Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars.

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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.

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Salted Caramel Apple Pie on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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

416 Comments

All Comments

  1. Made these for the first time today for a family gathering. I’ve never made anything similar before but I can always trust your recipes to turn out well. They were delicious and a HUGE hit! Thank you Sally, I’ll definitely be making these again soon!

  2. Made these for the first time for thanksgiving! Needless to say they were a hit! And SO EASY! Seriously best dessert at the table.. and the caramel sauce! UH-MAY-ZING! Saw my in laws the next day and they said they were dreaming of these bars. Definitely making them again for Christmas!! Thank you! 

  3. I’ve read about 20 reviews. At least half ask about how long to cook the crust, but you have not answered. Mine are in the oven now….but I cooked the crust 20 minutes and it was still pretty raw when I topped it with apples. Will it finish baking with the apples on top, or am I going to have a mess here?

    1. Hi Mary, cook the crust in step 2. 15 minutes. This time is a pre-bake and it will continue to cook when the bars are assembled and baked.

  4. I made these for the first time after visiting an Apple orchard early this fall. I am making them for the 4th time since then today.  They are amazing and quick to make!

    The salted caramel though… oh my… life changing! It’s my go to! I will be making little jars of it for Christmas gifts this year! Also, not a bad thing to have in my back pocket for my caramel loving husband!

  5. Hi Sally – I stumbled across your recipe and made it for an annual girlfriends holiday cookie exchange party. Justifiably, it won first place. I didn’t alter your recipe other than using Bob’s Red Mill fine pastry flour (which is what I had on hand) and they are absolutely delish. They actually taste just like little mini apple pies. I doubled the recipe since we needed quite a bit to share and put it into a large jelly roll pan. It took much longer to bake the crust, possibly double the time. Other than that, we followed the recipe to the T. Thanks so much for an amazing treat – we will be sure to try some of your other recipes too.

  6. Yummo!! A huge hit with the whole house! The base was similar to a cheesecakes… firm and buttery.. But waay better…mmmm
    This is just so good. Thank you!

  7. Delicious, nice alternative dessert for people who don’t love chocolate (What! Weirdos!), but so much easier to serve than apple pie. FYI, I needed to make these for a large crowd. I tripled the recipe and cooked it in a large cookie sheet (12×18). Worked great! Easier than making multiple batches.

  8. Awesome !! I was a bit sceptical of a few steps…melted butter for shortbread crust (I had to resist the urge to chill before baking) and dry cooking the sugar for the carmel sauce. Crust was flaky and crisp and the carmel came out perfectly smooth and silky. Thanks for the new tricks . Will definitely make again.

  9. I’ve never made ‘dry’ caramel! I will never make it any other way !!! This will be my holiday gift this year! Thanks! The apple bars are great too!

  10. Hi, Sally! I plan on making a triple batch in a jelly roll pan in the next few weeks. Any ideas to replace The Pink Lady apples…I really only love Fuji and have no clue which ones would be a sweet replacement. I have not seen Pink Lady apples in our area.

    Thank you!
    Tammy

  11. How much caramel do you use for these? I’m going to be making two double batches, and I made 1.25 cups of the caramel today and I’m trying to figure out if I should make more (other than to eat, of course).

  12. Just made these and they are AMAZING!!! Salted Caramel Sauce is so easy to make and is brilliant!!! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  13. I recently made the salted caramel sauce and used 1 teaspoon of table salt….. it was delicious! Should I have used kosher salt instead?

  14. Hi, I want to take these to work on Monday. Can I make the crust Sunday and not bake the crust until Monday morning. I would wait to do the rest just wanted to know if I make the crust; put it in the pan and then put the rest together in the morning and bake off.

    Looking forward to trying these..
    Thanks,
    Linda

  15. Hi, if you double the recipe do you still cook the base for 15 minutes or 30?

    Many Thanks

    Marie

    Ps are the apples meant to be a little crunchy? They were sliced really thin!

  16. These where way to sweet. I have a sweet tooth but we could not eat them because they where so sweet. The salted caramel sauce was the bomb I could eat that right out of the jar. Will not make these again but have big plans for the sauce. Sorry. Smelt good looked good just to sweet.

  17. I made these today for the first time and all I can say is WOW! I love them and my husband is an apple and caramel lover so he thinks these are amazing! I followed the recipe except I doubled them and baked them in a 9×13 pan for 55 minutes. I pre-baked the shortbread base for about 25 mins, next time I may cook the base for less time as they were golden brown but the streusel could have been cooked for longer. That’s the only adjustment I would make as they are Devine Thank you! I have loved all of your recipes that I have tried.

  18. I made a few batches of these for a bake sale at school today. They were a hit! So delicious, and sold out very quickly. We raised a lot of money for transgender rights! Thank you!

  19. Hi Sally! Hi, if you double the recipe is the 9×13 pan, do you still pre-cook the base for 15 minutes or would you cook it for 30? Thanks!

    1. Somewhere between 15-25 minutes would actually be ideal. If I’m remembering correctly, I pre-baked it for 20 minutes last time.

  20. Hi Sally,
    I made these bars for the first time last night, and plan to serve them tonight. What’s the trick for reheating? I planned to reheat then pour the caramel sauce, but didn’t want the bars to get dry from heating back up. Thank you!

    1. Hi Emma! These apple pie bars are so moist– they wouldn’t dry out with a little reheating. Keep them in the baking pan and reheat at 300F for about 10 minutes.

    1. Hi Julie, I haven’t tested the recipe this way but you can try simply using an all purpose GF flour and certified gluten free oats.

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Reviews

  1. Yummo!! A huge hit with the whole house! The base was similar to a cheesecakes… firm and buttery.. But waay better…mmmm
    This is just so good. Thank you!

  2. Awesome !! I was a bit sceptical of a few steps…melted butter for shortbread crust (I had to resist the urge to chill before baking) and dry cooking the sugar for the carmel sauce. Crust was flaky and crisp and the carmel came out perfectly smooth and silky. Thanks for the new tricks . Will definitely make again.

  3. Just made these and they are AMAZING!!! Salted Caramel Sauce is so easy to make and is brilliant!!! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  4. I made these today for the first time and all I can say is WOW! I love them and my husband is an apple and caramel lover so he thinks these are amazing! I followed the recipe except I doubled them and baked them in a 9×13 pan for 55 minutes. I pre-baked the shortbread base for about 25 mins, next time I may cook the base for less time as they were golden brown but the streusel could have been cooked for longer. That’s the only adjustment I would make as they are Devine Thank you! I have loved all of your recipes that I have tried.

Questions

  1. I recently made the salted caramel sauce and used 1 teaspoon of table salt….. it was delicious! Should I have used kosher salt instead?

  2. Hi Sally! Hi, if you double the recipe is the 9×13 pan, do you still pre-cook the base for 15 minutes or would you cook it for 30? Thanks!

    1. Somewhere between 15-25 minutes would actually be ideal. If I’m remembering correctly, I pre-baked it for 20 minutes last time.

  3. Hi Sally,
    I made these bars for the first time last night, and plan to serve them tonight. What’s the trick for reheating? I planned to reheat then pour the caramel sauce, but didn’t want the bars to get dry from heating back up. Thank you!

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