These delicious Apple Crumb Bars feature a shortbread crust, cinnamon apples, and an oat crumble topping. Finish with a generous drizzle of salted caramel sauce and enjoy every bite of this delicious fall dessert.
Crumb-topping lovers unite! These bars are for you. And by “you” I also mean ME, because I just can’t get enough buttery-crumbly goodness in my life. It is no secret that I LOVE crumb toppings. Whether it’s Berry Crumble Bars, Cranberry Crumb Bars, or Stuffed Apples, I will never turn down a dessert featuring a crumb topping.
These Caramel Apple Crumb Bars are similar to an Apple Crisp; however, they’re heavier on the “crisp” and lighter on the apples.
Why you’ll love this recipe
Flavor: Brown sugar crumble, cinnamon, fresh apples, and sweet and salty caramel.
Texture: Soft apples, crunchy topping, and sticky caramel.
Ease: The crust and crumb topping are made from the same mixture. The whole dish comes together in under 30 minutes. It tastes similar to apple pie with less work!
Portable: These bars are easier to cut, serve, and pack up than an apple pie or apple crisp.
*Full recipe below in the recipe card*
Crust/topping: Combine sugars, flour, baking powder, and salt. Add chilled cubed butter and vanilla and mix with a hand mixer or stand mixer until the mixture is crumbly and the pieces of butter are pebble sized.
Press half of the mixture into the bottom of a lined and greased 8×8 baking pan. Reserve remaining amount for the topping.
Filling: Combine thinly sliced apples with flour, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Add the apples on top the crust, positioning them evenly.
Topping: Add oats and cinnamon to the reserved topping, stir until combined. Sprinkle over the apples.
Bake: Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 25-30 minutes.
Caramel: Once the bars have cooled, drizzle with salted caramel and serve. Love the combo of caramel and apples? Try our Apple Turnovers.
- Line your pan with foil or parchment paper for easy removal and easy clean up.
- Use cold butter for the crust and topping.
- Slice the apples thin so that they soften while baking.
- Use two different varieties of apples for more complex flavor.
- Use store bought salted caramel sauce for a shortcut. My favorite one is fleur de sel caramel sauce from Trader Joes.
Serving and storage
Serving: Serve warm, chilled, or room temperature. The colder the bars are the more easily they will hold their shape. Top with vanilla ice cream and an extra drizzle of salted caramel sauce to serve.
Storage: Once cool, store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The texture is best within 24 hours of baking, the crust and topping will soften over time.
Caramel Apple Crumb Bars
Crust and crumb topping:
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup old fashioned oats
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3-4 cups peeled, thinly sliced apples , (about 3-4 apples)
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ⅓ cup good quality caramel sauce, plus more for serving (see note)
- Preheat oven to 350°, with a rack in the center of the oven. Line an 8×8 baking pan with foil or parchment paper, grease it, and set aside.
Crust and topping:
- Using a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat granulated sugar, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt until combined. Add cubed butter and vanilla and beat until the butter is broken up into small irregular pieces. If necessary, use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour. Once the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of pebbles, place in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
- In a separate bowl, combine all ingredients for apple filling. Stir until well combined.
- Scoop 2 cups (loosely measured, not packed) of the crust/topping and dump it into the baking dish. Use the back of the measuring cup to press the mixture into an even layer to form the crust. Set aside the remaining crumb mixture.
- Add the apples on top of the crust. Arrange them in tight layers, overlapping the pieces.
- Stir ⅓ cup oats and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon into the reserved crumb mixture. Sprinkle the topping over the apples pressing some of it together to form clumps.
- Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 25-30 minutes, until the topping is light golden brown and the apples are tender (insert a sharp knife to check). Place pan on a wire rack to cool. Drizzle with caramel sauce. Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled. Top with ice cream and caramel sauce. Note: The bars will cut more neatly if chilled.
Nutritional Information is an estimate based on third-party calculations and may vary based on products used and serving sizes.