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 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 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.

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. 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 or apple pie, 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

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. There’s just a few steps before you have a delicious fall dessert on your hands!

  1. Make the shortbread crust. Press the mixture into the bottom of an 8×8 inch pan.
  2. Bake the shortbread crust 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 and drizzle with salted caramel.

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 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 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

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

  • 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 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!

541 Comments

  1. Made these for the first time. It turned out great! I used a granny smith and a honey crisp apple and baked it for a little longer than the 30-35 minute time that was recommended – ended up doing 42 minutes to ensure the apples have softened and the streusel browned. The shortbread crust is sooo good! It is perfect for fall!

  2. These are perfect! The shortbread crust works really well here. All the goodness of apple pie, without the hassle! Aside from adding a little lime juice in the apples, and baking mine for longer (I think it’s my oven – it just wasn’t browning the way it should), I followed the recipe for the bars to a T, and it is absolutely delicious! So good in fact, that I was forbidden from letting any leave the house …lol. My poor co-workers will just have to wait for the next batch! Which, I already made a promise to myself to double the batch whenever making these 🙂
    For the salted caramel, you can make it vegan if you like. I ended up using Sally’s recipe for the base, except my grocery store ran out of whipping cream, so I had to improvise. I melted a half a cup of white sugar, added a spoon of butter (coconut oil, if vegan), then the can of coconut milk, but because this has a higher water content, I had to cook it for about 25 minutes instead. But it is totally worth it!
    Thanks for two more great recipes, Sally!

  3. Hi.
    Could this be doubled and baked as a pie? I love the taste and ease of this crust, and my 11 year old really wants to make the pie on her own. Has anyone tried? Thank you and happy Thanksgiving.

    1. Hi Sandra! You can press this crust into a 9-inch pie dish. No need to double the crust or filling recipe. Careful slicing; the pie slices will be a little fragile.

      1. Thank you so much for the quick reply! I assume that I still refrigerate it just as I do for the bars? These are one of my favorite recipes of yours. They are always delicious and easy for children to make on their own.

    1. Hi Tess! That size pan wouldn’t be large enough– you’d need at least a 9×13 inch baking pan for doubling the apple pie bar recipe.

  4. You say they can be served warm, but it says to cool in the refrigerator for 2 hours. How do you serve warm? Are they good served cold out of the fridge?

    1. Hi Di! Crushed nuts would be a fine sub or you can use a crumble topping such as this apple crumble: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/apple-crumble-pie/

  5. These are amazing. I finally made them after having them bookmarked for the last month. I was intimidated by making the salted caramel sauce but I overcame that and it turned out amazing also. I will be making these again very soon.

  6. Happy Holidays Sally!
    I just made your oatmeal pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. They are outstanding! What size sauce pan do you use for your delicious caramel sauce? Also, do you recommend a non stick or stainless steel pan for making the caramel sauce? It looks divine and I thought I would try to lightly drizzle the sauce over the cookies. What do you think?

    1. Hi Donna! I recommend a 2 or 3 quart saucepan for the caramel sauce. Doesn’t need to be too large. Stainless steel would be best.

  7. Hey, Sally! I just made these today. Wow! I really love the short bread. It’s the first time I have ever made a caramel sauce. You made it easy for me! My apples were old so I used applesauce instead, probably around half a cup, just enough to cover the short bread. I think they turned out great! I enjoyed this more than a pie. Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. Hi Sally,

    I brought these for thanksgiving and everyone loved them! They didn’t even know they were gluten free (subbed target brand 1:1 gluten-free flour). My cousin doesn’t even cook and she wants the recipe.. and for me to bring a trunk-full for Christmas this year 🙂 thank you so much!

  9. I doubled the recipe and made these in a 9 x 13 pan and they were delicious. I baked the base for about 20 minutes as it was still very pale after 15 minutes, used six apples and spread some Dulce de Leche on top of the base before putting the apples on. This meant I skipped the salted caramel as I thought it would be too sweet otherwise. Received lots of compliments and lots of people asked for second helpings. Thank you for another great recipe!

  10. I love these bars! Everytime I make them for church functions they disappear first!
    Question..Is there a way to turn these bars into a “pie”? Could I use a pie pan with the same instructions and cooktime?

  11. I have made this a few times – it is SO delicious! The salted caramel sauce is scary delicious – I sneak WAY too much of it – making sure it’s ok!

  12. I usually do not leave comments on recipes but this one is amazing! I made the caramel sauce too and they both turned out awesome! Thanks for sharing!

  13. I am so glad you take on some of the best recipes and make them easy to follow. I look forward to every post. Thanks. This is a winner!

  14. What other way could you make topping NOT USING OATS. This item is not liked by anyone in my home. Thank you.

  15. Just “Wow”!!! My knew favorite sweet treat. And the caramel sauce will be yummy on so many things. Thank you!

  16. We are making this for my husbands birthday! Thank you for this delicous recipie. We had all the ingredients and it was very convenient. My daughter really loves your books and makes all the recipies. The strusel was supposed to be crumbly before baking, but ours was firm and moldable. That’s fine though, it turned out great. We will defiently remake this dessert again, 10/10 reccomend 🙂

  17. Hi Sally, is there a reduced sugar recipe for this? My friends are pretty health conscious about desserts sold commercially which are too sweet for them and hence I thought a homemade version would be less sweet, more organic. Please advise if reduced sugar version will still be as great as this current recipe. Thanks!

    1. You can certainly try to reduce the sugar – just keep in mind that sugar is not just for taste, it’s also for the proper structure and texture of the crust. If you are going to try it I suggest reducing in the filling and a bit in the streusel. Let me know if you try it!

    1. Hi Rhea! You can certainly try. I suggest leaving out the flour, sugar, and spices in the homemade filling too. Just use your filling. (Assuming it is sweetened and has spices!)

  18. These are delicious!!
    Do you think a strawberry rhubarb version would work? I’m worried that the juicy berries might make the bottom crust soggy. Thanks!

    1. As long as you pre-bake the crust, it shouldn’t get too soggy. Blot the fruit first so it’s not extra wet. Let me know how they turn out!

      1. Thanks for the tips; they turned out delicious! I baked the crust a bit longer and added some cornstarch to the fruit filling. Can’t wait to experiment with all the seasonal fruits! 🙂

  19. I absolutely love these apple pie bars with caramel sauce. And so does my husband!
    This will be the 3rd time I am making them and bringing them to a 4th of July party!

  20. Hey Ms Sally, I just made these very delicious ‘apple bars’ & almost ate them all. Oh yea, I loved the taste & the texture. The only thing I did was to add 1/3 cup of dark rum soaked raisins. I only cut this creation into 8, count ’em eight portions. When it comes to apple preps, size really does matter. These are ‘REALLY’ delightful & I will definitely make this again as it is really very easy. Thanx Ms Sally. I really appreciate your kindness.

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