Apple Shortbread Bars

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Don’t let these simple Apple Shortbread Bars fool you! While they are “just a bar” they are quite possibly the most amazing apple dessert you’ll ever taste.

Craving shortbread? Try our peanut butter shortbread cookies next. Or give our chocolate chip walnut bars a try for something different.

Shortbread bar with apple topping and cinnamon icing.

Why This Recipe is Best

These bars start with an easy shortbread cookie crust that you top with a delicious cinnamon apple mixture.

Baked to perfection and then drizzled with a cinnamon glaze, this dessert is a delicious combination of shortbread and apple pie in bar form.

Based on the sheer number of apple recipes and pumpkin recipes on this site, you’ve probably gathered that fall is my favorite baking season.

Bake sales, Halloween parties, Mondays… all great reasons to bake some delicious apple bars! And we all know Thanksgiving isn’t complete without at least one Dutch Apple Pie.

While I love the classic apple recipes, sometimes you need something just a little bit different.

These Apple Shortbread Bars are the perfect balance of tradition and novelty. With the familiar apple cinnamon flavor at the center, the crispy shortbread makes them different from your typical apple pie bars.

  • THREE layers of deliciousness
  • Super easy to make
  • Great for serving a big group

Apple Recipes: Apple Cinnamon Bread | Apple Hand Pies

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed to make apple shortbread bars.
  • Butter – I use and prefer unsalted butter in my recipes so I can control the amount of sodium. If you only have salted butter, that’s fine, just reduce the amount of salt you add to the crust to 1/4 teaspoon. Either way, be sure to let it soften at room temperature using our tips on how to soften butter quickly.
  • Powdered Sugar – This helps make melt-in-your-mouth shortbread. We’re also using it in the glaze on top.
  • Light Brown Sugar – We use this in the apple streusel mixture to sweeten things up. Dark brown sugar would be fine to use as well if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Flour – Regular all-purpose flour works great for this recipe. Just be sure to measure your flour correctly!
  • Apples – I prefer using Granny Smith or Pink Lady apples for this recipe. They need to be peeled and diced small.

Easy Instructions

Step by step photos showing how to make shortbread bars.

Step 1. Make the crust. Cream together the butter and powdered sugar then add the flour, salt and vanilla until combined. Press the crust into a 9×13 baking pan.

Step by step photos showing how to make apple shortbread bar filling.

Step 2. Make the apple crumble. Use your hands to combine the brown sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon and oats in a bowl until coarse crumbles form.

Mix in the diced apples. Sprinkle the mixture on top of the crust.

Bake the bars at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes. Cool on the counter then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours.

Step by step photos showing how to make icing for shortbread bars.

Step 3. Cut and glaze. Cut the bars. Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk and cinnamon. Drizzle the glaze over the bars. Enjoy!

Tips and Tricks

  • I recommend dicing your apples into VERY small pieces. The smaller pieces pick up more of that delicious brown sugar crumble and will stay on the shortbread better than larger chunks.
  • The shortbread crust will still look a little soft or under baked when you take it out of the oven. That’s OK. It will harden as the crust cools!
  • It helps to wait to cut the bars until AFTER they have chilled in the refrigerator. They slice so much easier!
  • I found these taste best COLD. Which is odd for me, since I LOVE warm apple crumble! But, having made these a couple times, I can tell you for sure: try them cold. You won’t be sorry!

Of course, I like mine with a warm cup of dalgona coffee or pumpkin cream cold brew on the side.

Apple topped shortbread cookies cut into bars.

Recipe FAQs

How do I store Apple Shortbread Bars?

These bars should be kept in the fridge loosely covered. I store mine in the pan covered with foil. They’ll keep well for about 5 days.

Can I make these in advance?

The bars need to chill for at least 2 hours, so they are best made ahead of time.
You can also make one or more batches of shortbread dough in advance and freeze it. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then place inside a freezer safe bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Let the dough thaw in the fridge or at room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.

Can I use a different glaze?

Sure. The cinnamon glaze reinforces the apple cinnamon flavor, but you could also use a maple glaze or honey glaze if you prefer.

Apple shortbread bars with a bite taken out.

