There’s not much to say about these apple pie bars other than the fact that they are FABULOUS and the perfect treat or breakfast snack (totally a thing) to make when you have extra apples laying around.
Plus, they’re drizzled with a 5 minute caramel sauce that’s going to BLOW YA MIND. Apple szn is just the best, isn’t it?
Ingredients in apple pie bars
These incredible healthy apple pie bars are perfectly sweet, gluten free and easily dairy free & vegan for a treat everyone will love. Here’s everything you need to make them:
- Oat flour: make sure to use a gluten free oat flour to keep these apple pie bars gluten free. See below for simple instructions for making your own oat flour!
- Rolled oats: again, be sure to use gluten free rolled oats to keep these gluten free. Do not use steel cut oats or quick oats as the texture will be much different.
- Brown sugar: I love the molasses flavor that brown sugar gives these bars. Make your own brown sugar with this tutorial!
- Spices: we’re using the coziest trio of spices: cinnamon, allspice & nutmeg.
- Baking soda & salt: so that these bars bake up properly.
- Butter: a little butter helps to hold the base and crust together.
- Vanilla: gotta have vanilla extract for the perfect flavor. Learn how to make your own here!
- Apples: I love using honeycrisp apples in these healthy apple pie bars because they’re deliciously sweet and juicy.
- Maple syrup: we’re naturally sweetening these apple pie bars with maple syrup (and apples, of course!)
- Cornstarch: a bit of cornstarch helps the apple pie filling thicken up a little. You can also use arrowroot starch if you’d like.
The BEST salted peanut butter caramel
The vegan salted peanut butter caramel is amazingly easy, customizable and so delicious drizzled over these bars, or on top of ice cream. Don’t skip it! You’ll need:
- Peanut butter: use an all natural peanut butter for that incredible, vegan salted peanut butter caramel. To keep these nut free you could also use tahini.
- Coconut oil: you’ll need a bit of coconut oil to create the best texture for the caramel.
- Pure maple syrup: You’ll need a little bit of pure maple syrup to sweeten the caramel!
- Vanilla extract: love the flavor this gives the caramel.
- Sea salt: for that sweet and salty goodness.
How to make your own oat flour
You can easily make your own gluten free oat flour by simply placing gluten free oats into a blender and blending/pulsing until they’re smooth and resemble a fine flour. This is probably the cheapest option. Check out my tutorial with all of my best tips & tricks. So easy!
Simple ingredient swaps
- For the oat flour: feel free to use all purpose flour or gluten free all purpose flour.
- For the butter: you can also use a vegan buttery stick.
- For the brown sugar: coconut sugar will also work, however, I’ve found that it doesn’t give you the best “crumble.”
Can I use a different fruit?
Sure! I think sliced pears would also be delicious in this recipe. Let me know if you try it!
How to make gluten free apple pie bars
- Prep your pan. Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F and lining an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper. Be sure to spray it with cooking spray as well.
- Make the base + topping. In a large bowl, use a fork to mix together all of your dry ingredients. Add in melted butter and vanilla extract and stir until a nice crumble forms and the dough begins to clump together.
- Form the crust. You’ll then evenly press some of the “dough” into the bottom of your prepared pan, and place the remaining mixture in the fridge.
- Make the filling. Cook down the sliced apples in a large skillet or pot with butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, allspice & nutmeg until the apples begin to soften nicely. Next, stir in vanilla and cornstarch, and cook over low heat so that the sauce thickens up.
- Assemble & bake the bars. Remove the apples from the heat and pour the mixture over the crust. Use a spoon to evenly spread the apples, then sprinkle the crumble topping over the filling. Bake them up until the topping is golden!
- Add caramel & devour. Make your peanut butter caramel while the bars are cooling, then drizzle it on top of the bars, slice and enjoy!
Storing & freezing tips
- In the fridge: I recommend storing these bars covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- In the freezer: yes, these apple pie bars are freezer-friendly! Once they’re completely cooled, simply place them in an airtight container and pop them in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy one, just let it thaw a bit in the fridge before eating.
Tools you’ll need
Get all of our fav kitchen essentials here.
More apple recipes you’ll love
- Tony’s Very Favorite Dutch Apple Pie
- Healthy Apple Pancakes (made right in the blender!)
- Vegan Pecan Apple Chickpea Salad Wraps
- Best Healthy Apple Crisp Ever!
- Spiced Apple Zucchini Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze
Get all of my apple recipes here!
I hope you love these amazing healthy apple pie bars! If you make them be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked them. Enjoy, xo!
