Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Caramel, apples, and the fall are made for each other.

And while these bars bake, you house will smell like a fall-scented bakery. No candles required.

Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars - Easy, One-Bowl Recipe at

Last fall I made a Caramel Apple Pie, and the year before I made Caramel Apple Bars. Here’s Caramel Apple Version 2013.

Usually layered bars, or actual cheesecakes, mean lots of dishes and work, but these are fast, easy, made in one bowl, and a mixer is optional. They provide all the glory of real cheesecake, minus the work or water bath.

Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars - Easy, One-Bowl Recipe at

The buttery, brown sugar-graham cracker crust is good enough to eat on it’s own and I never say that about crust. Normally it’s soft and gooey desserts that make me swoon, but this crust is so good that I adapted the Salted Caramel Swirled-Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars, just so I could have this crust again.

Make it by melting butter, and stirring in brown sugar and graham cracker crumbs. While it bakes, the butter and brown sugar caramelize and you’re left with caramel undertones, which play off the salted caramel sauce used on the top layer.

Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars - Easy, One-Bowl Recipe at

The cheesecake layer is a mixture of cream cheese, cinnamon and sugar, molasses, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, molasses with apples folded in.

One tablespoon of molasses really rounds out the flavor profile and adds depth you just can’t get without it. It’s one of the quintessential flavors of fall for me.

I used one medium diced, unpeeled Fuji apple. Use your favorite type of apple, peeled or unpeeled.

Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars - Easy, One-Bowl Recipe at

If you’re trying to save calories and fat where you can, you can use light cream cheese. Often in baking you cannot use light products because the item won’t turn out or set up, but I’ve tested it here and it’s fine.

The spice level is on the robust side, but not overpowering, and starts off with 1 tablespoon of cinnamon. In order to lend enough flavor to this dessert with the dense crust, thick layer of cream cheese, and apple (all are bland on their own) seasoning liberally is necessary or the dessert won’t pop and will taste bland. Of course, add spices to taste.

Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars - Easy, One-Bowl Recipe at

Before baking, I swirled salted caramel sauce over the top layer. You can either make your own or use storebought. I’m a big fan of TJ’s Fleur de Sel sauce but use your favorite thick caramel sauce. Don’t use ice cream sundae topping, with corn syrup being one of the first ingredients. It’s too thin and will get lost in the bars. Thicker is the only way to go.

While baking, the bars rise up fairly considerably in the pan, more than you’d think they would if you’re an oven-door watcher. They shrink back down as they cool.

Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars - Easy, One-Bowl Recipe at

The crust is crunchy, buttery, with plenty of snap. If you’ve ever had an oatmeal-cookie-crusted pie, that’s what it reminds me of, with graham cracker crumbs in place of the oats.

The cheesecake layer is thick, dense, soft, yet firm, with warm, comforting flavors. Biting into the apple pieces, which retain some texture while baking, is a great contrast to the soft, smooth cream cheese.

Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars - Easy, One-Bowl Recipe at

Upon cooling and prior to serving, I drizzled on extra caramel sauce.

The more, the merrier.

Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars - Easy, One-Bowl Recipe at

Print Print Recipe

Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

These bars are full of the flavors of fall. Caramel, apples, and they're well-spiced with warm, comforting fall spices. The soft yet dense apple cheesecake layer tops a crisp, brown sugar-graham cracker crust, while gooey, salted caramel drenches the top. The apples retain some texture while baking, and are a great contrast to the soft, smooth cream cheese. The buttery, brown sugar crust caramelizes while baking, and complements the caramel sauce that's swirled in. The bars are fast and easy to make, can be made in one bowl. Much faster and simpler than making a whole cheesecake, and taste just as impressive.

Yield: one 8x8 pan, 9 to 12 squares

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, plus cooling time


1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon cornstarch
pinch salt, optional and to taste

1 large egg
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature and very soft (light is okay, micro for 10-15 seconds if you forgot to set it out to soften)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon molasses (light, mild, or medium molasses; not blackstrap)
1 tablesoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup small diced apple pieces (I used 1 medium-large, unpeeled Fuji apple; use your favorite)
about 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce, divided (I use Trader Joe's or make homemade salted caramel. Don't use ice cream sauce that's made with corn syrup as the first ingredient because it's too thin; thicker is better)


