Apple Crisp Bars are easy to make from scratch. This recipe uses a basic shortbread crust topped with apple slices and a simple flavorful crisp.
Sliced apples and crumble topping with a shortbread crust—now that’s a dessert I can get behind. This recipe for apple crisp bars is one of my go-to’s. Warm, cold, with ice cream, for breakfast, any way you eat them, they are delicious.
For those of you who usually reach for the boxed apple crisp topping, I think it’s worth trying to make it from scratch. I’ll break the homemade recipe down for you.
The base of these apple crisp bars is a shortbread crust—butter, brown sugar, vanilla and flour. Beat those ingredients together and press the dough into a baking pan. Pre-bake the crust so it’s sturdy enough to hold the apple filling and crumble topping.
Apple crisp filling
Peel, core and slice apples to make the filling. The job is made easy with this apple peeler. Then toss the apples in flour to prevent a runny filling and sugar for extra sweetness.
Crumble topping requires sugar, flour, cinnamon and cold butter crumbled together. When butter is cold, it won’t get completely incorporated into the batter. Use a pastry cutter (I like this one) to obtain pea size crumbles. The butter will melt in the oven to create a crispy topping.
More apple recipes…
I have a slew of apple recipes in the archive, but here are a few of my favorites from my blog and others!
- Apple cheesecake bars – similar to this recipe, but with a layer of cheesecake in the center
- Mom’s homemade apple pie recipe – My go-to recipe from apple pie!
- Classic apple crisp – Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream
- Cinnamon sugar apple muffins – A breakfast treat packed with apple bits!
Apple bars are a must try during the fall season. I’d love to see how your turned out! If you try one of my recipes, be sure to tag @ifyougiveablondeakitchen on social media!
Easy Apple Crisp Bars
- 1/2 cup (113 g or 1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup (50 g) light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups (147 g) all-purpose flour
- 4 cups (500 g) apples1 peeled, cored and thinly sliced (about 4-5 medium apples2)
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (100 g) light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (94 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons (85 g) chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- Preheat oven to 350º F. Line a 8×8 pan with parchment paper, leaving extra hanging over the ends, spray with cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add vanilla and mix until combined. Add flour and mix until combined and dough is crumbly.
- Press dough evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until dough is slightly puffed. Remove from oven and set aside, maintain oven temperature.
- In a large bowl, combine apples, flour and sugar. Mix until apples are thoroughly coated. Arrange apples on baked crust.
- In a medium bowl, mix together first five ingredients. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Spread topping over apples in an even layer.
- Bake uncovered at 350º F for 45 minutes, or until topping is golden and apple mixture is bubbly. Let cool, lift apple crisp using the extra parchment paper at the ends as handles, and cut into bars.
- Suggested tools: Kitchen scale, apple peeler/corer, pastry cutter, 8×8 baking pan and mixing bowls.
- Use crisp or tart apples such as Granny Smith, Gala and Honeycrisp (or mix them!) Avoid sweeter apples (like Macintosh) as it will make the filling mushy.
- Store apple crisp bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator or at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Recipe adapted from The Merry Thought.