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Apple Crisp Bars

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Prep Time: 15 mins    Cook Time: 55 mins

5 from 2 votes

These delicious apple crisp bars with light brown sugar and juicy Granny Smith apples make a wonderful fall dessert. Bars are more portable than slices of pie or cakes. This means you can take these to a potluck supper, picnic, or even include them in box lunches.

Several apple crisp bars on a sheet of parchment paper up close.
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The warm aroma of apple crisp bars baking in the oven makes the kitchen a tempting place to be! You will want to bite into one of these sweet and juicy apple bars as soon as they’re cooked but don’t be too quick to nibble, since they cut cleaner if you let them cool first.

These apple bars appeal to everyone from the youngest member of the family to the most senior. Anyone who loves caramel apple crisp or spiced fall desserts are sure to want a second helping!

This old-fashioned recipe is a classic. If you remember apple crisp fondly from your childhood, why not make your own using this easy, fun recipe? Or try something new, like these bacon maple cupcakes or my favorite pumpkin brownies.

Main Ingredients

The ingredients to make apple crisp bars laid out on a table.

These bars are more delicious than any apple pie or crisp recipe you could get from the grocery store. There are a few ingredients needed, but nothing hard to find.

This recipe is well worth making because it tastes so good! Let’s take a look at some of the key ingredients you will need:

  • Apples: The main flavor. Cored, peeled, and sliced, you just can’t beat the flavor of fresh apples. I prefer Granny Smiths because they’re sweet and also have a tart edge to the flavor. You can use any crisp apples you prefer though, such as Haralson or Honeycrisp.
  • Oats: To make the tasty topping. I usually make crisp recipes using old-fashioned oats (also known as rolled oats). Steel-cut oats would make a chewier topping, while quick oats would make a softer one. Experiment to see which you like best.
  • Sugar: For the sweetness of course. I usually use brown sugar in the filling, the crust, and the topping. It just has such a wholesome flavor. You will get equally good results using white sugar though.
  • Cinnamon: Complements the fruit in these apple crisp bars. Cinnamon has a natural affinity with apples. Make sure you’re using fresh cinnamon since it’s a key flavor here. Stale spices can lose most of their potency and subdue the flavor of the finished dessert.
  • Lemon juice: A dual-purpose ingredient. Not only does lemon juice add a zippy tang to this otherwise sweet dessert, but it also helps stop the apples from turning brown. Use fresh or bottled, as you like.
  • Baking powder: To improve the topping. This ingredient helps the topping to rise and thicken, so you get the perfect fruit crisp topping consistency.

Instructions Overview

If you’re all ready to make these bars, let’s take a look at how it’s done. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a professional baker to get these just right. Anyone can make them with ease.

First, pulse the flour, sugar, butter, and salt in your food processor and then press the mixture into a 13x9-inch baking pan. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Next, you can make the filling. Mix the apples with flour, sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon. For the topping, combine flour, butter, oats, sugar, cinnamon, and baking powder.

Add half the topping on top of the crust, then the filling, and finally the remaining topping mixture. Now all that’s left to do is bake the bars until done!

Ta-da! Just wait until you smell this baking… so good!

An overhead shot of several apple bars on a cutting board.

Common Questions

How should I store these?

Keep the bars in the refrigerator in a loosely covered container. I usually just cover the dish loosely with a paper towel or two.

Can I make these bars ahead?

Make these up to 2 days ahead if you like. The top will soften a bit but they won’t lose any flavor.

Are apple crisp bars freezer-friendly?

Oh yes. You can freeze these bars before or after baking for up to a couple of months. If you are cooking them from frozen you need to add another 20 minutes or so to the baking time so the center cooks too.

What is good to serve with these?

These bars are great just as they are. If you’re serving them for dessert rather than a portable snack, vanilla ice cream or whipped cream are always good. You can even add more indulgence by drizzling caramel sauce on top. Yum!

Can I use a different kind of fruit?

Sure! Ripe pears would be good in place of the apples, or you could try a combination of pears and berries or peaches or any other fresh fruit you like really.

A stack of five bars with fresh apple slices in the background.

Chopnotch Tips

  • Sub gluten-free flour and oats if you want to make this recipe gluten-free without sacrificing any of the classic flavors.
  • Firm crisp apples like Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or Jonagold hold their shape well in baked apple recipes, while softer varieties like Golden Delicious will fall apart a bit, so save those for your next apple butter or applesauce recipe.
  • Check for doneness with a sharp knife. If the top of your crisp is golden but the apples aren’t quite tender enough yet, cover the baking pan with foil and cook the crisp for a little longer.
An apple crisp bar with a bite taken out of it and crumbs around it.

Apple crisp bars are so versatile. Whether you are looking for a hot, warm, or chilled dessert, a portable snack, or just something to enjoy with a cup of coffee, these will definitely hit the spot!

Let us know what you think! Give this recipe a rating in the comments section below.

Recipe

How to Make

Apple Crisp Bars

Juicy apples pair with brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, and classic ingredients to make the best bars you ever had!
SCALE THIS RECIPE
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 55 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 10 mins
Servings: 24 bars

Ingredients

For the base:

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, cut into small squares
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the filling:

  • 4 large apples, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the topping:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into small squares
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup oats, old fashioned
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • teaspoon ground cinnamon
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Instructions

To make the base:

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F. Combine all the base ingredients into a food processor and then pulse until there are only small lumps.
  • Pour the mixture into a 9x13-inch baking pan, pack it down firmly with the back of a spoon, and then bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, set aside, and increase the oven temperature to 350°F.

To make the filling:

  • Combine all of the filling ingredients into a medium bowl and then mix until all apple slices are completely coated in the mixture.

To make the topping:

  • Combine all of the topping ingredients into a medium bowl and then mix with a fork until it turns crumbly.
  • Now pour half of this topping mixture into the baking pan on top of the base and spread it out evenly. Then add the apple filling mixture on top of that and spread it evenly. And then spread the remaining topping mixture evenly over top of the apples.
  • Bake for 40 minutes and then let it cool to room temperature. Cut into 24 bars and then serve. Enjoy!
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Notes

  • Sub gluten-free flour and oats if you want to make this recipe gluten-free without sacrificing any of the classic flavors.
  • Firm crisp apples like Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or Jonagold hold their shape well in baked apple recipes, while softer varieties like Golden Delicious will fall apart a bit, so save those for your next apple butter or applesauce recipe.
  • Check for doneness with a sharp knife. If the top of your crisp is golden but the apples aren’t quite tender enough yet, cover the baking pan with foil and cook the crisp for a little longer.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 212kcal (11%), Carbohydrates: 30g (10%), Protein: 2g (4%), Fat: 10g (15%), Saturated Fat: 6g (38%), Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 25mg (8%), Sodium: 54mg (2%), Potassium: 89mg (3%), Fiber: 1g (4%), Sugar: 15g (17%), Vitamin A: 312IU (6%), Vitamin C: 2mg (2%), Calcium: 24mg (2%), Iron: 1mg (6%)
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Dessert
cuisine:
American
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