Apple Crisp With Shortbread Crust


Apple crisp with shortbread crust is so delicious with a scoop of ice cream that it is sure to become a recipe that you return to again and again. Making this dessert doesn’t take long at all, and you can change how the crisp turns out by adding what you like. Apple crisp is a classic dessert that is so satisfying and delicious especially when you have cold weather. But apple crisp is even more amazing with shortbread crumble topping.


A buttery shortbread crust serves as the foundation for these apple crisp bars, which are then layered with spiced apple slices and finished with a brown sugar crumble oatmeal topping. A unique take on a classic that will go over well at your fall get-togethers!

a stack of apple crisp bars on a place with apple cider in the background

Your go-to treat for all things fall will be these simple apple crisp bars! They are quick and easy to make, carry and consume effortlessly when cut into large (or little) apple crisp squares, and store incredibly well for days.

The apples retain a slight crisp bite, are pleasantly flavored with warm fall flavors, and have that crumble topping on top. The base is chewy. It’s my favorite portion of the bars, and I create the crisp topping using oatmeal to give it more texture and a similar, vintage look.

People will adore a hybrid apple crisp/pie, even though it requires a little bit more work than a typical apple crisp. You can eat these cold or at room temperature. The shortbread might crumble if you try to pick it up after they’ve warmed, but you could always simply eat it with a fork!

Make these bars 13×9 in size “pan that serves twelve (or more). You may also make it in an 8×8 by halving the recipe “pan if you only need a lesser amount. For details on how to freeze the bars, see the FAQs at the end.


This dish consists of three layers: a shortbread crust, an apple layer, and a crumble layer. Here’s how to make apple crisp bars that taste the best:

To make it simple to remove the bars after they’ve chilled, prepare a 13×9″ pan with parchment paper.


Start by creaming the softened butter in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer) for four minutes to make the shortbread base. It will lighten and get slightly aerated. After that, scrape the sides.

Add the salt, vanilla, and sugar, and beat for a minute at medium speed. Clean the sides once more. After that, add the flour and blend on low speed until barely mixed. It will initially appear brittle before coming together into a single mass.

Dollops of dough should be placed all over the pan, particularly around the edges. This is the easiest technique to divide the dough evenly because it is a little bit sticky. Using your fingertips, quickly and gently move the dough around.

Just be patient; everything will make sense in the end. Although it will seem too thin, this is true! Bake the foundation for 15 minutes after it has been uniformly pressed into the pan, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool. Turn up the heat to 350°F.


Peel, core, and cut the apples into slices that are 1/8″ thick. Add the slices to a large bowl while the base is cooking. With a rubber spatula, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and stir until there are no longer any dry crumbs in the bottom of the bowl.


Simply combine the melted butter, flour, brown sugar, oats, and salt with a fork to create the crumble layer, making sure there are no dry bits left.


Over the shortbread foundation, sprinkle a third of the crumble topping. After that, arrange the apple slices in rows, slightly overlapping each slice and bridging any gaps as required. With your hands, gently press the apples down.

Next, evenly distribute the remaining crumble topping over the apples. Go back to the oven and bake the topping for an additional 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Place on a wire rack to cool after being taken out of the oven. Place the mixture in the refrigerator to firm up the bars for at least two hours.

When ready to serve, slice the bars into 12 or more pieces with a sharp chef’s knife.

Can oats be omitted from apple crisp?

Absolutely. Add an additional 2T butter, 14 cup flour, and 14 cup brown sugar to the crumble topping if you want to make it without the oats.

Can apple crisp bars be frozen?

You may! The best method to do this is to place each cut slice inside a ziptop bag after wrapping it in plastic wrap and a piece of foil. For up to two months, freeze. Take off all packaging, and thaw on a platter in the refrigerator.

Easy Apple Crisp Bars

Yield: 16

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 58 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 13 minutes

The shortbread base, apple filling, and crisp topping of these simple apple crisp bars make for a crunchy-juicy treat. It only only a few simple ingredients to make, is incredibly simple to prepare, and will fill you up on these wet fall days.


