With a buttery shortbread crust and crunchy sugary streusel topping, these Apple Pie Bars are delicious desserts to feed a crowd! They're perfect to make when the fall baking mood strikes.
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 (be sure to check out how to make the best Thanksgiving turkey!), these apple pie bars/apple crisp bars are IT. Trust me: your friends and family will gobble these up quickly!
🌟 Why you'll love this recipe
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!
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
✅ Step-by-step instructions
Here's how to bake apple pie bars from scratch:
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.
👩🏻🍳 Baking recipe FAQs
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.
You 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
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.
These are the perfect fall dessert at the end of a comfort food meal. Serve them after a dinner of Creamy Dairy-Free Mac and Cheese, Garlic Rosemary Sirloin Tip Roast, Easy One-Pot Lasagna Soup (AKA Lazy Lasagna Soup) or Air Fryer Corn Ribs.
More dessert recipes
Looking for more baking recipes? Try one of these delicious dessert bars!
Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to leave a 5-Star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card, and if you really loved it, please leave a comment further down on the page. Thank you!
Apple Pie Bars
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled almost to room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ 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
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 cup oats (old fashioned)
- ⅔ cup packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ 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.
Nutrition information is a general estimate. Actual nutrition details may vary depending on the exact foods & brands you use to make this recipe. It does not take into account any substitutions, toppings, or optional ingredients.
Adapted from Food Network and NYTimes Cooking
Sarah Zollner Case says
I made these last night because I had a few apples that were starting to get soft and needed to be used. In the middle of the recipe I realized that I was almost out of cinnamon - only had a scant teaspoon left in the jar. I also didn’t have parchment paper, so just lightly buttered the bottom of the baking dish. Nevertheless - despite all of these things the recipe turned out beautifully and the end result was SO DELICIOUS. A million times easier to make than apple pie, and honestly I liked it better! The shortbread crust is so rich and buttery. Next time I’m going to experiment with subbing half a cup of ground pecans or hazelnuts for part of the flour in the crust. YUM. Thanks, Marlynn!
I love that these have both a shortbread bottom crust and a crisp type topping... you CAN have both!
Omg, looks so good. I am try this recipe on the weekend for sure.
Erin @ Platings and Pairings says
These are the perfect fall dessert! Move over pumpkin pie.
Mary Cressler says
Oh my goodness these look amazing! I'm definitely going to make these for my kids this winter (we have LOADS of apples still from our apple trees). I'll report back as soon as I do!
Reese Woods says
These. Look. AMAZING! They would disappear in a heartbeat in our house!
OMG...i love apple pie ANYTHING and these look amazing! Will definitely have to try this recipe sometime!
Renee | The Good Hearted Woman says
Put it on shortbread, top it with streusel, and I'm in! I don't really care about the interior details! 😁 Seriously, these look so good, Marlynn!
Amber Myers says
Yum, these bars look incredible! These would make a perfect dessert!
I love any kind of apple dessert and these look amazing.
Veena Azmanov says
I love the crust of this Pie. The Apple Filling is flavorful and the Streusel topping is the Icing on the cake. I love this dessert any day.
I love this idea as I love apple pie/crisp but it's not very grab and go friendly - enter these bars! Now I have have my pie and take it too!!
Is there anything better than apple pie? There may be when you can have apple pie in bar form. Such a good idea for a treat you can take on the go.
These look like the best dessert ever! I am not a great pie maker, but I know I could make these! :)