If you’ve recently gone apple picking, you may as well go back for another bushel now because after making just one batch of these Caramel Apple Bars you’ll be making them on repeat all season long.

Two caramel apple bars with streusel topping on white plates

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It’s as if these gooey caramel apple bars know the secret melody to my heart.

Every time I am within three feet of my kitchen (ahem, anytime I’m home and not asleep), they sing me a sweet siren love song, and I am left with no option but to sneak another bite.

Their allure is unstoppable, and I have neither the will nor the desire to resist.

A square pan of freshly baked gooey caramel apple bars on a table with green and red apples and a white tea towel

5 Star Review

“Was delicious! Thanks for sharing it. My husband was in heaven”

— Debbi —

Caramel apple bars are just one of those desserts—the ones you can’t stay away from (like this Vegan Apple Crisp).

They’re a dessert you spend your entire dinner dreaming about and justify eating for breakfast (after all, they’re not that different from Apple Coffee Cake).

To recap, we have 8×8-inches of:

  • A thick, buttery (sorry, I don’t know another word to describe the taste), brown sugar, and oatmeal base.
  • Tart, yet sweet, seasonal apples.
  • Gooey caramel goodness (preferably this Apple Cider Caramel Sauce).
  • Followed by more cinnamony, crumby, crispy topping.

They are everything a fall dessert can, should and must be.

Caramel Apple Bars with a crumble topping on white round plates

How to Make Caramel Apple Bars

The bars are a perfect union between a gooey caramel apple on a stick and classic apple crisp served warm from the oven (or slow cooker in the case of Crock Pot Apple Crisp).


The Ingredients

  • Apples. The best apples for this recipe are those that are firm and hold their shape well when baked, like Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or Gala.
  • Caramel Sauce. Regardless of if you use store-bought caramel sauce or homemade, the sweet, gooey caramel factor of these bars will always score a 10/10.
  • Butter. Essential for creating a rich crumbly base and topping that hug the tender apples and warm caramel filling.

Dietary Note

Vegan friends, never fear. You can make vegan caramel apple bars with this recipe by swapping the butter for equal amounts of your favorite soy-based margarine (like Earth Balance) and using this Vegan Caramel Sauce.

  • Whole Wheat + All Purpose Flour. My way of sneaking a little bonus whole grain nutrition into these bars is with a 50/50 blend of whole wheat flour and everyday all purpose flour.
  • Rolled Oats. Add nice texture and subtle nutty flavor to the bars.
  • Dark Brown Sugar. Contributes a little extra oomph of molasses flavor than light brown sugar.
  • Spices. A blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice round out these bars and give them that iconic fall taste (and heavenly aroma).
Caramel Apple Bars with a crumble topping on white round plates

The Directions

  1. .Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl (reserving 3 tablespoons of all purpose flour). Then, work in the butter with your fingers.
  2. Next, whisk together the caramel and reserved 3 tablespoons of flour in a separate bowl.
  3. Press the crumbs into a greased and parchment-lined 8×8 baking dish, reserving 1/3 for the top layer. Arrange the apples over the crust in an even layer, then add a thick layer of caramel sauce. Finish with a sprinkle of the remaining crumbs.
  4. Bake until the top is golden. Let cool completely, slice into bars, and serve. ENJOY!

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Leftover caramel apple bars may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
  • To Freeze. Caramel apple bars may be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
  • To Reheat. Enjoy these caramel apple bars chilled from the fridge, at room temperature, or warm. To reheat, warm an individual serving on a microwave-safe plate for 10-20 seconds.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Caramel Apple Bars be Baked in a 9×13 Pan?

Yes. To make this caramel apple bar recipe in a 9×13 pan, double the ingredients and then prepare as directed. Note that the baking time may vary so keep a close eye on the bars and adjust the time accordingly.

Are Caramel Apple Bars Vegan?

This recipe, as it is written, is not vegan. You may adapt the recipe easily however by swapping the butter for an equal amount of soy-based margarine and your favorite vegan caramel recipe (my recipe is linked in the main post content above).

Can these Caramel Apple Bars be Prepared Gluten Free?

Possibly! I have not tested these bars with gluten free ingredients so it would be an experiment. You could try swapping the oats and flour for a 1-to-1 gluten free baking mix and gluten-free rolled oats. Otherwise, I recommend trying this killer Gluten Free Apple Crisp recipe instead.

Vegan Caramel Apple Crisp Bars

Caramel Apple Bars

5 from 4 votes
Caramel apple bars are made with layers of caramel sauce, apples, and a buttery crumble crust and topping. A perfect, easy fall dessert.

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 50 mins

Servings: 12 bars (using an 8×8-inch pan)

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (plus 3 tablespoons), divided
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups peeled diced firm apples such as Granny Smith (about 2 large or 3 medium)
  • 1/2 cup homemade or store-bought caramel sauce try with this vegan caramel sauce

Instructions
 

  • Place rack in center of your oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch x 8-inch baking dish with parchment paper and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, 1 cup all purpose flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, all-spice, and nutmeg. Add the butter in small pieces, then quickly work it in with your fingers, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the caramel and remaining 3 tablespoons of flour. Set aside.
  • Press 2/3 of the crumbs into the prepared baking dish and evenly arrange the sliced apples over top. Then evenly pour the caramel over the top of the apples and sprinkle with the remaining crumbs.
  • Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until top is lightly browned. Let the bars cool completely before cutting—or serve very messy, very delicious bars immediately.

Notes

  • TO STORE: Leftover caramel apple bars may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
  • TO FREEZE: Caramel apple bars may be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
  • TO REHEAT: Enjoy these bars chilled from the fridge, at room temperature, or warm. To reheat, warm an individual serving on a microwave-safe plate for 10-20 seconds.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 12)Calories: 286kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 4gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 183mgPotassium: 130mgFiber: 3gSugar: 20gVitamin A: 313IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 34mgIron: 1mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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10 Comments

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  1. Feedback booth time! Another keeper! I got my bottom layer a little too thick but they were still very, very good (all gone in < 24 hr via us and sharing). I should have listened to you and peeled those apples, tho (me=lazy). I also used all KAF white WW. I'm going to have to start me a lil old "Erin hits" notebook at this rate! ;). Thank you for adding to the rotation list. Our cool air is coming, so more Erin's caramel and Erin's apple bars on the way soon!5 stars

    1. Joanie, I love your feedback, and I love you for trying so many of my recipes! Makes me smile every time :-) Thanks for the detailed report, and I might try these with all white WW myself next time. Thanks again, so much!

    1. Debbi, I am so so excited to hear that you and your husband loved these bars! “heaven” is the highest praise for which I could ask :) Thanks so much for trying the recipe and letting me know how it turned out for you!

  2. yum! i’m going to try these out tonight to bring for our dessert day tomorrow at work! i have a coworker who is vegan and she is going to be so excited!!

    1. Thanks so much for trying this recipe Jacqueline! I hope your whole office loves them (and if you have time, I’d love to hear what you think afterwards too!)

      1. Erin, it went really well – thank you again! The bars were DELICIOUS and everyone loved them! http://eleventhfloorview.com/2014/10/29/vegan-caramel-apple-crisp-bars/5 stars

        1. Jacqueline, I am so so happy to hear that! Thank you so much for letting me know, and for sharing the recipe on your blog too. I’m honored!!

    1. Hi Rita! I have never made the recipe this way, so it would be a bit of an experiment, but generally to go from an 8 x 8 pan to a 9 x 13 pan, you are fine to double the recipe. You will likely need to adjust the baking time though, so just keep an eye on them. I hope you enjoy!