The perfect dessert for apple season – these apple crisp bars have a shortbread crust, cinnamon apples, and oatmeal crumble on top. Delicious with a drizzle of caramel sauce or scoop of ice cream.
If your favorite part of apple crisp is the crunchy crumble on top – then you’re going to love these apple crisp bars. They start with a buttery, shortbread crust. The middle is a layer of sweet, tart cinnamon apples, and then crunchy oatmeal brown sugar crumble goes on top. The bars transfer easily, and they make for delicious leftovers the next day too.
If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, then you know that I’m partial to fruit crumble bars – and this apple version is no different. There’s not much more effort than making a traditional apple crumble. And you get even more crunchy, buttery, cinnamon crumble.
Apple Crisp Bars
There are essentially 3 parts to making this recipe: the cookie base, apple filling, and oatmeal crisp topping. Each component is very simple – but the recipe can look a little long because of these 3 parts.
The shortbread base is a simple, buttery crunchy cookie. The dough gets pressed into the bottom of your lined pan and baked on it’s own first for 20-25 minutes. Baking the base layer on it’s own first is imperative – otherwise, it will be soggy and doughy.
As the base layer is baking, you can make the filling and crumble topping. For the filling, you’ll simply slice your apples into thin slices and toss with a little sugar, flour and cinnamon. I like to use a crisp, tart, flavorful apple variety since they will soften and the flavor will sweeten as the apples bake. I recommend something like Honey Crisp, Pink Lady or Granny Smith for a more tart flavor.
The topping is brown sugar, oatmeal crumble. You’ll squeeze it in your hand to form crumbles, then sprinkle it over the apple layer. Then pop the pan in the oven to bake.
With these bars, it’s super important to wait until they’re fully cooled before slicing into them – otherwise, it can be a big mess. Let them cool to room temperature, then lift the bars out of the pan using the overhang of parchment paper. Then place on a cutting board, and slice.
If you want to serve them warm, you can always pop them in the microwave. But they’re equally delicious at any temperature. With a drizzle of salted caramel or ice cream on top – these apple crumble bars make for the perfect fall dessert.
More Apple Desserts to Love:
Apple Crisp Bars
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour AKA plain flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 large apples* I like Honey Crisp, Granny Smith or Pink Lady for this recipe
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup brown sugar packed
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- ⅓ cup rolled oats
- ¼ cup unsalted butter melted
- Preheat the oven to 350F (180C) degrees. Line an 8x8 inch (20x20 cm) pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang around the edges.
- In a medium bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until combined.
- With the mixer on low speed, mix in the flour, cornstarch and salt.
- Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 22-25 minutes, or until the top looks set and slightly golden around the edges.
- Remove the pan from the oven (keep the oven turned on)
- Peel and core the apples, then slice into thin slices.
- Place the thinly sliced apples in a bowl, and toss with the flour, sugar and cinnamon.
- Place the apple slices over the top of the baked shortbread base.
Oatmeal Crumble Topping
- Stir together the flour, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon and oats.
- Stir in the melted butter - the mixture should feel like wet sand.
- Crumble the topping over top of the apples.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool the bars fully (while in the pan).
- When ready to slice, lift the bars out of the pan using the overhang of the parchment paper.
- Place on a cutting board and slice.
- 2 large apple or 2 ½ medium/small apples work. I recommend using a type of apple that is crunchy and flavorful - such as Granny Smith, Honey Crisp or pink Lady. Do not use McIntosh or Golden Delicious.
- Store bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Bars can be frozen for up to 2 months, then thawed in the fridge.
- Nutrition information is an estimate only and based on 1 bar (without caramel or ice cream), assuming the pan is sliced into 9 equal pieces.