  1. Preheat over to 350F. Line an 8x8-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Crust - In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
  3. Add all remaining crust ingredients and mix with a fork to combine.
  4. Turn loose crumbs out into prepared pan and using a spatula, pack mixture firmly into pan in an even, smooth, flat layer; set pan aside.
  5. Cheesecake - In the same mixing bowl (no need to wash it), combine egg, cream cheese, sugar, molasses, vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, and whisk until very smooth and combined, or beat with an electric mixer until smooth and satiny. The softer the cream cheese is, the easier the mixture comes together.
  6. Add the cornstarch and mix to just incorporate.
  7. Fold in the apples.
  8. Pour mixture over crust, smoothing lightly with spatula and dispersing apple pieces evenly.
  9. Drizzle about 1/4 cup caramel sauce over batter to create swirls. To create the marbled pattern shown, drizzle caramel over batter in 5 wide, evenly spaced, parallel lines, each spanning the length of the pan. Like 5 rows of long train tracks. Rotate pan 90-degrees. With a toothpick, starting at the top of the pan, "draw" 5 evenly spaced lines through the caramel. You're dragging the toothpick perpendicularly through the first set of lines to create the marbling.
  10. Bake for about 45 to 48 minutes, or until center is set with very little jiggle; some looseness and a very slight jiggle is okay, but there should not be sloshing in the center. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out mostly clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Allow bars to cool in pan for about 1 hour before lifting out with foil overhang and slicing. I prefer to serve these bars chilled. Cover pan with foil to prevent fridge smells, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight, or until chilled before slicing and serving.
  11. Before slicing, drizzle about 1/4 cup caramel sauce over top; or add extra caramel to each piece individually prior to serving. Bars will keep airtight in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Related Recipes

Salted Caramel Swirled-Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Brown Sugar-Graham Cracker Crust

Salted Caramel Swirled-Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with a Brown Sugar-Graham Cracker Crust - Easy recipe at

Peanut Butter-Swirled Cheesecake Bars with Brown Sugar-Graham Cracker Crust

Peanut Butter-Swirled Cheesecake Bars with Brown Sugar-Graham Cracker Crust - Easy, One-Bowl, No-Mixer Recipe at

Caramel Apple Crumble Pie

Caramel Apple Crumble Pie

Caramel Apple Bars (GF with vegan adaptation)

White and Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Cake Bars

White and Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Cake Bars

Coconut Spice Cake Cheesecake Bars

Coconut Spice Cake Cheesecake Bars

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies

No-Ice-Cream-Maker Salted Caramel, Bourbon, Nutter Butter and Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

No-Ice-Cream-Maker Salted Caramel, Bourbon, Nutter Butter and Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream - Recipe at

Chocolate Buttermilk Pancakes with Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce  – Easy recipe for salted caramel sauce

Chocolate Buttermilk Pancakes with Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce - Recipe at

Dark Rum Caramel Sauce (gluten-free) – The caramel sauce can be made with or without rum, although I recommend it. A step-by-step guide for easy at-home caramel sauce to be used on everything from ice cream to apples

Caramel and Chocolate Gooey Bars (GF with Vegan adaptation) – Caramels, more caramels, and plenty of chocolate and oats are combined in these gooey, sticky, sweet, and texture-rich bars

Chocolate-Covered 7-Minute Microwave Caramels – Too good to be true. The recipe really works and they’re the best caramels I’ve ever had

Chocolate-Covered 7-Minute Microwave Caramels

Favorite apple + caramel recipe? 


73 Responses to “Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars”

  1. Kevin @ Closet Cooking — October 15, 2013 at 1:54 am (#

    Those look so good! Great way to enjoy some apples!

  2. Rochelle Hutchinson — October 15, 2013 at 2:13 am (#

    I swear caramel apples are my favourite even though we can’t get them here in the UK. But I love these little bars with cheesecake. YUM

  3. Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen — October 15, 2013 at 3:08 am (#

    Fabulous idea to spice cheesecake batter then stir in chopped apples and top with salted caramel. So much easier to serve than fancier cheesecakes and just as fun! Thanks for sharing, Averie. Pinning! P.S. Your Pinterest page was down the other night and I nearly freaked, LOL!

    • Averie Sunshine — October 15, 2013 at 4:08 am (#

      4 hour temporary glitch and yes, highly annoying, but back up and it was late on a Sunday evening so probably not a lot of people noticed but still, tech stuff is frustrating! thanks for pinning! :)

  4. Paula — October 15, 2013 at 3:49 am (#

    These look divine! I love bars or cookies that satisfy a couple of cravings at a time and a square pan is just so much easier (I’ve never had a disaster with a springform, but they make me nervous). I had decided on those fluffernutter bars for this weekend…and I have a feeling I’ll be wanting to make everything you post this week. So many desserts and treats–so little time!!!

