Salted caramel apple pie bars with a sugared crust, cinnamon apples and topped with the perfect cinnamon streusel and salted caramel. This easy apple dessert is the definition of fall and tastes absolutely delicious.
I’ve made this recipe probably a dozen times and still can’t get enough. It tastes like a mix between an apple crisp and an apple pie. It has amazing flavor, 3 delicious layers and is drizzled with salted caramel on top. Truly divine!
One of my favorite traditions in the fall is going apple picking with my family. My kids always have a blast sitting on our shoulders reaching for the highest apples they can find. Once fall arrives, I start making lots of apple desserts. They are my favorite, so it’s always nice to have extra apples on hand. If you’re planning on going apple picking this season, add these bars to your baking list! You won’t be disappointed!
3 delicious layers
- Crust: The shortbread crust is similar to pie crust, but even easier and quicker (no need to chill the dough). It has the same flavor as pie crust and tastes buttery and delicious.
- Apple filling: You can’t beat homemade apple pie filling. It’s made with a mixture of fresh sliced apples, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. They apples get nice and caramelized as they bake in the oven.
- Streusel topping: A simple mixture of oats, brown sugar, butter and flour to sprinkle on top of the filling layer. I love the texture the oats add, but you could make a traditional crumble topping without them if preferred.
How to make caramel apple pie bars
- CRUST. Mix together the melted butter, sugar, vanilla and salt in a bowl. Add the flour and mix again. Then use your hands to press the mixture into a greased 9×9″ pan and bake at 300°F for 15 minutes.
- FILLING. Make the filling while the crust bakes. Slice the apples, then mix them in a bowl with flour, sugar and cinnamon until coated.
- TOPPING. In a separate bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and flour. Then mix in the cubed butter with your hands (or a pastry blender) until the mixture is crumbly.
- BAKE. Remove the crust from the oven, then turn the temperature up to 350°F. Pour the apple filling evenly over the warm crust, the sprinkle the crumb mixture on top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown.
- CHILL. Remove from oven and let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Then let chill in fridge for at least 2 hours to set. Cut into bars and drizzle with caramel sauce.
- I like to use apples that have both a sweet and tart flavor, such as honey crisp, pink lady or granny smith.
- For more spice, mix in 1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg to the filling.
- Let the bars chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours (or even overnight) before enjoying. This helps them form into the most perfect bar consistency.
- Feel free to double the recipe and bake in a 9×13″ baking pan for about 45 to 55 minutes.
- The salted caramel has my heart, but you could drizzle a simple powdered sugar icing on top if preferred (a mixture of powdered sugar and milk).
Storing and freezing
These bars will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If you have extra, you can freeze them individually for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, thaw in the fridge overnight and add desired toppings. You can eat them warm or cold – both ways taste delicious!
More apple desserts for fall:
Caramel Apple Pie Bars
Optional: Salted Caramel Sauce, maldon salt for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 300°F degrees. Spray 9×9" pan with non-stick spray or line with parchment paper and set aside.
- For the crust, mix the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt in a bowl until combined. Add flour and mix again. Using your hands, press the crust mixture into the pan until it's evenly distributed. Bake for 15 minutes.
- While the crust is baking, prepare the apple filling. Put sliced apples in large bowl. Pour in flour, sugar and cinnamon and stir until apples are coated. Set aside.
- To make the crumb topping, combine the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and flour in small bowl. Use your hands or a pastry blender to mix in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Set aside.
- Remove crust from the oven and then preheat oven to 350°F. Pour the apple mixture on top of the warm crust and use the back of a spoon to press down the apples to lay across smoothly. Sprinkle the crumb topping on top of apples until covered. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let rest for 20 minutes at room temperature. Then place in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours. Cut into bars and serve warm or cold. Drizzle the caramel sauce on top if desired just before serving. Enjoy!
- I like using 2 different apples (1 granny smith and 1 honey crisp or pink lady apple). Slice them as thin as you can.
- If you want to add a little bit more spice, feel free to add in 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg.
- If drizzling caramel on top, you can use this salted caramel recipe or simply melt down store bought caramels with a little bit of cream.
Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction