These Apple Pie Bars are made with a buttery shortbread crust, bourbon sweet apples, pecan crumb topping, and drizzled with the most addicting salted caramel sauce. These apple bars are the perfect apple dessert!
Apple Pie Bars are one of my favorite fall desserts. This delicious apple bar tastes as good as apple pie but it’s much easier to make.
These tasty apple squares are also portable which make them a great dessert recipe for entertaining. They can be served on a platter and be passed around at parties, luncheons, potlucks and church events.
This apple recipe is enhanced by the delicious flavor of Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce. If you haven’t tried making caramel at home, you must! It is actually very easy and the taste of homemade caramel is amazing!
Apple Pie Bars Layers
This apple crisp bar crust is buttery and delicious. The same dough used to make the crust is also used as the base for the crumb topping. The shortbread crust comes together quickly. There’s no waiting for the dough to chill. Just mix the dough ingredients and press it into the baking pan. You can press the dough with the palm of your hand or with the bottom of a measuring cup.
The Apple Pie Filling
The apple filling is made fresh – no canned apple pie filling for this apple recipe! I like to use a combination of different types of apples. Different apples have different textures and flavors, I think that adds a nice component and depth of flavor to the apple crumble bars.
The apple filling is very easy to make. Just toss some apples in a skillet with some butter, spices and bourbon. Yes, I said it! Bourbon! This addition adds such a nice flavor to this easy fall apple dessert.
After baking the bottom of the crust, we top it with the cooked apples. Remember the remaining shortbread dough? We add some pecans and spices and turn that into the perfect crumble! Bake and you have the perfect apple crumble bars!
Although you can use just one type of apple, I love to use at least two types of apples. A sweet apple variety and a tart one. For sweet apples, you can use Gala, Jazz, Pink Lady, Fuji and Honeycrisp. Good options for tart apples are Granny Smith, Jonathan and Braeburn.
Yes, these apple bars can be made ahead. Store the baked bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. The apple pie squares can also be frozen for up to 2 months. I prefer to freeze them without the caramel drizzle. Thaw them in the fridge overnight.
Apple Pie Bars Recipe Tips
- I use chopped pecans for the crumble topping because my family loves pecans! Feel free to use walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts or whatever nut floats your boat!
- The alcohol in the Bourbon cooks off. All you are left with is a hint of bourbon flavor. Yes, this recipe is kid friendly! Ask my kids!
- Use Apple Bourbon for an explosion of apple flavor.
Take A Look At These Other Easy Dessert Recipes:
- Pumpkin and Cheesecake Swirl Oat Bar.
- Homemade Peach Crisp
- Lemon Ricotta Cookies
- S’mores Flatbread Dessert Pizza
- Banana Cream Pie Dip
Other Apple Recipes:
- Apple Upside Down Cake
- Caramel Apple Pie Snack Mix
- Apple and Sausage Stuffing Recipe (with apple and bourbon maple glaze)
- Pan Seared Pork Chops
- Cherry Apple Pie
Follow me on social media for more recipe ideas & inspiration!
Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars
For the Crust
For the Apple Filling
- 3 pounds apples (any combination granny smith, gala, golden delicious, etc), peeled, cut in half, cored and sliced into 1/8-inch thick
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 cup bourbon
Salted Caramel Sauce – see recipe link
- Make the Salted Caramel Sauce – Link provided
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper allowing excess to extend over the sides of the pan.
To Make the Crust
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugars and vanilla extract over medium speed, for about 3 minutes or until light and creamy.
- Sift the flour and salt together. With the mixer on low speed add the flour to the butter/sugar mixture slowly. Beat until combine.
- Take two-thirds of the dough and press it into the prepared baking pan in an even layer. It should be about 1/2-inch up the sides. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
- Remove from the refrigerator and bake for about 18 – 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, add the chopped pecans and cinnamon to the remaining dough. Put the bowl back on the mixer and mix on low to combine. You can also remove the bowl from the mixer and mix it by hand.
For the Apple Filling
- In a large bowl, combine the apples and lemon juice to prevent browning.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and toss to combine. Cook for about 3 minutes stirring often. Add the bourbon and simmer over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until some or most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat.
- Spread the apples evenly over the crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border.
- Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Use your fingers to pinch pieces of the remaining dough and apply to the top the apples as if trying to make a crumble.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
- When cool, lift the baked bar using the excess parchment paper as handles. Drizzle with the Salted Caramel Sauce. Cut into bars and serve.