These Apple Pie Bars are a delicious transformation of classic apple pie into three-layered bars. They begin with a shortbread crust that is topped with lightly sautéed cinnamon apples and finished with a buttery crumb topping.
I love apple pie! It’s a classic dessert that can be enjoyed at any time of the year. Because I love it so much, I decided to use similar ingredients for these apple pie bars for a delicious treat. It has three tasty layers: a buttery shortbread crust, homemade apple filling, and a buttery crumb topping. Together, these layers create the perfect twist to classic apple pie.
Why this recipe work
- The filling has a slightly crisp texture.
- Three textures that come together in one bar.
- Easily doubles into a larger batch.
- Freezer-friendly recipe.
- Pairs well with caramel sauce or ice cream.
Before you begin
Take out the following baking equipment.
Digital kitchen scale
8×8-inch square baking pan
2 medium bowls
Stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment
2 small bowls
Medium sauté pan
Wire cooling rack
Read the recipe through from start to finish.
Adding lemon juice to the cut apples will help prevent them from turning brown while you prepare the other ingredients.
Brown sugar adds a lovely caramelized flavor to the sautéed apples. Essentially, brown sugar is granulated sugar with the addition of molasses. It adds a warm, fall flavor to these bars.
Chopped walnuts add a crunchy texture to the crumble topping. You can substitute with your favorite nut or a mixture of nuts. Pecans or almonds would also work well in this recipe. If you do not like nuts, you can omit them from the topping.
The best apples to use for baking
Apples can be used in a variety of baked goods, such as pie, strudel, muffins, crisps, and tarts. However, when it comes to baking, apples need to maintain their structure (because no one wants to bite into an apple pie whose apples have turned to mush). Not all apples are created equal, so always select your favorite flavor baking apples. I usually prefer a mixture of Granny Smith apples with Fuji apples for a tasty combination of sweet and tart flavor. Here are some apples you can choose from:
Granny Smith Apples
These are a go-to apple for baking. They are tart and balance out the sweetness from the added sugar. Granny Smith apples keep their shape when they are baked and can be used on their own or mixed with another apple variety.
This type of apple is crisp yet juicy and holds up incredibly well when baked. Its flavor is a mix of tart and sweet, making it a delicious baking apple. The reddish exterior with stripes of yellow and green makes for a beautiful presentation.
Fuji apples are quite popular for snacking. They tend to be large, juicy, and crisp, all the while maintaining their structure when baked. They have a honey-sweet flavor that is excellent for desserts.
The Honeycrisp is extremely versatile and a dessert winner. Its crisp texture holds up very well in baking. Its flavor is sweet with a hint of honey, as the name suggests, but still a mild apple.
These apples are the perfect combination of sweet and tart. Their crisp texture holds up well in the oven. Their peak season is early in the fall, so they are best when used during that time of year.
Assembling apple pie bars
When making these apple pie bars, it is important to spend extra time layering your apple pie filling. Doing this will ensure that you have a nice, even layer of apples that will not only look good but allow you to slice your bars much more easily.
- Slice the apples thinly, about 1/8-inch thick, to make the layering process much simpler.
- Carefully layer the sauteed apple pie filling on top of the baked shortbread crust tightly and evenly to avoid any gaps between the apples.
When apples are baked in the oven, they tend to shrink a bit, so by individually layering your apples tightly, you avoid any huge gaps created during baking. Also, tightly packed apples create a sturdier center layer.
How to serve apple pie bars
These apple pie bars are delicious served soon after they cool. If you prefer larger servings, I suggest slicing the apple pie bars into 9 servings. For a smaller serving, cut into 16 squares.
- Serve these bars chilled or at room temperature.
- Warm the cut bars slightly and drizzle with homemade caramel sauce.
- Top slightly warmed bars with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream.
Tips and takeaways
- If you love these bars and would like to make a larger quantity, you can double the batch and bake in a 9×13-inch baking pan. Increase the baking time to 45-50 minutes to account for this change.
- You can make the streusel topping ahead of time and refrigerate up to 3 days in advance. You can also freeze the topping up to 3 months and then thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using it in this recipe.
- To cut into bars, it’s best to refrigerate the freshly baked pan for at least 2 hours. Doing so will allow you to get clean and easy cuts for your apple pie bars.
If you love apples, try these other recipes…
Make sure to tag me @thesweetoccasion on Instagram and leave me a review below if you make these Apple Pie Bars. I’d love to see your creations and read your feedback. And if you would like to make this recipe later, be sure to pin this recipe using the button on any of these images. Let’s make every occasion a sweet occasion!Print