Caramel Apple Cheesecake Crumble Bars

I’ve made other apple cheesecake bars, two versions of caramel apple bars, caramel apple pie, apple crumbles, apple cakes, apple bread and more.

Check out the Related Recipes below for my apple adventures.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Crumble Bars - Move over apple pie! These are an apple pie, apple crumble and cheesecake all in one! YUM!

But there’s never been anything quite like these. Between the rich flavors of salted caramel, apples, and cinnamon to a tempting layer of cream cheese and chunky oat crumbles, they’ll be your new favorite apple bar.

The recipe begins with a brown sugar shortbread-style crust that’s tender and light. The crust is topped with a rich and creamy cheesecake layer, which is topped with cinnamon-and-sugar spiced apples.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Crumble Bars - Move over apple pie! These are an apple pie, apple crumble and cheesecake all in one! YUM!

The sweet, juicy apples are full of robust cinnamon flavor and they lend amazing chewy texture while also adding moisture. They’re a great contrast to the silky cheesecake.

Then there’s a buttery, oatmeal and brown sugar-based crumble that’s sprinkled on. I love crumble-topped anything, and while big sandy pebbles are okay, it’s hearty oats that I think make the best crumble toppings.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Crumble Bars - Move over apple pie! These are an apple pie, apple crumble and cheesecake all in one! YUM!

After baking, salted caramel is drizzled over the top. It adds so much depth of flavor and as it soaks in, it helps the bars stay beautifully soft, moist, and tender for days.

I prefer using salted caramel since the salt helps balance the overall sweetness. Try The Best and Easiest Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce, Trader Joe’s, or your favorite. Make sure it’s a thick caramel sauce and not thin, runny sundae sauce.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Crumble Bars - Move over apple pie! These are an apple pie, apple crumble and cheesecake all in one! YUM!

The recipe takes a few minutes to prep, but it’s so worth it. The steps go fast and your house will smell like a bakery while the bars bake.

Move over apple pie. I’ll take apple pie, apple crumble and cheesecake all in one. My daughter told me they’re best thing I’ve made since this. High praise coming from a mini food critic.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Crumble Bars - Move over apple pie! These are an apple pie, apple crumble and cheesecake all in one! YUM!

Print Recipe

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Crumble Bars

Between the rich flavors of salted caramel, apples, and cinnamon to tempting layer of cream cheese and chunky oat crumbles, this will be your new favorite apple bar recipe - apple pie, apple crumble, and cheesecake all in one. The recipe begins with a brown sugar shortbread-style crust that’s tender and light. The crust is topped with a rich and creamy cheesecake layer, which is topped with cinnamon-and-sugar spiced apples. Then there’s a buttery, oatmeal and brown sugar crumble that’s sprinkled on, and after baking the bars are drizzled with salted caramel. Make sure to let the bars cool very well (overnight is best) before slicing.

Yield: one 8x8 pan, 9 to 12 generous squares

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: about 55 to 60 minutes, divided

Total Time: 5+ hours, or overnight, for cooling

Ingredients:

Crust
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened

Cheesecake 
8 ounces cream cheese, softened (use brick-style, lite okay)
1 large egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Apples
about 2 cups small dices apples (from about 2 med apples, peeled and cored; I used 1 Fuji and 1 Gala)
2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Crumble 
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned-whole rolled oats (not quick-cook or instant)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 of 1 stick), softened

Caramel
1/2 cup+ (salted) caramel sauce, for drizzling (homemade salted caramel, or storebought; use a thick caramel sauce and not thin, runny ice cream sundae topping)
ice cream, optional for serving

