Apple Pie Bars

A lot of people say these Apple Pie Bars are better than apple pie!  Two layers of crumb crust surround a ton of spiced apples.  Plus, you can pick them up and eat them!

Apple Pie Bars

If you’ve ever been to San Diego, you’ll probably agree that it’s a little bit of a dreamy place… warm-ish weather all year long, palm trees gently swaying on the horizon, year-round Farmer’s Markets and herb gardens, lots of great beaches, and jaw-dropping sunsets.

The down-side to living in such a beautiful place is that we don’t really have much of a change in the seasons. The weather does cool down come October but not really more than about 10 or 20 degrees, and the leaves begin to fall off the trees but they don’t really turn the autumnal colors that you see in other areas of the country.

Luckily, we can drive just an hour to the local mountains of Julian to experience the change of seasons and pick apples along the way.

Apple Picking

We look forward to our family’s annual apple-picking trip. My son marches around the orchard picking everything he can reach, and we come away with several pounds of apples that are fit for baking up a storm. A stop at the Pumpkin Farm on the way home adds to the fun.

Ride home discussion revolves around what Mom is going to make with all of those apples. My first apple baking project of the season was these Apple Pie Bars.

How to Make Apple Pie Bars- shortbread crust

How to make Apple Pie Bars:

A spiced-up shortbread crust is pressed into the bottom of a 12×17-inch rimmed pan (a half sheet pan) & baked until golden.

It’s really pretty important that you use this particular pan for this recipe, so just pick one up or order one on Amazon if you don’t have one already.  You’ll use it for baking cookies and all kinds of things!

How to Make Apple Pie Bars - add the spiced apple filling

6 pounds of apples are sauteed in butter, sugar and spices until lightly caramelized, then spooned onto the baked crust.  That might sound like an awful lot of apples, but this recipe makes a lot of bars!

How to make Apple Pie Bars - Crumb Topping

An oat topping is pressed on top.

How to Make Apple Pie Bars - baked and ready to cut

The whole thing is baked until browned, and cut into bars when cool.

Apple Pie Bars

Hope you’re hungry, cause this recipe makes a whopping four dozen bars!

And these Apple Pie Bars truly taste just like apple pie. Eating these helps bring a bit of fall to an (otherwise) dreamy place to live.

If you’re looking for more fall dessert recipes, you might also enjoy my Maple Apple Tartlets or this asdfasd.  Soft Maple Sugar Cookies, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Squares and Apple Cider Cupcakes are also good fall sweet treats!

Apple Pie Bars

These Apple Pie Bars are plump full of spiced apples, and they're sandwiched between a double crust- just like apple pie!  This recipe feeds a crowd, so plan for that.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword apple, bars
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 48 bars
Calories 248 kcal

Ingredients

CRUST:

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

FILLING

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 6 pounds (about 12) Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored & thinly sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup water (as necessary)

TOPPING:

  • 3 cups quick cooking oats
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes & chilled

Instructions

PREPARE THE CRUST:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper. With an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. At low speed, beat in the flour, spices and salt until a soft dough forms. Press the dough over the bottom of the prepared pan and 1/2 inch up the side in an even layer. Bake in the center of the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden and set. Let cool on a rack.

PREPARE THE FILLING:

  1. In a very large, deep skillet melt the butter with the brown sugar. (If you don't have a large skillet, divide between 2 skillets). Add the apples to the skillet and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook until the apples are caramelized and very tender and the liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes longer; scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the skillet and add up to 1/2 cup of water to the pan to prevent scorching. Let cool.

PREPARE THE TOPPING:

  1. In a large bowl, mix the oats with the flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Using fingers (wash your hands and take off your rings first!), squeeze the butter into the oats & sugar and crumble together until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Press the mixture into clumps.

ASSEMBLE THE BARS:

  1. Spread the apple filling over the crust. Scatter the crumbs on top, pressing them lightly into an even layer. Bake in the center of the oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the topping is golden; rotate the pan halfway through baking, and keep an eye on it to make sure the top isn't getting too browned. Let cool completely on a rack before cutting into 2-inch bars.

