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. ūüôā

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 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¬†(spoon & leveled)
  • 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¬įF (149¬įC).¬†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¬įF (177¬įC). 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‚Äď35 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!

372 Comments

  1. What a great success it was!! I was looking to make something and didn’t fancy a cake or pudding, but really wanted apple pie but couldn’t justify making it for 2 people! So this recipe hit the spot and I don’t feel like we have to eat the whole thing as I can freeze the rest, so thank you!

  2. Hi Sally!

    Just wanted to say thank you for such an amazing recipe!
    Myself and my 5 yr old daughter loved making these today
    and eating them too! Heavenly! Plus we’ve got lots of sauce left
    for ice cream, bonus!
    Thanks for putting weight measurement too as we’re in the UK so
    it’s much easier than converting cups!
    Can’t wait to try some more of your recipes now! X

  3. These were seriously SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good!!! I am totally a perfectionist baker, so I was baking five similar recipes side by side, tasting along (ho hum….) until I got to yours … just PERFECT and EXACTLY what I was looking for. The apple-y cinnamon-y flavors were wonderful. I tried them with and without caramel and it’s delicious either way. This is the second recipe I’ve tried of yours (1st: butterfinger peanut butter cheesecake) and both have been just amazing. I love the gram measurements too! I have one teensy suggestion and that’s to give a visual clue about when things are done, versus just the time – the crust, I wasn’t sure what it was supposed to look like because I divided the recipe by 4. But seriously, thank-you soooooooooo much for another awesome recipe! I’m spoiled from the recipes from cook’s illustrated and cook’s country always coming out as expected, so it’s lovely to have a blogger whose recipes I can also trust 100%! Will definitely be making these bars again!!!!!

    1. Thanks so much for reporting back, Sonya!

  4. So I tried your salted caramel yesterday…I was super nervous cause I burned a batch lately. I followed your recipe exactly and I had a perfect jar of salted caramel. I just tried this and this is SO GOOD as well. Thank you Sally for sharing these wonderful and amazing recipes. You’re the best!

  5. is it possible to substitute the rolled oats in the streusel topping with something else?

    1. You can use your favorite chopped nut or simply leave them out.

  6. I can’t wait to try this. It is so intriguing! This sounds like a fabulous apple pie for kids to make, thanks.

  7. Hi, I’m really looking forward to making these but I would like to make a double batch. Does the short bread need to be done for 30 minutes? I saw that you said if your doubling you should bake for 45 minutes but I was not sure if you meant for the short bread or for the whole thing.
    Thanksfor posting this recipe!

    1. Bake the crust for 15 minutes as directed and then 45 minutes for the bars. Thanks Jenny and enjoy!

  8. Molly Boyd says:

    OMG Sally!!!!!!!! ¬†I have tried many, many of your recipes and I love them all…BUT…this one tops them all!!!! ¬†Personally, I think the salted caramel sauce is a MUST and just makes the dish. ¬†SO YUMMY!!!! ¬†Thank you so much for adding so much deliciousness to our lives!!! ¬†You ROCK!!

  9. These are soooo good! Just baked them. Whenever I make something from your site they always end up being fantastic. I only had a little problem with the caramel sauce: somehow the sugar didn’t want to melt at all. I had to add water with the first step. Do you have any suggestions as to what I could have done wrong? Thanks! ūüôā

  10. These are amazing. I have made them twice over the past year and brought them to my office. Everyone loves them! 

    I cooked it in an 8×8 pan and have not had any issues with the instructions provided.¬†

    I did skip on the caramel sauce and used store bought (and added in some vanilla ice cream on top). However, I plan on trying that recipe in the future. 

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! It will be a must around Thanksgiving! 

    1. Thanks for letting me know how they turned out– thanks Allison!

  11. Hi Sally! Love your site. I made this yesterday and they are chilling in the fridge. What is your favorite way to serve them- warm or cold? Thinking of warning them up, what would your directions be on oven temp and cook time to reheat?
    Thanks! Can’t wait!

    1. I LOVE them warm!

      300 degrees, 10 minutes. They’re perfect!

  12. absolutely love this recipe! Just made it for the 2nd time, once for a BBQ and this time as a treat to take to work. Love that it combines Apple pie and crumble and the salted caramel is to die for! I actually had enough for both times and still got one portion left in the fridge! 

    Ps. Thanks for the gram conversions! Saves so much time for me! 

  13. These are SO good! Love the shortbread crust. I think next time I’ll try and squeeze in a little bit more apple. I will definitely be adding these to my holiday rotation!

  14. those are amazing!!! followed the recipe and had great results! thank you Sally!
    P.S: i loooove the crust, can i use it in another tart recipe maybe?

    1. Yes, definitely. I use this shortbread crust for my raspberry streusel bars as well.

  15. Holly Rubinstein says:

    Hi Sally! These look absolutely amazing, I can’t wait to try them!! I have a Question that may sound stupid, but:¬†
    How do I freeze them? And then what is required to serve them after freezing? Do they keep well?