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil leaving overhang and spray with cooking spray, or grease and flour the pan; set aside.
  2. Crust - In a large bowl, add the flour, brown sugar, and cut in the butter with two forks. Keep working until mixture is combined and pea-sized crumbly bits are present.
  3. Turn mixture out into prepared pan, hard-packing it with your fingertips in an even, smooth, flat layer to form a crust. Bake for 14-15 minutes, or just until set (set a timer). Remove from oven; set aside. While crust bakes, prepare the remaining layers.
  4. Cheesecake - In a large bowl (same one used for crust is okay, just wipe with a paper towel), add all ingredients and beat with a hand mixer (or whisk vigorously by hand) until smooth and combined, about 2 minutes on high power; set aside.
  5. Apples - Peel, core, and dice apples and place in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and toss well to combine; set aside.
  6. Crumble - In a medium bowl, add the flour, brown sugar, oats, and cut in the butter with two forks. Keep working until mixture is combined and pea-sized crumbly bits are present. If necessary, add an extra tablespoon or two of flour or oats for preferred consistency if mixture is loose.
  7. After removing pan with the crust layer from the oven, pour cheesecake mixture over the crust, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
  8. Lightly and evenly sprinkle the apples.
  9. Evenly sprinkle with the crumble mixture. It looks like a lot, but it sinks some while baking.
  10. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes (I baked 48 minutes), or until crumble topping is just set and very lightly golden browned. Place pan on a wire rack to cool for about 30 minutes.
  11. Caramel - After 30 minutes, evenly drizzle with (salted) caramel sauce. Allow bars to cool, in pan, on wire rack for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Cover with foil if cooling overnight. Don't slice bars too early because you'll have a literal hot mess and bars will likely fall apart. Prior to slicing, lift bars out using foil overhang, slice, and serve. Bars will keep airtight at room temp for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Optionally serve with ice cream.

Inspired by Paula Deen

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78 comments

  1. I love it when my house smells like a bakery. I can imagine how amazing it would smell with these baking in my oven. Mmmm.

  2. Wait, only the best thing since your upside down cake?? What about those lemon lemonies? Or the pumpkin cinnamon rolls she asked you not to donate? Anyway, anything your daughter outright LOVES is totally worth every calorie burned running. And then some. ;)

    • When I made these, I had not yet made the pumpkin cinn rolls. That’s the funny thing, some recipes I have made 4-8 weeks ahead of time, others just days before posting. And I write the story based on when I made it so I stand corrected, those pumpkin cinn rolls definitely were one of her faves and the lemonies she loved too. She has dessert amnesia I think, but I can’t blame her. It’s.nonstop.daily.

    • Geez girl, you are SO on top of things!! I’m usually scrambling for posts… And lucky if I can have them done 3 days in advance. It’s something I’m trying to work on, but when I’m the only one in the house that eats dessert and I haven’t met my neighbors yet… Kind of hard to keep baking nonstop. ;) Dessert amnesia, though — I like the sound of that!

  3. I actually gasped when I saw these photos. These bars look amazing. So many of my favorite things all in one!

  4. Cheesecake and crumble?!?! Oh girl. I love you.

  5. SO divine! Can’t beat caramel and apples.

  6. That crumble topping is melting my heart, because, well, crumble toppings tend to do that. And I’m a sucker for anything cheesecake, so I will hopefully be making these quite soon!

  7. Holy moly, girl, these look insane. You are totally making me want to bake and get that bakery smell in my house today. :)

  8. Oh man, these look so so good. I haven’t made anything cheesecake-esque in a while and it’s probably about time I change that.

  9. All the layers and textures in these bars are fantastic! What is so nice is that they aren’t very complicated to make despite all the components.

  10. I knew I could count on you to bring on the apple recipes … although, once again, I’m distracted by your previous apple ideas.

    • Even though you’re distracted, I’ve learned with you that you may literally make something two YEARS after you first knew you were going to make it. You eventually DO get around to it! :)

  11. These look absolutely amazing, Averie! All my faves in one bar, apples, caramel & cheesecake, yum!

  12. ***Drooling*** That crust!!!! That topping!!! Pinned, obvi. :)

  13. I don’t usually eat cheesecake because it often has a graham cracker crust and I’m not a fan of graham cracker crust but the fact that you made these bars with a shortcake crust makes me want to eat the entire pan….I love the combo of apple and caramel…I’m making these for my Halloween open house.

    • Oh I think your guests and you are in for a treat! Please LMK what everyone says! Interesting that you don’t like graham cracker crust. More often than not, I do prefer it to regular pie/shortbread crust, however in bars it’s not quite as sturdy and can crumble more and I knew I needed a very sturdy foundation for all the layers that were going to get piled on :)

  14. Oh have mercy–where do I even start with how insanely good these look! Apple crumble on top of cheesecake…and caramel for the perfect finishing touch. Match made in heaven!! I can see why Skylar loved these. Just curious if she is interested in baking things herself–she certainly has a a talented mentor to show her how!

