Apple Crumble Bars
Learn how to make the most delicious fall dessert – apple crumble bars! These bars are easy to throw together and perfect for when you’ve gone apple picking!
Easy fall desserts, I am all about that.
These apple crumble bars have been on repeat at our house! No, I didn’t go apple picking because that’s not really a thing we do in Texas. I went to my favorite grocery store that just so happens to be running a special on barrels and barrels of apples and pretended I plucked these beautiful rubies off a tree. Okay, so they weren’t really in a barrel either. But the box they were in had a picture of a wooden crate, honest! Boy, have I got myself a great imagination.
However, in order to celebrate the only day of autumn, we’ll have, possibly until December, I did order a new pair on knee-high boots, dusted off my scarves, and got a new fall scented candle. Living in Texas sure has its perks, but the autumn season certainly isn’t one of them.
Oddly enough, I woke up yesterday to find out we’d we have a cold front coming in! YAY! Only not really, because I also happen to be boarding a plane that very day to head to Sacramento (then on to Napa!) Here’s to hoping it’s still cool-ish when I get back to Houston on Friday.
But regardless of the weather, come October, I like to bake all the fall things. I’ll make myself a pumpkin latte using my favorite coffee machine, I’ll freshen up the house with cozy blankets in each room, and I’ll bake all the apple, pumpkin, cinnamon, and spice things. Speaking of, have you tried my homemade cinnamon swirl bread? Raisin fan or not, you have got to make it for Sunday morning breakfast. And wait until you use the leftover bread to make French toast. Have mercy; it is pure bliss. I’ve also made caramel apple cinnamon rolls if that’s more your jam.
So these homemade apple crumble bars have two main components. The apple filling and the crust/crumble. What I love most about this recipe is that you don’t need a separate recipe for the topping from the crust. It’s all in one, just save some of it, and use it for the top. DELISH!
What kind of apples can you use for apple crumble bars?
The possibilities are endless. Generally, you want to use an apple that can hold up to longer baking time and won’t become mushy. Here’s what I recommend:
- Honey crisp (what I typically use)
- Pink lady
- Granny Smith
I suggest using one of the first four listed unless you want your dessert to have tons of tart flavor, in which case you should go with the Granny Smith.
The apple filling for apple crumble bars:
- Brown sugar
- Lemon juice
Do you have to cook your apple filling beforehand?
NO! That’s why I played around with this recipe so so much before sharing it with you. I wanted to make apple crumble bars from scratch, not using store-bought pie filling, but also not having to turn on the stove to make the pie filling. If that sounds confusing, what I’m trying to say is that I want this to be EASY.
And easy is it!
What’s in the crumble for apple crumble bars?
- Rolled oats
- All-purpose flour
- Brown sugar/ granulated sugar
- Melted butter
- Baking powder
- Ground cinnamon
It’s important to note that this recipe calls for rolled oats (sometimes called, old-fashioned or even whole oats) and not quick cooking oats. Quick cooking oats, unfortunately, aren’t a good substitute because as the name suggests, they cook much quicker than old-fashioned oats and would require a different ratio of butter, sugar, etc. For best results, I recommend rolled oats here.
How do you make the crust and crumble for apple crumble bars?
Okay, so I wasn’t kidding when I said this was easy. Mix all the ingredients except the butter in a bowl and slowly pour in the butter while you stir or mix using a fork or spoon. When the mixture resembles a sand-like texture, it’s done. Make sure you reserved one-third for the crumble topping.
Tips for success when you make apple crumble bars:
- Here is the baking pan I used. It’s a 12X9.5 rectangle pan so the bars are thicker than what they’d be if you used a traditional 13×9. You can make the same thing in a 13×9 pan but keep in mind that the bars will be slightly thinner and you’ll need to decrease the baking time.
- Be sure to really pack in the crust. You don’t want the bottom to crumble (quite literally)
- When you make your apple mixture, if there’s any water or liquid at the bottom of the bowl, use a slotted spoon to transfer the apples.
- Sometimes, I like to replace the vanilla extract with vanilla bean paste that way you get specks of vanilla throughout the apple filling — heavenly!
- Let the apple crumble bars cool completely before trying to remove them from the baking pan. At least an hour, longer if you can. Once they’ve cooled for an hour, I usually stick them in the refrigerator and let them cool completely, and it makes it so much easier to slice them that way.
I hope you’ll add these homemade apple crumble bars to the list of things to do this weekend. Round up the family and make them help! If you’re decorating for fall or Halloween, these bars would be the perfect dessert to prepare and serve 🙂
Apple Crumble Bars
Learn how to make the most delicious fall dessert - apple crumble bars! These bars are easy to throw together and perfect for when you’ve gone apple picking!
- 2 lbs of apples ~ 4 medium-ish apples, (peeled, cored, finely diced)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon EACH: lemon juice and vanilla
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup melted salted butter
- 1 teaspoon EACH: baking powder and ground cinnamon
- APPLES: In a bowl, toss together all the ingredients for the apples; set aside. Line a 12x9.5 pan with parchment paper; set aside.
- CRUMBLE: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Mix the oats, flour, sugars, baking powder, and ground cinnamon together in a large bowl. Pour in the melted butter and stir to combine until you form a sand-like crumb. Press two-thirds of the prepared crumb mixture into the prepared pan. You want to make sure the crust is tightly packed in.
- BAKE: Top with the apple mixture and sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture on top. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack for one hour. I usually stick mine in the refrigerator for a bit after that to cool them down completely before cutting into pieces.
- If you don’t have salted butter, add ½ teaspoon of salt to the crumble mixture.
- I prefer these bars in a 12x9.5 pan because they are thicker that way and personally, I like the crust to apple ratio a lot here. But you can also bake these in a 13x9 pan, just be sure to check around the 45-50 minute mark as a larger pan will mean they will cook slightly faster.
equipment you’ll need to make apple crumble bars:
Can these be made a day in advance?
Made this for thanksgiving, it was such a hit!!!
Making these right now! Do they have to be stored in the refrigerator or can they stay out once they’re completely cooled?
Hope you enjoy them, Mel! I do suggest refrigerating them as the apples hold up better that way. If you prefer the crumble bars at room temp or warm, you could always reheat them for a few minutes in a toaster oven! 🙂
Hey I just made them and I realized I forgot to put the granulated sugar will that affect the bars??
Can I use flour instead of cornstarch and how much?
Very very good! Made this with Granny Smith, used a mixture of almond and gluten free flour instead of the regular one. Crumble turned out a bit more crumblier than if made with a regular flour, I guess, but it tasted great, and everyone loved it. I would suggest using only Granny Smith apples for those who prefer less sugar. This is one of our the fall favorites in our family now.
Hi Laima! Thanks for sharing your tips for making this recipe gluten-free, really appreciate that!So glad to hear you enjoyed the bars 🙂
I made these yesterday. This is a very simple and easy recipe to follow. I used Gala apples and did not peel them because I like the peel. The only other thing I did differently was to add about 1/2 cup of finely chopped pecans in the topping. They came out great. My wife and I both thought they are delicious. I am definitely saving this recipe.
Hi Mark! So glad to hear you found these easy to make! Love that you added pecans!
These turned out great! I didn’t have any of the recommended apples, but I used a mix Macintosh and Cortland apples and par baked them beforehand. I didn’t have any issues with mushy apples that way.
To par bake: place diced apples in microwave safe dish covered for 2 mins stirring halfway through and then allow to sit for 5 mins.
Thanks for sharing and so glad you enjoyed the bars, Ariana!
Can these be made and then frozen?
Can this recipe be cut in half and baked in an 8 x8 pan for a smaller batch?