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 6 tbsp. butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper to prepare the shortbread crust.
  2. Then, using medium speed for about 2-3 minutes, mix the butter, light brown sugar, and sugar until it becomes frothy and light.
  3. Once the vanilla has been added and thoroughly incorporated, fold in the flour and salt and continue beating at a moderate speed until a crumbly dough forms. Prepared pan’s bottom by pressing dough into it. It has to bake for 12 to 14 minutes.
  4. Peel and finely slice the apples, then combine them with flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium dish to make the apple filling.
  5. When the shortbread layer is done, remove it from the oven while keeping the temperature at 350 F. The shortbread layer should then be covered with the apples.
  6. TO MAKE CRISP TOPPING, combine all the ingredients in a dish and, using a pastry cutter, blend in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  7. Cover the apples with the crisp topping, then bake for about 45 minutes, or until the crisp topping is brown.
  8. After allowing it to cool in the pan, remove it and cut it into bars.


  • I used Granny Smith apples, but you need add at least two extra spoons of sugar to the apple filling if you want sour apples.
  • The easiest way to preserve apple crisp bars is in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in an airtight container. They taste best when served warm or at room temperature.

Cinnamon Apple Crisp Bars

Apple Crisp Bars, which are simple to create, contain an apple pie filling base made of buttery shortbread cookies, and a cinnamon streusel topping on top. Serve this simple recipe for apple bars with caramel sauce or vanilla bean ice cream. Bob’s Red Mill is the source of this recipe.

A Lot Simpler Than Apple Pie

Want apple pie but aren’t good at creating the pastry? Or perhaps you like a simple apple crisp but would like a bar or cookie. It’s time for dessert! It resembles a crisp in some ways, but it’s more like French apple pie bars or apple crisp cookie bars. Whatever you choose to call them, you’ll adore how easy it is to cook this recipe. #getinmybelly

These delicious apple dessert bars have the same flavor as apple pie, but without the hassle of crimping and rolling out the crust. Making an easy shortbread crust with melted butter and pressing it into a pan is what this recipe for apple crisp bars calls for.

Continue reading to find out more about the preparation of this apple crisp with shortbread crust.

The Difference Is in the Ingredients

For flavor and health, selecting ingredients of the highest caliber is crucial. It’s a testament to the care and love I put into each dish I develop for my loved ones, close friends, and the Vanilla And Bean community. In this recipe as well as many of my other baked goods ones, I use Bob’s Red Mill Organic Unbleached All Purpose Flour. It is a top-notch flour that consistently yields consistent results.

What Sorts of Apples Should You Pick?

You should select a blend of firm, tart, and sweet apples like Cortland, Honeycrisp, Gravenstein, Cameo, Jonagolds, Pink Lady, or Granny Smith apples as we’re using fresh apples in this recipe. Since we want the apples to maintain their texture rather than turn to mush, these kinds are ideal for our apple pie bars because they have a tendency to hold their structure nicely.

A blend of at least three different apple varieties produces a delicious dish with interesting flavor, interesting texture, and a gorgeous smell. Pick your favorites and follow them!

How to Make Apple Crisp Squares

Use an 8 by 8 inch baking pan with parchment paper to make these simple apple crisp bars with a shortbread crust. Put everything in place before beginning by gathering your ingredients. These simple apple bars can be made in the following ways :

  • All-purpose flour, ground cinnamon, light brown sugar, and melted butter are first combined in a medium bowl to produce the crust and streusel.
  • Second, put aside a part of the dough and combine it with old-fashioned oats, more brown sugar, and cinnamon for the streusel topping. After removing the streusel, press the remaining dough into the pan’s bottom.
  • Bake the crust third.
  • Fourth, prepare the apple filling while the crust is baking by peeling, coring, and slicing the fresh apples into thin, 1/8-inch-thick slices. A mandoline speeds up the process a little.
  • Fifth, prepare the apple slices with a couple tablespoons of maple syrup, some vanilla bean paste, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice. Add a slurry of cornstarch and boil the apples for a little bit longer toward the finish of cooking to thicken them.
  • After that, take the shortbread crust out of the oven and spread the apple filling over it.
  • Finally, top the apples with the streusel and bake the pan in the oven once more until golden.

When shortbread apple crumble bars have cooled, slice them and serve them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or, for extra caramel apple pleasure, sprinkle them with caramel sauce. SO GOOD!

