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!

stack of apple pie bars with salted caramel sauce on top

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.

apple pie bars with salted caramel sauce topping on a green plate

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

stack of apple pie bars with salted caramel sauce on top

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.

salted caramel apple pie bars

salted caramel apple pie bars

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 in a white bowl

salted caramel apple pie bars on a white plate

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

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


Apple pie is my favorite dessert, but baking this classic dessert as bars is so much easier! 


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


  • 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 (31g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • homemade salted caramel sauce (step-by-step photos included)


  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.


  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. Pre-bake the crust for 18 minutes, then extend the bake time in step 5 to about 45-55 minutes.

Keywords: apple pie bars, salted caramel apple pie bars

2 images of salted caramel apple pie bars


  1. Hi, if planning to serve these warm, how do I adjust the cooling time? Any tips for how to re-warm if I make them the day before?

    1. Hi Naureen, If you make them the day before you can simply warm them back up in oven for 10-15 minutes before drizzling the caramel sauce on top and serving. Enjoy!

  2. I’m gonna try making these for thanksgiving! I bought double ingredients because I sense they’ll go fast, but I was wondering – instead of baking in one larger pan, would double ingredients be enough to do 2 8×8 pans instead?

    Thank you!!

  3. Haven’t even put the salted caramel on yet and my husband (a professional chef) says this is one of his favorite desserts I’ve ever made! Thanks for sharing your recipe

    1. Hi, are you able to omit oats?

  4. Made these for a get-together. Everyone loved them. Super easy recipe and just the answer to what to do with just a couple of apples. Will definitely make again.

  5. Made this for a sweet treat thanksgiving weekend. Slightly reduced the sugar and I would add a little more apple. Over All taste like french apple pie. Very Yummy!

  6. Hi, can I make this without the drizzle on top?

    1. Absolutely! Still delicious 🙂

  7. Gina Dettloff says:

    Sally, do you recommend doubling and then using a 9x 13 or doubling and using a 10 x15? Thanks so much!

    1. I’d recommend 9×13. Enjoy!

  8. Hi Sally!

    This is probably my favorite dessert. However sometimes my shortbread comes out under baked. Any tips on what I could be doing wrong?

    1. This is actually an easy fix for next time– simply pre-bake the crust for 5-8 minutes longer next time. They’re my favorite, too!

  9. Hi Sally, thank you for the this wonderful recipe! I’ve made it several times – usually doubled for a large pan – and it never fails to quickly disappear. I like to substitute almond extract in the shortbread and add a layer of thin sliced almonds to the pan – what a treat!
    I have a caramel sauce question – Can I substitute half & half plus butter for the heavy cream?

    1. Hi Barb! So glad you love these apple pie bars. I do not recommend using half-and-half instead of heavy cream. You need the fat in the cream to help the caramel cook properly and set.

      1. Tara Chisholm says:

        When I made the caramel sauce I used 18 percent coffee cream and it worked fine

  10. Has anyone tried these with gluten free flour?

    1. Yes, I’ve used Better Batter gf flour blend and no one knew it 2as gluten free the taste was perfect!

      1. Thank you so much, Christine!

  11. Such a good recipe! I just made these in muffin cups as I needed a portable, handheld, single-serving dessert for an upcoming get together. I cut everything for the crust in half, but kept the filling and streusel as written in the recipe. They turned out perfectly! I also substituted coconut milk for the heavy cream when making the salted caramel because I realized at the last second I didn’t have cream — and it turned out wonderfully! Thanks for a great recipe, it’s definitely a keeper 🙂

    1. What a great idea – I’m so happy you made them work for you and that you enjoyed them!

  12. Made the salted caramel – OMG. Unfortunately had ice cream from the New Year and it didn’t make it to the apple pie bars, had to make another batch. Definitely worth it. My kids loved the bars and were so easy they girls helped. All your recipes have come out beyond fantastic. Only criticism would be they ( cookies ) don’t make a lot, but its my clothes claim it also a good thing!!

