These easy Apple Pie Bars are a delicious fall treat packed with apple pie filling, topped with a cinnamon streusel and set on a buttery gingersnap crust!
What are Apple Pie Bars?
Apple Pie Bars are a delightful way to welcome Fall! Gingersnap bars filled with a spiced tangy Granny Smith apple pie filling. These apple pie bars are topped with a cinnamon streusel and a salted caramel sauce, if you dare!
They are particularly perfect when apples are in season, but can also be enjoyed year round. While this apple pie bar recipe only uses one type of apple, you can easily mix up apple varieties. I suggest using at least one type of tangy apple to help cut the sweetness.
These apple pie bars are made using crushed gingersnap cookies. The gingersnap cookies make for a nice warmth added to the overall flavor and texture of the bars. However if you prefer, you can make them with a standard shortbread crust. I would recommend the shortbread crust in this Lemon Bar recipe.
- Gingersnap cookies – I buy a box of gingersnaps at my local grocery store. It takes about 40 cookies run through a food processor to achieve the approximate measurement for this recipe.
- Unsalted Butter – I always use unsalted butter in my recipes. It allows you the ability to control the amount of salt in your recipe.
- Vanilla – It isn’t a necessity for these Apple Pie Bars, however, I love the depth of flavor it adds.
- Brown Sugar – I use dark brown sugar, however, light brown will work just fine if that is what you have on hand.
- Flour – always unbleached all purpose flour
- Granny Smith Apples – The tang of the Granny Smiths help balance out the sweetness of the rest of the recipe
- Brown Sugar – Again, I use dark brown sugar. The extra bit of molasses helps elevate that warm Fall feeling of these bars
- Flour – acts as a binder and thickener
- Apple Pie Spice – if you don’t have this on hand, you can substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Cinnamon Streusel Topping
- Old Fashioned Oats – Make sure you use Old Fashioned not Instant. The old fashioned oats hold up better.
- Cold Unsalted Butter – gets cut into the mixture and helps bind everything together
- Cinnamon – adds one last hint of warmth to these Apple Pie Bars
- Brown Sugar – either light or dark brown sugar works here
Salted Caramel Sauce (optional)
I’m a saucy kinda girl, and I think that apples and caramel are one of the best combinations! This is a totally optional part of the recipe. You can either use a jarred sauce or make your own! Personally, I think homemade takes it to the next level!
- Sugar – Granulated sugar works best for this sauce
- Unsalted Butter – allows the ability to control the salt in the recipe
- Cream – to add the perfect amount of delicious creaminess
- Salt – really enhances the salty/sweet component of the sauce
- Vanilla – flavor enhancer!
- Bourbon – if you are feeling really squirrely, feel free to add a tablespoon of bourbon at the end for an extra burst of flavor!
How to make Apple Pie Bars
Apple Pie Bars are a delightful way to welcome Fall! Apple season is one of our favorites!
Gingersnap Crust: In a food processor, crush 40 gingersnap cookies into crumbs. Add melted butter, brown sugar, flour and salt and combine. Press mixture into 8×8 baking dish. Place dish in freezer for 10 minutes. Remove from freezer and bake at 325*F for 12 minutes.
Apple Pie Filling: In a large bowl, combine sliced apples, flour, sugar, and apple pie spice. Toss together until apples are well coated. On the warm gingersnap crust, layout the apple slices in even layers.
Cinnamon Streusel: In a large bowl combine oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, flour, and cold cubed butter. Using clean hands or a large fork, press the mixture together until crumbly. Sprinkle the streusel on top of the bars. Bake bars at 350*F for 30-35 minutes until streusel is golden brown. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes, before serving.
Salted Caramel Sauce: If you choose to use the salted caramel sauce on your Apple Pie Bars you can either use jarred sauce or make your own! If you make it, here is how to do it!
In a medium sauce pan, melt sugar over medium heat. I recommend using a wooden spoon to stir. This will help achieve an even melt to your sugar. Add the butter once the sugar is completely melted. Continue to stir or several minutes.
