Apple Pie Bars With Crumb Topping

Apple Pie Bars are easier than apple pie and just as delicious. Made with fresh apples and a buttery crumb topping, they are sturdy enough to eat with your hands. But there’s nothing better than warm apple pie paired with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Am I right? 

I’ve made all kinds of apple recipes, like Apple Pie Crepes, Upside-Down Apple Pecan Pie, and Dutch Apple Pie Milkshake are a few favorites. Get the Vanilla Ice Cream ready, this one’s going to be a hit.

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a stack of 3 apple pie bars with crumb topping

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Fall is nipping at our heels, so I’m kicking it off by teaming up with some incredibly talented blogger friends for a Tastes of the Season Holiday Recipe series. Each month through the end of the year, there will be seasonally inspired recipes you won’t want to miss!

This month, of course, is a classic flavor of autumn that falls second only to beloved pumpkin …..APPLE.  I’ll be linking up all 20 delicious recipes at the end of this post. Be sure to visit each one for even more apple-inspired recipes.

Apple Pie Bars with a scoop of ice cream

Apple Pie Bars With Crumb Topping

What is fall without apple pie?? I can’t remember the last time I made it through a fall season without making at least a handful of apple pies. The only problem is they can be a bit of a pain to make. They are always worth it in the end, but I always wish I had an easier recipe. 

Well my dreams have come true because low and behold, I found the perfect solution to getting that classic apple pie flavor, with half of the hassle, and it’s these apple pie bars with crumb topping! The flavors in this rival that of even the best apple pies I’ve had. 

Fresh chopped apples, homemade crumb topping, and a dash of cinnamon will have you running to the kitchen, fork in hand! Seriously don’t let another day go by without having a batch of these in your life.  

chopped apples

How To Make Apple Pie Bars With Crumb Topping

(full printable recipe at the end of this post)

Preheat your oven and place diced apples in a large mixing bowl then add a little lemon juice and vanilla and toss to coat. In a separate bowl, you’ll whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and apple pie spice. Pour the dry mixture over apples and toss until evenly coated and set aside.

Next, in a medium bowl whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, then add cold cubed butter and, cut the mixture together until it resembles coarse crumbs. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the egg and vanilla bean paste until combined and add the egg mixture to coarse crumb mixture and mix to bring the dough together.

Once the dough mixture is prepped, press half of it into the prepared baking dish and pour your apple filling over the dough. To finish off the prepping, just crumble the remaining dough over the apple layer, and sprinkle over crumb topping. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is a light golden brown.

step by step phots for making apple pie bars

What Kind Of Apples Can You Use For These Apple Crumble Bars?

It can get confusing when it comes to picking apples for a recipe, because of just how many apple types there are. You might find yourself scratching your head wonder which are better for snacking, and which are better for baking. 

The rule of thumb when baking with apples is to choose one that’s not overly sweet on its own and will hold up and not get mushy when baked. So here are your best options when it comes to this apple pie bar recipe:

  • Honey crisp (what I used for this recipe)
  • Granny Smith (for a tart forward flavor) 
  • Gala
  • Pink lady
  • Braeburn

Apple Pie Bars cut into square servings

Recipe Tips For Perfect Apple Pie Bars

  • Use Fresh apples: For this recipe, you can not use apple pie filling. It’s just not going to give you the same result, so only use fresh apples. 
  • Do NOT use softened or room temperature butter. The cold temp of the butter is very important to make the crumb topping correctly.
  • Don’t use old baking powder. It goes bad faster than you would think, and won’t be as effective in the recipe if it’s old and expired. 
  • Don’t overwork the crumb topping. This also will make the butter melt too soon.
  • For super easy and mess-free removal of the bars from the dish, place a layer of parchment paper in the bottom of your baking dish and let the paper hang over the sides.
  • These will disappear fast, so if you’re serving more than just a couple people, double the recipe and bake in a 9×13 baking dish. 

Apple Pie Bars on a fork

Do These Apple Pie Bars Really Taste Like Apple Pie?

Yes! As someone who is a BIG fan of apple pie, I’m always skeptical of any dish that claims to be an easier dupe of one of my favorite desserts. When I first tried this recipe I proceeded with caution, not to get my hopes up too much, but it honestly blew my expectations out of the water. 