    • Averie Sunshine — October 15, 2013 at 4:07 am (#

      LMK how the fluffernutter bars go over! And you will need to get over any springform pan anxiety because I have a doosie (in the best way) of a springform pan recipe coming next week. Not sure which day I’ll post it. Probably Tuesday. Unreal :)

  5. Belinda @themoonblushbaker — October 15, 2013 at 3:57 am (#

    Yes to this bar dessert. The cookie oat meal base is definitly a game changer in the world of desserts, I actually prefer to use them rather than traditional white base for the flavour.
    Wonderfully pictured bars averie!

    • Averie Sunshine — October 15, 2013 at 4:06 am (#

      Thanks for the photo compliments, Belinda. Means a lot coming from you b/c your photography is always just stunning!

  6. Liz @ I Heart Vegetables — October 15, 2013 at 4:11 am (#

    Oh my goodness, these look like the perfect fall recipe!

  7. ashley - baker by nature — October 15, 2013 at 4:19 am (#

    Hello, gorgeous little cheesecake bars!

  8. Cori — October 15, 2013 at 4:23 am (#

    These look awesome. As soon as my lemon brownies, garbanzo chocolate chip cookie bars and oatmeal cookies are gone I’m making these! This weekend! I can’t stop baking. Thanks always Averie!

    • Averie Sunshine — October 15, 2013 at 4:25 am (#

      You sound like me! Can’t stop baking and creating! LMK what you think of these after you try them!

  9. marla — October 15, 2013 at 4:28 am (#

    I love how you snuck in the cheesecake idea ~ lovely bars. Pinned!

  10. Madison — October 15, 2013 at 4:31 am (#

    Love caramel and apple together! When I went to the fair as a little girl, I’d get the caramel apple instead of the candy apple. WAY better! :) Cannot wait to try this recipe, Averie!

  11. Colleen @ What's Baking in the Barbershop?! — October 15, 2013 at 4:34 am (#

    Baked goodies with swirls get me every time. But caramel swirls?! Oh man. Beautiful bars for the fall season! :)

  12. Tracy | PeanutButter and Onion — October 15, 2013 at 5:03 am (#

    Salted caramel, apples and cheesecake… oh my!!! how did you squish all of my favorite things into one yummy bar. AWESOME!

  13. Laura Dembowski — October 15, 2013 at 5:32 am (#

    I’m obsessed with caramel apple anything right now. I’ve made sheet cake and pie and a bundt cake is on the menu. These bars look wonderful. So fall like!

  14. Tieghan — October 15, 2013 at 5:38 am (#

    I have caramel apples up today! Ha! I guess we both have caramel, apples and fall on the mind! I am loving these bars and that is coming from a cheesecake is just ok person. All the salted caramel and apples have me sold! That graham cracker crust is amazing and these are a heck of a lot easier to eat that a caramel apple and that I LOVE!

    • Averie Sunshine — October 15, 2013 at 2:47 pm (#

      I was the first comment or one of the first on your post :) I saw your post hit my feed as I was sitting here editing these pics. I was like, great minds…

      And I am not a cheesecake person either. Like a big slice, no. I would much rather have cookies, cake, brownies that cheesecake. But people seem to love it :) And with this crust and the caramel and the fact that it’s less ‘cheesey’ than many cheesecakes if that makes sense, it worked for me.

  15. Katie — October 15, 2013 at 6:01 am (#

    The spices, the molasses, the crust?!? AWESOME. Now….to cover up that apple taste. I wish I loved apples, since they are everywhere right now, but they just don’t love me, is the problem. Now, caramel on the other hand? Yes.

    • Averie Sunshine — October 15, 2013 at 2:45 pm (#

      The least noticeable flavor in this whole thing is…the apples :) With all those other dominating flavors, not really surprising that it’s the only healthy thing that gets masked. LOL

      How did I not know you don’t like apples??! I went through a phase of life where I ate them almost every day. I’ve moved on rarely eat them anymore (I should though!) but Skylar loves them and we always have tons on hand.

  16. Heather (Where's the Beach) — October 15, 2013 at 6:16 am (#

    I don’t think you can go wrong with these flavors. A good friend made an amazing caramel apple cheesecake. I never thought I’d like apple with cheesecake, but so good – or maybe it’s the ooey gooey caramel!

  17. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust — October 15, 2013 at 6:58 am (#

    Oh my goodness, that crust. LOVE! And you’ve just made my decision for me: I’m making cheesecake bars as soon as I can!