How to Prevent Mushy Apples

I read a tip in Cooks Illustrated to simmer the apple slices for about 10 minutes before baking. By doing this, the pectin is helped to solidify and reach a heat-stable condition, preventing mushy apples (or further apple shrinkage). Between the shortbread crust and the crumbly, crisp topping, we get a good apple texture.

And among others I’ve tried, it works great in this apple crisp recipe and my gluten-free vegan apple pie recipe. No apples with mush!

How to Store Cinnamon Apple Crisp Bars

For up to two days, apple crisp bars will remain tasty at room temperature. They can also be successfully frozen for longer storage (or as a make-ahead approach) with fantastic results!

Cut the frozen food into squares before freezing it on a sheet pan. Once frozen, place between parchment paper-lined sheets in a freezer bag or other container with a lid. At room temperature, defrost.

How to Reheat Apple Shortbread Bars

Warming up these apple squares is such a treat! The fats are softer due to the slight heat, which enables the bars to crisp up once again. Naturally, heat also causes the ice cream to melt all over these delectable delicacies!

Apple bars should be heated thoroughly at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for around 10-15 minutes after being defrosted or brought to room temperature.

A Few Recipe Notes

  • To achieve the finest flavor, texture, and smell, pick a variety of hard apples.
  • Prepared Ahead of Time: Start your holiday preparations early with this apple bar dessert! It nicely freezes.
  • Use your preferred vanilla bean ice cream and/or caramel sauce when serving.
  • While I haven’t tried this recipe with plant butter, you could certainly use Earth Balance to make it vegan. If so, cut the crust recipe’s salt requirement by 1/4 teaspoon. Please let us know in the comments if you try it.

Apple Crisp Bars

These apple crisp bars include a shortbread crust, cinnamon apples, and oatmeal crumble on top—the ideal dessert for apple season. Delicious with a dollop of ice cream or a drizzle of caramel sauce.

Prep Time30 mins

Cook Time55 mins

Cooling3 hrs

Total Time4 hrs 25 mins

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: American

Keyword: Apple Crisp Bars, Apple Crumble Bars

Servings: 9 large bars

Calories: 324kcal


Shortbread Base

  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour AKA plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Apple Filling

  • 2 large apples* I like Honey Crisp, Granny Smith or Pink Lady for this recipe
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Crumble Topping

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar packed
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • ⅓ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter melted


Shortbread Base

  • Set the oven’s temperature to 350 F (180 C). Using parchment paper, line an 8×8 inch (20×20 centimeter) pan, leaving an overhang on all sides.
  • Beat the butter and sugar until well mixed in a medium bowl.
  • Mix in the cornstarch, salt, and flour while running the mixer at a low speed.
  • The prepared pan’s bottom should be pressed with the dough.
  • Bake for 22 to 25 minutes in a preheated oven, or until the top appears firm and the sides are just beginning to turn golden.
  • Take the pan out of the oven (keep the oven turned on)

Apple Filling

  • Apples should be peeled and cored before being sliced thin.
  • In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and cinnamon with the thinly sliced apples.
  • Over the shortbread base that has been baked, arrange the apple slices.

Oatmeal Crumble Topping

  • The flour, brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, and oats are all combined.
  • Add the melted butter and stir until the mixture resembles wet sand.
  • Overlay the apples with the crumbled topping.
  • For 35 minutes, bake in the preheated oven.
  • Once out of the oven, let the bars completely cool (while in the pan).
  • When you’re ready to slice, pull the bars out of the pan using the parchment paper’s overhang.
  • Slice after setting on a chopping board.


  1. 2 large apple or 2 ½ medium/small apples work. I recommend using a type of apple that is crunchy and flavorful – such as Granny Smith, Honey Crisp or pink Lady. Do not use McIntosh or Golden Delicious.
  2. For up to three days, keep bars in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Up to two months of freezing and subsequent thawing of the bars is possible.
  3. Considering that the pan is divided into 9 equal pieces, the nutritional information is simply an estimate and based on 1 bar (without caramel or ice cream).


Calories: 324kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 70mg | Potassium: 97mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 499IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg

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