Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

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.

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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)1
  • 2 Tablespoonall-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoongranulated 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!

475 Comments

    1. Cool! It’s funny how different countries have such different names for the same food!

      I just made marbled caramel cheesecake chocolate cookie bars. YUM! That blog post has yet to be seen.

      From your whole food-y!
      Janie Lynn

  1. See, all these people have been posting patriotic red, white and blue stuff, and I could totally resist that. I mean, they’re pretty, but not like…
    THIS! Salted caramel apples are the best! And I love my pie in bar form because it’s more socially acceptable to devour several bars, whereas most people stop at one slice of pie.
    Love these, Sally! Happy 4th!

    1. Mir, this is why I love ya. GREAT point about making apple pie into bars… totally acceptable to gobble up more than one.

  2. Apple pie has always been my favorite pie… and I can never get enough of salted caramel…so basically I need to make this ASAP. Thanks, Sally- Happy 4th!

  3. Love these, Sally! And if you made them 3 times in 2 weeks, they’re dang tasty 🙂 Pinned!

    I have a 2011 recipe for Caramel Apple Bars and loved them so much I put them in my first cookbook.

    And I know what you mean about running higher mileage and wanting to eat the whole pan 🙂 When I do 15-18 milers, I seriously DO eat half a pan. haha!

  4. I came on to your website check out your photo a day post and I see these! Yum!!! If all of your recipes were laid out on a table in front of me, I don’t know that I could pick just one favorite! Sooooooo many front runners….. You should ask that question on FB. I’d love to see what others would choose.

  5. Hi Sally!
    I was wondering if you’ve ever tried Streuselkuchen? It’s a German dish which is nearly identical to these apple pie bars, but with a sweet dough base instead of a shortbread and vanilla pudding in the middle! If you haven’t had it, I think that ou should definitely try it someday – it’s really tasty!

  6. Have you ever adapted the recipe to make a larger quantity, jelly roll pan size? This looks fabulous and I can’t wait to try it. Apple pie is my favorite fall dessert.

    1. I have not – the bars are quite tall and I think would deb better doubled in a 9×13 pan. Unsure of the bake time.

    2. I just made my second batch in a jelly roll pan. I tripled the recipe because the pan was a little smaller. Last year I quadrupled the recipe for a larger jelly roll pan. Amazing!!!!! Used Mrs. Richardson’s caramel last time but making Sally’s homemade caramel today. Best bars I’ve ever had.

  7. OMG. I never make pies because I have this mental block that they’re really tedious, but I love the ooey gooey apple pie filling. Plus salted caramel (and peanut butter on the side?) these bars sounds awesome 🙂

  8. Amazing Sally! Looks scrumptious! Your cookbook arrived yesterday, I’m so excited. My whole family was so impressed with how beautiful all your recipes look! Cant wait to get stuck into it x

  9. My favorite pie has always been (and always will be) APPLE!!! I hardly make it since I would eat it all!! Apples & cinnamon, oh my! Now if I add the “oh I can’t keep my fork away” STREUSEL, there will be no stopping me. Thank goodness I just set up my new bike trainer so I can now ride hours and hours to burn off all these calories and sugar (good glycogen fueling) OR else these delicious calories will end up on my body somewhere which is a no-no.

    You are much younger than me Sally so you burn this stuff off much easier, even though I workout daily. I do remember my younger days…when I could practically eat what I wanted and it wouldn’t stick around…no pun intended. 🙂

    Thanks for posting this yummy recipe!! Hope you and yours have a fabulous and safe July 4th holiday weekend!

    1. Thanks Kathryn – and since you got your new bike trainer, you have got to make these bars. Totally oath the extra workouts on the trainer if you ask me! We have a nice bike trainer; Kevin rides it often in the colder months! Happy 4th of July to you and your family 🙂

  10. Oh, these look SO GOOD! I am dying here! I LOVE salted caramel and apples, all together!
    And the next recipe I plan to make is the apple pie bars form your cookbook! They look delicious. And I have made the lemon bars, also from your cookbook,and my family, and some friends I gave some too, LOVED them.
    Just one more thing, I have made the lemon cupcakes twice and they are very good. I adore lemon!
    I can not wait to try these! Thank you! 🙂

    1. It sounds like you love lemon as much as I do, mj! And these apple pies are just like the ones in my cookbook. You have to try them!

  11. Oh Sally, I can’t even tell you how good this looks! I know I’ve told you before about my love of apples…but let me just repeat it ;). I LOVE APPLES!! I know my mom and sister would flip for this as well. I’m all about streusel…and I’d love to try this as cherry-pie bars as well 😀

  12. That picture you have of the caramel is simply beautiful!! I always look forward to your mouthwatering photography. 🙂 I hope you have a delicious 4th of July!!

  13. So delicious! Apple Pie Bars are perfect for the a winter night’s dessert down here too! My little sister’s favourite winter dessert is apple pie and I bet these would be a very welcome interpretation.
    You definitely would have deserved one or two pieces after that big run 🙂
    Thanks Sally and Happy Fourth of July from here Down Under!

  14. Hey Sally!
    last night i made caramel ice cream and wanted to swirl in some homemade caramel sauce but what was supposed to be the sauce ended up as an amber glass block. Any idea why that happened? (I halved the recipe when I made it )
    Thank you 😀

    1. Hmm. How about you reduce the heat before adding the cream. Also, try using room temperature cream. Let it sit out for 1 hour before adding.

  15. These sound AMAZING! I just finished making your salted caramel sauce for the mini chocolate chip cheesecakes. I have all the ingredients for these…I don’t think there’s ever too much dessert! 🙂

  16. I’ve always thought that apples and caramel belong to autumn. Well, you’ve just changed my perception of summer! Need to try that recipe out!

  17. You know, I have been a huge fan of pie in bar form lately– I’m actually on my way to a party (no worries, hubs is driving 🙂 ) with my own recipe for blueberry lemon pie bars, for which I use your shortbread crust! I seriously love that crust. Such a winner! Enjoy your 4th, Sally!

    1. YES! The crust is amazing. My go-to! So happy you enjoy it too. Have fun at the party! Happy 4th, stay safe!

  18. Apple Pie with streusel?!?! Oh good Lord, THAT is a fantastic idea, Sally! I’d eat the streusel first then work my way down to that beautiful shortbread crust… I’m officially drooling. Awesome recipe, as always!
    Happy 4th to you! Hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend! xo

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