Apple Pie Bars

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These apple pie bars start with a thick, golden shortbread crust. The shortbread is delicious on its own, but it makes the perfect base for the apple pie bars. Just like a classic apple pie, these bars are packed with sliced apples. The apples are covered in a caramel-spiced syrup and cooked until slightly soft. Then, the bars are topped with a spiced brown sugar crumble. It’s soft, spiced, and so tasty. When baked, the top gets slightly crisp while staying soft underneath.

In this recipe, we combine two favorite desserts: classic apple pie and shortbread. It’s like heaven in a bite! The apples are topped with a brown sugar cinnamon crumble, making everything better. These apple pie bars are packed with apple flavor and so tasty.

Tips for the Best Apple Pie Bars:

  1. Bake the Shortbread in Advance: We bake the shortbread before adding the apples and crumble. This ensures the crust stays golden and doesn’t get mushy. It’s similar to par-baking a pie crust before adding the filling. This method helps each component bake perfectly.
  2. Cook the Filling on the Stove: Cooking the apple filling on the stove for a few minutes before baking creates a sticky apple pie filling. This helps control the apple’s texture, ensuring they’re not too juicy and remain as bars after cutting.
  3. Pack on the Crumble: A spiced, brown sugar crumble adds extra flavor. To ensure a sweet, spiced crumble in every bite, we pack on a generous layer before baking. The crumble gets slightly crunchy on top while staying soft in the middle. A vanilla bean glaze on top after baking is the perfect finishing touch.

Apple Pie Bars

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 12



  • – 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour about 28 ounces
  • – 1/2 cup cornstarch about 2.6 ounces
  • – 1 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar about 10.5 ounces
  • – 2 cups salted butter room temperature (4 sticks)
  • – 1 teaspoon salt


  • – 6 tablespoons butter 3/4 stick
  • – 6 large green apples peeled, cored, and cut into 1/8-inch slices
  • – 1/3 cup brown sugar about 2.8 ounces
  • – 1/3 cup white sugar about 2.8 ounces
  • – Zest of 1 lemon
  • – 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • – 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • – 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

**Crumb Topping:**

  • – 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour about 6.5 ounces
  • – 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • – 3/4 cup brown sugar about 5.6 ounces
  • – 1/2 cup melted butter 1 stick


  • – 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar about 8 ounces
  • – 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • – 2 tablespoons milk


**Shortbread Layer:**

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • In a stand mixer, cream the softened butter and sugar until pale and fluffy (3-5 minutes on medium-high speed).
  • Add the flour, cornstarch, and salt. Pulse until just combined.
  • Pat the shortbread into a parchment-lined 9×13 inch pan until it forms an even layer.
  • Bake for 45-55 minutes until golden brown (check after 35 minutes if using a metal pan).
  • After baking, reduce the oven temperature to 300°F for baking the bars.

**Apple Pie Filling:**

  • While the shortbread bakes, brown the butter in a large skillet over medium heat until golden and toasty.
  • Stir in the sugars, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla.
  • Add the apple slices and lemon zest. Cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes until slightly softened. Set aside to cool.

**Crumb Topping:**

  • In a bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, and brown sugar.
  • Pour in the melted butter and mix with a fork until large crumbs form. Set aside.


  • Spread the apple pie filling evenly over the cooked shortbread.
  • Sprinkle the crumble evenly over the apple layer.
  • Bake at 300°F for 30 minutes.
  • Increase the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 15 minutes until golden brown.


  • In a medium bowl, mix powdered sugar and vanilla. Gradually whisk in milk.
  • Once the bars are cooled, drizzle the glaze over the top using a spoon or piping bag (a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off works too).

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