Apple Pie Bars

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Apple pie bars are a portable, sweet snack for fall. With a shortbread crust and crumble topping, everyone will love this easy seasonal favorite.

Apples are the constant on our grocery list, despite any protests about seasonal eating. 

We almost always have some on hand, plus applesauce. 

Once the apples start to get forgotten in favor of grapes or whatever the fruit of the week is, I grab them for baking.

apple pie bars on a black plate

Pie is obvious, and one of my favorites is  Cheddar Crumble Apple Pie, but a whole pie screams dessert. 

While Apple Pie Bars? Those whisper softly to you, saying, “I’m a snack! I’m portable! You know you can’t resist!”

Apples know us so well.

What are the best apples for apple pie bars?

When choosing apples for pie, you want an apple that will hold its shape after baking.

I also go for slightly tart apples. Because you cook the apples with sugar and then have the crumble topping, you don’t want to go for an overly sweet apple!

My favorites are Pink Lady or Braeburn, which hold their shape well.

You can also use Gala if you prefer to let the apples be softer, but because they are sweeter you might want to reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe.

Whichever apple you choose, be sure to taste it before using it for apple pie bars. There’s not much worse flavor than a mealy apple!

You can also use premade apple pie filling if you choose.

sliced apple pie bars on cutting board

How to make the crust

One of the reasons I like these bars is because you don’t need to worry about rolling out the crust.

This recipe uses a shortbread-style crust. While you can make it by hand, a food processor makes the process a cinch!

Simple pulse the flour, sugar, salt and butter together to create a mixture that resembles sand. Then pulse in the egg, which will bind everything together into a soft dough.

Press it evenly into the baking pan, then prick holes using a fork. This helps it bake evenly and not get too puffy.

Chill while you preheat the oven, then bake! This simple crust can be used for your other favorite bars as well.

crust for apple pie bars before pressing into pan

Recipe variations

Just like with any other apple pie, you can add your favorite ingredients.

Chopped walnuts or pecans are great additions for the crumb topping.

For added sweetness, add raisins to the filling.

Love tart flavor? Fresh cranberries are a natural pairing for apples. Add them as you cook down the filling.

Try this with other spices as well, like cardamom, star anise, or ginger. You can also swap in apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon.

Don’t like apples at all? My raspberry pie bars are based off this recipe!

black plate with three apple pie bars

Storage notes

You can store apple pie bars on the counter in a covered container for up to three days.

I actually like these best the day after baking! The crust softens just slightly and the flavors are fully melded for a great bite.

If your bars last longer than three days, store them in the refrigerator.

Freezer instructions

Just like with a full size apple pie, you can freeze apple pie bars.

Let the bars cool fully. Decide if you want to freeze whole or sliced into servings.

For servings, arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving some room between slices. 

To freeze the batch uncut, use the parchment it was baked on to lift onto a baking sheet.

For both, freeze 1-2 hours, until solid. Wrap tightly in freezer paper or plastic wrap, then store in a freezer-safe container or ziptop bag.

stacked apple pie bars on black plate

Individual slices can be warmed in the microwave in 10-second increments.

To reheat the uncut batch, transfer the bars on its parchment into an 8×8 baking dish. Reheat in a 350 oven until warm.

Try my caramel apple slab pie too!

stacked apple pie bars on black plate

Apple Pie Bars

Yield: 16 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Chill Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours

Apple pie bars are a portable, sweet snack for fall. With a shortbread crust and crumble topping, everyone will love this easy seasonal favorite.

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
  • 1 egg

Filling

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2-3 large tart apples, such as Pink Lady (approximately 1 ¼ pounds), peeled, cored, and sliced thinly (enough to yield 4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Topping

  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. Line an 8x8 or 9x9 square baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a food processor, pulse together cups flour, powdered sugar, and salt. Add butter and pulse until it resembles cornmeal.
  3. Pulse in egg until a soft, crumbly dough forms. Scoop dough into prepared pan and press evenly to cover bottom. Prick all over with a fork and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 375° while crust chills. Bake crust for 20-25 minutes, until golden. Let cool while you prepare the filling.
  5. In a large sauté pan, melt tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Add apples, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla and stir to coat. Cook until apples are softened, approximately 15 minutes.
  6. Spoon apples evenly into baked crust, scraping the pan to collect caramelized juices.
  7. To make the topping, in a food processor, pulse together flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter until coarse crumbs are formed. Scatter crumb over the top of the apples.
  8. Bake at 375°F for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool completely before cutting.

Notes

  • In place of the homemade filling, you can use one 20-ounce can or jar apple pie filling.
  • You can also make the crust and topping using a bowl and pastry blender instead of a food processor.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 square
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 143Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 43mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 12gProtein: 1g

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First published October 2014; last updated September 2021.

9 Comments

  1. Nursing a hangover right now after an epic beer tasting last night, and these might just compel me to get off my couch, walk to the store, and make these immediately.

  2. What a beautifully written story! After a morning of reading blogs and even large commercial sites where slang such as “wanna” and texting shorthand substitutes for real language, I felt a fresh morning breeze cooling my grammatical angst. Thank you!

    Your recipe sounds splendid, and I’d love to try it when my hand has healed from recent reconstruction surgery.

  3. OMG this is perfect for this fall season. I will make these bars as soon as I buy the apples. THANK YOU SO MIUCH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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