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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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!
- 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.
Thank you so much for this recipe, it’s one of my all time favs and always a crowd pleaser!
Hi Averie! This recipe looks amazing and I really want to make it for my boyfriend, but he is gluten-free. I was wondering if this recipe would still turn out good if I used gluten-free flour to make the crust and crumble. Thank you!
I have never tried making this recipe or a crumble using GF flour so I am not sure how it will go for you since I haven’t done it.
Do you have a recipe for the homemade salted caramel sauce ? I have never seen salted caramel sauce in the stores where I live, only plain caramel sauce.
I made this dessert for my card club. It was delicious. I cut the Crumble recipe in half for the 8×8 baking dish and it was plenty. I used the salted caramel topping……YUMMY!!!!!! Definitely a keeper!
Thanks for the 5 star review and you loved this dessert!
Hmm. looks alike like Paula Deen’s recipe (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/caramel-apple-cheesecake-bars-with-streusel-topping-recipe.html)
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!
Could these be made 2 days in advance? Wasn’t sure if the textures would keep. thanks!
I think you’re fine making them 2 days out. Enjoy!
Can regular butter be used instead of unsalted butter without altering the taste? Thanks!
It will be more salty and if you use salted butter, I definitely wouldn’t add any additional salt. I have only made the recipe with unsalted butter.
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!
if i made the apple bars and used twice the cheescakefilling do i bake it for the sme time?
Probably not since there’s more filling to bake through, but since I haven’t tried it this way I cannot speak for sure.
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!
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! Glad you’ll make them again and you got rave reviews!
Yummy my favorite. Sounds easy to make, thanks for sharing.
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.
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!
Thanks for pinning and glad that you tried the bars and they got rave reviews! Lucky friends you have getting a double batch of these tomorrow! :)
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
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!
You can refrigerate these, that will be fine, and make a day or two ahead of Thanksgiving so there’s one less thing to worry about doing. Enjoy!
Can I put these in the fridge of I’m on a time limit to speed up the cooling process?
That’ll probably be fine.
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.
You know it probably would work, but I haven’t tested it. If you go for it, LMK how it works out!
Thanks for trying many of my recipes and glad you’ve loved them!
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!
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.
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! :)
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.
ahhhh, these look fantastic! love these!
You seriously make the most delicious looking bars! Teach me the tricks!
Oh pul-eeze girl, your stuff is mind-blowing…every single time!! :)
I think my favorite part of these bars could be the caramel drenched crumble on top!
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!
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
Thank you for pinning, Aimee, and I hope your week gets off to a smooth smart :)
I definitely want some of these!
Just made these last night ! SO GOOD ! My family loved them, def. baking them again for when guest come over. Thanks !
I am so glad you tried the recipe, and on the same weekend I posted it, no less! Awesome! And glad to hear you’ll re-make for guests!
Mmmmmmm! Triple YES on these bars. Pinned!
Thanks for pinning, as always, and also for pinning my book :) Totally saw that in your feed! xoxo
My gosh, this looks so wrong but so right <3 I love apple crumble, especially during fall season. Perfect for afternoon tea ^^
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!
This looks so so so good! I just want to eat it now!
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!
Thanks, Anna! You’re the best!
These apple bars are INSANE! Look at that gorgeous crumble! And salted caramel? And cheesecake? Gah, they are tooo good!
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!
Thank you for pinning and hope you and your kiddos are having a nice weekend! :)
These bars look like heaven!
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 :)
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 :)
***Drooling*** That crust!!!! That topping!!! Pinned, obvi. :)
I think you would LOVE these! There are so many things about them that remind me of you! And thanks for pinning :)
These look absolutely amazing, Averie! All my faves in one bar, apples, caramel & cheesecake, yum!
Your brown butter apple cake and my bars could become apple BFFs :) Seriously that cake of yours, mmmm!
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! :)
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.
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.
Holy moly, girl, these look insane. You are totally making me want to bake and get that bakery smell in my house today. :)
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!
SO divine! Can’t beat caramel and apples.
Cheesecake and crumble?!?! Oh girl. I love you.
I actually gasped when I saw these photos. These bars look amazing. So many of my favorite things all in one!
Thank you for gasping :)
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!
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.