With a buttery shortbread crust and crunchy sugary streusel topping, these Apple Pie Bars are delicious desserts to feed a crowd!
We’re in the thick of comfort food season, and that extends to desserts too. Fall desserts are some of my faves!
Pumpkin, pecan, pears, and apples all play center stage in the dessert arena these days. Never a big fan of traditional pies, I love finding new ways of enjoying classic flavors. Like these mini pecan tassies or these pear tartlets.
I like desserts you can eat with your hands. Bite-sized desserts that satisfy those sweet tooth cravings in a couple of bites. Desserts that also make you feel like you are indulging, without having to stomach a whole piece of pie or cake.
Apple Pie Bars
While mini apple pies are a great alternative to traditional large pies, I have recently discovered a love for Apple Pie BARS.
Oh my. It’s like if apple pie and shortbread cookie bars got together at a fall baking party and had a baby. A delicious, sugary, slightly tart, beautifully sweet, crisp, buttery dessert baby.
These bars are SO GOOD, you guys! My family and I can’t stop snacking on them. They’re so mouthwatering that I have decided to make them for Thanksgiving.
If you’re looking for a fun fall dessert to replace traditional pies on your Thanksgiving menu this year, these apple pie bars/apple crisp bars are IT, my friends. Trust me: your friends and family will gobble these up quickly!
These Apple Pie Bars (or Apple Crisp Bars… what would you call them? They are like a cross between pie and crisp to me…):
- have a buttery, shortbread pastry crust
- are filled with thinly sliced green apples that are tart, and then sweetened with sugar and cinnamon
- are topped with a crunchy, buttery, snacky streusel topping that you’ll want to just put on every dessert from now on!
Ingredients you’ll need
You probably have everything you need to make these apple dessert bars, with the exception of the green apples, which are easy to find in abundance at grocery stores everywhere this time of year.
Many of these ingredients you will use in two or all three of the layers:
- unsalted butter
- all-purpose flour
- granulated sugar
- brown sugar
- ground cinnamon
- ground nutmeg
- old-fashioned oats
- vanilla extract
- green apples
How to Make Apple Pie Bars
These apple pie bars are super easy to make! They take a little more time than desserts that are just one-bowl mixes, but not too much additional time. There are three layers that you’ll mix separately and assemble together.
To make these dessert bars, you will:
- Make and bake the shortbread crust.
- Mix together then layer on the apple pie filling.
- Mix together and then layer on the streusel topping.
- Bake at 350°F for 45-55 minutes.
- Cool for 20 minutes, then refrigerate for at least an hour. (I know. This is the HARDEST part, you guys. The waiting to eat them!)
- Remove from the pan and slice into bars.
- DEVOUR. Or, freeze to enjoy at a later date, within a month.
How many bars does this recipe make?
I slice these into small squares, which yields 24 bars. You may slice them larger or smaller, depending on how many people you are serving.
How long will these bars keep?
You can can refrigerate these apple pie bars for up to 2 days.
You can also freeze them for up to 1 month in an airtight, freezer safe container. When you’re ready to serve, thaw the bars at room temperature.
Serving Ideas for Apple Pie Bars
I find these bars to be sweet enough on their own, but you can serve these delicious apple pie bars/apple crisp bars with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or drizzle caramel over the top.
Apple Pie Bars Recipe
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled almost to room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 green apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
- 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 4 tbsp granulated sugar
- 3 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 cup oats (old fashioned)
- 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Line the bottom and sides of a 9" x 13" baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
Make the crust
- In a medium bowl, stir together the melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add the flour and mix until just combined.
- Press the batter evenly into the prepared baking pan by using a spatula or your hands and then smoothing out with a spatula. Bake at 300°F for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, make the filling and topping.
Make the filling
- In a large bowl, gently mix together the thinly sliced apples, flour, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg to evenly coat apple slices. Set aside.
Make the streusel topping
- In a medium bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and flour until all ingredients are welI blended. Using your hands or two forks, cut in the cold cubes of unsalted butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. I find that using my hands and pressing the butter through my fingers as I mix it with the dry ingredients works best. Set aside.
Assemble and bake
- Remove the crust from the oven. Increase heat to 350°F.
- Layer the apple filling onto the crust, spreading it evenly throughout the pan. Move slices around until you get an even layer of filling.
- Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over the filling layer.
- Bake at 350°F for 45-55 minutes. The top will be a nice golden brown color, and you'll be able to hear the slight bubbling of the filling. And, your house will smell magical!
- Remove from the oven and let rest for about 20-30 minutes to cool the bars to room temperature. Move to the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour before lifting out of the pan and slicing into bars.
More Fall Recipes
Easy One-Pot Lasagna Soup (Lazy Lasagna Soup)