Apple bars are a favorite treat in my home year-round. Apples are just so easy to get any time of year. These easy dessert bars are delicious, homemade and use few ingredients. The best part of making these, they smell so good when they are baking!
This recipe uses fresh, crisp apples with the perfect amount of cinnamon. The crust layer is actually my favorite part. I've made dozens of fruit based desserts over many years but this crust always makes me pause after the first bite and savor the texture and deliciousness! Every single time I wonder why I don't make this dessert more often.
Are you looking for other easy and delicious bar recipes? These cherry bars and these simple chocolate chip cake bars made with cake mix hit the spot!
Table of contents
Why I love these dessert bars
If you love your food to have a bit of a crisp and crunchy texture, these bars are a dessert you need to try. By using crispy baking apples, the apple pieces retain just enough crunch to be satisfying. It makes you think of fresh crisp apples from an orchard.
It took me a while to figure out why this recipe has been such a longtime favorite. It's the crust! It has small pieces of walnuts, making it both flavorful and adding to the texture.
Who doesn't love the flavor of apples and cinnamon? This has just the right amount of cinnamon! Yum.
For the crust
- All-purpose flour - Although I often substitute some whole grain flour in some recipes, I wouldn't with this one, mainly because of the crust.
- Brown sugar - light brown or dark brown sugars both work. Just make sure to lightly pack the brown sugar so you are adding the correct quantity.
- Softened butter - usually when baking the butter should be unsalted. However, for this recipe, I use what I have on hand (normally salted) and I can't tell the difference.
- Chopped walnuts - chop to a uniform smaller size. You still want to have recognizable pieces for the crunch.
For the apple topping mixture
- Ground cinnamon - If you have apple pie spice handy, go ahead and use that!
- Baking Soda - make sure your baking soda is fresh!
- Salt - any kind is fine, as long as it's a relatively fine grind.
- Vanilla extract - natural is always best.
- Sour Cream - when baking, I don't like using the fat-free kind.
- Egg - Large if you have that size
Did you know that eggs are sized/graded by the total weight of the egg carton? There is an individual minimum per egg, but eggs in cartons can be different sizes. This is according to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Mix flour, brown sugar and butter in a medium bowl. I use a pastry blender to get a crumbly consistency.
Stir in chopped walnuts.
In a sprayed 9 x 13 baking dish, press 3 cups of the above mixture to form the crust.
Add the balance of the ingredients to the remaining crumb mixture. Add the chopped apples last and stir them in until easily distributed.
Bake for 30 minutes at 350 F. Check with toothpick for doneness
I cut this sized pan into 12 bars. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Apple bars can sit on the counter for 3 -4 days. It tastes best if reheated in the oven for 5 - 10 minutes. I personally find if I keep these bars longer, they taste good but the bottom crust gets soggy from the moisture in the apples. For that reason, I also don't freeze this recipe.
These bars taste best when warm. Also, when they have sat on the counter for a few days, the bottom crust can get soft and lose the delicious texture it starts out with. What I do is put the bars in a smaller baking pan. Then I put them in the oven for approximately 10 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 F. The bars taste wonderful reheated but the crust on the bottom does not regain it's original crispness.
I used Honey crisp apples this time. Any baking apple will work great (Granny Smith, Fuji, Gala). Personally, I wouldn't hesitate to use any type of apple for this recipe!
Sometimes we don't have the size suggested in the recipe (11 x 13 in this recipe). If you do use smaller, your baking time will be longer because the bars are thicker. Watch the timing and know you will be getting a thicker (taller) bar.
Other Bar Recipes
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Easy Apple Bars
For the Crust
- 2 cups flour all-purpose
- 1½ cups brown sugar packed
- ½ cup butter softened
- 1 cup chopped walnuts chopped to a uniform smaller size
For the Apple Topping
- Add the ingredients below to the balance of the crust mix after the crust has been made.
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 large egg
- 1½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 medium apples peeled and chopped
- Preheat oven to 350℉
- Mix flour, brown sugar and butter in a medium bowl. I use a pastry blender to get a crumbly consistency.
- Stir in chopped walnuts.
- In a sprayed 9 x 13 baking dish, press 3 cups of the above mixture to form the crust. ***Use the remaining mixture for the next step!
- Add the balance of the ingredients to the remaining crumb mixture. Add the chopped apples last and stir them in until easily distributed.
- Bake for 30 minutes at 350 F. Check with toothpick for doneness.
- To Serve, I cut this sized pan into 12 bars. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.