Apple Crisp Cookie Bars
Filed Under: Bar Dessert | Fall

Apple Crisp Cookie Bars

September 1st, 2023
4.84 from 12 votes
4.84 from 12 votes

Apple Crisp Cookie Bars feature a simple chewy cookie crust covered with cinnamon apples and a crispy sweet oat topping for an easy fall treat! Ready in just over 1 hour.

Yield: 9 bars

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook: 37 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Like an apple pie, apple crisp, and a brown sugar snickerdoodle cookie had a delicious baby.
Texture: The cookie is thick and chewy, the apples are soft and gooey, and the topping is crisp and buttery.
Ease: So much easier than making an apple pie!
Pros: Simple and tasty fall recipe that’ll make your kitchen smell heavenly.
Cons: None, except maybe that these bars aren’t quite as pretty as an apple pie.
Would I make this again?  Absolutely.

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These Apple Crisp Cookie Bars are the quintessential “welcome to fall” bake I always crave as soon as fall rolls around.

apple crisp bars on a piece of parchment paper

Living in Phoenix, we typically don’t get much of a fall. It’s so sad! One of these years I’d love to spend a couple of weeks somewhere beautiful with brilliant changing leaves, crisp mornings, and lots of cozy baking.

In the meantime, I’m willing some cooler temperatures with this fun, easy fall dessert.

These bars are much easier to make than an apple pie. They’re also easier to transport than an apple crisp. But they taste equally as amazing with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!

This recipe basically consists of a soft yet chewy brown sugar cinnamon cookie bar, layered with apple pie filling, and topped with crispy sweet oaty streusel. Every bite is a taste of autumn delight.

It may seem like there are a lot of ingredients when you take a peek at the recipe below, but most of them repeat themselves and it all comes together pretty quickly.

the first layer of apples in these apple crisp cookie bars, before being topped with oat streusel and baking

How to Make Apple Crisp Cookie Bars

What Type of Apple is Best for Apple Crisp Cookie Bars?

  • I recommend Granny Smith apples for these Apple Crisp Cookie Bars.
  • Golden Delicious, Gala, and Honeycrisp are great alternatives. 
  • Feel free to use a mixture of apples!
  • Whatever type of apples you use, be sure to slice them evenly, for even baking.

Do I Need to Peel the Apples?

This is really a matter of personal preference, but I always opt to peel my apples to avoid the texture of cooked apple skins. If that texture doesn’t bother you, feel free to skip peeling the apples to save time.

What Pan Should I Use for the Apple Crisp Cookie Bars?

Use an 8×8-inch light-colored metal baking pan. I don’t recommend using glass, ceramic, silicone, or other types of pans here. Learn more about Glass vs. Metal Baking Pans here.

Can I Double This Apple Crisp Cookie Bars Recipe? 

Sure! Double all the ingredients and bake in a 9×13-inch metal pan. Add a few minutes to the baking time.

How Should I Serve Apple Crisp Bars?

  • The best way to serve these Apple Crisp Cookie Bars, in my opinion, is with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!
  • You can get creative with other toppings, like a drizzle of caramel sauce for an even more deliciously decadent dessert.
  • Whipped cream would also be a tasty option.

How to Store Apple Crisp Bars

Store Apple Crisp Cookie Bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. 

close up look at the cookie bars underneath the apple and oat streusel

More Apple Recipes:

4.84 from 12 votes

How to make
Apple Crisp Cookie Bars

Yield: 9 bars
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 37 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 2 minutes
Apple Crisp Cookie Bars feature a simple chewy cookie crust covered with cinnamon apples and a crispy sweet oat topping for an easy fall treat! Ready in just over 1 hour.


For the bars:

  • 1 1/2 cups (191 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (200 grams) dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the apple mixture:

  • 2 small Granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the oat topping:

  • 1/3 cup (42 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (30 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled


Make the bars:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8 by 8-inch metal baking pan with parchment or foil, leaving an overhang on all sides.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. In a large heatproof bowl melt the butter. While the butter is still hot, add the brown sugar and stir until combined. Allow to cool slightly before adding the molasses, milk, eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla. Gently stir in the dry ingredients.

  4. Smooth the mixture into the prepared pan in an even layer. Bake for 17 minutes, or until the edges are just set but the center is still undercooked.

Make the apple mixture:

  1. While the crust is baking, combine the apple ingredients a medium bowl. Carefully arrange the slices over the par-baked crust in one even layer.

