caramel apple bars featured image
Our Caramel Apple Bars have a buttery, brown sugar shortbread base and golden brown caramel streusel topping surround the sweet apple pie filling to create the perfect scent of autumn and a cinnamon spice you’ll savor all season.
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Table of Contents
  1. No-Fuss Caramel Apple Bars
  2. Why We Love This Caramel Apple Bars Recipe
  3. Ingredients / Shopping List
  4. Substitutions and Additions
  5. Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
  6. How to Make the Recipe
  7. Storage Tips
  8. Frequently Asked Questions
  9. Other Easy Apple Recipes
  10. Caramel Apple Bars Recipe

These delicious Caramel Apple Bars are simple to prepare using only 6 ingredients–they have all the taste and comfort of traditional apple pie but without the hassle. Baked with a buttery shortbread crust followed by an apple pie filling and topped with a caramel drizzled streusel!    

caramel apple bars hero image

No-Fuss Caramel Apple Bars

Looking for a delicious way to enjoy apple pie flavors without the extra work that comes with a traditional apple pie? These quick and easy-to-make Caramel Apple Bars are the perfect alternative to the classic recipe because our apple pie filling comes from a can!

And while skeptics may frown upon this filling of choice, each bite combines the best flavors of apple pie, apple crisp, and a caramel-covered apple into one cozy, comforting, and simply irresistible bar; the apple layer tastes every bit as homemade and even more satisfying when you are hungry for something sweet but in a hurry to bake the treat.

Caramel Apple Bars are actually my preferred method of serving this dessert, especially when the cookie-like crust is no-fuss and you press, not roll. Plus, it’s always more fun to eat with my fingers than with a fork!

A buttery, brown sugar shortbread base and golden brown caramel streusel topping surround the sweet apple pie filling to create the perfect scent of autumn and a cinnamon spice you’ll savor all season.

Why We Love This Caramel Apple Bars Recipe

  • Quick and easy to prepare using only 6 ingredients.
  • Just as delicious as apple pie, but much simpler to make.
  • Comforting autumn dessert combined with the ease of a late summer quick fix!
  • Sweet, soft, and warming flavors of fall.
  • Perfect fall treat for parties, potlucks, bake sales, or pie on the go.
bitten caramel apple bars

Ingredients / Shopping List

  • Salted butter: You can use unsalted butter as well, but I would add an extra pinch of salt to add some extra flavor.
  • Dark brown sugar: Feel free to use light brown sugar instead.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Canned apple pie filling: Feel free to use a homemade apple pie filling instead, however, I love the ease of buying a can.
  • Cinnamon
  • Caramel syrup: Soft caramel candies will work if you melt them, but caramel candies will be a little more difficult to eat.
caramel apple bars cut into squares

Substitutions and Additions

  • Fruit Filling: You can use any pie filling for this recipe. To match the season, try pumpkin in the fall, peach in the spring, blueberry in the summer, or cherry any time of year!
  • Spice It Up: In addition to cinnamon, add a teaspoon of nutmeg, ground clove, or cardamom. You could also replace the cinnamon with a tablespoon apple pie spice.
  • Add Some Nuts: Top the pie filling with chopped and toasted pecans or walnuts for a bit of nutty crunch.
  • 9×13 inch baking dish
  • Mixer
  • Mixing bowls and tools
  • Measuring tools

SEE FULL PRINTABLE RECIPE CARD BELOW

How to Make the Recipe

It is so easy to prepare these Caramel Apple Bars using only 6 kitchen-staple ingredients. They have all the taste and comfort of traditional apple pie but made without the hassle.

  1. Beat butter and brown sugar together with a mixer until creamy and fluffy.
    Beat butter and brown sugar together
  2. Add flour to the dough mixture and beat until combined.
    Add flour to the dough mixture
  3. Press shortbread dough into your baking pan and bake for 15-20 minutes.
    Pro-Tip: Feel free to use parchment paper in the baking dish with overhanging sides for easy removal. 
    press into baking pan and bake
  4. Spread apple pie filling onto baked shortbread layer.
    spread apple filling into the bread mixture
  5. Whisk the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon together and add butter cubes to the mixture.
    Whisk the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, butter cubes
  6. Top the apple pie filling with the streusel mixture.
    Top the apple pie filling with the streusel mixture
  7. Drizzle caramel syrup over the streusel and bake until golden brown.
    drizzle with caramel syrup and bake until golden brown
  8. Plate, serve, and enjoy!
    Pro Tip: Drizzle additional caramel sauce over the top if desired.
    Drizzle caramel syrup over the streusel

Storage Tips

  • To Store: To store, put these bars in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • To Freeze: Freeze these bars in plastic wrapping for up to 3 months.
  • To Reheat: Thaw frozen bars overnight in the refrigerator before serving and drizzling with caramel.
caramel apple bars on a plate

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I chill these bars?

Depending on your preference, you can eat these bars chilled or warm. If you like them warm, wait about 15-20 minutes after they come out of the oven to eat them. If you like them cold, let them cool to room temperature and then chill them in the refrigerator for an hour or so.

What should I serve with my bars?

You can top your caramel apple bars with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream or sprinkle powdered sugar on them.

Can I make my own apple pie filling?

Yes, you can absolutely make your own apple pie filling for this recipe if you have additional time. My recipe uses a can for ease and convenience.

stacked caramel apple bars

Other Easy Apple Recipes

5 from 4 votes
caramel apple bars featured image

Caramel Apple Bars

Serves — 16
Our Caramel Apple Bars have a buttery, brown sugar shortbread base and golden brown caramel streusel topping surround the sweet apple pie filling to create the perfect scent of autumn and a cinnamon spice you’ll savor all season.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr

Ingredients
  

For the Shortbread Layer:

  • ½ cup (1 stick) salted butter softened
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar lightly packed
  • cups all-purpose flour spooned and leveled

For the Filling:

  • 30 ounces (1½ cans) apple pie filling

For the Streusel:

  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar lightly packed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour spooned and leveled
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 6 tbsp cold salted butter cut into 1” cubes
  • ½ cup caramel syrup plus more for topping

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a 9×13 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  • For the shortbread layer, use a mixer to beat the salted butter, and dark brown sugar together until creamy and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Beat in the all-purpose flour until combined. You should have a crumbly dough.
  • Press into the bottom of the 9×13 inch baking pan and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
  • Remove the pan with the shortbread layer from the oven and set it aside.
  • Turn the oven up to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Pour the apple pie filling onto the shortbread layer in the pan and spread it out evenly.
  • Prepare the streusel by whisking the dark brown sugar, all-purpose flour, and cinnamon together. Cut the cold butter into the mixture.
  • Top the apple pie filling with the streusel mixture. Drizzle caramel syrup over the entire dish and then bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the streusel has turned golden brown.
  • Plate and serve warm. Drizzle additional caramel sauce over the top if desired.

Jenn’s Notes

Storage:
  • To Store: To store, put these bars in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • To Freeze: Freeze these bars in plastic wrapping for up to 3 months.
  • To Reheat: Thaw frozen bars overnight in the refrigerator before serving and drizzling with caramel.
Tips:
Feel free to use parchment paper in the baking dish with overhanging sides for easy removal. 

Nutrition Info

Calories: 296kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 143mg | Potassium: 77mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 328IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg
Jennifer Fishkind

About Jenn

Jenn is a mom to three beautiful boys, wife to an amazing husband, social influencer and blogger. I love all things easy recipes, easy crafts, all things hacks, traveling EVERYWHERE and feeding my Pinterest addiction!

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