    • She’s only 7 1/2 so she’s a little young to bake herself per se. I mean I would give her carte blanche in the kitchen if she wanted it and she likes to watch me and she’s an excellent food critic. I mean, she does not miss a DETAIL. And she has a great memory, all things considered. She can tell me that the last time I made a certain dessert that was similar we were living in a certain condo, like 2 condos/moves ago! But she’s not as interesting as creating from scratch. She’s more interested in her other hobbies & activities that seem to overtake our life :)

  15. Mmm, I can’t think of a more perfect fall dessert! I have a ton of apples in my fridge – maybe if I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll make these later!

  16. These apple bars are INSANE! Look at that gorgeous crumble! And salted caramel? And cheesecake? Gah, they are tooo good!

  17. Love everything about these bars! From the crust, to the filling and the topping! I have apples and caramel on my mind and I would love a piece of this right now! Pinned!

  18. This looks so so so good! I just want to eat it now!

  19. I love your apple adventures :) Especially these bars! They have been stalking me on social media and I finally got over here to check them out. Each and every layer is just perfection Averie and that topping…goodlaaawd! Pinned!

  20. My gosh, this looks so wrong but so right <3 I love apple crumble, especially during fall season. Perfect for afternoon tea ^^

  21. Mmmmmmm! Triple YES on these bars. Pinned!

  22. Just made these last night ! SO GOOD ! My family loved them, def. baking them again for when guest come over. Thanks !

  23. I definitely want some of these!

  24. Oh my word, I love caramel apple desserts. And cheesecake. And crumble bars. So yeah, these are just pretty awesome since they include everything! PINNED

  25. Holi frazoli! I nearly lost my mind looking at those photos!!! If ever there was a time I wanted to jump threw my screen and plant my face in to something.. now would be that time :) Thanks for sharing!

  26. I think my favorite part of these bars could be the caramel drenched crumble on top!

  27. You seriously make the most delicious looking bars! Teach me the tricks!

  28. ahhhh, these look fantastic! love these!

  29. I noticed it said to store at room temp…. Shouldn’t they be stored in the refrigerator because of the cheesecake? They look incredible, I think I will be making these for my birthday treat! Thanks!

    • Since it’s baked, I don’t have any issue storing at room temp (how is the dairy/eggs in this any different than say a cake that uses dairy/eggs or brownies, etc.) but if you prefer the fridge, go for it.

  30. This looks AMAZING! Have you tried doubling it with a 9×13? It might be laborious to make enough for 50 people for an apple-themed party I’m hosting to do it 9×9… just wondering what your doubling experience has been:-)

    • I haven’t personally doubled this recipe although I think it would be just fine in a 9×13. You wouldn’t be able to serve 50 though from one 9×13 pan. You’d probably need 3 pans worth just to be safe! Eek, that sounds like a lot of work and you’re a trooper if you do it, but your friends will LOVE you even more! :)

  31. Hi Averie, I wanted to know if you thought that these bars were better than your Caramel Apple cinnamon Bars and why. Oh, and if you liked the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars better than the Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie Bars or if it was the other way around and why. Thank you :)

    • So many questions!

      Bottom line you can’t go wrong with anything. I think the cream cheese is a nice touch in the apple bars if you like cream cheese. If not, make the version without. With the PB bars, I love PB + chocolate so I’d probably personally choose those, but depends on my mood.

  32. I’m making a couple desserts for a friend’s wedding tomorrow, and the two recipes I chose to try? These bars and the “fudgy pumpkin bars”… both pans are in the oven and my kitchen smells amazing! I discovered your site this week and it’s a goldmine – thank you!

    • What an awesome comment…thank you! And thanks for finding me and trying 2 recipes on the very week you found me!

      LMK how people like them and if you try other recipes, LMK too!

  33. I have made several of your desserts and loved them (almost to the point of not sharing) all! I was wondering if you think the filling from your caramel swirled pumpkin cheesecake bars could be used as the filling for this. Would it hold up to the weight of the apples and crumble? If not, I will gladly make both but would also love to see what it would be like if they were combined.

