This is an easy recipe for Gluten Free Apple Pie Bars with a shortbread crust and crumb topping. They’ve got all the flavor of apple pie without the work of making a pie crust!
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These Gluten Free Apple Pie Bars are a tasty Fall twist on my Gluten Free Blueberry Crumb Bars. The base and the crumb are essentially the same with a little cinnamon added in.
I also eliminated the egg to make these an egg-free treat! The trick for making the dough egg free is using a food processor to get the dough to come together.
Before, I used the egg as a binder when mixing the dough by hand. Using the food processor will incorporate the butter into the flour fine enough to form the dough. Otherwise, it would take forever by hand.
The filling for these apple pie bars tastes just like apple pie. A little cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves gives these bars an insanely delicious amount of flavor. I mean, talk about an epic warm spice combination. It’s the same trio of spices that I use in my Slow Cooker Cinnamon Applesauce.
And if you think the flavor of these bars tastes good, just wait until you start baking them. Your entire house is going to smell like Fall 🍏🍂
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Key Ingredients for The Best Apple Pie Bars
- Fresh Apples – I use a combination of Granny Smith Apples and Golden Delicious Apples in this recipe. They’re great for baking because they hold their shape and don’t turn to mush. Using the right baking apples means these apple pie bars will hold their shape once cut.
- Butter – Butter is the star ingredient in the crust and crumb topping since it’s made from the same dough. Use a high quality butter if you can! If you have to go dairy free, use a good vegan butter or Nutiva Shortening.
- Spices – the combination of warm spices is what makes the best apple pie flavor. My preferred spices are cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
Equipment Needed to Make this Fresh Apple Pie Bars Recipe
- 8×8 Inch Square Baking Pan – These make a wonderfully thick bar with just the right amount of crust to hold all that apple filling. I’m partial to pans with straight sides for nice, straight edges! Feel free to double the recipe and use an 9×13 inch pan instead!
- Food Processor – Using a food processor is the easiest and fastest way to incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients to form the dough.
- Parchment Paper – Parchment paper is optional but I like using it because I can use the paper to lift the bars out of the pan in one piece. I prefer using unbleached parchment paper but that’s just a personal choice. Regular parchment paper works just the same!
How to Make Apple Pie Bars
Step 1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper or spray well with non-stick spray.
Step 2. Add the dry ingredients for the crust to the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to mix. Add the cold, cubed butter and vanilla extract. Pulse until the butter is incorporated with the dry ingredients and a pliable dough has formed.
Step 3. Transfer 2/3 of the dough to the prepared baking pan and press into the bottom of the pan making sure it’s evenly distributed. Bake the crust for about 15 minutes (or until slightly browned).
Step 4. While the crust is baking make the apple pie filling by mixing all of the filling ingredients together in a large bowl. Make sure all the apples are coated with the spices!
Step 5. When the crust is done baking, add the apple filling to the baking pan (the crust can be warm). Top with the remaining dough by crumbling it over the top of the apples. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the apple filling is bubbling around the edges of the pan and the crumb topping is beautifully browned.
Tips for Making This Gluten Free Apple Pie Bars Recipe
- Don’t use Macintosh Apples in this recipe, they bake up too mushy for bars. I discussed the apples I used in this recipe in the “Key Ingredients” section of this post (above)!
- Take the time to par-bake the crust before adding the filling. It will give the bars a firmer, sturdier bottom that will make them portable. I tried skipping the extra bake and while the bars tasted great and kind of held together, they were very soft and were best eaten with a fork.
- You can sub a can of Apple Pie Filling if you’re super short on time or really want to skip the apple peeling. Just be sure to use a gluten-free filling – I tried it with a 21 oz. can of Lucky Leaf. Baking time will be shorter.
Other Fall Gluten Free Dessert Recipes to Try:
- Caramel Apple Crisp (with gluten free oats)
- Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats (made with gluten free crispy rice cereal)
- Ina Garten’s French Chocolate Bark recipe
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For the Crust/Topping
- 1 1/2 cups (205 g) gluten free flour (see notes)
- 1/2 cup (107 g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon (2 g) xanthan gum (omit if your flour blend contains it)
- 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon (2 g) fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon (2 g) ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (4 oz) unsalted butter, cubed + cold
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Apple Pie Filling
- 4 medium apples, sliced - about 4 1/2 cups sliced apples or 550-575 g (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons (21 g) cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon (4 g) ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon (2 g) ground nutmeg
- pinch of ground cloves
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper or spray well with non-stick spray.
- To make the crust, add the gluten free flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, xanthan gum (if using), baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon to the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to mix. Add the cold, cubed butter and vanilla extract. Pulse until the butter is incorporated with the dry ingredients and a pliable dough has formed.
- Transfer 2/3 of the dough to the prepared baking pan and press into the bottom of the pan making sure it’s evenly distributed. Bake the crust for about 15 minutes (or until slightly browned).
- While the crust is baking make the apple pie filling by mixing the sliced apples, fresh lemon juice, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, cornstarch, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and the pinch of cloves together in a large bowl. Make sure all the apples are coated with the spices!
- When the crust is done baking, add the apple filling to the baking pan (the crust can be warm out of the oven). Layer the apples as evenly as possible. Cover the apples with the remaining dough by crumbling it over the top of the apples. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the apple filling is bubbling around the edges of the pan and the crumb topping is beautifully browned.
- Cool completely on a wire rack before removing from the pan. Cut into 16 squares and serve at room temperature.
- Store leftover bars in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
- I use my Nightshade-Free Gluten Free Flour Mix in this recipe. If you use a flour blend than contains xanthan gum, omit the amount called for in the recipe.
- I used 2 Granny Smith Apples and 2 Golden Delicious Apples in this recipe.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 91 Total Fat: 1g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 1mg Sodium: 13mg Carbohydrates: 21g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 9g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 1g