caramel apple bars
Layered caramel apple bars make a delicious, crowd-pleasing fall dessert! Made with an oatmeal cookie crust and crumble topping, apple filling, and salted caramel, these easy caramel apple bars taste just like warm apple crisp.
A buttery, brown sugar crust and crumble topping envelop a layer of tender apples and rich salted caramel sauce in these irresistible bars. Serve bars with an extra drizzle of salted caramel sauce (or a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream!) for the very best fall dessert.
How to Make Caramel Apple Bars:
Crust and crumble: The crust and crumble mixture is made with flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, melted butter, and vanilla. Once combined, the mixture resembles oatmeal cookie dough.
Press the mixture evenly and firmly into the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan, reserving 3/4 cup of the mixture for the topping (keep chilled). Bake the crust for 14 to 16 minutes, until set, then cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack.
Apple filling: Toss diced apples with a splash of lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, and arrowroot starch (or cornstarch). For baking, I like a mix of sweet-tart apples with a semi-firm texture.
Salted caramel sauce: Homemade salted caramel sauce adds the most incredible flavor to these caramel apple bars! The caramel sauce can be made ahead (gently re-warm in the microwave before using).
Assemble bars: Spoon the apple filling over the cooled crust and drizzle the apples with 1/4 cup salted caramel sauce. Sprinkle the reserved crumble over the apple layer and return the pan to the oven.
Bake: Bake the bars for another 35 to 40 minutes, or until the crumble topping is golden and the filling is slightly bubbly. Cool bars completely in pan on a wire rack.
Serve: Just before serving, chill the bars in the freezer for 10 minutes, then cut into squares with a sharp knife. Drizzle the bars with remaining caramel sauce and enjoy!
Caramel apple bars make the best fall dessert! You’ll love these easy caramel apple bars topped with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.
Crust and Crumble
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups peeled and diced apples
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/2 Tbsp arrowroot starch (or cornstarch)
1/2 cup salted caramel sauce
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
- For the crust and crumble, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Fold in melted butter and vanilla until combined. Reserve 3/4 cup of dough for topping (keep chilled); press remaining dough evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake crust for 14 to 16 minutes, until lightly golden and set. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes.
- For the apple filling, place apples and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Whisk together sugar, cinnamon, and arrowroot starch; add to bowl with apples and toss together until combined.
- Spoon apple filling evenly over the cooled crust and drizzle the apples with 1/4 cup salted caramel sauce. Crumble reserved dough over the top.
- Bake for another 35 to 40 minutes, or until topping is golden and filling slightly bubbly. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
- Just before cutting, chill in the freezer for 10 minutes. Carefully lift parchment and place bars on a cutting board; cut into squares with a sharp knife. Drizzle with remaining salted caramel sauce.
- Store leftover bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator and warm briefly before serving.
Apples: I used a blend of Fuji, Granny Smith, and Golden Delicious apples.
Keywords: Caramel, Salted Caramel, Apple, Bars, Crumb Bars