These easy Apple Crumble Bars taste like a Dutch apple pie with a sweet oatmeal cookie topping and an apple cherry filling. They’re easy to make and easy to serve.
We love apple pie around here. So we’re always looking for new and delicious ways to put a spin on the all-American classic. These apple pie bars get a fruity twist from dried cherries, making them the perfect treat all year round.
❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe: These homemade bars have everything you love about freshly baked apple pie, plus sweet-tart cherries, in a hand-held bar shape. There’s no peeling or slicing either because you’re using dried apples! The filling is gooey and spiced with cinnamon and the cookie crumble is buttery and tender.
How to Make Apple Crumble Bars
This is a fantastic short-cut recipe slightly adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cookies. It skips all the prep work of using fresh apples. Instead, you’ll simmer dried apples in apple cider. That way, you get rich, concentrated apple flavor and soft, chewy texture without the extra work.
When simmering your dried apples, cherries, and cider, use a larger pan so you can stir as needed without losing anything over the side of the pan. The fruit will puff up before it cooks down slightly, so the pan will get quite full.
Tip: Don’t forget to reserve some of the cooking liquid from the filling. When mixed with the fruit, the liquid makes a sticky, flavorful binder to hold the bars together.
If the liquid gets fully absorbed by the dried fruit, add some additional cider and simmer down until slightly thickened.
Which Dried Apples Are Best?
Some dried apples are drier than others. For example, dried apples sold in a sealed bag are more tender than the apple chips sold in bins. The more tender apples work better in this recipe. Costco is currently selling Cosmic Crisp dried apples in a bag that is also great for snacking.
Tips & Tricks for Apple Pie Bars
Here are some of my best tips for making these apple and cherry crumble bars:
- When cutting the butter into the dry ingredients, be patient. It may start slowly, but you’ll get the pea-sized crumbles you need. If you find that some of the larger pieces are stubborn, you can use your fingers. It helps if you rinse your hands in cold water first to stop the butter from melting too much in your fingers.
- You only need 3 ½ cups of the crumb mixture for the cookie base. Save the rest to crumble on top of the fruit before baking.
- Use the wrapper from the butter to press the crumb mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan.
This bar cookie is very crumbly, hence the name. If you cut it while it is still warm, it will be even more crumbly. So let the bars cool completely before serving. That way, the butter in the cookie crust can firm back up and make a more stable base for slicing.
Store the bars at room temperature or in the fridge in an airtight container. Bring to room temperature for serving.
Tip: The apple crumble bars are excellent with a drizzle of caramel sauce.
More Bar Cookie Recipes
Here are some more sweet treats to make in your baking pan:
- Pineapple Coconut Bar Cookies have a tropical twist and flaky, sweet coconut on top.
- Tropical Magic Cookie Bars are packed with M&M’s, toasted coconut and a gooey cookie center.
- Cherry Bars have a light and fluffy texture with a sweet cherry filling.
Apple Crumble Bars
- 3 cups dried apples about 7 ounces
- ¾ cup dried cherries about 4 ½ ounces
- 1 ¾ cups apple cider
- 2 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Oatmeal Cookie Base and Topping
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks 16 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for dish
- Prepare filling: In a large saucepan, simmer apples, cherries, and cider, stirring occasionally, until fruits are softened and plump, about 5 minutes. Reserve 2 tablespoons of liquid and drain remaining liquid. Let cool. Use kitchen shears to cut any large pieces of apple into bite-size pieces, or coarsely chop fruit. Combine with 2 tablespoons sugar, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, and reserved cooking liquid.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or line with aluminum foil.
- Whisk together oats, flour, ¾ cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, baking soda, and salt, in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until you have pea sized crumbles.
- Press 3 ½ cups of the oat mixture into the bottom of the prepared dish (you’ll have about 6 cups.) Spread fruit filling on top, leaving a ¼-inch border on all sides. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture on top.
- Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool in baking dish on a wire rack completely before cutting. Cut into 24 bars. Bars can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days