    I wanted to make them ahead and serve later to save time, but am nervous about how to do it correctly and keep them from being soggy or something. 

    Thanks so much in advance!! 

    1. Hi Holly! After they cool, I cut and layer them between sheets of parchment in a large tupperware. They keep well for 3 months- see my make-ahead tip in the recipe.

  16. These look amazing! Can you use QUICK cook oats in the streusel? Thanks!

    1. Yes, you can use quick oats in the streusel topping.

  17. This is definitely a new one for my baking repertoire…I have had requests for the recipe as well as requests to bake these again based on the pictures alone, but those who actually got to try them raved. ¬†As usual, I meant to stick to the script but didn’t, partly because I got distracted at the store when they didn’t carry caramel bits and decided I would have to go out on a limb and make the salted caramel from scratch. ¬†In changing courses there, I forgot to pick up the oats, but I used ground walnuts instead, and it came out absolutely great. ¬†Notable, so did the caramel and I will never “cheat” with caramel bits again. ¬†The recipe and instructions here are explicit, it was not that hard and it really wasn’t as messy as dealing with the stupid little balls of processed caramel, which take almost as long to melt. ¬†I doubled the recipe as suggested, but there was not nearly enough cinnamon sugar “coating” in my opinion. ¬†I ended up making a second double batch of that, but this might have been because my apple slices weren’t nearly 1/4 thick since I cheated and used a mandolin. ¬†On that note, 3 large apples were enough for a doubled recipe, and based on a comment I read, I used three different kinds (1 granny smith, 1 gala, and 1 fuji) for flavor layering. ¬†I’d do the same again, with 1 granny smith for tartness and 2 “others”, and I am not sure it matters what kind. Last but not least, I will try the crust with less butter next time. ¬†It really didn’t need quite as much as the recipe called for and it made the bars extremely heavy. ¬†Otherwise, this is a huge hit and I don’t change up my standard collection very often. ¬†

  18. Drizzle, refrigerate, and then cut while cold.  It works very well, and then the sides of each bar are not sticky if you need to plate them together.

  19. Hi Sally!
    I have been making this recipe this morning for an early Canadian Thanksgiving supper, and I used two large apples which were clearly not large enough, as I had enough for one layer and then a few extra slices on top. However, so far, everything is working amazingly well and Quality Control (ie ME tasting everything as I make it) says this is a winner!! Thank you so much!! This will be added to my regular baking repertoire for sure!!

  20. It is almost midnight CST and I am patiently waiting for two delicious pans of these bars to come out of the oven. Fortunately, I have a coworker that over the last two months has brought me in apples from her trees. I stumbled upon this recipe and shared it at work, now everyone wants her apples and the recipe! I have made over a dozen pans since, it is a huge hit at work but an even bigger hit with my husband and my in-laws…one pan in the oven now for him and one for them. Terrific and tasty recipe, thank you and also for teaching me how to make delicious caramel.¬†

  21. These are delicious! I made them a few weeks ago for a family get together and plan on making them again this weekend! Thank you for this amazing recipe!

  22. OMG…just made these for work tomorrow and of course I had to try one for quality control. ¬†This recipe is a winner – mini apple pie bites!!

  23. Made these for our pumpkin carving party tonight! They were a huge hit and the salted caramel sauce was to die for!! Thanks for a great recipe!

  24. These are awesome! Made a double batch last week, making another double batch today and expect that they will be devoured very quickly . . . Thank you!

  25. This is ridiculously good! I made them for my husband to take into bible study but that will not be happening. ūüôā they are too good!

  26. Literally one of the best desserts I’ve ever had. I made these for a Royals World Series watch party in KC and everyone is still talking about them and how delicious they were! These will be my go-to holiday party treat for sure!! Thank you for the recipe!!¬†

  27. ¬†just a couple requests, “8 inch pan” is that square? 8 inches on all side? ¬†Descriptions of how dough for base should look or feel would be great, I have made shortbread before, but the texture was very different. ¬†Also, “2 apples” around how much should I end up with? 2 cups 3 cups? ¬†Thanks, cannot wait to try it!

    1. Jill, yep a square baking pan. 2 large apples is great, as long as they aren’t super small. The exact quantity doesn’t have to be perfect, about 3-4 cups. I like a lot of apple slices.

  28. I made these last night as a “test batch” for next week’s office holiday bakeoff. I’m TOTALLY going to win. They were a HUGE hit with my friends. I followed the recipe for both the bars and the caramel almost exactly. I used 2 fuji apples because they were the freshest at the market, but when I make my “official” batch next week,I’ll follow one of the suggestions to do 1 sweet + 1 tart apple (like granny smith).¬†

  29. These bars are fantastic! I doubled the recipe and they turned out great. The drizzle of salted caramel really put them over the top. Perfect fall dessert ūüôā

  30. These look amazing! I just told my husband I’m making these for Thanksgiving instead of apple pie.

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