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. Just made these now, planning on freezing, after cooling I  cut them in squares, should i remove them from pan and remove parchment before freezing or just leave in pan with parchment

  2. If I plan to make these for Thanksgiving and will be making them ahead of time, what temperature do you like these best? Room temp, warm, or cold? You mention all three ways are fine, but which way do you prefer? Thanks Sally!!

  3. Oh my goodness were these good. Double the recipe and baked in 9×13 in pan. Took them for the church pot luck and had many recipe requests. The only thing I would do different is prebake the crust a big longer since my apples were juicy. The caramel sauce was amazing. So worth it to make homemade. Recipe was simple and easy to follow. Since I baked them the morning of the pot luck they were still slightly warm when we ate them.

  4. These were outstanding!

    I was hosting my best friend and her husband for an intimate Thanksgiving. I found this recipe and knew it had to be part of our dinner plans! My friends are not dessert people, so I was very excited when she said it looked outstanding. I had to go out of town suddenly on Wednesday and didn’t have time to bake so my friend made these. She doesn’t cook or bake and she did a great job! She said the recipe was simple and easy to follow! The bars were fantastic! It was perfect! My husband doesn’t like apples and sat down and ate half of the 8×8 pan. My only suggestion would be to use European (or Irish) butter for the Salted Caramel. It makes a lot of difference and is really delicious! Thanks, Sally! These were wonderful!

  5. I doubled these and added in an extra apple.  They were delicious and a great way to get the apple pie flavor without all the work of making a full apple pie.  I’ve always been intimidated by making caramel but this salted caramel is totally do-able and so delicious.  Way better than store bought! Totally recommend these and would definitely make them again. Thanks Sally! I can always come to your site and be guaranteed delicious results. 

  6. I made these Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars today. They came out very good though they didn’t look as good as yours! I had a question about the shortbread crust Sally, when removing them from the oven, they seemed under baked. Just would like to get your input on what are they supposed to look or feel like to the touch, should they be on the firm side, etc. I never made shortbread before so not quiet sure what consistency is supposed to be like. I also changed the position of my oven racks so that could be part of it too. Anyhow, would love you input. And thanks again for a most yummy dessert!

  7. These are amazing! I doubled the recipe and baked the crust for 25-30 minutes (can’t remember exactly) then baked the whole thing for 45 minutes and it came out perfectly. Didn’t change a thing about the recipe except for the bake time of the shortbread crust. I will make these again and again, I’m sure! Do not skip the caramel! It was super easy to make and to die for. 

  8. These look delicious! I’d love to serve them warm with some ice cream, how do you recommend heating them? Leave them in the pan and put back in the oven or cut them up and then reheat them?

  9. These are incredibly delicious. I’ve never cared for Apple pie but love these. I had two young girls each make their own pan and they loved it! I do have a question about moisture. I know you recommend refrigerating them, and storing in the fridge. They seem to end up very “wet”. I’ve made them several times, with varying lengths of  crust pre baking. After setting in the fridge, they are quite juicy and have even dripped. They are still yummy, but messy. Does this happen to yours? What could I be doing wrong? I am using extra apples and a mandolin to cut them. Thanks a lot.

  10. Hi, I was wondering, why do we have to refrigerate them? I usually like deserts hot out of the oven, and I sort of envisioned these as hot caramelly apple pie bar heaven! Plus my younger siblings…well…they don’t do waiting. Do I have to refrigerate (is this a major step?) or can I just add the caramel. Will the caramel get ruined or something? Thank you in advance! 🙂

      1. Omg!! you answered! True they weren’t perfect squares, but we all loved them! thank you so much for this recipe, it’s much easier than apple pie and my mom claims that it even tastes better! <3

  11. I made these for a party yesterday for the first time and they were a hit for adults and kids too! I doubled the recipe and also baked the crust 10 min longer as it didnt look quite done at 15 min. The salted caramel recipe is a must for these bars! I love your recipes they are easy and always turn out great! Thanks!

  12. I’ve made these several times and a friend even requested them for her birthday! Always a big hit. One question: As much as I’m loving the salted caramel sauce, there are times when I don’t want salted caramel sauce. Would making it with unsalted butter and eliminating the salt at the end still make a delicious (but not salted) caramel sauce?

    1. Hi Candace! You would simply reduce the salt to 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon. The caramel wouldn’t have a very nice flavor without ANY salt at all. You can use unsalted butter.