Healthy Apple Pie Bars with Salted Peanut Butter Caramel
Healthy apple pie bars with a delicious oat crumble topping and a drizzle of homemade salted peanut butter caramel. These gluten free apple pie bars are filled with warm, cozy spices and easily made vegan for the perfect fall dessert!
- For the crust and crumble:
- 1 ½ cups gluten free oat flour (or sub all purpose flour)
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, gluten free if desired
- ½ cup packed brown sugar (or sub coconut sugar but you may not get the best 'crumble')
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons butter (or vegan buttery stick such as Earth Balance), melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the filling:
- 1/2 tablespoon melted butter (or vegan buttery stick)
- 3 medium to large honeycrisp apples, peeled and cut into 1/4th inch slices (about 4 1/2 cups apple slices)
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch or arrowroot starch
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of allspice & nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- For the peanut butter caramel:
- 2 tablespoons creamy all natural peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Pinch of sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper and generously spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
Make the base + topping: In a large bowl, use a fork to mix together the oat flour, oats, coconut sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Add in melted butter and vanilla extract stir until a nice crumble forms and dough begins to clump together.
Place about 1 2/3 cups of the mixture into the prepared pan and place the remaining mixture into the fridge (the remaining mixture will be used for the topping). Use your hands to evenly press the dough to the bottom of the pan.
To make the apple pie filling: Melt butter in a large skillet or pot over medium heat. Add the sliced apples to the pan and stir to coat the apples. Add in maple syrup, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg over the apples and stir well to combine. Lower heat to medium low and cook for about 5-7 minutes or until apples begin to soften nicely. Next stir in vanilla and cornstarch, and cook over low heat for 3-5 minutes so that the sauce thickens up. Remove from heat. Pour mixture over the crust and use a spoon to evenly spread.
Take the remaining topping out of the fridge. By now there should be some nice crumbles that have clumped together. Sprinkle the topping over the apple filling
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the topping is nice and golden. Allow bars to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
Next make your peanut butter caramel: in a large bowl add peanut butter, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla and salt. Stir well to combine. Microwave for 20-30 seconds or until warm. Caramel should appear runny but will thicken up upon sitting at room temperature for 5-10 minutes.
Drizzle caramel over bars, then use a sharp knife to cut into 16 squares. Bars are delicious served at room temperature or straight out of the fridge! Perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, too!
To store these apple pie bars: the bars are delicious served at room temperature or straight out of the fridge. I recommend storing in the fridge for optimal freshness. Feel free to reheat in the microwave if you love a warm apple dessert.
See the full post for tips, tricks & easy ways to customize these bars!
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by Eat Love Eats
Another fantastic recipe! I made exactly as written and they turned out perfectly. The bottom kind of tastes like an oatmeal cookie and the apples are a perfect texture. I put the PB caramel on top and I think my husband ate half the pan!
So delicious! Glad you both enjoyed 🙂
can you sub almond butter for peanut butter? thank you
Flavors of Fall…I just made these and can’t wait to try them! They turned out perfect with the exception of the PB Carmel drizzle. When I heated it, it thickened. What did I do wrong?
F/U comment. My husband loves these and can’t stop talking about the PB caramel. Even through it was thicker than expected, it raised the bar on a traditional apple crumb. Thanks Monique!!!
Perfect! So happy he loved them!
Also for the caramel – it’s likely due to your peanut butter or that you may have overheated the peanut butter. Next time, heat over low or microwave for only 10-20 seconds. If it’s too thick you can always add in a teaspoon of coconut oil or more to thin to your liking.
TOTALLY RECOMMEND MAKING ! I tried these yesterday, and they were so easy and so yum. They are simple ingredients that I already have at home, and good way to make my family eat some apples!! They also not too sweet at all, the salty-ness of the peanut butter just adds that flavor and I can see myself making these a lot !! THANK YOU !
So happy you loved them! Perfect treat for fall 🙂
I loved the peanut butter caramel in the healthy peanut butter twix bar recipe so I knew I had to make these. They’re so good! A nice mix between apple pie and apple crisp.
So good! Glad you loved these 🙂
These are absolutely great. I am definitely trying these out instead of my store brought protein bars. Equal parts, healthy and delicious, I am trying them out after my daily workouts.
The perfect treat! Glad you enjoyed.
These were SO delicious! I was missing a few ingredients, so I used vegan butter and regular creamy peanut butter instead. I had some apples on hand that were a little chewy and not-so-sweet, and this was the perfect way to use them up. The peanut butter drizzle brings this recipe to the next level. I’ll definitely make these again!
