared on Sally’s Baking Addiction!). While I love the pie making process, sometimes we don’t have hours to prepare a dessert– which is where apple pie BARS come in. No pie crust, but same delicious flavors.

apple pie bars with salted caramel sauce topping on a green plate

3 Layers to Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

  • Shortbread Crust: The buttery shortbread crust is just like my favorite pie crust recipe, only easier. It’s simply perfect as the base layer for all your favorite bar desserts. I actually use the same shortbread crust in my recipe for raspberry streusel bars and double the recipe for my lemon bars. It comes together quickly– no waiting for pie dough to chill.
  • Apple Pie Filling: No canned filling here. You only need 5 ingredients to make your own apple pie filling and it tastes incredible!
  • Streusel Topping: Instead of a top layer of pie crust like you see on traditional apple pies, we’re topping these apple pie bars with streusel. Lots of streusel because the more streusel the better. 🙂

Best Apples for Apple Pie Bars

Whenever I make apple pie bars or apple pie, I always use 2 different kinds of apples for more depth of flavor. (One sweet variety, one tart variety.)

Here are some I suggest:

  • Sweet apples I love: Jazz, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Gala, Fuji, and Cortland
  • Tart apples I love: Granny Smith, Braeburn, Jonathan, and Pacific Rose

stack of apple pie bars with salted caramel sauce on top

How to Make Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

Homemade apple pie bars are incredibly simple to make. There’s just a few steps before you have a delicious fall dessert on your hands!

  1. Make the shortbread crust. Press the mixture into the bottom of an 8×8 inch pan.
  2. Bake the shortbread crust for 15 minutes.
  3. Make the apple pie filling.
  4. Make the streusel topping. The mixture should resemble coarse crumbs.
  5. Layer the apple pie filling evenly on top of the crust. It will look like there are too many apple slices, so layer them tightly and press them down to fit.
  6. Sprinkle on the streusel topping.
  7. Bake. These bars take about 30-35 minutes, or until the streusel is golden brown.
  8. Chill the bars. Allow them to cool for at least 20 minutes at room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (or overnight).
  9. Cut into bars and drizzle with salted caramel.

salted caramel apple pie bars

salted caramel apple pie bars

Salted Caramel Topping

A generous drizzle of salted caramel takes these incredible apple pie bars to a whole new level. Have you ever made salted caramel before? You must. My recipe for homemade salted caramel is liquid gold and dangerously good. Besides these apple pie bars, it’s delicious on ice cream, pancakes, with apple slices, and more– find 50 ways to eat salted caramel here.

Be warned: Once you start, you won’t be able to stop. I make a batch of salted caramel almost every week and see no problem with this!

salted caramel sauce in a white bowl

salted caramel apple pie bars on a white plate

One bite of these sweet and salty apple pie bars and you’ll wonder why you haven’t made them sooner!

More Apple Desserts

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salted caramel apple pie bars

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12-16 bars
  • Category: Bars
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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


Ingredients

Shortbread Crust

  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure 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)*
  • 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 (31g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • homemade salted caramel sauce (step-by-step photos included)

Instructions

  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.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: 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.
  2. Apples: 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.
  3. Larger Batch: Recipe can easily be doubled and baked in a 9×13 pan. Pre-bake the crust for 18 minutes, then extend the bake time in step 5 to about 45-55 minutes.

Keywords: apple pie bars, salted caramel apple pie bars

2 images of salted caramel apple pie bars

302 Comments

  1. I Love Love Love these apple pie bars and recommend them often to my friends!!! I particularly like how buttery and EASY the shortbread crust is. I use it for any bar I make. It is the best. Would you have any idea how to modify the crust to make a roll and slice shortbread cookie? I’ve seen other roll and slice cookies on your site but not a plain shortbread roll and slice. I think it would make a ridiculously fabulous cookie. (I’m going to try your other shortbread cookie in the meantime). Thank you

  2. Absolutely fantastic!

  3. I make this recipe all the time! I use whatever fruit is in season and it’s always a hit. Friends are constantly asking me when I’m making more!! Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  4. Hi Sally, I was wondering if I can add Pecans ? I love walnuts in apple pie / cakes

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Irina! We haven’t tested it but chopped pecans in place of the oats in the crumble topping should work! Let us know if you try anything

  5. Thank you! I will give it a try soon.

  6. Delicious! Easy and much quicker way to get my apple pie fix without making the whole pie. Keeping this recipe for sure!

  7. A keeper!

    I subbed EVCO for the butter for my flatmate who is vegan, used GF flour and skipped the oats for myself and left out a container of butterscotch caramel I had leftover from another recipe for people to drizzle on their bars and it came out amazing. I loved mixing the two kinds of apples. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe. I look forward to making it again with real butter for the buttery flavour which I personally miss and prefer.

  8. Carol Lange says:

    You must hate this type of question BUT I made your blueberry lemon tart and was gorgeous! Can I make this in a tart pan?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Carol! We haven’t tested that with this recipe, but it should work great!

  9. Absolute perfection! I’ve never made bars or even shortbread but I so loved making this recipe. They turned out amazing!

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