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!

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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 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 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

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

  • 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 (30g) 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

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

385 Comments

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  1. I’m working on making this for the second time. The first time I replaced all the butter with coconut oil and it was amazing! The crust dough also doubles as AMAZING edible cookie dough!

    1. I made this for the first time last week, and there was not even a morsel left over. It was such a hit. Luckily I had snagged a couple of bars for myself prior to serving to my company, and hid them in my refrigerator. The dessert was served at room temperature the day of the party because of lack of room in the fridge. They tasted amazing, but the couple of bars that I hid for myself and ate the following day, I thought were even better because they were cold. Both ways you can’t go wrong. Great recipe.

  2. Made these last night and they were excellent. I used Trader Joe’s salted caramel sauce because I ran out of heavy cream. Though I usually make yours and it’s also great! Your recipes never fail. Thanks Sally!

  3. I love these bars!! They are pretty simple to make and taste absolutely delicious! My family keeps asking for more! One of my favorite apple pie recipes.

  4. I love this recipe! Do you think I could alter it for a gluten free friend using Bobs 1:1 GF flour?

    1. Hi Anjali, I haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flour but let me know if you try it!

    2. I have made these many times with Bob’s 1:1 gluten free almond flour and they turn out amazing each time!

    3. I used GF flour (Namaste from Costco) and almond flour for the crust & and it was great.

  5. LOVE the salted apple pie but for time’s sake I wanted to try the bars. Is there any way to substitute steel cut oats for rolled in this recipe? I’ve read general suggestions but would like to hear from the master!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes, they work for this recipe!

  6. Cristina Caulfield says:

    I absolutely LOVE this recipe! I make it during the holidays and it is truly a crowd favorite. I’ve modified this recipe throughout the seasons by using a variety of fruits. For instance, in the summer I’ll use fresh, chopped cherries or ripened mangoes. The only thing I do differently is omit the cinnamon and nutmeg entirely from the recipe as well as the salted caramel. To keep the fruit flavor in tact I also don’t add any sugar to the filling- just 1 tbsp. of lemon juice and 1 tbsp. of corn starch. I suppose if you like a little extra sweetness you can make a simple confectioners glaze. Personally, I think there’s enough sugar in the crust and streusel topping. Thanks for such a wonderful and easy recipe!

  7. We made this recently and it turned out really well. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  8. Is there a substitute for the rolled oats that isn’t….oats? Lol

    1. I substitute nuts sometimes. Walnuts or pecans 🙂

  9. Super easy to make . My family just loved them thank u for sharing

  10. My husband & I loved this dessert! I doubled the recipe to share and we decided to just finish it ourselves! Thank you for a great recipe!

  11. I’m not big on fruit pies, something about baked fruit is just unappealing to me. but i’m visiting an apple orchard next week and am in the mood to bake something apple-y that’s NOT apple pie and doesn’t contained baked apples. Do you think substituting apple butter for the apple pie filling in this recipe would work? Would really appreciate your thoughts. Thanks!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Hannah, We haven’t tested this recipe with apple butter as the filling – let us know if you try it! If you are interested, you can use the menu bar at the top of this page to search all of our recipes by ingredient. Here are all of our recipes with apples.

  12. If I make this the night before but want to serve warm, how long should I pop in the oven for & what setting just to warm up?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Mk, Keep them in the baking pan and reheat at 300F for about 10 minutes. Enjoy!

  13. This looks delicious- I’m trying to make this non-dairy. What would be the best substitute for the butter in the crust and topping? Margarine?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Arielle, we haven’t tested a non-dairy version of this recipe. I know some readers have had success using vegan butters like Earth Balance or Miyoko’s. Happy baking!

    2. Natalie Meyerson says:

      Haven’t tried for this recipe specifically, but in general half the amount
      of recommended butter in either olive or coconut oil does the trick

  14. Is it okay to store the bars in the fridge for a week?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ava, The bars will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days. You can also freeze them if you need to store them longer. See the recipe notes for details.

  15. This is my first time trying this and I swear its addictive! I doubled the recipe so I could fit it in a 9×13 pan, and I used 6 apples instead of 4. I was really worried that the crust was secreting a LOT of butter, but I left it in for 10 extra minutes and it turned out perfect! I couldn’t wait so I ate a slice straight from taking it out of the oven and added some vanilla bean ice cream- it was honestly perfect. I prefer it warm but my husband loves the chilled bars and is obsessed. I’ll definitely be using this for Thanksgiving and christmas eve as well. Thank you for sharing this!

  16. Has anyone made this streusel without the oats?? Not a fan of oats! thanks for the help!

  17. Someone asked about substituting the oats with something else, and nuts were suggested. I don’t eat either, so how much more flour/sugar would you suggest in place of the oats to make a plain streusel topping? Or do you have a plain streusel topping that would work for this recipe? Thanks!

    1. Hi Janet! Try using the crumble topping from my cranberry pear crumble pie instead.

  18. Hello, I made these last night and I am wondering if these are suppose to be soft? I let it rest and then removed it to cool before adding the caramel this morning. I cut into it and it wasn’t crunchy or hard like bars I’m usually used to making. This one is soft even the shortbread cookie base. If this is the way it is suppose to be, great! But if not, do I need to bake these longer? I baked it as per the recipe. Thank you so much!!!

    1. Hi Trish! Yes, these are soft bars– not hard or crunchy. But if you decide to try them again, feel free to bake a few extra minutes if you want them a little more solid.

  19. Will steel cut quick 3 minute oats work instead of old fashioned? That’s what I have on hand at the moment.

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes, they work for this recipe!

  20. I made this apple pie bars this morning and it turned out fabulous. I did use chopped walnuts in the streusel instead of oats, yummy. My husband and I shared a piece and will have it with vanilla ice cream and the caramel topping for dessert tonight.

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