Perfect! I’ve made these plenty of times with vegan butter and they’re still delicious 🙂 so glad you enjoyed!
I tried to make these into muffins and they came out completely burned. Not a critique of the recipe … i did not have a baking dish and didn’t follow directions. Just a lesson learned and passing on!
Thanks for your note! Let me know if you give them a try as bars 🙂
Could almond or coconut flour be used instead of oat flour? So excited to make these!!
Unfortunately no, I haven’t tested it with those flours so I can’t be confident in recommending sub amounts — sorry!
So so good! Made these twice in one weekend for company. My favorite apple recipe so far after testing multiple apple pie and crisp recipes. Easy to make just remember to slice the apples very thin so they soften enough.
Amazing! So glad you love them!
AMAZING!!! I used almond butter instead of peanut butter. Perfect fall treat!
Love that! Glad you enjoyed 🙂
I made these knowing I would THOROUGHLY ENJOY them and of course I did! I used half real butter and half olive oil and also half maple syrup half honey to try and reduce the calories just a little. Also used almond butter instead of peanut butter. I will be making these again for sure!
Amazing! So happy you loved them!
Wow! With all the ingredients listed, I was nervous this recipe was going to be “putsy”, but it wasn’t at all! These were so delicious. Wouldn’t change a thing. (I tried to use less butter, and the top didn’t brown correctly so wouldn’t recommend making that substitution 🙃). I used 5 smaller apples because I have so many to get rid of, so just upped the cooking time a bit! And don’t skip out on that PB caramel sauce… really *chefs kiss*.
LOVED IT. Just made it tonight! So fall-ish and delicious. <3
These are amazing!! Love the peanut butter caramel sauce with the apple flavor, great combination. Highly recommend for Apple pie fans. 😋😋😋
Absolutely! Glad you enjoyed 🙂
Easy to make and such a wonderful treat for cold autumn evening with the cup of indian spyce tea 🙂
These bars are scrumptious! They were more work than I intended, but are completely worth the effort. Huge hit at family dinner and paired with a small scoop of pumpkin ice cream, it was a perfect Fall dessert! Don’t skip the peanut butter drizzle, it’s a must-have. These will be a new addition to my go-to list.
So glad they were a hit! Pumpkin ice cream sounds delicious, too 🙂
This recipe was an instant hit this weekend! It’s sweet and salty with the perfect texture. I mixed in the leftover liquid from the cooked apples and spices into the peanut butter caramel which gave the caramel a hint of fall spice as well. I can’t wait to make more of your recipes!
Love that idea! So glad you enjoyed!
This is one of the easiest and most fool-proof recipes. I didn’t have oats, so I just added 1/2 cup more flour. Worked perfect. I used crunchy peanut butter and it added a nice texture. Will definitely make again!!
Perfect! So happy you loved them!
Made these tonight and they were such a hit!!! Not one left over. Amazing depth of flavor- don’t skip the peanut butter caramel topping!
So happy to hear that!
They are cooling down right now but they look and smell amazing!
I have made them for dessert this evening at my mothers and I think they will be a big hit.
Thanks for all your great recipes.
I have also made the healthy twix bars yesterday because my colleagues love them so much (and me too).
Perfect! I hope everyone loves them!
This was absolutely incredible. Every bite was heavenly and the flavors worked so beautifully together. I had to repost this on our Ig business page to share with our clients! The perfect holiday treat!!! Amazing job, definitely a new go to.
So happy to hear that! I hope everyone else loves them, too 🙂
The best apple recipe I’ve ever tried!
I followed the recipe almost precisely except I used Monk Fruit instead of coconut sugar, and I subbed coconut cream in for the peanut butter (because my hubby hates PB… He’s nutty… Lol), using the same ratio for both. I also doubled the recipe to make for my church small group.
The consistency, flavors and smell are wonderful. It was a hit! My 18-month-old loves it. I actually think this could be a great breakfast item if you reduce the sugars and not include the caramel.
I thank you for sharing this recipe, and will be making it for Thanksgiving!
I’m glad that worked out well! Perfect way to use up apples 🙂
Better than Apple Pie! I used my Apple peeler / slicer / corer to cut the apples – a combination of Macintosh and Empire. So delicious!
Perfect! So glad you loved these!
Oh my goodness I licked the bowl of peanut butter caramel clean. I need to put that sauce on everything! These bars are amazingly delicious. A fun twist in apple pie. I will definitely be making again!
Isn’t it amazing?? Glad you enjoyed!
These bars have a 5 star rating for a reason. They are AMAZING!! Have made them several time and each time they have turned out so good, always a crowd pleaser.