Note: If the sugar and butter separate, you will need to remove the pot from the heat and whisk the butter and sugar together until it recombines.
Next, slowly add the cream to the butter and sugar mixture. Adding the cream will cause the sugar mixture to vigorously boil and rise in the pan. Allow the mixture to boil for another minute. Now, turn off the heat and add the salt, quickly whisk for about 15 seconds. Then, add the vanilla and give another quick whisk until combined. Allow to sit. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
Drizzle over warm Apple Pie Bars and serve. This sauce is also wildly delicious with some vanilla ice cream.
Can Apple Pie Bars be made ahead of time?
Yes! You can make these Apple Pie Bars the day before you need them. Once you allow the bars to cook, let them cool to room temperature – roughly about 20 minutes. Tightly cover and store in the refrigerator overnight until you are ready to serve.
They store great in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days… if you can get them to last that long!
These are great at room temp or gently reheated and served with vanilla ice cream and a healthy drizzle of caramel sauce!
Can Apple Pie Bars be frozen?
Another great thing about these Apple Pie bars is that they freeze really well. I suggest cutting them into bars and layering them in an air tight container separated by parchment paper. They store well for up to 3 months. Allow to defrost in the fridge overnight before serving!
What other apple varieties can be used?
My favorite apple to bake with is the good old Granny Smith apple. I’m a huge fan of the tang of it. It’s a sturdier apple and I personally prefer the bite and texture compared to other apples. However, many bakers like to mix and match their apple varieties.
If you like to mix and match, pick one variety from the tart recommendations and one from the sweet!
- Granny Smith
- Pink Lady
- Golden Delicious
One last note on apple varieties: Granny Smith and Pink Lady also pair very well together.
- Gingersnap Crust
- 2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (approximately 40 cookies)
- ½ cup butter, melted
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Apple Filling
- 2 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons apple pie spice
- Cinnamon Streusel Topping
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- Salted Caramel Sauce
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons salted butter, room temp
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 325*F
- In a food processor, crush 40 gingersnap cookies into crumbs
- Add melted butter, brown sugar, flour and salt and combine
- Press mixture into an even layer in an 8x8 baking dish
- TIP: use the bottom of a small glass to press crumbs down tightly
- Place dish in freezer for 10 minutes
- Remove from freezer and bake at 325*F for 12 minutes
- Set crust aside after baking
- Increase the heat of the oven to 350*F
- Next, begin to prepare the apple pie filling
- Clean, peel, and thinly slice apples
- In a large bowl, add apples, flour, sugar, and apple pie spice
- Toss apple until well coated
- Layer apple slices onto gingersnap crust
- Next, prepare the streusel
- In a large bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, flour, and cold cubed butter
- Using clean hands or a large fork, press the mixture together until crumbly
- Sprinkle the streusel on top of the bars
- Bake bars at 350*F for 30-35 minutes until streusel is golden brown
- Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes before serving
- If making Salted Caramel Sauce, here's what you need to do:
- In a medium sauce pan, melt sugar over medium heat
- Use a wooden spoon to stir constantly, this will help achieve an even melt to your sugar and prevent scorching
- Add the butter once the sugar is completely melted
- Continue to stir or several minutes
- Next, slowly add the cream to the butter and sugar mixture
- Adding the cream will cause the sugar mixture to vigorously boil and rise in the pan -Don't be alarmed
- Allow the mixture to boil for another minute
- Now, turn off the heat and add the salt, quickly whisk for about 15 seconds
- Then, add the vanilla and give another quick whisk until combined
- Allow to sit
- The sauce will thicken as it cools
- Drizzle over warm Apple Pie Bars and serve
- This sauce is also wildly delicious with some vanilla ice cream
If you do not have apple pie spice, use 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg instead.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 9 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 499Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 462mgCarbohydrates: 75gFiber: 4gSugar: 32gProtein: 5g
The nutritional values above are auto calculated by a nutrition program and can vary based on brands of ingredients used.
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