    • Averie Sunshine — October 15, 2013 at 2:43 pm (#

      I keep seeing a certain recipe for them on the internet/pinterest. It’s the same recipe, redone by a million people. There’s a skimpy base layer, then the filling with apples/cream cheese, and the top is a really pebbly looking streusel and while good, I really wanted to do caramel + apples with a thick crust. This crust is for you!! Every time I’ve made it, I think of you :)

  18. Angie | Big Bear's Wife — October 15, 2013 at 8:09 am (#

    You’re so right! Fall, apples and Caramel go hand in hand don’t they!!

  19. laurasmess — October 15, 2013 at 9:02 am (#

    Oh man, Averie! These bars are going to completely undo my no-cheesecake resolve for the next few weeks! Well… I guess I could just say that they’re cream cheese and apple bars. That sounds positively healthy ;) x

    • Averie Sunshine — October 15, 2013 at 2:41 pm (#

      That’s cute that you even have a ‘no-cheesecake resolve’! I wish I had one of those about cookies after midnight :)

  20. Laura @ Lauras Baking Talent — October 15, 2013 at 9:09 am (#

    What a burst of fall flavor! These look AMAZING!

  21. Sarah@WholeAndHeavenlyOven — October 15, 2013 at 9:28 am (#

    I lovee cheesecake bars and these look absolutely perfect for this time of year!! Caramel + Apples + Cheesecake = Heaven. Gotta try these sometime this fall! Pinned it!

  22. Vicki @ WITK — October 15, 2013 at 9:48 am (#

    Caramel apple and cheesecake? This sounds delicious! Cheesecake bars are my favorite.

  23. Megan I The Emotional Baker — October 15, 2013 at 10:15 am (#

    I love caramel apples in fall, but never thought to combine the two flavors in a baked treat. These bars look amazing!

  24. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — October 15, 2013 at 11:23 am (#

    Oh man, Averie – you know I can’t resist that salted caramel drizzle! Pinned!

    • Averie Sunshine — October 15, 2013 at 2:39 pm (#

      I saw you just pinned them – thank you!! (as always!!) :)

  25. Kris — October 15, 2013 at 12:02 pm (#

    I feel my thighs expanding just thinking about these …

  26. Laura (Tutti Dolci) — October 15, 2013 at 1:08 pm (#

    I love the sound of these bars, especially the caramel drizzle on top!

  27. vanillasugarblog — October 15, 2013 at 2:23 pm (#

    So this is how I get my hubby to eat an apple?
    I bet these are tasty. I mean seriously!

    • Averie Sunshine — October 15, 2013 at 2:39 pm (#

      Working in fruits by way of cream cheese and butter sounds about perfect :)

  28. Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — October 15, 2013 at 2:27 pm (#

    I love love love all the flavor combinations in your cheesecake layer, Averie! I will be craving these all day! Pinning!

  29. Dana — October 15, 2013 at 3:18 pm (#

    I’ve been looking for a seasonal caramel apple recipe to make for church this weekend. I do believe these fit the bill!

  30. McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN | Nutrition Stripped — October 15, 2013 at 3:39 pm (#

    Oh my goodness Averie, how do you do all of this amazing-ness in the kitchen? Teach me your wayssss haha :)

  31. Dina — October 15, 2013 at 3:39 pm (#

    they look delish!

  32. Alison Lewis — October 15, 2013 at 3:47 pm (#

    these get a WOW

  33. Stephanie @ Back For Seconds — October 15, 2013 at 3:51 pm (#

    Apple treats are my favorite in the fall. These look incredible!!

  34. Denise — October 15, 2013 at 5:43 pm (#

    I was told about your blog and “Cooking With Mr. C.” on Facebook. I love your recipes. Denise

  35. jessie — October 15, 2013 at 6:04 pm (#

    These look like a great fall treat!

  36. Kitchen Belleicious — October 15, 2013 at 7:09 pm (#

    i think my key phrase every time i come to your blog is going to be- I don’t believe it. Why you ask because I don’t believe how creative you are with desserts. This looks fantastic

    • Averie Sunshine — October 15, 2013 at 7:18 pm (#

      What a sweet thing to say – I try :) I mean you have to start getting creative to post new recipes 4-5x a week, every week, for years, right!

  37. Michele Sparrow — October 15, 2013 at 7:47 pm (#

    These bars look absolutely fantastic. The crust alone could be crumbled into a bowl for people to dig into with a spoon. I love how wintery this dessert is, too, the apples, caramel, cheesecake…YUM. The great part about this, besides all the other stuff I already said, is how simple it is. Scrolling through the related recipes just to get to the comment section were all droolworthy, too! Gorgeous photos and delectable, Averie. Can’t WAIT to make these!

