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This apple pie bars recipe is easy and full of cozy flavor, with a spiced fruit filling, streusel topping, and tasty maple glaze!

Apple Pie Bars

Looking for an easy dessert that will have everyone talking? Try this apple pie bars recipe! It’s simple to whip up this handheld treat: the same dough makes a sturdy bottom crust and buttery crumbles of streusel topping. Sandwiched in between the layers is a cinnamon-spiced apple filling, and it’s topped with a sweet maple icing drizzle that tastes a bit like melty vanilla ice cream. These are absolutely fabulous and one of our favorite fall desserts yet.

What you need for apple pie bars

These apple pie bars are an easy dessert for several reasons: there’s no special equipment required, the peeling and slicing time is minimal, and the same dough makes the crust and crumble topping. It bakes up in a square pan, making 16 delightful handheld apple pie slices. Bars are great for holidays and pitch ins because they’re both easy to serve and make: and we’d make these any day of the year!

Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe, grouped by type (or jump to the recipe):

  • Baking ingredients: All purpose flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, Old Fashioned rolled oats, cornstarch, kosher salt
  • Spices: Cinnamon and nutmeg
  • Dairy: Unsalted butter
  • Fruits: Apples, lemon juice
  • Baking pan: 8 x 8 inch [20 cm] or 9 x 9 inch [22 cm]
  • Time: 25 minutes to prep, 1 hour to bake, 1 ½ to 2 hours to cool, 10 minutes to cut and glaze
Apple bars

Best type of apples for baking

The best variety of fruit for apple pie bars is the same as any baked apple recipe (like cobbler, cookies, or crisp): select a firm, crisp tart apple. The tartness accents the sweet crust and topping, and the crisp texture helps it hold its shape while baking. Other apple varieties can end up in a mushy filling that’s not nearly as satisfying. Here are some of the best types of apples for baking and cooking:

  • Pink Lady
  • Jonathon or Jonagold
  • Granny Smith
  • Honeycrisp
Apple bars

Tips for apple pie bars

Apple pie bars are almost like an apple crumble with a bottom crust. They’re simple to make, but just a few tips to know the process.

  • Grease the pan, then line it with parchment paper. This makes them easy to remove from the pan. Cut the parchment so that it extends on two sides to easily remove it from the pan. Greasing the entire pan helps the parchment stick to the bottom.
  • Allow the bars to cool to room temperature before glazing. This lets the texture set, firming it up so it’s the ideal texture for eating. If you’d like to speed up the process, you can cool for about 30 minutes at room temperature then refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Cut into squares before glazing. We like cutting into 16 even squares first, then glazing the individual bars.

For the maple glaze

The best part of these apple pie bars, in our opinion, is the simple maple glaze! It tastes almost like that melty vanilla ice cream on the top of the pie. You can leave it out if desired, but we think it really takes these bars over the top.

The maple glaze has just a few ingredients and comes together quickly: just powdered sugar, butter, milk, maple syrup, and maple extract. The maple extract brings a bold, maple-forward flavor to the icing and we recommend finding it if at all possible! But you can leave it out if desired: it still tastes great.

Apple Pie Bars

Dietary swaps

A few simple swaps make these into vegan apple pie bars! Simply use vegan butter or refined coconut oil in place of butter. Do the same in the maple glaze, and use oat milk or your favorite non-dairy milk for the milk.

To make gluten-free apple pie bars, use almond flour in place of all-purpose flour. The texture will be slightly different, but it’s still delicious! Almond flour works well to make gluten-free crisps and crumbles, like this Gluten Free Apple Crisp.

Storage info

Storage for apple pie bars is tricky because of the moisture in the apples and the glaze. They last for 1 day at room temperature if iced and 2 days if unfrosted, loosely covered (or place a paper towel instead a container to reduce moisture). But it’s best to store them refrigerated if possible. Make sure to store them with parchment paper between each layer so they don’t stick to each other. These apple bars last for

  • 1 day at room temperature, loosely covered or with a paper towel inside the container to reduce moisture.
  • 1 week refrigerated, bringing them to room temperature before serving.
  • 3 months frozen, defrosting at room temperature or in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
Apple Pie Bars

More apple recipes

And that’s it! These apple bars are one of our favorite easy dessert recipes to make with this crisp tart fruit. They’re perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, fall, or anytime you need a simple treat. Here are a few more tasty apple recipes we love, from desserts to breakfast:

This apple pie bars recipe is…

Vegetarian. For vegan, use vegan butter. For gluten-free, use almond flour.

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Apple pie bars

Easy Apple Pie Bars


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 16 1x

Description

This apple pie bars recipe is easy and full of cozy flavor, with a spiced fruit filling, streusel topping, and tasty maple glaze!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 ¼ cup (175 g) all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup Old Fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced into small pieces
  • 4 cups crisp tart baking apples (about 4 medium), peeled and thinly sliced (1/4-inch thick)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 recipe Maple Glaze

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 baking dish. Line the pan with a piece of parchment paper, cut so that it extends on two sides to easily remove it from the pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, oats, and kosher salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or fork. As it incorporates, use fingers to knead until it becomes an even, consistent dough with no more dry bits of flour (this takes a while, so be patient!). Use your fingers to crumble it into small crumbles and measure out 1 ½ cup for the topping.
  3. Pour the remaining crumbles into the prepared pan, and press it into an even layer for the crust of the bars. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to press in the dough and make it flat and even.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix the peeled and sliced apples, granulated sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and cinnamon and nutmeg. Spread them in an even layer over the crust.
  5. Add the reserved crumbles over the top in an even layer.
  6. Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour, until the top and edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on cooling rack for 20 to 30 minutes, then lift out the bars with the parchment. If desired transfer to the refrigerator and for 1 hour, or simply cool to room temperature on the counter.
  7. Once the bars are room temperature, cut into 16 even squares. Drizzle on Maple Glaze with a fork, if desired. Store bars up to 1 day at room temperature, 1 week refrigerated (with parchment paper between the layers if stacked; bring to room temperature before serving), or 3 months frozen.
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Dessert
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Apple pie bars, apple bars, apple pie bars recipe

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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2 Comments

  1. another fun use of apples! And good tips too about how long they’ll last in the refrigerator with or without the glazing, thank you!

    1. Some recipes are just hedging their bets when they say to use parchment paper. This is not one of them. A greased pan is not enough! THEY WILL GET STUCK AND DISINTEGRATE WHEN YOU TRY TO CUT THEM IF YOU FORGET. But aside from my mistake there, they came out delicious and hugely popular, and I’ll definitely be making these again (with the parchment paper next time)