Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars — These caramel apple cheesecake bars feature a buttery crust that’s topped with cheesecake and spiced apples. After they’re done baking, the bars are drizzled with salted caramel sauce!
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars Recipe
I’ve made other apple cheesecake bars, caramel apple bars, caramel apple pie, apple crumbles, apple cakes, apple bread and more. But there’s never been anything quite like these caramel apple cheesecake bars. 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. 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.
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 making homemade salted caramel sauce, or your favorite store-bought kind. Just make sure it’s a thick caramel sauce and not thin, runny sundae sauce.
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 pineapple upside down cake. High praise coming from a mini food critic.
What’s in These Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars?
To make this caramel apple cheesecake bars recipe, you’ll need:
- All-purpose flour
- Light brown sugar
- Unsalted butter
- Cream cheese
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Diced apples
- Cinnamon and nutmeg
- Rolled oats
- Salted caramel sauce
How to Make Cheesecake Bars
You’ll first need to prep the crust and bake it in a greased 8×8-inch pan until just set. While the crust bakes, stir together the cheesecake layer. Then, dice the apples and toss with sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Prep the crumble topping in a separate bowl and set aside.
Once the crust is out of the oven, pour the cheesecake mixture over top. Next, sprinkle the diced apples evenly over the cheesecake layer. Finally, sprinkle on the crumble topping.
Bake the apple cheesecake bars until the crumble topping is just set and very lightly golden browned. After they’ve had 30 minutes to cool, evenly drizzle the salted caramel sauce over top. These bars then need an additional 4 hours to cool completely and set.
Can I Prep These Bars in Advance?
Yes, these bars will keep in an air-tight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months. You can also store these in the refrigerator, if desired.
What Type of Apples Should I Use?
It really doesn’t matter which kind you use. I used a Gala apple and a Fuji apple, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand.
Tips for Making Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
Make sure to use brick-style cream cheese in these caramel apple cheesecake bars and not the kind that comes in a tub. Lite cream cheese will work here, so long as it’s brick-style.
You also want to make sure you’re using old-fashioned rolled oats and not instant or steel cut oats. Rolled oats create the perfect crumble topping and are the way to go here.
Lastly, these cheesecake bars MUST have time to set fully before you cut into them. If you don’t let them cool off and set properly, you’ll have a literal hot mess on your hands.
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- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened (use brick-style, lite okay)
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Peel, core, and dice apples and place in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and toss well to combine; set aside.
- 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.
- After removing pan with the crust layer from the oven, pour cheesecake mixture over the crust, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
- Lightly and evenly sprinkle the apples.
- Evenly sprinkle with the crumble mixture. It looks like a lot, but it sinks some while baking.
- 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.
- 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.
Assemble the Bars
Recipe inspired by Paula Deen.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 540Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 100mgSodium: 139mgCarbohydrates: 59gFiber: 2gSugar: 37gProtein: 6g
More Easy Apple Desserts:
5-Minute Apple Cinnamon Crumble for One — Buttery apples are tossed with cinnamon-and-sugar and nutmeg, and the crumble topping is made with cinnamon, brown sugar, and oats.
Apple Turnovers — These apple turnovers take just 15 minutes to prep and are filled with the most incredible cinnamon apple filling. These are the ultimate fall dessert!
Apple Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting — An EASY, one-bowl, no-mixer apple cake that’s to-die-for!! Loaded with juicy apples in every bite, perfectly spiced, and topped with tangy cream cheese frosting!
Cinnamon Roll Apple Crisp – A layer of cinnamon rolls topped with apples and a crunchy oatmeal crumble makes this the ULTIMATE apple crisp!
Sugar Cookie Apple Crumble Cheesecake Pie – A buttery sugar cookie crust, tangy cream cheese filling, tender juicy apples, and a crumble topping make this pie a total SHOWSTOPPER!
Carrot Apple Cream Cheese Tunnel Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – If you like carrot cake, you’re going to LOVE this version that includes apples and a tunnel of cream cheese that runs through the center!
Caramel Apple Crumble Foil Packs – EASY, zero cleanup, made on the grill (or oven) in record time, and tastes amazing!
Originally published October 3, 2014 and republished August 19, 2020 with updated text.