Crumbly, buttery and jammy, these easy Apple Pie Crumb Bars are bursting with spices and tastes just like apple pie, only better!
It’s hard to believe but Fall is almost here again. And you already know that means! Delicious, crisp, sweet and totally healthy apples are coming into season. This recipe takes full advantage and let’s you get in on the action with minimal effort and prep. And in my opinion, the taste of apple pie is always worth the effort.
What makes this recipe so AMAZING, besides the incredible flavor, is how simple it is to make. The best part… you only have to mix up the crumbs once. You’ll use it for both the crust and the topping!
This crumb bar recipe is based on a peach crumb pie that Matthew and I had while visiting Savannah last summer. I used apples and made the bottom crust thicker than the pie we had, so you can pick the pieces up with your hands. And I probably used more butter and sugar than the pie called for, but so what. They’re chewy, crunchy , taste awesome and smell just like apple pie. My work is done here!
A Little History of “crumb topping”
Ever wondered why it’s called a “crumb bar”? Crumb toppings became popular in Britain during World War II when food rationing was a necessity. It was an economical alternative to pies because of the shortage of pastry ingredients like flour, butter and sugar. Cooks could substitute ingredients like oats and brown sugar to make the crumb mix.
It became popular and still a favorite today because of how easy crumb toppings are to make compared to pastry crusts.
How To Make Apple Pie Crumb Bars
These crumb bars are so EASY to make and the buttery crust is AMAZING. The recipe is for thick, rustic crumb bars so the crumb crust has a real bite to it. But feel free to use a bigger pan ( I wouldn’t go bigger than a 9 x 13) if you want to spread the crust out a little more for thinner bars.
- Apples – we used JonaGold apples to make the crumb bars, but any good crisp baking apple is fine. Honeycrisp and Granny Smith are two other varieties that we love to bake with.
- Brown Sugar – either light or dark brown sugar is fine.
- White Sugar
- Butter – we used unsalted butter for this recipe and added salt to the recipe. If using salted butter, omit the extra salt.
- Flour – all-purpose flour
- Vanilla Extract
- Apricot Jam – apple jam is a great substitute.
- Apple Pie Spice or Cinnamon – we make our own apple pie spice but store bought or just plain cinnamon is perfect for this recipe.
- Cornstarch – flour can be substituted for the cornstarch but will result in a different flavor and texture.
- Lemon Juice – essential for keeping the apples from turning brown.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line your baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a little hanging over the edges to grab onto later to remove the bars from the pan.
- Mix up the crumb ingredients of flour, brown sugar, salt and butter and then divide in half. Firmly press half the crumbs into the bottom of your baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes then set aside to cool. Stir 1 teaspoon apple pie spice or cinnamon into the remaining crumb mixture and set aside.
- Peel and core the apples, then dice into small pieces. To the apples add the sugar, vanilla, remaining 1 teaspoon of apple pie spice, cornstarch and lemon juice. Stir gently to combine. Pour the apple mixture including any juices over the baked crumb crust. Use a teaspoon to add dollops of jam on top of the apple mixture. Sprinkle over the reserved crumb mixture, covering the apples completely.
- Bake on the center rack of your oven for 45 – 55 minutes until starting to bubble and is golden brown on top. Cool pan on a wire rack to room temperature before cutting. For easier cutting, refrigerate in the pan for at least an hour before slicing.
More Sweet Bar recipe ideas:
Apple Pie Crumb Bars
- 2-1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup brown sugar packed, light or dark brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (2 sticks), cut into cubes
- 4 medium apples peeled, cored and diced
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp apple pie spice or cinnamon divided
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup apricot or apple jam
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line on bottom and sides an 8 x 8 or similar size pan with parchment paper.
- To a large bowl or food processor add the flour, brown sugar, salt and butter. Mix or pulse until combined and begins to stick together. Transfer 1/2 of the dough to the baking pan and press down into the pan with the bottom of a measuring cup. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Allow to cool.
- To the remaining dough add 1/2 of the pie spice and toss to combine. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, place the apples, sugar, vanilla, remaining pie spice, cornstarch and lemon juice. Stir until well combined. Scrape into baking pan, spreading the apples out to cover the baked dough completely. Sprinkle over the reserved dough, to completely cover the the apple mixture.
- Bake in oven for 45 – 55 minutes until browned and bubbling on the sides. Remove from oven and let cool in pan. Remove using the sides of the parchment paper, cut and serve.
© Copyright Christine Mello for Must Love Home. We would love for you to share a link to this recipe but please do not copy/paste the recipe instructions to websites or social media. We are happy for you to share a photo with a link back to this website instead.