  13. Hi Sally I just made the apple pie bars, followed the directions to a “T”, I had doubled the recipe, lined the pan with parchment paper. Once cooled to room temp, I cut into bars, stored in fridge over night and the next day warmed up in the oven, unfortunately the pastry got soggy and greasy pastry was sitting in melted butter. Trying to figure out what I did so not to repeat it, I did warm it up in the parchment paper. Thank you

  14. Hi Sally! Like everyone else, I LOVE your recipes. You’re literally my go-to when I’m trying to bake something. I found your site a few years back, and recently noticed that famous chef Jeff Mauro follows you on Instagram…I had to look to see if it was the same Sally, and it really just confirmed my belief in you. ANYWAY. Enough fan girl-ing…Haha. I just wondered if you use a metal or glass pan for these? I think I remember you prefer glass, but not sure. Thanks for all you do to perfect your recipes!

    1. Thank you so much, Emily! It really depends on the recipe! I do bake in my glass Pyrex pans mostly for casseroles and savory dishes. Glass takes longer to heat than metal, but when things do get hot– they get really hot. I usually reach for my metal square pans when baking things like brownies and bars (except my lemon bars which need to be in glass – honesty if it really makes a difference I will tell you in the recipe!).

  15. Tara Chisholm says:

    Thank you for this recipe..( salted caramel apple bars) My younger 18 year old son made it and it turned out great

  16. I’m really picky about apple recipes. That said, this one just might replace my long-loved apple pie one! This is a definite winner! Used one Granny Smith and one honeycrisp per recipe. Doubled it three times (made 3 9x13s for a church event). I didn’t make the caramel sauce because I got started so late but can’t wait until the next time to try it. That crust really makes it special! Thank you for the delicious recipe!

  17. I had smaller apples so I used 2 apples for each apple called for. I also quadrupled the recipe. Boy! I didn’t know that I was going to be using so much butter, because I kinda mixed as I went along. Should have used more butter, or something to moisten the topping better. It actually turned out great. The shortbread crust was super good.

  18. lahoma retterath says:

    what is the recipe for caramel sauce

    1. It’s in the post above but here it is again: Homemade Salted Caramel

  19. Would it be possible to use gluten free flour as a 1:1 substitute for the all purpose flour? Also hoping to use gluten free oats for the streusel topping and just wanted to see if you thought this would be a possible substitute for this recipe … Thanks for all your hard work, really love your recipes!!

    1. Hi Jess, GF oats will work for the topping but I haven’t tested the GF flour for the the bars. Let me know if you try!

  20. I have made these with gluten free flour and oats and they turned out fine 😀 just trying to not eat them all is biggest problem now i know they’re suitable for me!

    1. I’m so happy you were able to make them work for you!

  21. Such a yumm recipe. My daughter couldn’t wait for them to cool and ate them warm. They were still brilliant. The apples felt a little less so I used an extra but it was still a little less with add another next time. Thanks so much

  22. Laura Ann Zakutney says:

    PEOPLE! Stop searching for recipes. Make this! It just replaced Apple Pie as my favorite dessert! Oh MY! ❤️❤️❤️

  23. I live in the UK and was looking for caramel apple recipes and omg these bars are sooo good!
    I doubled up the recipe and they were all eaten in record time by my family.
    I’ve bookmarked this page and I’m going to start baking all the other beautiful looking recipes from now on.
    Thanks Sally

  24. Shelley Kopys says:

    Wow! These are absolutely fantastic and delicious warm. Thanks for sharing! This will be one of my keepsake recipes.

  25. What kind of oats are the best to use

  26. catladykeller says:

    I made this a few days ago, and it is melt-your-face-off good – even after a couple days in the fridge. It’s officially my new go-to when I need to bring a tasty and impressive dessert for a dinner or party. I followed the recipe exactly, with no problems (I did have sugar crystal clumps in my salted caramel, probably from using a thin-bottomed pan, but I just strained them out). Thank you for such an amazing recipe!

  27. These are to die for!

  28. Youngmi An says:

    I know I’m supposed to let it cool in the fridge but I snuck a taste last night and these bars are no joke! And the homemade caramel sauce is 100% worth it. I can’t believe how easy it was to make! Tastes like I spent hours in the kitchen. Thank for you sharing!

  29. I have homemade canned apple pie filling, would that work or be too mushy after baking?

  30. Easy and super delicious!

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