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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 my website!). 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 traditional pie crust, but same delicious flavors.

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

3 Layers to Love

  • 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, apple pie, or even apple cake, 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
salted caramel apple pie bars

Overview: 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!

  • Make the shortbread crust. Press the mixture into the bottom of an 8×8 inch pan.
  • Bake the shortbread crust 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 and drizzle with salted caramel.
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: 1216 bars 1x
  • Category: Bars
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Baking apple pie as bars is so much easier! 


Ingredients

Scale

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 or store-bought caramel sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F (149°C). Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with 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 and then remove from the oven. (As the crust bakes, you can 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. 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

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I’ve made these a few times and everyone loved them!
    Because I’m allergic to oat, I made the streusel without the oat, using everything else as written and it was fine! You really don’t need the oats.

    1. Glad to know these are good without the oats in the streusel. I’m not crazy about oats in a topping. Will be making these this weekend. I love all things salted caramel!

  2. These are absolutely delicious. My son in law said this is his new favorite dessert. I used store bought caramel sauce and a little kosher salt.

  3. How do you store after baking? How many days is this going to be fresh? Thank you

    1. I am sorry but I just read the note so I know how to storage but I would like to give this one as a gift. Do I have to put it in a cooler until I give it to my friend? Would you do that?

      1. Hi Koffee! It depends on how long after baking you plan to give the pie as a gift. For anything longer than a couple days, we would freeze the baked pie, then thaw just before giving it away if the pie will be eaten right away. You could also give the pie frozen and instruct the recipient to thaw and enjoy when they are ready to eat it. Hope this helps!

  4. These are delicious. Of course, as it came from Sally! Those little tips are always so helpful. Especially love the make ahead instructions. Thank you

  5. Easy to make but deeply delicious! Buttery, warm and not overly sweet; this’ll be a regular snack/dessert I’ll add to my recipe log.

  6. I just made these, including the salted caramel by your recipe, and they are insane! Feel like making 5 more batches and eat all day long. Excellent recipe! Thank you:)

  7. Love your recipes so much! The layout of them is very organized and well thought out. What’s more, I adore reading the stories and background of each of them! Not something we can say about all the blogs out there! Keep doing what you’re doing girl, you’re amazing!

  8. Just put these in to chill. Looks and smalls great, can’t wait to try them. I’ve never made a bar before and some will be a neighbor gift ..any tips on getting nice clean cuts?

    1. Hi Elizabeth! These bars are a favorite, so glad you’re giving them a try. For clean cuts, make sure to use a sharp knife and wipe it off after each slice. Hope they’re a hit!

  9. Question
    I wonder if I could triple this and use a 15 in jelly roll pan
    Wondering if it would be deep enough and also the bake times

    Thanks for any thoughts!

    1. Hi Julie, We have not tested that size pan but don’t recommend tripling the recipe. You can certainly double it in a 9×13 inch pan – see recipe notes for details.

      1. Just wondering why larger than 2 times the recipe would not work if you increase the recipe to the correct proportion based on the pan size and keep an eye on it when baking to determine when it’s done (assuming it would have to bake at least as long as the 9×13”pan). Am I missing something scientific (such as will the center not cook if the pan is bigger than a certain size)? Thanks in advance!

      2. Hi Dixie, these apple bars can be so wet that working with a larger volume may result in disappointing results, especially the crust. (It’s a wet crust mixture when you press it into the pan.) The center may not bake properly either. Doubling is great and works well, we know that!

  10. This looks amazing! I have homemade frozen apple pie filling. Do you have any suggestions for using that?

    1. Hi Molly, we haven’t tested this recipe with apple pie filling, but it should work. It may end up being a bit sweet. We’d recommend thawing before using here. Let us know how it goes!

  11. Can’t wait to make this recipe esp since I stink at making pie crust! But only 2 apples doesn’t seem like very much.

  12. These were so good. Don’t be fooled by how many steps it *seems*. Quick and easy wa! Great wy to use up apples. I also was suspicious that an 8×8 pan would produce enough bars but somehow it did So delicious!!! That shortbread bottom is probably my favorite part surprisingly!

  13. Hi Sally, I made these and they were absolutely delicious, thank you. One question – the apple layer came away very easily from the base, any suggestions to stop this please?

    1. Hi Sarah, We are so happy you enjoyed these! To help the layers stick together a bit better, make sure the crust is still warm when you add the apple mixture. Also, layer the apples tightly and press them down to fit. Hope this helps!

  14. This recipe is outstanding! I’m normally not a person for apple desserts, but I loved it, and everyone that’s had it has raves about it!

