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Oatmeal Apple Pie Bars

Oatmeal Apple Pie Crumb Bars with buttery shortbread crust, apple cinnamon filling and a delicious crumble topping. This simple recipe is so easy to prepare and requires just eight ingredients and no baking experience.

Spoon drizzling glaze over sliced apple crumb bars.

Apple pie lovers, you’re going to get a kick out of this fresh new take on classic apple pie.

These Oatmeal Apple Pie Crumb Bars boast all the traditional features of traditional apple pie, but they require far less time and zero fancy techniques.

We’re achieving a buttery crust, gooey apple cinnamon filling, a delightful oatmeal streusel topping, and a lovely glaze to tie it all together.

While I typically make my dessert recipes lower in added sugar, I was a little generous with the sweetener this time around to get the full apple pie experience.

If you prefer treats with less sugar, simply leave out the powdered sugar glaze.

I love that these delicious apple pie bars can be made any time of year, no matter the occasion. Fancy enough to serve for a special event, yet simple enough to whip up at a moment’s notice, these apple crumble bars are versatile.

I make them gluten-free and they can easily be made refined sugar-free and/or dairy-free too by following the suggestions in the Recipe Adaptations section below.

Baking pan with oatmeal apple crumb bars inside, fresh out of the oven and ready to serve.

The Inspiration For This Recipe:

One of my favorite parts about crumb bars is you can achieve the same great taste as a classic pie in a fraction of the time.

Because of the ease of preparation, mouth-watering result, and the convenience, I have been making fruit crumb bar recipes since 2019.

It all started with my Paleo Blueberry Crumb Bars, followed by my Paleo Apple Crumb Bars using almond flour.

Craving a traditional shortbread crust with a crispy crumb topping, I began using gluten-free all-purpose flour and oats, kicking off the oatmeal crumb bar love with my Strawberry Oatmeal Bars and my 7-Ingredient Blueberry Oatmeal Crumb Bars

This apple version of my crumb bar obsession is the ideal dessert for apple pie lovers and those who enjoy apple crisp or apple desserts.

Let’s discuss the simple ingredients for these delicious apple crumb bars.

Ingredients for Apple Pie Crumb Bars:

Pie Crust Ingredients:

Unsalted Butter: Butter is used to combine the crust ingredients and brings richness to the dessert. The end result is a delicious buttery crust and topping for the absolute best flavor.

Gluten-Free All-Purpose: The base of the crumb bar crust and topping. I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, but any gluten-free flour blend that is designed to be a 1:1 replacement for all-purpose flour should work.

Drop a comment below letting me know which brand of GF flour you use and how the bars turned out!

Gluten-Free Oats: We mix in some quick cooking oats to bring a little texture and that delicious nutty oat flavor. Instant oats, rolled oats, and old-fashioned oats all work great.

I use gluten-free sprouted oats.

Granulated Sugar: Sweeten the crust using granulated cane sugar. The crust turns out ever so slightly sweet without being overly sweet, which I believe creates delicious balance.

Sea Salt: Salt is a flavor enhancer! Just a pinch will do.

Apple Pie Filling Ingredients:

Fresh Apples: Pick your favorite apples for baking. I like using sweet apples like gala apples or Fuji apples, but tart apples like Granny Smith apples work too.

I find the best apples for this delicious dessert are those that contain a decent amount of liquid (juice) and are nice and sweet.

Be sure to use fresh apples that aren’t too old for the best results.

Water: To make a gooey apple pie filling, we add some water to the apples. As the apples cook, the natural sugars cook out and create a caramelized gooey sauce, which is aided by the water.

If you happen to have apple juice or apple cider on hand you can use it instead of water.

Pure Maple Syrup or Brown Sugar: Leveling up the sweetness of the apple filling, we need pure maple syrup or brown sugar.

Ground Cinnamon, Ground Nutmeg, and Sea Salt: Cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt season the apples to give them a blast of warmly-spiced deliciousness. Skip the nutmeg if you don’t have it on hand, or use pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice.

Ingredients for Powdered Sugar Glaze:

Powdered Sugar (Confectioners Sweetener) and Water: A classic powder sugar glaze is a simple combination of powdered sugar and water. You can use lemon juice instead of water for a little citrus flavor.

The glaze is optional but I do think it brings the dessert together deliciously. Adding sweetness and a little stickiness, the glaze creates a sort of apple fritter or apple Danish vibe, which I find to be intoxicating.

Slices of apple crumb bars on a sheet of parchment paper.

Looking to customize this recipe to fit your specific dietary needs? Here are some options.

