Apple crisp or apple pie? Why choose one if you can have both in one delicious and handy square? These incredibly easy apple pie crumble bars have a crunchy oat base layer, gooey and sweet stewed apple filling, and a golden brown crumble topping. They make an incredibly comforting dessert or snack, especially in the fall season after a successful trip to the orchard.
Why you’ll love this recipe
Staple ingredients: This easy apple dessert is made with simple ingredients you likely have in your kitchen.
Seasonal apple cake: Perfect homemade fall dessert when fresh apples are in season.
Perfect dessert combination: A tasty mix of old fashioned apple squares, apple pie, and apple crumble.
- Apples – Fresh Granny Smith, Pink Lady, or Honey Crisp are the best apples to use for stewing. Peeled, cored, and cut into small 3/4-inch pieces.
- Sugar – You’ll need brown and granulated sugar for this recipe. You can also use coconut sugar instead of white sugar for the crumb mixture.
- Butter – Use salted or unsalted butter at room temperature. If using unsalted butter add a pinch of salt to the base layer to balance out the flavors.
- Egg – 1 medium-sized egg, ideally free-range / farm-fresh.
- Flour – All-purpose flour or plain flour is needed for the base and streusel layers.
- Baking powder – Leavening agent to lighten the base.
- Oats – The rolled oat base layer adds a crunchy texture to the apple pie bars. You can use quick oats instead of rolled oats.
- Lemon – 1 tbsp of freshly pressed lemon juice or the juice of about 1/2 lemon stops the apples from turning brown.
- Flavors – Vanilla extract adds warmth to the oaty base while ground cinnamon provides spice and warmth for the apple pie filling.
How to make apple pie crumble bars
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a 13-inch pan with parchment paper.
- Prepare the base layer: In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract, mixing well. In a separate medium bowl, combine rolled oats, flour, and baking powder. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until a dough forms. Press the dough into the prepared pan in en even base layer to create the bottom crust.
- Make the apple filling: Add the apple pieces, lemon juice, cinnamon, and brown sugar to a medium-sized, lidded saucepan. Stir to combine all ingredients. Stew the apples with the lid on on medium heat for 10-15 minutes until soft. Drain any excess liquid and spread the spiced apples evenly over the bottom crust in an even layer.
- Create the crisp topping: In a medium bowl, combine granulated sugar, flour, and butter using your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the crust mixture over the apple mixture.
- Bake the bars: Bake the apple oat bars in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until the crumbs are golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Let it cool and but into handy apple squares.
- You can use store-bought apple pie filling instead of stewing the apples yourself if you’re short on time.
- Make sure the butter is soft, as in stored at room temperature before using it in the recipe.
- Instead of your hands, you can use a pastry blender or an electric mixer with a paddle attachment to make the crumbs.
Serve the apple pie bars warm or cold with a dusting of powdered sugar or scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. A generous dollop of schlag or mascarpone cream also make a delicious side. Drizzle some salted caramel sauce over the bars for a caramel apple pie flavor.
Pastry crust: Use pie crust instead of the oat base for a buttery shortcrust instead.
Spice it up: Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger to the cinnamon apple filling to add some spice to your slice.
Extra fruit: Include some other fall fruit in the fruit layer such as pears, plums, or rhubarb,
Go nuts: Use almond flour instead of all-purpose flour to create nutty, gluten-free bars. You can also add 1 tbsp of almond butter to the base and slivered almonds to the streusel. Walnuts or pecans pair nicely with apples as well.
Fall flavors: Add 1 tbsp of maple syrup and 1 tsp of apple pie spice or pumpkin spice mix instead of cinnamon to the apple mixture for a fall-inspired flavor.
These homemade apple bars can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Yes, these bars freeze well. Ensure they are completely cooled, then store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature and reheat them slightly in the oven or microwave.
Easy Apple Pie Crumble Bars
Oat Base Layer
- 1/3 cup butter softened, unsalted
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
Stewed Apple Filling
- 7 medium-sized apples Peeled, cored, and cut into small 3/4-inch pieces
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup butter softened, unsalted
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a 13-inch pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract, mixing well. In a separate medium bowl, combine rolled oats, flour, salt, and baking powder. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until a dough forms. Press the dough into the prepared pan in en even base layer to create the bottom crust.1/3 cup butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 cups rolled oats, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/8 tsp salt
- Add the apple pieces, lemon juice, cinnamon, and brown sugar to a medium-sized, lidded pot. Stir to combine all ingredients. Stew the apples with the lid covering the pot on medium heat for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. The apples should be softened but still hold their shape. Drain any excess liquid from the spices apples and spread them evenly over the bottom crust in an even layer.7 medium-sized apples, 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- In a medium bowl, combine granulated sugar, flour, and butter using your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the apple mixture.1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Bake the apple bars in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until the crumbs are golden brown and the apple filling is bubbly.
- Let the bars cool completely in the pan before slicing them in bars or squares.