Apple Pie Bars

This recipe has been featured in a post on The Recipe Girl blog: Apple Pie Bars (for fall).

Yield: 4 dozen bars

Prep Time: 50 min

Cook Time: 60 min

Apple Pie Bars

These bars freeze well- try putting them in individual zip bags for impromptu snacks or as an easy addition to your child's lunch box.


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

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, thinly sliced
1/2 cup light brown sugar
6 pounds (about 12) Granny Smith apples , peeled, cored & thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated (preferred)
1/2 cup water, as necessary

3 cups quick cooking oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled


1. Prepare the crust: 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.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the filling: 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.

3. Prepare the topping: 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.

4. Assemble the bars: 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.


*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.

Source: (Adapted from Food and Wine)

25 Responses to “Apple Pie Bars”

  1. postedOct 12, 2009 9:39 PM

    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

  2. postedOct 13, 2009 1:56 AM

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

  3. postedOct 13, 2009 5:42 AM

    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!

  4. postedOct 13, 2009 10:25 AM

    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…

  5. postedOct 14, 2009 5:50 AM

    Wow, these look great Lori!

  6. postedOct 15, 2009 2:09 PM
    Charlotte Hancey

    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!

  7. postedOct 18, 2009 7:26 AM

    I just found this recipe yesterday in my recipe notebooks and knew I had to make it for a lunch I am catering next weekend. I’m glad to know they are as good as they sounded!

  8. postedOct 23, 2009 11:25 AM

    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

  9. postedSep 13, 2010 10:08 AM

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

  10. postedJul 13, 2011 8:33 PM
    Kristal L. Rosebrook

    Loved IT!!!

  11. postedSep 25, 2011 6:32 PM

    I have looked everywhere (Wms Sonoma, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, Michael’s,) for a 15 x 17 pan with no luck. Closest I found was an 18 x 13 sheet cake pan. The largest jelly roll pan I could find was 17 x 12. I want to use the right size the first time I try the recipe. Suggestions?

    • postedSep 25, 2011 9:17 PM

      Go with a 12×17-inch jelly roll (half sheet) pan. That should work just fine.

  12. postedOct 10, 2011 8:40 AM

    In the original post it says to use 15×17 pan and in recipe it says a 12×17. I would love to make this for a festival I am donating baked goods to this weekend and just want to be sure I use the right sized sheet. Which size is it? And they look and sound divine!

    • postedOct 10, 2011 8:45 AM

      Sorry about that Diane- I edited it. It should read 12×17- a half sheet pan. Enjoy!

  13. postedOct 31, 2011 1:00 PM

    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!

  14. postedNov 1, 2011 5:19 PM

    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”! :-))

  15. postedDec 22, 2011 10:05 PM

    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.

  16. postedOct 11, 2012 10:01 AM

    Does anyone think I could use brown sugar in the crust instead of granulated? Thanks in advance!!

  17. postedOct 24, 2012 7:02 AM

    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!

  18. postedNov 23, 2013 8:24 AM

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

    • postedNov 25, 2013 9:09 PM

      I’d go with the pan that is recommended.

  19. postedMay 10, 2014 12:36 AM

    Question- Would it work okay to make a half recipe and use a 9 x 13 pan? I don’t need to make quite so many but they look delicious! I’m stumbling onto this recipe a few years late! 🙂

    • postedMay 11, 2014 7:40 PM

      I’m not sure about the sizing… I’ve only made them as indicated in the instructions.

  20. postedNov 5, 2017 10:28 PM

    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?  

    • postedNov 22, 2017 6:28 AM

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

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