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!
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!
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!
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!
- Make the shortbread crust. Press the mixture into the bottom of a prepared 8×8 pan.
- Bake the shortbread crust. Just for 15 minutes.
- Make the apple pie filling.
- Make the streusel topping. The mixture should resemble coarse crumbs.
- 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.
- Sprinkle on the streusel topping.
- Bake. These bars take about 30-35 minutes– or until the streusel is golden brown.
- 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).
- Cut into bars.
- Drizzle salted caramel.
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
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!
More Apple Desserts
- Apple Bundt Cake
- Deep Dish Apple Pie
- Apple Crumb Cake
- Brown Butter Apple Blondies
- Apple Cinnamon Rolls
- Apple Slab Pie
- Apple Pie Baked Apples
One bite of these sweet and salty apple pie bars and you’ll wonder why you haven’t made them sooner!Print
Apple pie is my favorite dessert, but baking this classic dessert as bars is so much easier!
- 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)
- 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
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 & 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.
- 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.
- 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