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Apple Shortbread Bars

4.88 from 8 votes
By: Aimee
Irresistible apple crumble meets buttery shortbread in these Apple Pie Bars. A layer of sweet cinnamon glaze on top makes these one of my favorite fall treats of all time. You're going to love these bars!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 18 bars

Ingredients 

Crust:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping:

  • 1 ½ cup apple slices peeled and diced
  • ½ cup light brown sugar packed
  • 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup quick cook oats

Glaze:

  • 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
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Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Add 2 cup flour, salt and vanilla until combined. Press into a 13×9 baking dish.
  • In a mixing bowl, using your hands, combine brown sugar, 2Tbsp flour, 2 Tbsp butter, cinnamon and oats. Mix until coarse crumbles. Add diced apples (you want to make sure your apples are diced very very small. Sprinkle mixture over top of crust. Bake for about 25 minutes (crust may appear to be under cooked, that’s okay).
  • Cool on counter, then move to refrigerator for at least 2 hours until chilled.
  • Cut bars into squares (or triangles). In a small bowl, whisk the glaze ingredients together until smooth. Drizzle over cut bars. Glaze will harden slightly in fridge. Enjoy!

Notes

  • I prefer using from granny smith or pink lady apples. Peel the apples completely and dice.
  • I recommend dicing your apples into VERY small pieces. The smaller pieces pick up more of that delicious brown sugar crumble and will stay on the shortbread better than larger chunks.
  • The shortbread crust will still look a little soft or under baked when you take it out of the oven. It will harden as the crust cools!
  • Keep bars covered loosely in refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • See blog post for more recipe tips and tricks.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bar, Calories: 234kcal, Carbohydrates: 31g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 31mg, Sodium: 39mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 18g
Course: Brownies and Bars
Cuisine: American
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!

Irresistible apple crumble meets buttery shortbread in these Apple Pie Bars. A layer of sweet cinnamon glaze on top makes these one of my favorite fall treats of all time. You’re going to love these bars!

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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on July 24, 2023

Comments & Reviews

  1. Color me confused. Again. Sigh.

    I used the link from your Apple Pie Fudge recipe to get here. In THAT recipe you said the remainder of the can of apple pie filling could be used in these bars – so I thought perfect! A 2 for 1 – so to speak. BUT – this recipe specifies FRESH apples – no mention whatsoever of the canned filling.

    I’d really like to use up the pie filling for this recipe, but know that the spice & sugar ratio in this recipe would be way off (as it’s already premixed in the filling).

    What adjustments should I make to ensure they don’t end up overly sweet /spiced? (& could you perhaps show as a variation for others wanting to use pie filling? In these “Stay home! ” days the pantry is well stocked, but…)

    And 1 last question (you’re probably saying “Finally” or “Thank God” ) by now. lol
    Why do you glaze AFTER cutting? I noticed the same thing on the Apple Pie Fudge. Wouldn’t it be easier & less messy to do it BEFORE?
    Thanks so much for listening, & for all the superb recipes!

    We finally made it above 0*C today for the 1st time in weeks. Yay! Til Tues anyways – then back to sub-zero 😕

  2. Just made these. Crust did not cook through even after 40 minutes. Recommend cooking the crust before adding the apple topping, and bake again.:)

    1. Having made these several times, I would double check the recipe ingredients you used. 40 minutes is a LONG time to bake these. Seems like maybe one of the measurements you made was off 🙂

  3. I made these on Friday…if you are on a diet, don’t make these! Haha! 😉 These are my favorite bars now! They are SO good and super easy to make! I love your recipes and they never fail. 🙂

    1. Thank you for the sweet comment. I wasn’t kidding about these bars…beware of their deliciousness 🙂

  4. I made these and brought them to snack time at church. Everyone loved them, and many came back for seconds. My only complaint is, all I got was one teensy little bite! Solution: I’m making another batch tomorrow! Thanks for this recipe.

    1. I’m so glad they were a hit, and that you’ll be making some for yourself to enjoy!!

  5. Apples and shortbread. Basically the 2 things in love that I want to eat everyday forever…and now they are one, and I kind of want to marry these bars! Pinned!

  6. Good heavens, these look fantastic! I love how gooey and apple-y they are 🙂 Pinned!!

  7. I need to make these as soon as possible! Wishing I had them right now, such a great recipe!

  8. These sound absolutely marvelous. I have not had shortbread in quite some time…wish I had one right now while I work on the computer. Pinning! xo, Catherine

      1. Any supermarket in fruit-veg area. Target and even Amazon. They are just pre sliced apples kept crisp. I’d just use favorite regular apples and same amount of 1 1/2 cups. The package just keeps you from having to slice. Still have to peel and dice, anyway.
        These look great…enjoy!

      2. Just just use any apples you like and use same amount. The paks are just for convenience…found in fruit area of markets, Target and even on Amazon. They still need to be peeled and diced anyway. Easier to peel a whole apple.

        Enjoy!

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