These apple pie bars have all the flavors you love in an apple pie, and are twice as easy to make. Almost too easy to make, I might end up with a new batch in the house every week of fall this year. 

Can I Make Apple Pie Bars Ahead of Time?

Of course! While you can’t plan to make this dessert a week before you want to serve it, you can definitely make it the night before, and it will last in the refrigerator for up to three to four days. 

Naturally, everything will taste the best when served the day of, but if you really need to push something off to the night before, this recipe will still be amazingly good the next day. 

Just be sure to store the bars in an airtight container, or over the baking dish in plastic wrap before placing in the refrigerator. 

Like This Apple Pie Bars Recipe? Pin It!

pinterest-image

Apple Pie Bars photo collage

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Tools used to make these apple pie bars with crumb topping:

Pastry blender: 

This is also known a  dough cutter, and it’s a must-have for any recipe that calls for a crumb topping. It’s what allows you to get that perfect texture with ease. 

Square stoneware dish: 

I don’t always like to splurge on bakeware, but le cruset is one that’s always worth it. It really helps get a perfect bake every time. 

Homemade vanilla:

With the prices vanilla skyrocketing, I like to make my own vanilla, because it’s so easy and just as good! 

stack of 3 apple pie bars

Apple Pie Bars With Crumb Topping

Apple Pie Bars With Crumb Topping

Yield: 9 bars
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Apple Pie Bars are easier than apple pie and just as delicious. Made with fresh apples and a buttery crumb topping, they are sturdy enough to eat with your hands. But there’s nothing better than warm apple pie paired with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

Ingredients

FOR APPLE FILLING

  • 2 cups (about 3 medium-size apples) chopped Honeycrisp Apples
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

FOR CRUST AND CRUMB TOPPING

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, chilled and cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 egg

CINNAMON & SUGAR TOPPING

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease an 8x8 inch baking dish (also line with parchment and grease if you'd like to lift bars out easier). Set dish aside.
  2. Place diced apples in a large mixing bowl. Add lemon juice and vanilla and toss to coat. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and apple pie spice. Pour dry mixture over apples and toss until evenly coated. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add cold cubed butter and using a fork or a pastry cutter, cut mixture together until it resembles coarse crumbs. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together egg and vanilla bean paste until combined. Add the egg mixture to coarse crumb mixture and mix (you may want to use your hands) to bring the dough together.
  4. Press 1/2 of the dough mixture evenly into prepared baking dish.
  5. Pour apple filling over the dough, and crumble the remaining dough over the apple layer. Combine cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle over crumb topping.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 40-42 minutes or until the top is a light golden brown.
  7. Cool completely before cutting into squares.
  8. This recipe can easily be doubled and baked in a 9 x 13-inch pan. Baking times remain the same.

Notes

Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.

Making this recipe? Share it with us on Instagram using the hashtag #TidyMom so we can see what you're creating in the kitchen!

For more delicious apple recipes be sure to visit my blogger friends below. Enjoy!

TASTES OF THE SEASON BLOGGER RECIPES:

fall apple recipes collage 1

Apple Cinnamon Streusel Muffins by Ella Claire & Co. | Puff Pastry Apple Strudel by Inspired by Charm | Apple Crumb Pie Bars by Tidy Mom | Stovetop Applesauce by Tidbits | Apple Cheesecake Tart by Rooms for Rent

fall apple recipes collage 2

Gluten/Dairy Free Apple Crisp by Zevy Joy | Apple Pie Chocolate Chip Cookies by Anderson + Grant | Easy Apple Dumpling Dessert by Happy Happy Nester | Gluten Free Apple Fritters by Home Made Lovely | Sheet Pan Apple Crumble by My Sweet Savannah

fall apple recipes collage 3

Salted Caramel Apple Tart by Shabby Fu Fu | Cinnamon Apple Bread by Julie Blanner | Apple & Blackberry Topped Waffles by French Country Cottage | Sugar Free Apple Butter by Farmhouse on Boone | Puff Pastry Apple Pie by Jenna Kate at Home

fall apple recipes collage 4

Apple Walnut Bread by On Sutton Place | Apple Cake with Homemade Caramel Sauce by Town and Country Living | Mini Apple Pies by My 100 Year Old Home | Apple Scones by Boxwood Avenue