Paleo Apple Pie Bars

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Tender apple slices perfectly spiced with cinnamon over a shortbread crust with a streusel topping, these Paleo Apple Pie Bars get even better with a drizzle of my homemade caramel. They’re naturally gluten free with a dairy free option as well. They’re also made with a secret ingredient, orange juice, for even more depth of flavor.

Cut up Apple Pie Bars on a white background with caramel sauce.

We love apple pie, there’s just something comforting about it’s cozy flavors. These bars are even easier to make than apple pie, and as a bonus they’re made with real food ingredients as well. There’s no processed flour or sugar, just pure delicious flavor.

These bars are perfect for the holidays, alongside my Paleo Pecan Pie Bars. But they’re also great for those weekends when you feel like baking up a treat.

I made these with my Double Coconut Caramel Sauce, but there’s a maple syrup option in the recipe too. The caramel really is worth a few more minutes to make. After all… who can resist a caramel drizzle?

Side view of Apple Pie Bars with caramel sauce on top.

I made these with my Double Coconut Caramel Sauce, but there’s a maple syrup option in the recipe too. The caramel really is worth a few more minutes to make. After all… who can resist a caramel drizzle?

These bars are…

  1. decadent
  2. crowd pleasing
  3. aroma therapy
  4. and pretty healthy too!

Ingredients & Substitutions

Ingredients for Apple Pie Bars on a wooden cutting board.
  • Almond Flour – makes wonderful gluten free shortbread crust and the streusel topping.
  • Tapioca Starch – combines with the almond flour to hold it all together.
  • Cinnamon – is in both the crust and the filling to give it that properly spiced apple pie flavor.
  • Sliced Almonds – add some texture and crust to both the crust and the topping.
  • Apples – any baking apple will work here. I’ve used Granny Smith, McIntosh, and Honey Crisp here.
  • Butter/Coconut Oil – either one works here perfectly, but I definitely lean towards the butter flavor.
  • Maple Syrup just a touch of sweetener in the crust and filling makes this dessert not too sweet.
  • Orange Juice & Orange Zest is always my secret ingredient with apple desserts because it adds so much depth of flavor.
  • Vanilla – rounds everything out and also add depth of flavor.
  • Caramel Sauce – to drizzle really takes this dessert over the top.

How to make this recipe step by step

The shortbread crust ingredients in a white mixing bowl.

Step 1: Start by mixing together the dry ingredients for the crust/streusel mixture, then add the wet ingredients.

Note: The mixture for the crust and streusel comes together in the same bowl to make these apple pie bars even easier.

The shortbread crust pressed into a white baking dish.

Step 2: Pat out 2/3 of the crust/streusel mixture into a 11″x7″ baking pan. I like to line mine with 2 strips of parchment paper so I can slide the bars out later. You can also grease the pan well and press the crust right into the pan.

Apple slices in a bowl being mixed with the orange juice and cinnamon.

Step 3: Mix together the orange juice mixture to pour over the apple slices and toss them to combine.

Adding the apple slices over the top of the shortbread crust.

Step 4: Layer the apple slices over the shortbread crust and pour any extra juices over the top.

Adding the streusel topping over the apple slices.

Step 5: Crumble the remaining 1/3 of the crust/streusel mixture over the top. Bake until the crust is golden brown, and the apple slices are tender and bubbling around the edges.

FAQ’s

What are the best apples to use?

McIntosh are my #1 pick for best flavor and texture. But the readily available Granny Smith are super tasty too. Any baking apple works here like Braeburn or Honeycrisp as well. A baking apple is any apple that holds it’s texture when bakes. Apples like Gala turn into applesauce when baked.

Can I make these Apple Pie Bars without almond flour?

No, but you can make my Caramel Apple Galette that uses gluten free flour if you can’t have nuts.

Storing leftovers

  • To Store – cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for 3-4 days.
  • Reheating – You can lightly rewarm it for 15-20 minutes in a 200ºF oven. Or microwave briefly
  • To Freeze – these bars freeze well tightly sealed for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring the bars to room temperature before serving. The crust and topping will soften, but you can re-crisp it in the oven.
Side view of finished Apple Pie Bars with a caramel drizzle.

Tips & Tricks

  • Use and apple/peeler/corer/slicer to speed thing up with the apples. This handy gadget is way faster than trying to peel them by hand!
  • Try using a plastic squeeze bottle for the caramel, it makes beautiful lines over the bars.
  • Serve these at brunch instead of for dessert, and watch them disappear!
Straight down view of sliced Apple Pie Bars with a caramel drizzle.

I really hope you enjoy these Paleo Apple Pie Bars! If you do get a chance to make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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Side view of finished Apple Pie Bars with a caramel drizzle.

Paleo Apple Pie Bars


  • Author: Kari Peters
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 50
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 16 bars 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Tender apple slices perfectly spiced with cinnamon over a shortbread crust with a streusel topping, these Paleo Apple Pie Bars get even better with a drizzle of my homemade caramel. They’re naturally gluten free with a dairy free option as well. They’re also made with a secret ingredient, orange juice, for even more depth of flavor.


Ingredients

Units Scale

Shortbread and Streusel:

2 1/2 cup fine almond flour

3 Tablespoons tapioca starch, see notes

1/2 Teaspoon sea salt

1 1/2 cup sliced almonds, not toasted

1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 Tablespoon orange zest, see notes

6 Tablespoons ghee, butter, or coconut oil for Vegan, melted

6 Tablespoons maple syrup

2 Tablespoons vanilla extract

Apple Filling:

1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 Tablespoon tapioca starch

1/4 cup maple syrup, or Double Coconut Salted Caramel Sauce

1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

pinch of sea salt

3 medium sized baking apples, Granny Smith or McIntosh are my favorites, 1lb 4 oz

Caramel Sauce to drizzle over the top


Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cut 2 strips of parchment paper for an 11″x7″ baking dish, one for the width, and one for the length. Then line the pan pressing the paper down into the corners.

For the shortbread and streusel, mix together the almond flour, tapioca starch, sea salt, sliced almonds, cinnamon, and orange zest until combined. Add the melted ghee/butter/coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract, mixing until completely combined.

Pat 2/3 of the shortbread and streusel mixture into the lined baking dish, reserving the remaining 1/3 for the topping.

Set the crust aside while you make the apple filling. In a large bowl, mix together the cinnamon, tapioca, caramel sauce, orange juice, and sea salt until combined.

Either by hand or using an apple/peeler/corer/slicer, peel and cut the apples into 1/4″ slices. Add the slices to the bowl with the orange juice mixture, and toss to combine.

Evenly layer the apples over the top of the crust, and crumble the remaining 1/3 of the shortbread and streusel mixture over the top of the apples.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, placing a foil tent over the top of the bars after 20 minutes. When the bars are bubbling and the apple slices are tender, remove them from the oven to a cooling rack for at least 45 minutes.

When the bars are cool enough to lift out, using both sides of the parchment paper, carefully lift them out and drizzle with caramel sauce.

Slice and serve warm or at room temperature. If you have any leftovers, these keep well for up to 2 days on the counter, or refrigerated.

The shortbread and streusel will soften by the second day, but you can always crisp them up in the oven at 200ºF for a few minutes.

Notes

I’ve had many readers write in to say they’ve successfully subbed in either cornstarch or arrowroot for tapioca in my recipes. I personally like to work with tapioca, but hopefully this will help if you can’t have it.

I like to grate citrus zest for all my recipes with a microplane grate so there’s no large chewy bits of rind.

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Gluten Free Apple Pie Bars, Apple Pie Streusel Bars, Almond Flour Apple Pie Bars

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