Recipe Adaptations:

Refined Sugar-Free Option: If you prefer baking refined sugar-free, you can replace the sugar with pure maple syrup and omit the powdered sugar glaze. When using pure maple syrup in the crust, reduce the amount of butter to 8 tablespoons. The sugar can also be replaced with coconut sugar or maple sugar.

Dairy-Free Option (Vegan Option): Replace the melted butter with ½ cup of melted coconut oil in the crust. If the crust seems too crumbly, you can add 1 to 3 more tablespoons. Replace the butter in the apple pie filling with one tablespoon of coconut oil.

Not Gluten-Free?: I haven’t tested this recipe using regular all-purpose flour, but it should work as a 1:1 replacement for the GF flour. If you use regular all-purpose flour and the crust mixture seems too crumbly, you can add some additional melted butter. On the other hand, if the crust seems too wet, add more flour until it is slightly crumbly but presses together easily.

Add Vanilla: Mix 1 to 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract to the crumb topping mixture if you have it on hand.

Glaze Options: Rather than drizzling the bars with powdered sugar glaze, you can drizzle them with homemade or store-bought caramel sauce.

Now that we’re experts on all of the basics, let’s bake some delicious dessert bars!

How to Make Apple Pie Crumb Bars:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a 8” x 8” square pan with a piece of parchment paper.

Add all of the ingredients for the shortbread crust and topping to a large bowl and mix until combined.

There’s no need to separate the wet ingredients from the dry ingredients, as everything can be mixed at the same time. The dough should be slightly crumbly but still press together easily.

Measure out ½ cup of the crust mixture and set it aside to use as the crumble topping.

Shortbread crust and crumb topping mixture in a mixing bowl.

Pour the remaining crust mixture into the prepared pan. Use your hands to press the crust mixture into the pan, creating an even layer. Poke the crust many times with a fork – this will prevent it from bowing up and ensure it is baked evenly.

Crust mixture inside of a square baking pan, ready to go into the oven to pre-bake.

Bake the crust on the center rack of the oven for 18 to 22 minutes, until it is slightly golden brown around the edges.

While the crust is baking, prepare the apple filling. Peel, core, and slice the apples into thin slices. You will need 6 cups of sliced apples, which should be about 4 to 5 large apples.

Transfer the apple slices to a saucepan along with the water, pure maple syrup, ground cinnamon, and sea salt. Cover the pot and heat over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a full boil and cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in the flour and the butter until well-combined with the apple mixture. Note: if there isn’t very much liquid surrounding the apples and the liquid seems relatively thick, you can skip the flour. If, however, there are a lot of watery juices, be sure to add the flour and continue cooking until the mixture is thick and gooey.

Apple slices in a saucepan, ready to cook and soften.

Continue cooking the homemade apple pie filling at a gentle boil (reduce the heat if need be), stirring occasionally, until they have softened and reached your desired texture.

I like my apples soft, so this takes me about 10 to 15 minutes. For al dente apples, the whole cooking process will take about 6 to 8 minutes.

Pour the apple filling over the pre-baked pie crust and spread it evenly over the crust.

Apple crumb bars ready to go into the oven.

Sprinkle the reserved ½ cup of crust mixture over the apple layer to use as the crumble topping.

Place the apple pie bars in the oven and bake for 22 to 30 minutes or until the topping begins looking slightly golden brown.

Remove the apple pie bars from the oven and allow them to cool to room temperature before slicing.

I find it’s easiest to pull the full batch of pie bars out of the baking dish and place them on a cutting board to slice them.

Finished apple crumb bars out of the oven.

Make the Glaze:

Combine 1 cup of powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons of water or fresh lemon juice in a small bowl or measuring cup. Stir well until the lumps of powdered sugar have dissolved and the glaze is nice and runny.

Use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the apple pie bars.

Serve apple pie bars with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and enjoy!

I always find apple desserts like this taste even better the next day after the flavors have had more time to develop. For this reason, feel free to prepare the recipe 1-2 days in advance of when you need it.

Apple crumb bars on a sheet of parchment paper, cut into slices. Fresh apples in the background.

How to Store Apple Pie Bars:

There are several options to store leftovers. You can wrap the baking pan tightly in plastic wrap and store the bars on the counter for up to 2 days. After a couple of days, transfer the bars to the refrigerator.

The bars may also be stored in an airtight container or in a zip lock bag.

For longer term storage, freeze the bars in a large zip lock bag for up to 3 months. To reheat the bars, place one on a plate and microwave for 20 to 35 seconds, or until warm.

Apple crumb bars on a sheet of parchment paper, cut into slices and drizzled with glaze. Fresh apples to the side.