  34. Can I put these in the fridge of I’m on a time limit to speed up the cooling process?

  35. I had the same question as Jodi and wondered if anyone has tried refrigeration yet. If yes, what were the results? I want to make these ahead of time for one of our Thanksgiving desserts. Lots of holiday flavor, plus cheesecake, so we are excited to try. Thanks!

  36. I made these bars tonight.They were very tender and the combination of flavors were perfect.I make cheesecakes often and was concerned that it would overpower the rest, but it gives a nice creaminess.Since I made this on a whim, I made the recommended caramel sauce,also adding some salt.I would use Smuckers Simple Delight Salted Caramel ice cream topping.It is very thick and affordable.I have tried some of your recipes before and have been very pleased. A fan. Sally Anderson.

    • Thanks for trying this and what sounds like quite a few other recipes of mine and I appreciate the praise and glad everything has turned out great for you. Yes, these bars are a great balance of creaminess to apple, etc. and other flavors and you’re right, the cheesecake doesn’t dominate or take over the flavor like it can be prone to doing. I am also a fan of Trader Joe’s Salted Caramel sauce. As easy as cracking open the jar but I am super impressed you made your own homemade caramel sauce, too! Thanks for being a fan :)

    • I use Trader Joes often and will pick up a jar of their sauce.I use a little in my espresso in the morning

  37. I made these a few years back and got rave reviews. I have a “Friendsgiving” tomorrow and I just made a DOUBLE batch of these for it. I can’t wait for everyone to try them. My house smells so delicious!

    Thanks for the recipe!

  38. I know someone commented on refrigerating this beforehand. Just so I’m clear, do you think I will be able to make this a couple of days in advance, leave in the fridge and then cook the same day I would be serving it? Do you think the quality will be about the same premade? This looks so delicious, I can’t wait to try it!!

    • I would make the recipe from start to finish and then leave it chilled in the fridge til you’re ready to serve. I think that you could make them the night before without any issues. But 2-3 days in the fridge, well, fresher is better.

  39. Yummy my favorite. Sounds easy to make, thanks for sharing.

    Simon

  40. I made these caramel apple cheesecake crumble bars today for my family. They were amazing!!! My family loved them. They would not stop talking about how good they are.
    I will definitely be making them again :) Thank you for the recipe!

  41. if i made the apple bars and used twice the cheescakefilling do i bake it for the sme time?

  42. The combination of divine flavors and textures–buttery and crunchy, sweet and cinnamon-y, creamy, rich and gooey–made these bars absolutely swoon-worthy! I doubled the recipe for a crowd (using 2 8×8 pans), and everyone (especially the men!) fell all over themselves for seconds (and thirds). The bars did take a little more time to make because of all the steps/layers, but. Oh. So. Worth. It. I ended up with about 10 leftover bars which promptly went into the freezer. Company’s coming this weekend and yay for ready-made desserts!

    Just a note that I made the salted caramel sauce twice. The first time, I added vanilla extract as per the recipe. It left the caramel with a strong, bitter taste and I had to chuck the whole batch. Maybe it should have read 1 tsp. instead of 1 Tbsp. vanilla? Regardless, I made it a second time with no extract and it was scrumptious!

    I think your blog is my new favorite destination for desserts!

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! I know this recipe does have a few steps and layers involved, but as you said, so worth it! And as long as you’re feeding a crowd, why not double it and as you said, now you have pre-made dessert in the freezer for this weekend, too!

      The caramel sauce – thanks for sharing your experience. I haven’t had that happen and have used a full tbsp rather than tsp, but all vanillas are different and some have a very bitter, alcohol-ey taste even when they’re not heated at high temps like that. Glad that the sauce turned out great the second time around and thanks for your praise and compliments about my blog!

  43. Can regular butter be used instead of unsalted butter without altering the taste? Thanks!

  44. Could these be made 2 days in advance? Wasn’t sure if the textures would keep. thanks!

    • I never knew she had a recipe for similar bars. I don’t pay much attention to her or her recipes, especially in light of her scandal. I just glanced at hers and while there are some similarities, the ratios are quite different. Hope you enjoy my bars!

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