★★★★★

Apple Shortbread Bars

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.

Stack of three squares of apple shortbread bars.

Apple Desserts

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

Baked to perfection, add the cinnamon glaze and enjoy 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. I can’t help but want to bake (and eat) when the days get cooler and the leaves start turning.

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.

They also happen to be super easy to make!

Apple Recipes: Apple Cinnamon Bread | Apple Hand Pies

Stack of shortbread apple bars on a white doily with cup of coffee on side.

How to Make Shortbread Crust

The key to making shortbread is butter. Lots of butter. More butter than you would expect for a crust this size.

This is dessert we’re talking about, after all. Butter is what makes the firm and crispy shortbread crumble in your mouth when you take a bite. It gives it flavor, texture and substance.

Mix the butter with powdered sugar, flour, salt and vanilla, then press it into a baking dish.

Apple Crumble Bars

With your shortbread crust ready to go, it’s time to mix together the apple filling. These remind me of my favorite raspberry crumble bars!

STEP 1. Make the crumb

Use your hands to combine brown sugar with butter (yes, more butter), flour, oats and cinnamon. Add the diced apples to the crumb mixture and toss to get them coated.

STEP 2. Bake

Sprinkle the apple mixture over the shortbread crust, coating the shortbread as evenly as you can. Bake for about 25 minutes. Let cool on the counter, then transfer to the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours.

STEP 3. Glaze

For the cinnamon glaze, whisk together powdered sugar, milk and cinnamon in a bowl. When the bars are chilled, cut them into squares or triangles and drizzle the glaze over each one.

Enjoy right away or place them back in the fridge for a few minutes to let the glaze harden a bit.

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Serving

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 on the side.

Storing

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.

Make Ahead Shortbread

If you want to make it even quicker and easier to make these apple shortbread bars and all kinds of other shortbread cookie recipes, you could make a few batches of shortbread dough in advance and then freeze it.

When freezing shortbread dough, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then place inside a freezer safe bag. Let the dough thaw in the fridge or at room temperature before pressing into a pan and proceeding with the apple pie bars.

Tips & Tricks

  • 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!
Apple Shortbread Bars on a white rectangle plate with cup of coffee on side.

More Easy Dessert Recipes

Yield: 18 bars

Apple Shortbread Bars

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes

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!

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

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. Cool on counter, then move to refrigerator for at least 2 hours until chilled.
  5. 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 Information:

    Yield:

    18

    Serving Size:

    1

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 234Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 39mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 1gSugar: 18gProtein: 2g

    *Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

    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!

    Avatar photo

    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 August 24, 2020

    Comments & Reviews

    1. I can see why these would be in your top ten most favorite desserts ever, they look incredible! Love how simple they are – must make!

    2. What a great idea! These look like perfect apple pie bites. And then they surprise you with SHORTBREAD – brilliant!

    3. I would be able to have a whole meal just with a full dish of these apple shortbreads, but no coffee for me thanks!

    4. These look so delicious! Apples have never been my favorite in desserts, but I’m quickly coming around to it!

    5. These shortbread bars sound so yummy! I love apple desserts all year long! Pinning these!

    6. Ahh! Love these! And I so need some of those apple packs (hate carrying around apples and knives…don’t search my purse…)

    7. These are my favorite too, Aimee! I love apple desserts. These shortbread bars need to happen soon! Love them!

    8. I don’t have a hard time believing that these are your favorites…they look absolutely addictive! From the apples to that shortbread crust, I’d happily munch on these any day of the week.

    9. I sooo want a dozen of these for breakfast this morning. Can you make that happen girlfriend?

    10. Hahaha! I totally get it because every new treat becomes my “new fav”. These do look amazing and if you say they are best cold, I’m going to have to try it that way!!!

    11. Not a huge pie crust fan so I love that this uses shortbread instead. Hopping over to see the full recipe now!

    12. Shortbread with coffee is amazing; these look like they’d be a new favorite in my house. I love keeping Autumn flavors alive in the heart of winter. This recipe looks delicious. I can’t wait to try some of these.

    13. I have no doubt that these are more than “just a bar.” I am fairly certain I could eat the whole batch in one sitting!

    14. You crack me up, I say the same thing to my family after each and every dessert I bake. “Like, OMG this is my newest fave.” and repeat x-infinity!

      I love apple pies cold, yet apple crumbles or any crumbles in general warm (and smothered in custard). I love the crumbly topping, and awesome idea to pair the cinnamon icing.

    15. I LOVE cold apple pie, so you don’t need to convince me to have these babies cold! They look ridiculously amazing. And very much needing to be made, ASAP.

    16. Love that you made an apple recipe this time of year. I recently did one too (apples aren’t just for the fall! they’re so great to bake with year round!) and I bet your bars are so good!

    17. I have no doubt that these bars are completely amazing! Can’t wait to try them!

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