The next time you’re craving a slice of apple pie, whip up these easy oatmeal apple bars! 

The buttery shortbread base with the warm cinnamon apples and the crumbly goodness of these homemade apple crumble bars creates the perfect bite to drive your taste buds wild!

While this is the perfect easy fall dessert to whip up during the fall season, these easy apple crumble bars can be made any time of the year, not just during the fall apple season!

They are the perfect way to use up some apples and enjoy your warm apple pie without all the effort.

If you enjoy fruit crumble bars like these apple pie crumble bars, also try out these recipes.

More Crumb Bars:

Apple pie for any occasion!

Spoon drizzling glaze over sliced apple crumb bars.

Oatmeal Apple Pie Bars

Just like apple pie, these easy apple crumb bars feature a buttery crust, gooey soft cinnamon apples, and come with a delightful crumb topping. The glaze is entirely optional, but I think it really levels up the dessert!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
9 Servings

Equipment

Ingredients

Shortbread Crust and Topping:

  • 12 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted*
  • 1 1/3 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour or regular all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup gluten-free quick oats
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar**
  • Pinch sea salt

Apple Pie Filling:

  • 4 large apples, peeled and sliced (about 6 cups)
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar, ***
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground nutmeg, optional
  • 1 Tbsp gluten-free all-purpose flour or cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • Pinch sea salt

Optional Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp water or lemon juice

Instructions

Prepare the Crust and Topping:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a 8” x 8” pan with a piece of parchment paper.
  • Add all of the ingredients for the shortbread crust and topping to a large bowl and mix until combined. There's no need to separate the wet ingredients from the dry ingredients, as everything can be mixed at the same time. The dough should be slightly crumbly but still press together easily. Measure out ½ cup of the crust mixture and set it aside to use as the crumble topping.
  • Pour the remaining crust mixture into the prepared pan. Use your hands to press the crust mixture into the pan, creating an even layer. Poke the crust many times with a fork – this will prevent it from bowing up and ensure it is baked evenly.
  • Bake the crust on the center rack of the oven for 18 to 22 minutes, until it is slightly golden brown around the edges.

Make the Apple Filling:

  • While the crust is baking, prepare the apple filling. Peel, core, and slice the apples into thin slices. You will need 6 cups of sliced apples, which should be about 4 to 5 large apples.
  • Transfer the apple slices to a saucepan along with the water, pure maple syrup, ground cinnamon, and sea salt. Cover the pot and heat over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a full boil and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and the butter until all lumps of flour are dissolved. Note: if there isn’t very much liquid surrounding the apples and the liquid seems relatively thick, you can skip the flour. If, however, there are a lot of watery juices, be sure to add the flour.
  • Continue cooking the homemade apple pie filling at a gentle boil (reduce the heat to medium if need be), stirring occasionally, until they have softened and reached your desired texture. I like my apples soft, so this takes me about 15 to 20 minutes total. For al dente apples, the whole cooking process will take about 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Pour the apple filling over the pre-baked pie crust and spread it evenly over the crust.
  • Sprinkle the reserved ½ cup of crust mixture over the apple layer to use as the crumble topping.
  • Place the apple pie bars in the oven and bake for 22 to 30 minutes or until the topping begins looking slightly golden brown.
  • Remove the apple pie bars from the oven and allow them to cool to room temperature before slicing.
  • I find it’s easiest to pull the full batch of pie bars out of the baking dish and place them on a cutting board to slice them.

Make the Glaze:

  • Combine 1 cup of powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons of water or fresh lemon juice in a small bowl or measuring cup. Stir well until the lumps of powdered sugar have dissolved and the glaze is nice and runny.
  • Use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the apple pie bars.
  • Serve apple pie bars with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and enjoy!

Notes

*Replace the butter with 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil for a dairy-free option. If the crust mixture seems too dry, add more melted coconut oil 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, until it presses together easily but it still slightly crumbly.
**You can use 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup instead of cane sugar if you’d like. If you do so, reduce the amount of butter to 8 tablespoons.
***Replace the brown sugar with pure maple syrup if you’d like. If you do so, reduce the amount of water to 1/3 cup.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Bar (of 9)Calories: 369kcalCarbohydrates: 49gProtein: 3gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 132mgFiber: 6gSugar: 25g
Course: Brownies & Bars, Dessert, Pies & Tarts
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apple pie bars, fruit crumble, fruit desserts, gluten free crumb bars, gluten free dessert recipes, oatmeal apple pie bars, vegan dessert bars, vegan dessert recipes
Servings: 9 Servings
Calories: 369kcal
Author: Julia

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