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 Thanksgiving 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 for apple pie bars 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. Let’s do this!

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. And 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 to make the crust for my lemon bars. It comes together quickly and seamlessly– no need to wait 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’ll see on traditional apple pies, we’re topping these apple pie bars with streusel. Lots of streusel because the more streusel the better. 🙂

And we can’t forget the salted caramel drizzle! Use my recipe for homemade salted caramel— one taste and you’ll want to put it on everything!

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– just a few steps and you’ll have a delicious fall dessert ready to go!

  1. Make the shortbread crust. Press the mixture into the bottom of a prepared 8×8 pan.
  2. Bake the shortbread crust. Just 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.
  10. Drizzle salted caramel.
  11. Enjoy!

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

Best Apples for Apple Pie Bars

I like to use two different kinds of apples for more depth of flavor. You’ll need two apples for the filling– here are some that I like to use for apple pie bars:

  • 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

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 sauce 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

More Apple Desserts

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!

Print

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
  • 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. Bake for 45-55 minutes and cool completely as directed in this recipe.

Keywords: apple pie bars, salted caramel apple pie bars

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

503 Comments

  1. This has been my go to bar recipe for a couple years.

    Today I made them with Marionberry filling instead and no caramel.

    Turned out great! The shortbread is to die for. I did have to broil the top to get it to brown, but overall was able to transfer the recipe pretty smoothly.
    C

  2. When I make this, I hope it looks as good as the picture. Stunning pictures! Everything with the salted caramel looks amazing. Will definitely be making.

  3. I made these for our monthly birthday celebrations for work (co-worker wanted something with apples and caramel). They were a huge hit! Fairly easy to make and so was the to-die-for caramel sauce. Thank you!

  4. Wow, Sally!!! Another winner! I already had a jar of the salted caramel sauce in the fridge, so this was easy to whip up. YUM!!!! I did the double batch and it turned out great. The only thing I did a little different was to drizzle the caramel sauce on before I cut the bars. I also didn’t line the pan because I was in a hurry and just buttered it. They came out very easily. Thank you again for another keeper!
    Pam

  5. I have been looking for a great apple- caramel recipe to make rather than a pie with my home grown apples. This was phenomenal! What a great combination of flavors and it wasn’t very hard to make. I dribbled the caramel sauce over the bars before cooling and cutting. This is a keeper for sure!

  6. This apple bar is so wonderful! I love that the crust stays firm and doesn’t get soggy! The salted caramel sauce took it over the top! So much that my husband is raving that its his favorite recipe i have ever made! Lol. You knocked this one out of the park for us Miss Sally!

  7. I made just made these for a church function and they are delish! Especially the caramel.
    I also, love the strusel on top since it has oats in it, they give it a nice crunch.
    I put drizzled the caramel on top before cooling and cutting. And more after cutting
    P.S. Sally I love your recipes. I’ve made your chocolate chip and snickerdoodle cookies (Which everyone who’s tasted them loves!), your pie crust recipe, and your apple pie recipes. I first found you on prime video and watched the few recipe videos you had on there.

  8. I commented but I think I commented in the caramel section my apologies. The bars were so wonderful. Unfortunately I burned my sauce I think it tasted really off and bitter. Yet the vars were so great thank you. ❤️

    1. Yes you can and then leave out the 1/4 tsp salt in the crust. I suggest unsalted because every brand of butter contains different amounts of salt so you never really know how much you are adding!

  9. Tried this receipt it is wonderful. I made the crust with white whole wheat and it was very good. Next time might try the salted Carmel with half and half replacing the heavy cream.

  10. This was a delicious recipe!!
    Went to my friends house for dinner and decided to make something different for dessert. I followed the recipe and everyone loved them!! Made another batch today for my family
    Why do people add so many different ingredients and feel compelled to put them in their review? They should just follow your recipe or not comment!

  11. I hosted a last minute dinner and made this recipe for dessert with 1 apple and 2 small pears – it’s what I had on hand – and it was a success! I will make this again for sure!

  12. Perfection in a pan! I used Granny Smith and Honeycrisp. Made exactly as directed. Baked for 42 minutes. The shortbread crust is to die for, so buttery, and not too sweet. The apple flavor was perfect. Adding caramel took this recipe over the top! For some odd reason, my caramel sauce had an issue. The first time I made it, it was perfect. This time around, the butter separated from the sugar. No matter how much I whisked, it would not combine. So I figured what the heck, add the heavy cream. Whisked like mad, and it did finally come together. Do you have any idea what could have happened? Used stainless steel pan, and butter was not cold.

    1. Hi Laura! So glad you tried and enjoyed these. For the salted caramel, when the butter separates from the sugar, it’s likely too warm and greasy. It should be room temperature when adding it to the pot, but not too soft. If it’s too soft and greasy going into the pot, it won’t easily combine with the caramelized sugar. If it’s still separating, remove the pot from heat, and whisk vigorously until combined again. Then return to heat. This will help!

  13. Just thought you should know I won a work “Bake Off” contest with your recipe! Best out of ten entries! Topped with homemade whipped cream and sugar decor. Delicious!

  14. This is my new favourite bar recipe for sure!! So easy, and such an incredible combination of shortbread apples and crumbles!
    And the salted caramel is to die for… I was nervous making it but so glad I challenged myself, it worked perfectly!
    With so much leftover caramel I’m thinking another batch of these bars is in order, the first ones disappeared within a day at my work!!

  15. Should the crust still be soft when you take it out after 15 min? I’m making now and had to use a glass 8×8 with parchments

  16. Sally, is there a way to make streusel without using oats? I have an oat allergy but want to try this so bad it looks delicious and I love your other recipes!

  17. Delicious recipe adding shortbread crust to apple crisp! Using 2 varieties of apples (Honeycrisp and McIntosh )was a great suggestion. I ran out of butter for the topping, so used solid coconut oil to make the crumbs, and it tasted great also. We had some for breakfast the next day, so poured a bit of pure maple syrup on them.

  18. This looks & sounds wonderful! I’m needing a make-ahead recipe that can be frozen. Will this work? Would you suggest freezing with the salted caramel sauce already on it?

    1. Hi Jennifer! For best taste and texture, I recommend freezing the baked and cooled bars without the caramel, then adding the caramel after you thaw them and before serving.

  19. These are to die for !!! My husband is still raving about how good they were. Definitely a keeper. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe !!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Great reviews I had some leftover apple pie filling I had made earlier this summer from my honey crisp apple tree. It was pretty much more of an apple sauce texture. The recipe turned out fantastic! I was worried that the more saucey filling would not work but they turned out fine. I had planned to freeze some for a party we are going to, but they are not gonna survive that long. I’ll be making more in a week.
    Thanks so much and for helpful advice. Joanne

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