Make the topping:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and salt. Using a pastry blender or a fork, cut the butter into the dry ingredient mixture until a coarse meal forms. Sprinkle all over the apples.

  2. Return the pan to the oven and continue baking until the topping is golden and the apples are soft, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool before slicing and serving. Store covered at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Course : Dessert
Cuisine : American
Keyword : apple, apple crisp, cookie bars, fall, fall baking, quick apple dessert

This recipe was originally created in 2018 and has been updated with more baking tips and information. 

Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Mykala — October 21, 2023 at 3:12 am

    Amazing!! Pretty easy to make and oh so delicious! Perfect fall treat for potlucks and such!

  2. #
    Katy — September 17, 2023 at 6:35 pm

    Everyone thought the is was delicious! We ate it a little warm with vanilla ice cream.

  3. #
    Lisa Byrnes — September 2, 2023 at 2:43 pm

    So many of these fabulous treats are only good for 2-5 days on the counter; is there any way to make them last longer?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — September 5, 2023 at 8:43 am

      Hi Lisa! Most cookie bars start to dry out after a few days, and the addition of a piece of bread or a tortilla can help them stay moist a bit longer – but these bars are slightly different as they contain apple, which can mold after a few days. Feel free to experiment with keeping them in the fridge (we haven’t tried that, so I can’t tell you how that will work!) to see if that will help lengthen their shelf-life. Happy baking 🙂

  4. #
    Teresa — August 30, 2023 at 8:50 am

    Question Is there a suggestion ingredient to use instead of molasses??

    Pre-diabetic husband. So i must cut or lower the sugar total where i can.

    Thank You ahead of time – It is great to find your work!! I often ask ‘Why’ is angredient used?

    it takes me forever to shop at the grocery store – I read the ingredients – check the total sugar/fat/carb per serving -double chk the price and try to stick to my list.

    AnyWho, ThankYou for sharing your knowledge and art.
    BlueSkies, Teresa

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — September 1, 2023 at 12:34 pm

      Hi Teresa! So glad to hear that you’re loving Tessa’s recipes and baking science content!! Most of the time in baking, we strongly recommend against reducing the sugar, as sugar does so much more than just sweetening in baking – learn more about that here! This is most important for cakes, brownies, cookies, and such bakes that are heavily reliant on moisture and texture, for stability. With these bars, however, it’s not going to alter the consistency of the apple filling or even the crisp topping toooo much if you reduce the sugar, as these aren’t as reliant on sugar to help develop stability or moisture. Feel free to reduce the sugar in the filling and topping, but I recommend keeping the sugar content the same in the cookie base, so they stay moist, don’t crumble, and maintain the texture needed to avoid collapsing under the weight of the filling and topping. I hope that helps, and makes sense! Let us know how it goes 🙂

  5. #
    Anne Chelekis — October 9, 2022 at 5:43 am

    I am planning on making this recipe for a party, but wanted to know if I could bake the week before and freeze them.

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — October 10, 2022 at 9:18 am

      Hi Anne! I’m sorry, but we haven’t tested these bars out in the freezer,, so I can’t say for sure! We typically don’t recommend freezing apple desserts, because apples discolor, dry out and get an odd consistency quite easily. If you do try freezing these, let us know how it goes!

  6. #
    Robin — October 2, 2022 at 2:03 pm

    These are so delicious!!!! They are easy to make and the perfect fall treat! Every time I make something from your cookbook or website, someone always wants the recipe! Can’t wait to continue baking your many amazing recipes!

  7. #
    Carrie — May 6, 2022 at 11:43 am

    So if I were to make this in a 9×13 pan I would just double the ingredients and would the bake time be any longer for

    • #
      Emily — May 12, 2022 at 10:33 am

      Hi Carrie! Yes, double the ingredients to make a 9×13. You will need to add a little more time, just follow the sensory indicators in the recipe instead of the given time. Let us know what you think when you give this recipe a try 🙂

  8. #
    Bruce DeBord — January 20, 2022 at 10:01 pm

    I just made my first batch of Apple Crisp Cookie Bars and they are wonderful! I’m preparing them, along with Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies and Peanut Butter Cookies for a church function this week. Thank you, Tessa, for another great recipe!

    • #
      Emily — January 21, 2022 at 10:09 am

      Sounds delicious! Your friends are definitely in for a treat, thanks so much for making our recipes and letting us know how much you love them, we appreciate it 🙂

  9. #
    Sue Hoyer — January 17, 2022 at 1:37 pm

    Really great! I cut way too many apples, so I set them up standing, so I needed to add extra time to baking. Next time I would also only bake for 15 minutes for par-baking the crust, and instead of plain cinnamon I used a pie spice mix. Really great flavor and texture, everyone loved them!

