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!

537 Comments

  1. Hi Sally! It’s my first time making this recipe. I doubled the recipe and made it in a 8×10 inch rectangular tray…
    My question is how to I check whether the bars are done? My streusel browned up quite fast so I covered it with a foil…is there a more accurate method for me to confirm it is done?? 

    1. Was that pan big enough? You can use a toothpick to check for doneness. The apples should no longer be gooey– same with the crust.

  2. Yet another amazing recipe! Baked those today for a farewell party at work, and people actully mailed me afterwards asking for the recipe. Thank you so much!

  3. I made some salted caramel sauce a while back with plans of making these bars the next day. The sauce was amazing!! I put off making the bars for a while and the sauce mysteriously “vanished”! Now that summer is here, I’d like to try this. I’m not clear on how to drizzle the sauce? Sorry, total amateur here. Should I dip a fork in the sauce and drip it across the bars? Or use a spoon and just dribble some on?

    1. It’s ok! I just use a spoon or fork– pick up a little caramel– and drizzle it all over the top. Very easy!

  4. I’ve made these in the past and they were a big hit- looking to make them again for a party but I know we have some GF folks that will be there. Can these be made GF by just switching to a rice flour or will that change the recipe up too much? Thanks!

    1. Hi Blair- I’ve never had luck making shortbread crusts gluten free. I’d be fine with the filling and streusel topping, but the crust concerns me. If you do try it, let me know how it turns out.

  5. Still my all time favorite recipe from your website. So few ingredients and turns out amazing every single time. Thanks again, Sally! 🙂

    1. 2 batches of sauce would be plenty for that many bars. Make sure you make two separate batches instead of doubling. Added volume will impact how the caramel cooks.

  6. Hi Sally! 
    So I was just making these apple pie bars. But while I was making the Apple Filling, I guess the apples released a lot of water. Will that have any bearing on the final dish? 

    Thanks. 🙂 
    Love 
    Isha 

  7. LOVE this recipe!!!! Just won the work “bake-off”…..I feel kind of guilty, like I should ship my prize to you! Such a great go-to recipe. Thanks again!!

  8. Those are fantastic! I just made them and taste tested! I didn’t have cream, so I melted some Kraft Caramels for on top. Will definitely make again!

  9. Sally!  It’s (almost) fall so I’m so excited to make these bars again!  This is one of my favorite recipes of yours and I made it about 6 times last fall!  I double the apples though.  Can’t have too much apple filling.  Thanks for this fantastic recipe!  🙂  Happy fall baking!

  10. Hi,
    I’m very excited to try this recipe in a few days for a fundraising bake sale. I’m trying to plan out my baking schedule and was curious if you knew if I could make these the night before? I don’t want them to get soggy. Any help on timing would be much appreciated.

  11. Absolutely AMAZING!  I used half Granny Smith and half gala apples… Have never made homemade caramel before and the salted caramel is to die for.  And the apple pie bars are delicious!  Keeping this recipe for sure 🙂 thank you so much for sharing and for making the instructions easy to follow.  This stuff should be illegal it’s THAT GOOD!

    1. Hi Lia! It’s supposed to be a little soft, but not raw. It’s not a hard and crunchy crust. If it’s TOO soft, maybe it was underbaked a little. If you decide to try them again, you can bake the crust a little longer.

  12. Mine turned into a soggy mess the next day. I don’t think shortbread turned out right…it was doughy and looked like uncooked dough. Not sure if this is the expectation…It tastes great though!

  13. Decided to make these this afternoon since I had some apples that needed to be used up. These bars are really good even without the caramel. I LOVE salted caramel but heavy cream not something I normally keep in the house at all times. I can only imagine how addictive these are WITH the caramel! Next time I will plan ahead and buy the heavy cream and try this the way its supposed to be lol

  14. I made these bars for a staff meeting and as an icebreaker we all had to say what our favorite food was. Two of my coworkers said their favorite food was these bars. Enough said 😉

  15. Just wondering why these need to be refrigerated. They just came out of the oven and smell so good. I think we might enjoy them warm!

  16. I made these apple bars today to take to my sons home.. they absolutely loved them!!!
    I made the caramel, so easy and definitely addictive..
    i doubled the batch, gave some to my good friends and have a few  left over for moi

  17. Oh wow, these are good. We picked apples last week and have tons, so I was on the hunt for new recipes. This is IT! Thank you. I drizzled with Trader Joe’s Salted Caramel from a jar because it’s just my favorite thing and was one less step to make. Yum!

  18. Making these this weekend. My whole being responded to the photo and the recipe.

    I am a caramel crazed human being. And anything caramel-apple sings to me.

  19. Hi Sally! Im a big fan and your recipes have never disappointed me. I made these apple pie streusel bars yesterday without the caramel sauce and it was still amazing. I refrigerated them and today they have gone all soggy and doughy. What am I doing wrong?

    1. Oh no! I don’t think you necessarily did anything wrong. I wonder if the crust should have been pre-baked longer. Apples are so juicy that it’s bound to happen a little. So sorry!

    2. Thanks for commenting about not using the caramel sauce. I don’t have the ingredients for the sauce but I still wanted to make these. So glad it doesn’t matter!! 🙂

  20. Once frozen without the caramel sauce what steps do you do after defrosting prior to saucing and serving..
    Should I just bring to room temp or warm in oven to prevent any sogginess or is that a non-issue.? Lovely blog and photos btw!

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