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Hold on, I am drooling over this Apple Pie Bars Recipe. So addictive. So good. (especially with ice cream on top).
This apple pie bar recipe is perfect for a crowd and so fun since you cut it into bars and serve.
I have another post on how to make a homemade apple pie on the blog as well if a traditional pie is more your thing!
I snagged this apple pie bar recipe from Cameron’s Grandma recently. She makes it often and it’s always a hit when we all get together.
The recipe she used was actually Ina Garten’s Apple Pie Bars and I knew I had to make a version of my own.
I tested out Ina Garten’s recipe and it was obviously amazing. I mean, it has 4 1/2 sticks of butter in it how could it not be amazing?!
Although I must say, I wasn’t a fan of using the the dough for the both the crust and the topping so I made my own oatmeal streusel topping.
I think the slightly crunchy oats adds a delicious dimension to this apple pie bar recipe.
The oatmeal streusel topping is so great too because it’s simple to prepare and can be prepared actually 1 day ahead.
It may seem like there are a lot of steps to making these bars, so making the streusel topping in advance just means one less thing to do on the day you make these apple pie bars.
Here’s the gang.
For the ingredient measurements and entire recipe, be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the blog post where the recipe card is located.
Don’t be intimidated by the 3 layers! It’s not as labor intensive as it may seem.
The shortbread crust is easier to make than a homemade pie crust, and it’s so buttery and delicious!
- Softened butter: you’ll need unsalted butter softened to room temperature for the shortbread crust.
- Granulated sugar and brown sugar: for the shortbread crust, and you’ll also need some brown sugar for the streusel topping, too.
- Vanilla Extract: be sure to use a pure vanilla extract
- All-Purpose flour: I have not tested this recipe with almond flour or any other alternatives. However, Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-1 is a great option if you need to make these gluten free.
- Apples: I use ~6-8 apples (~3 lbs), and a mix between Pink Lady & Granny Smith or sweet + tart apples)
- Cornstarch: the thickener for the apples
- Lemon Juice: freshly squeezed
- Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats: not quick cook or 1-minute, the old fashioned oats hold up much better for the streusel topping.
How to make these Addictive Apple Pie Bars
For the full recipe instructions, scroll down to the bottom of the blog post to the recipe card.
The shortbread crust, apple pie filling and delicious streusel topping are all simple to make and create the most delicious apple pie bar recipe ever. Let’s do it!
- Make the streusel topping: Combine ingredients in a medium bowl and cut in butter. I like to do this first, cover, and chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the dessert.
- Make the shortbread crust: Use a stand mixer or hand mixer. Press into a 9×13 inch baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.
- Make the apple pie filling: Peel, core and slice the apples. Toss with seasonings in a large bowl and then cook apples on stove 5-8 minutes or until softened.
- Place apple slices on top of shortbread crust layer.
- Top apples with the oatmeal streusel topping.
- Bake until top crust is golden brown. Cool for at least an hour. Slice and enjoy!
Tips & tricks for this Apple Pie Bars Recipe:
- Use a combination of 2 different apples. Some sweet, some tart. This helps to balance the overall flavor of the apple pie bars. For instance, I used Granny Smith which are tart and Pink Lady, which are sweet. Other tart apples include Braeburn, Blushing Golden, and Northern Spy. Sweet apples or sweet-tart apple ideas include Gala, Jonagold, or Honeycrisp.
- You can either precook your apples, or not. Now let me explain…I’ve tested this recipe both ways.
- Precooking your apples: Precooking your apple pie filling for 5-10 minutes before layering it on the shortbread crust is an added step, but it helps to release the fruits liquid and helps them cook down.
- Precooking your apples ensures thoroughly cooked apples in the finished dessert (not undercooked or crunchy) and never leaves you with a watery apple pie bar.
- If you don’t want to cook your apples, omit the cornstarch or flour and stir the apples together with the seasonings and lemon juice. Let the apples rest on the counter for 30-40 minutes and strain any excess juices that build up in the bowl.
- Be sure to slice apples all the same thickness. About 1/4th inch thick. I like to use the attachment on my kitchen aid stand mixer to peel, core and slice the apples evenly.
- To freeze: cool completely and store in freezer safe baggie or container. I like to slice and let cool on parchment paper.
Before You Begin! If you make this, please leave a review and rating letting us know how you liked this recipe! This helps our business thrive & continue providing free recipes.
- 2 1/2 sticks softened, unsalted butter (20 Tbsp.)
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Apple Pie Filling:
- 6-8 apples (~3 lbs.) Mix of Granny Smith + Pink Lady (cored, peeled, thinly sliced (~1/4 inch thick))
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
- 1 lemon, juiced (~ 2 Tbsp.)
- 2 Tbsp. cornstarch* (see notes)
- 1/2 cup water, as needed
- 1 cup Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats (not quick cook or 1-minute)
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed (light or dark is fine!)
- 3/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 stick chilled, unsalted butter cut into cubes (8 Tbsp.)
Last step! If you make this, please leave a review and rating letting us know how you liked this recipe! This helps our business thrive & continue providing free recipes.
- Make the streusel topping first: In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the rolled oats, brown sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon. Cut in the chilled, cubed butter or mix with fingertips until the mixture comes together in clumps. Cover the streusel and place in refrigerator to chill while you prepare the shortbread crust and apple pie filling.
- Make the shortbread crust: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the softened butter, white sugar and brown sugar together until creamy. Add in the vanilla and then with the mixer on low gradually add in the dry ingredients. Press this into a 9×13 oven safe baking dish and refrigerate for 20 minutes (don't skip this step!). Preheat the oven to 375°F. Once chilled, bake for 18 minutes in the oven. Remove and let cool while you prepare the filling. Decrease the oven temperature to 350°F.
- Place the sliced apples in a large mixing bowl and mix in the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg. Whisk together the lemon juice and cornstarch and add to apples. (This is the thickener). Pour the apple mixture into a large saucepan over medium heat and cook for 5-8 minutes or until apples soften. Stir occasionally and add water as needed so apples don't burn or scorch pan.
- Layer the apples over the shortbread crust. Top the apples with the streusel. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Let apple pie bars cool. Slice and serve as is or with vanilla bean ice cream!