Recipe Notes

  • *For this recipe, the 12x17-inch rimmed baking sheet (half sheet pan) is easiest to use. It fits perfectly in this pan. If you don't have this pan, you can try and wing it using a couple of smaller ones.
  • *This recipe makes a large quantity. Make sure you have lots of people to feed ?
  • *The bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 days or frozen for up to a month.
Nutrition Facts
Apple Pie Bars
Amount Per Serving (1 bar)
Calories 248 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 20%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 34mg 11%
Sodium 72mg 3%
Potassium 99mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 31g 10%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 18g
Protein 1g 2%
Vitamin A 9.8%
Vitamin C 3.2%
Calcium 3.1%
Iron 9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Disclosure:  There are Amazon affiliate links included within this post.

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Comments

  • Reena wrote:

    Thank you Lori for this awesome recipe! Have made it several times and everyone who has taken a bar just falls in love with it.  I sometimes even halved it and baked in a smaller pan and it still came out perfect everytime.  Just one question,  is it necessary to cool the shortbread completely before putting the filling and baking?  

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I’m not sure… if it’s still warm, I’m guessing it will still be ok.

  • michelle wrote:

    Thanks for the great recipe. I only have a glass baking dish can I make it in that?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I’d go with the pan that is recommended.

  • Jane wrote:

    I made a batch of these yesterday and they turned out really well. Very tasty! A big hit at my house. (One minor alternation I made was to substitute a small amount of whole wheat flour for some of the white flour in the crust. Also, my bars baked far more quickly than the recipe indicated, in less than half an hour.) Definitely a recipe I’d make again. Thanks, Recipe Girl!

  • Patty wrote:

    Just made these to have out for Christmas Eve. Wow Yummmm. I love that I will be able to freeze them but don’t know if there will be any left. Thanks for the great recipe plus I got to go shopping for a new jelly roll pan an extra bonus.

  • Imelda wrote:

    This was the smash-est dessert last night at the Halloween party we went to! I have to use a regular cookie sheet & ready made pie crust (the rolled ones) then re-shaped it into rectangle as I am so bad with making crusts-ugh! I have no ‘crust thumb’ at all! Will be making it again as the hubby uses it as his new “breakfast bar”! :-))

  • Monique wrote:

    I made these for a church potluck and everybody loved them. Some asked for the recipe. I used 2 frying pans but next time I make them (and I definitely will) I will cook the apples in a stock pot. I only had 2 cups of oats so I used 2/3 of the flour, brown sugar and butter and had enough topping to cover the entire bars. They were a big hit and very, very good!

  • Kristal L. Rosebrook wrote:

    Loved IT!!!

  • Autumn wrote:

    These looks dangerously delicious!
    I am a huge Apple Pie lover.

  • Susi wrote:

    OMG – I had company coming over and one of my guest came with a beautiful apple tart. Needless to say my dessert was the it of the party – Thank you so much – this is an exceptional dessert. I can’t wait to try it with crasins and walnuts

  • Charlotte Hancey wrote:

    Amazing! I made these today and even though it was a lot of work, it was totally worth it. They are BETTER than applie pie in my opinion! My topping didn’t hold together very well though which made them very messy. Now I have to figure out who to give them to. I’m sending some with my husband to work tomorrow and they may just promote him for bringing them!

  • gina wrote:

    Wow, these look great Lori!

  • Louise wrote:

    Wow!!! These sound scrumptious! I just have to tell you, Lori, I use almost the same oat mixture as a “cover” for baked apple dumplings. They too taste like apple pie. LOVE love the addition of shortbread as a “crust.” Thanks for sharing your family adventure with us…

  • Anna wrote:

    Now this is a recipe I can use! I went apple picking this past weekend and was looking for something other thank apple pie recipes. Thanks!

  • Baking Chamber wrote:

    Yum! These look amazing, I bet they taste exactly like apple pie! Can’t wait to try this recipe, thanks!

  • JULES AND RUBY wrote:

    these look just perfect to get started with fall cookin’. i love to spread the delicious stuff around so i’m glad the recipe makes soooo many…yummm