Caramel Apple Bars, these easy homemade cookie bars have an oatmeal crust, caramel apple filling, and streusel and crumb like topping. The perfect fall dessert recipe for parties, potlucks, or a special treat for the family!
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I’ve always been a sucker for caramel and apples together, especially in the fall. These easy Caramel Apple Bars are the perfect fall treat. They have oats and fresh apple so they’re healthy, right? Ok, not really, but they’re delicious and a great fall dessert and treat.
I seem to have a bit of a thing for caramel apples, although more like caramel and apple together and not necessarily caramel on apples. Is that crazy?
If caramel and apples aren’t quite your thing, you might like some of my other cookie bars and bar recipes like my S’mores Bars (no campfire needed), Mango Bars (kind of like lemon bars but with mango), Peach Crumb Bars (perfect late summer into fall dessert), and my personal favorite Chocolate Hazelnut Pie Bars (part cookie, part pie with lots of chocolate).
These cookie bars have three layers although the best part is the bottom layer is also used for the crumb topping so less prep work. Bonus! The bottom layer is like a chewy oatmeal cookie, then a caramel apple filling, and then oatmeal cookie base becomes almost like a streusel or crumb topping.
No crazy ingredients, although you will need to get a bag of wrapped caramels. I don’t recommend using caramel sauce. More on that later.
Caramel Apple Bars Ingredients
- All-purpose flour
- Oats, old-fashioned (or quick)
- Brown sugar
- Baking soda
- Apples (such as Granny Smith)
- Bag of caramels (like Kraft caramel squares)
- Heavy Cream
How to Make Caramel Apple Bars
- Prep oven and pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13×9 baking dish or spray with nonstick spray.
- Make the oatmeal layer. In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Mix in melted butter, egg, and vanilla until well combined.
- Form the crust. Spread about 2/3 of mixture onto bottom of prepared baking dish to form an even thin crust layer. You may need to use the back of a fork or your hands to spread evenly. Set remaining crust mixture aside.
- Bake. Bake crust for about 12-14 minutes or until slightly puffed.
- Make the caramel apple filling. Meanwhile, place chopped apples, caramels, and cream in small saucepan over low heat. Stir until caramel is smooth and melted and apples are slightly soft.
- Finish assembling. Pour caramel apple mixture over baked crust. Sprinkle remaining crust mixture on top.
- Bake. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees F or until edges are slightly browned. Cool then cut into bars.
(Full printable recipe card is at bottom of post.)
- These cookie bars are great as-is either warm, room temperature, or even cold out of the fridge.
- Top with ice cream, caramel sauce, and maybe even a little more caramel sauce and chopped nuts for a sundae.
- Top with a little whipped cream for a pie bar like dessert.
Quick Tips for Best Results
- Use a firm apple that is good for baking such as Granny Smith.
- Don’t substitute caramel sauce for the wrapped caramel candies. Many caramel sauces are too thin and runny to work.
- Make sure the bars are completely cooled before cutting so they don’t fall apart. Although they are delicious warm right out of the oven if you don’t mind the bars possibly falling apart a little.
- Press the oatmeal crust down to make a nice even layer so that it cooks evenly.
Caramel Apple Bars FAQ
How should I store these Caramel Apple Bars?
I would suggest storing them in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge if you want to keep them a little longer or like them cold.
Can I freeze these cookies?
I haven’t tried it personally, but I don’t see why not. They may get a little more soft though after defrosting.
How long will these bars last?
They should last at least a few days at room temperature in an airtight container, or longer if in the fridge or freezer.
Can I substitute caramel sauce for the caramel?
I haven’t tried it but don’t recommend it. Caramel sauces can be a bit thin and runny and generally will not thicken as well as the homemade caramel for these cookies.
Can I use something other than apple?
I haven’t tried it but I bet other fruit would work well such as pears.
What else can I add to this recipe?
You could add a little cinnamon or apple pie spice to the caramel apple filling and/or the oatmeal crust or topping. You could also add some chopped nuts such as pecans or walnuts to the crumb topping over the apple pie filling.
Other Caramel Apple Inspired Recipes You May Enjoy
- Caramel Apple Cheesecaketini – A fun fall cocktail!
- Caramel Apple Butter Cupcakes – Over the top cupcakes that are perfect for parties.
- Caramel Apple Mug Cobblers – Individual fall dessert.
- Caramel Apple Dump Cake – Feeds a crowd and so easy to make!
Hope you enjoy this easy Caramel Apple Bars recipe. Tell me in the comments what kind of caramel apple recipes you enjoy!
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Caramel Apple Bars
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (or quick oats)
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted & cooled
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups apple peeled, cored, and chopped (about 3 apples such as Granny Smith)
- 1 (16. oz) bag of caramels, unwrapped
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13x9 baking dish or spray with nonstick spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Mix in melted butter, egg, and vanilla until well combined.
- Spread about 2/3 of mixture onto bottom of prepared baking dish to form an even thin crust layer. You may need to use the back of a fork or your hands to spread evenly. Set remaining crust mixture aside.
- Bake crust for about 12-14 minutes or until slightly puffed.
- Meanwhile, place chopped apples, caramels, and cream in small saucepan over low heat. Stir until caramel is smooth and melted and apples are slightly soft.
- Pour caramel apple mixture over baked crust. Sprinkle remaining crust mixture on top.
- Bake an additional 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees F or until edges are slightly browned. Cool then cut into bars.
This post was originally published in October 2013, but updated in August 2019 with additional information.