  13. These are AMAZING!!!! I mean, I expected them to be good…but wow! I had no trouble with the bake times and I had even doubled the recipe and put it in a 9×13 pan like you said. The only thing I did different was reduce the butter and cream in the caramel sauce so it was a bit thicker. Thanks for another great recipe! Next, I’m going to try the caramel apple pie!

  14. Okay, I made these for my sister’s engagement party and they (also your chocolate chip cookies) were immediately gone AND everyone was asking for the recipe! I wanted to travel with these to another family party and was wondering how they would be if kept at room temperature for two days? I was planning on making them Thursday and then take out of the fridge and drizzle the caramel Friday morning and we would be driving Friday and the party is on a Saturday night? I’m hoping they would be okay and would love your advice!!

    thanks!

      1. Glutenfree should be easy with these, I’m planning on just using a glutenfree white flour mix, a tablespoon less than in the recipie and then adding 2 teaspoons husk with the flour (or you could add 1 tsp xathan gum, we just don’t use that a lot here in Denmark). With gluten free oats everything should be good! Looking forward 🙂

  15. Hi, Sally, Can you clarify, your recipe calls for a 1/2 cup 115 g of melted butter, however, a 1/2 cup of butter is 227 g, did you mean a 1/4 cup of melted butter?

  16. Just made these. I actually doubled the recipe and make a second batch (of a doubled recipe) and I know they won’t last. They are delicious. Made exactly as directed.

  17. If I’m planning to freeze, should I freeze them without the caramel sauce and then out the caramel sauce in when serving? Or can freeze with the caramel sauce? Thanks!

  18. My boyfriend is obsessed with these. He says they could easily be served in a restaurant and that all the flavours blend together so nicely. Clearly THE recipe to a man’s heart!

  19. I made these this weekend as a thank you to a couple for babysitting for us. So good! I find them very rich, so like them with a little ice cream.

  20. I have made 3 batches of these yummy bars. The recipe is spot on, but after the first batch I did change a couple things. I took off about 5 minutes bake time of the shortbread crust. It came out too crisp and was a little hard to cut and eat. Also I pulsed the oatmeal in my food processor a few times to make the strussel topping a little less chunky. The flavors are great and I have had great reviews on this recipe. Thanks so much for sharing.

  21. Oh. My. Word! Thank you Sally for this FABULOUS recipe!!! I doubled the recipe & made it in a 9×13 pan. The crust was under done, but it was still Yummy. (As a fix, on day 2 I put the pan back in the oven at 325 deg. F. for 20-30 min. That firmed things up some more.) I will definitely bake the crust *longer* next time. 🙂

    If you don’t have the Half & Half cream for the salted caramel sauce, you can use Sour Cream, stirring in small dollops at a time. The flavor is still phenomenal!

  22. Can you use sugar in the raw to make the caramel sauce or does it have to be granulated sugar? Also can you use quick oats instead of old fashioned oats?  I can’t wait to make these. They look and sound so good.

    1. Hi Sandra!
      1. I don’t recommend it. There will be large sugar crystals in the caramel.
      2. I only suggest old fashioned whole oats for their big chunky and chewy texture. That being said, you can sub a thinner oat like quick oats if you’d like.

  23. Is there a certain way you cut your apples? Would using a mandolin be way too thin..? I believe that’s what I’ve used to make apple chips in the oven.
    I’m terrible at cutting apples! That’s why I usually avoid making apple pie! Lol

    1. Mandolin’s have different settings so you can still slice them on the thicker side with it. Apple chips are MUCH thinner and you definitely don’t want apples that thin for pie or pie bars. I prefer to use a knife and slice them 1/4-inch (1/2 cm) thick.

      1. Okay thanks. Do you use a apple correr and then slice? I’m not sure how to chop an apple lol.. I usually use my apple cutter if I’m having an apple lol

  24. Hi, could i do this as a tart ? Im thinking ill mold the shortbread into my tart pan/up the sides and do it like that. How do you think this would come out?

  25. These are so, so good. The caramel sauce is delicious and a must for the bars. My husband even commented that they would be a hit at any good restaurant!
    I would like to serve the bars warm, but not too sure how best to do that. If they’re refrigerated and then cut, would it be best reheat, covered with foil so they don’t dry out? At what temperature? I plan to take them to a Thanksgiving dinner party tombe enjoyed by all!

    1. I would cut them into squares ahead of time (just so they are relatively neat when serving) then either put them on a plate and nuke in the microwave for 1 minute or reheat them inside the pan (still cut them ahead of time) the oven for a few minutes.

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