    • Averie Sunshine — October 15, 2013 at 10:30 pm (#

      Glad you like all the related recipes. Sometimes I feel like there’s a few too many but whatever – it’s fun for me to go back and see what I’ve made. I may as well get something out of this too LOL

      And yes the crust alone – it’s almost like a crunchy granola bar meets oatmeal cookie, minus the oats. Just so good and I dont even care for crunchy (dry) things or crust but I dig that!

  38. Deborah — October 15, 2013 at 11:48 pm (#

    Do you know what I would do to live next to you so I could sample everything you make? Totally drooling here!

    • Averie Sunshine — October 16, 2013 at 1:58 am (#

      I wish you did! I seriously donate SO MUCH food, Deborah! You have more kids than I do and could use it! I..cannot. Or we’d weigh 500 lbs :)

  39. sally @ sallys baking addiction — October 16, 2013 at 6:07 am (#

    I think I just about died and went to heaven. I love everything about these bars! Especially the salted caramel. No wait, the cheesecake. No, the apples. And the buttery graham cracker crust. There is way too much to choose from. Apple desserts are my very favorite, but I think you knew that. Wait a sec, did you bake these just for me? I have been wanting to make a caramel apple cheesecake ever since last year, just haven’t had the opportunity to make an actual cheesecake! These are much more approachable. :)

    • Averie Sunshine — October 16, 2013 at 9:11 am (#

      So much more approachable than an actual cheesecake. Someone may actually make these whereas with a full cheesecake, doubtful. I thought of you the WHOLE TIME I was making these. The apple, the cheesecake bars, the salted caramel, the graham crust – yes, I made them just for you :) LOL I wish I could have shipped some to you!

  40. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — October 16, 2013 at 6:34 am (#

    Holy moly! These look incredible Averie!

  41. Alexe @ Keys to the Cucina — October 16, 2013 at 8:46 am (#

    Salted caramel is the way to my heart- and I think I need these in my mouth right. this. second.

  42. Beth @ bethcakes — October 16, 2013 at 11:24 am (#

    Oh goodness, I want one of these so badly! They look so soft and creamy! You really can’t go wrong with caramel and apple. Or cheesecake! :)

  43. Krysten — October 17, 2013 at 12:14 am (#

    When I saw the picture of this, I literally said “oh my god.” I need to make these so bad, it is a few of my favorite flavors…and the best part, they are combined! I am putting this recipe to use very soon!

    • Averie Sunshine — October 17, 2013 at 12:27 am (#

      Well that’s great that you plan to make them! Keep me posted!

  44. Jocelyn @BruCrew Life — October 17, 2013 at 5:58 am (#

    You know me and my obsession with salted caramel…these bars totally have my name all over them! I love every single thing that you added. They sound glorious and I’m wishing I had one (ok, three) in front of me for breakfast :-) Pinned!

    • Averie Sunshine — October 17, 2013 at 3:12 pm (#

      I would trade you these bars any day for your Neo Fudge. I loveeeeee that stuff. Still need to make it. And thanks for the pin!

  45. Valerie — October 17, 2013 at 11:14 am (#

    It’s raining, it’s cold, the falling leaves are pale yellow and russet red – all that’s missing is a batch of these cosy autumnal bars. Beautiful. xo

    • Averie Sunshine — October 17, 2013 at 2:58 pm (#

      Oh that weather sounds like weather I am glad I’m not in right now (sorry!) Rainy, cold, the fall – not where I thrive. I would need to make lots of these bars :)

  46. Ala — October 18, 2013 at 12:26 am (#

    Oatmeal cookie pie crust–so that legend-of-a-dessert is really a thing? I love a good graham cracker crust under any circumstance, and both these bars’ crusts and the idea of an oatmeal cookie crust sound excellent right now. I do accept home deliveries…just saying :D lovely!

    • Averie Sunshine — October 18, 2013 at 12:29 am (#

      Wish I did do deliveries – would help me work through the piles of desserts I always have! LOL

  47. Nutmeg Nanny — October 25, 2013 at 5:48 pm (#

    I am drooling over here, get me a towel!!! I love cheesecake bars :) especially salted caramel apple, yum!

  48. Lily — November 21, 2013 at 3:25 pm (#

    WOW! I made these, they are delicious! The flavors of the caramel, apple and graham cracker crust complement each other wonderfully. I didn’t have molasses so I used barley malt syrup instead, which I had on hand from making bagels. It worked great!

  49. YH — June 10, 2014 at 3:25 am (#

    These were incredible! The crust is to die for, one of the best crusts I’ve tried in fact. There’s just the right amount of spices in the recipe too. I am most definitely keeping this recipe (will make in the future for sure)!

    I tried to make the salted caramel, but my caramel didn’t work. But I think the bars taste just fine by themselves.

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