So glad you love them!!
I made these for Thanksgiving last year as a healthier apple pie substitute and they did not disappoint! The crust came out nice and crisp and the apple filling with that peanut butter caramel drizzle is just perfection! Definitely a must try!
So happy to hear that!
These are ah-mazing! I made them for Thanksgiving and Christmas! They’re a perfect, delicious treat!
Love it! So glad you enjoyed 🙂
Can I use less butter for the base ?
Unfortunately no, the recipe needs the butter to bake properly.
Can I use coconut oil instead of butter??
Can’t wait to try this!!
Hi, Carla! Sorry for the delay. Sure you could try coconut oil, I think it would likely work well!
I made these today, and they taste delicious! I followed the recipe exactly except I used apples from a tree in our yard they we inherited – don’t know for sure what kind they are (probably gala). The bars don’t hold together – fall apart so they must be eaten with a fork. Is this what they’re supposed to be like, or did I do something wrong. maybe they needed to be baked longer?? (We live at higher altitude. I often have to adjust cooking/baking times.)
Sorry to hear they fell apart! Was the oat crumble mixture kind of dry before baking it? If so, I’d recommend adding a few more tbsp. of melted butter so that it holds together more.
This recipe looks fabulous!! I have plenty of rolled oats. What is the amount of rolled oats needed to get 1 1/2 cups of oat flour?
I think about 2 cups of rolled oats, but be sure to measure the flour after blending! Hope you enjoy these 🙂
These bars are so delicious! I used coconut oil instead of butter and it worked great! I will definitely make this recipe again and again. Thank you for another delicious recipe!
I’m so happy you loved them, Chelsie!! Glad to hear the coconut oil worked well 🙂
Did you use a 1:1 for the coconut oil to butter substitution??
First off, YUM! Now that I’ve covered that, let’s talk ingredients. I love the blended oat flour with the old fashioned oats. I used 1/2 coconut sugar and 1/2 brown sugar and it was plenty sweet. For apples, we picked some Stayman apples- which hold a firm texture with slight sweet/tangy taste. I use extra apples because who doesn’t like a more filling slice of pie bar? Thank you for finishing this recipe with a peanut butter sauce, such a great surprise finish. It really plays so well with the apples and the fall spices. No complaints 🙂 Thanks AK!
I made these recently, and they were a little dry but otherwise really good!
So yummy!! Made them last night and couldn’t stop eating the crumble by itself as I made it. Used coconut sugar and plenty sweet!
We tried this recipe out a few days ago and are already making it again. These are TO DIE FOR! We subbed regular flour because it’s what we had on hand, but we love that this can be gluten free and vegan easily – we’ll be trying it that way next. Thanks for knocking it out of the park once again!
Yaaaay I’m so glad to hear that! Can’t wait to hear what you think of the GF/V version. Appreciate your kind review!
These look delicious, I am looking forward to making them for Thanksgiving!! I just have one question, can double the recipe and make it for a 9×13 pan? If so, what should my baking time be? Thank you!!
Apologies for the delay! I haven’t tried it so unsure about the exact baking time but I think it should work!
I have tried a number of apple bars and this is by far the best and easiest. Without the caramel, it is delicious also.
Oh I’m so glad to hear that!! Thanks for leaving a review 🙂
This is so easy and delicious! Instead of using cornstarch to thicken, I threw in some all natural apple sauce into the apple mixture while they were browning on the stove top. It made the best filling and picked up all the yummy spices and maple syrup!
So glad that worked well and that you love these, Jenn!
I have made these apple pie bars for the last couple of years to use up apples after apple picking. I love this recipe and it is perfect every time I make it. It’s my boyfriends favorite dessert too. I highly recommend you make this recipe and double it because you’ll want extras!
Amazing! So happy to hear that!
These are delicious! I didn’t make the peanut butter Carmel for on top but thought they were great even without it!
So glad you loved them, Micaela!!
Great recipe. I use honey Instead of maple syrup, also a 9×13 pan. I don’t know what part of these are supposed to be healthy though.
Hi! Happy to hear you enjoyed them 🙂 “Healthy” is definitely a subjective term but I consider these fairly nutritious thanks to the apples + oats, and they’re gluten free and lower in sugar than a lot of other apple bars.
This recipe is unreal!!! Soooo delicious!! Will be on the rotation!
Yay! SO glad you loved this recipe, Elise 😍
Absolutely loved these 😋😋😋 I used almond butter for the caramel as that’s just my preference, so delicious ….. only problem was I just wanted to keep eating them 🤩
YAY! Happy to hear they came out great 😊