  15. OFF THE CHARTS Incredibly Good!!!

    OMG (I know I say that every time I bake one of your recipes!).
    This is ridiculously easy,and buttery melt in your mouth good(scrumptious more like it!!) .
    I’m ready to get into Fall Baking (deserves to be capitalized-lol), and gave this a try.
    Like a reader said,don’t be turned off by “the steps” involved. It goes by quickly,it’s easy to understand,and before you know it, you’re enjoying the finished product.

    I also made the “salted caramel “recipe. So easy!!!

    My fiancé loved it all!

    Thank you Sally & Team

    Lisa

  16. Delicious – a little too sweet for me, going to cut down the sugar a bit, and make sure to get the shortbread base a little more crispy. Definitely a keeper!

  17. SALLY You are the QUEEN once again!! WOW is this recipe awesome. I have a bad habit of wondering what to do with my time, and I get these emails from you and poof I am in a baking mod. My husband thinks I am brilliant and my friends think I should open a bakery. I laugh and say it’s not me its Sally. The only thing I did different from your recipe is I like using powder sugar in my short bread. The carmel I used was a goats milk so the flavor profile jumped with the apples. what an awesome treat! Thank you

  18. Hi Sally, I am not yet getting that fall feeling in California’s September heat so I was wondering if I could use peaches instead of apples in this recipe. I thought I could use your peaches n cream recipe for the peach filling layer and glaze but I really want to try the peach bars with your shortbread crust from this apple bar recipe. What do you think?

    1. That should work, Darla! Let us know how it turns out for you.

      1. It worked out great using the Peaches n Cream bars recipe for the filling with the Carmel Apple Pie Bar shortbread crust and topping. They were delicious. In fact they were so good I had to quickly give them away so I didn’t eat too many. This week I am going to try making them with gluten free flour. Fingers crossed!

  19. I have made this recipe several times. They are a HUGE hit every time. So easy and so delicious.

  20. Very Good recipe. My only thing is I’ll probably chop the apples into smaller pieces. Miss the juicy filling like in a pie. But the taste is definitely apple pie in a bar as stated 🙂 very simple recipe as well and the streusal is delicious with Sally’s homemade caramel! Recommend if you enjoy apple pie flavor.

  21. Absolutely delicious Sally, I’m going to get so fat if I keep looking at your site – everytime I find 20 new things that I want to try – how’s a girl supposed to lose weight?! 😉

  22. Absolutely delicious! I made these last night for a Bunko group I attend. Everyone is to bring a Fall themed appetizer or dessert. The apple pie bars are delicious just as they are…. but add the decadent, warm salted caramel sauce and it’s a winner on a whole other level.
    Thank you, Sally, for another great recipe!

  23. Loooved this recipe. Perfect for when you’re just craving a little piece of indulgence. I didn’t have an 8×8 pan so I used a muffin tin with silicone wrappers instead and just cut the apples a little smaller so they would fit (same baking time). It was a great success! Thank you for sharing such an awesome recipe!!!

  24. I took two bites and said that this is legit the best thing I’ve ever made! My husband said that was saying a lot. Needless to say- he was absolutely speechless during his first helping. Thank you for such an amazing recipe!! Planning on sharing with some extended family this weekend. Now I have a perfect excuse to go pick some apples!

  25. I don’t even like apple pie and I loved these. I made them with gluten free measure for measure flour for my friends and family (one of my friends and a family member has Celiac Disease) and they came out amazing. I doubled the recipe and the whole tray was gone. Everyone loved them and multiple people went back for seconds. I will make these again for sure!

    1. Can you please share what gluten free flour you used? I made these and they were so amazing and now I want to try a gluten free version for my sister but I was afraid it wouldn’t be the same. Thanks in advance!

  26. Oh, thank you caramel apple Gods!!! These are to die for…. I made two batches of caramel (thank you for the tip that the sugar will clump and look bad before it finally breaks down, as I would have assumed I did something wrong!), with the second batch cutting the salt because the first was too salty. Mixed them together and was perfect (1/2 total salt). My in-laws are visiting and gobbled this up. I loved that I can splurge on a decadent dessert as a small size (vs whole piece of pie).

    A definite keeper! ⭐️

  27. These look and taste great! They came together very easily and after following the advice to make sure to press the apples down into the crust they have stayed together much better than another similar recipe I have tried. My personal preference is to have warm apple desserts so that is the only downside to these but these are much easier to bring and share than apple crisp or pie.

  28. I made these today for my son’s HS football team dinner and everyone went crazy for them!! Amazing. I left the oats out of the streusel because I prefer it that way. Otherwise made exactly as the recipe said, made the caramel too. Thanks so much!!!

  29. These turned out amazing!! Sally’s has become my go to for all recipes (Maryland girl here and even the crabcake recipe is delish)! Your recipes are simply the best – easy to follow and delicious. Even my “I don’t eat dessert” husband couldn’t resist! The salted caramel recipe definitely added to it! Thank you!!