  10. #
    Tara — November 19, 2021 at 9:52 am

    Can you double recipe and use larger pan? Thanks!

    • #
      Emily — November 19, 2021 at 2:24 pm

      Hi Tara! Yes! Use a 9×13 pan when doubling 🙂 Let us know what you think of your cookie bars!

  11. #
    Liz — October 5, 2021 at 8:48 am

    Hi Tessa! How are these stored?

    • #
      Emily — October 5, 2021 at 1:08 pm

      Hi Liz! Thanks for asking, I just added that to the recipe post! Store covered at room temperature for up to 2 days 🙂 Enjoy your cookie bars!

  12. #
    Margherita — September 30, 2021 at 7:20 pm

    What type of molasses do you use

  13. #
    easterbunni — April 1, 2021 at 8:52 am

    This was delicious! I loved the different textures from the cookie bar to the apples and the oat topping. I brought it to work and my co-workers loved it. Thank you for another great recipe Tessa!

    • #
      Tessa — April 1, 2021 at 9:09 am

      Hooray! I’m absolutely thrilled everyone enjoyed them 🙂

  14. #
    Kelly — November 26, 2020 at 7:42 pm

    I made this for my family for thanksgiving, and it was a huge hit! It seems like a lot when you break it down, but it’s super simple once you’re in the process. Very glad I bought a pastry blender for the topping as I’ve never used one before; definitely made it easier on my hands. So happy with how this turned out!

    • #
      Tessa — November 27, 2020 at 12:49 pm

      Hooray! So glad you made this recipe for Thanksgiving!

  15. #
    Cheryl — November 14, 2020 at 9:07 am

    So delicious!

    • #
      Tessa — November 16, 2020 at 1:24 pm

      Thanks so much!

  16. #
    Ruth — October 9, 2020 at 11:01 am

    Yum! Made exactly to recipe. Not too sweet, great flavor. Will be made again, for sure!

  17. #
    Caytea Irons — September 18, 2020 at 1:26 pm

    The taste of this dessert is phenomenal, but I had trouble getting the right texture. The bar part was just like a gooey, sticky layer on the bottom. I pre-baked the cookie. Then after the second baking, I baked it for longer when I saw that it wasn’t done when I cut into it, but only the edge pieces got a little bit more solid. I don’t have a metal baking dish that size, though, so I used a glass one. Could that have been the problem? Is there something else that I likely did wrong? Should I have pre-baked the bottom longer? The flavor is so great, I’d like to try again…

    • #
      Tessa — October 1, 2020 at 8:07 am

      Yes, the glass baking dish caused this issue unfortunately. Glass bakes much slower than metal. If you must use glass, try reducing the temperature to 325°F and baking about 20% longer at each interval.

  18. #
    Isabel — July 8, 2020 at 5:53 pm

    I made this for my family, and they all loved it!! This recipe is SOOOOOOOO good! It literally tastes like an apple pie and apple crumble had a baby. I would highly recommend this recipe! Thank you Tessa!!!!!

  19. #
    Kelsey McVaugh — December 22, 2019 at 9:06 pm

    Can these be made a few days in advance? Made them ahead for Christmas dessert and unsure how to store them until then…

  20. #
    Ken — September 14, 2019 at 5:01 am

    What type of cream are you using for the apple mixture

  21. #
    Prim prim — October 13, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    I don’t usually make cakes like this cuz there’s not much time to spend on anything but one bowl recipes, but boy am I glad I made these!!!! They were incredible! I used Bramley apples and so had to slice them thinner and added a nut and seed mix to the crumble topping. Delish! Om Nom Nom

  22. #
    Norton setup — September 26, 2018 at 2:51 am

    This is an awesome dish. I love to cook this for my family. Thanks a lot for sharing this amazing recipe.

  23. #
    Margherita Baldini — September 21, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    What kind of molasses do you use?

  24. #
    Kara — September 21, 2018 at 7:52 am

    These look delicious! If I were to double it, should I use a 9×13 pan?

    • #
      Tessa — September 21, 2018 at 1:28 pm


  25. #
    Aly — September 20, 2018 at 10:25 am

    These look great! What kind of cream is used? Also, can you recommend a substitute for the molasses?

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