Apple Bars With Oatmeal Crumb Topping

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Apple bars with Oatmeal Crumb Topping are a delicious treat that is pure comfort food. This recipe can be served as an after school snack or as a dessert elegant enough to be served to dinner guests. The buttery oatmeal crumb topping is the perfect complement to the tender, fresh apples. It takes little time to prepare these treats that will bring back memories of your mom’s apple pie.

Apple Oatmeal Bars

Apple Oatmeal Bars are an easy apple dessert recipe. Apple slices are stuffed between a soft, buttery, brown sugar and oatmeal crust and topping. One of the best apple recipes to make during the fall apple picking season!

It’s September, which means it’s back to school season. Hello, busyness! But it’s also apple season, of course. Fall colors, cooler temperatures and comforting apple dishes are all right around the corner.

Apple Oatmeal Bars are just the right way to kick off the fall baking season. It’s an easy recipe with three layers, but the top and bottom layers are the same. Crumbly brown sugar and oat goodness with apple slices baked in between.

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • Uses just two large apples.
  • No cinnamon for those who don’t like it, but if you do, add a teaspoon into the crumbs.
  • Makes a small dessert in an 11×7 baking pan.
  • The crumb streusel topping is also the crust, making it easy.
  • Delicious fresh from the oven by itself, but make it a little extra special with a scoop if ice cream.

What kind of apples are the best for baking?

I like to use Granny Smith in this apple oatmeal bars recipe. The tartness pairs so well with the sweetness in desserts, plus their texture holds up well when baked.

Don’t have Granny Smith? About 2 large apples of your favorite variety are all this recipe needs. Gala or Honeycrisp works well in this recipe.

Fall Apple Recipe

This is such a great apple recipe to make during the fall months, but it is delicious anytime of year. Whenever you are craving apples and cinnamon. There’s plenty of cinnamon in the topping which combines with brown sugar to wonderfully flavor the apples

Three Layers

These bars have 3 easy and delicious layers.

Buttery Crust– The bottom layer is just a buttery crust. There’s no sugar in it which is fine because it helps tone down the overall sweetness of the bars.

Apple Pie Fillling– A can of apple pie filling serves as the middle layer. So easy!

Oatmeal Crumb Topping– A combination of flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, and butter creates a chewy oat topping for these bars.

To fnish them off, I add a sweet glaze which is just a combo of powdered sugar and milk.

How To Serve Oatmeal Crumb Apple Bars

These bars are great served chilled, at room temperature, or warmed. You can add a little whipped cream on top or serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a decadent dessert.

Made in a 9×13-inch pan, this easy fall apple dessert can be cut into 16 bars to feed a crowd.

Storage

Store the bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator and they will stay fresh-tasting for 4 days.

Recipe Tips

Cut the apples in the apple pie filling up so they are in small bite-sized pieces.

Instead of adding a glaze, you can drizzle the bars with store-bought caramel sauce. Delicious!

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
  • Gala
  • Braeburn
  • 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:

  • Apples
  • Cornstarch
  • Brown sugar
  • Lemon juice
  • Vanilla
  • Cinnamon 
  • Nutmeg

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 🙂

YIELD: 12 -16 PIECES

Apple Crumble Bars

prep time 15 MINUTES

cook time 55 MINUTES

total time 1 HOUR 10 MINUTES

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!

Ingredients

Apple filling:

  •  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

Crumble:

  •  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

Instructions

  1. APPLES: In a bowl, toss together all the ingredients for the apples; set aside. Line a 12×9.5 pan with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Notes

  • If you don’t have salted butter, add ½ teaspoon of salt to the crumble mixture.
  • I prefer these bars in a 12×9.5 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 13×9 pan, just be sure to check around the 45-50 minute mark as a larger pan will mean they will cook slightly faster.

Storage Instructions

Store these bars in an airtight container in the fridge to keep them fresh. They’ll keep in the fridge for about 4 days.

They also freeze well. This makes them a great snack to have in the freezer for those school days that are not going well and just call for the medicine of a sweet snack.

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