If you're a fan of cheesecake and apple pie, then this apple cheesecake bars recipe is the dessert for you! We’re here to help you make the best apple cheesecake bars with shortbread crust for when fall is in the air or when Christmas is around the corner.
These apple cheesecake bars are made with four layers: an easy shortbread crust, a classic cheesecake layer, an apple cinnamon layer, and a brown sugar streusel topping. Five layers if they’re drizzled with salted caramel on top!
Reasons you’ll love this recipe
- FALL FLAVORS: These apple pie cheesecake bars are the perfect dessert for the fall season and sharing at Thanksgiving! Just like our apple crisp recipe with oats, they’re full of apple cinnamon goodness that will satisfy all your sweet fall cravings but also taste great any time of year!
- PERFECT COMBO: These caramel apple cheesecake bars are a take on combining the delicious creaminess of a classic New York cheesecake with a cinnamon apple crumble on top. Does it get any better? Yes, with a drizzle of caramel sauce!
- EASY: Each layer of these apple crisp cheesecake bars is super easy to make and comes together rather quickly! There may look like a lot of ingredients, but each layer uses many of the same ingredients, and they’re all super basic.
- FLOUR: All-purpose flour is used in this recipe, particularly in the shortbread crust and in the streusel topping.
- SUGAR: Both granulated (white) and brown sugar are used throughout the different layers of these apple cream cheese bars and help sweeten them just right!
- BUTTER: Butter is used in the shortbread crust, which makes it seriously melt in your mouth and in the crumble topping to make it golden and crispy.
- SALT: Salt is used in a few of the layers to help enhance the overall flavor of these apple pie cheesecake bars.
- CREAM CHEESE: A package of softened cream cheese is used to make the cheesecake layer and give these cream cheese apple bars a soft center.
- EGGS: The eggs are used in the cheesecake layer to help give it structure.
- VANILLA EXTRACT: Just a hint of vanilla is all you need to take the cheesecake and apple layer to the next level.
- APPLES: Granny Smith apples are a classic apple pie and apple crisp apple, so we’re using them in these apple crisp cheesecake bars too! They should be peeled, sliced, and diced!
- LEMON JUICE: The lemon juice helps bring out the flavors of the apples.
- SPICES: Ground cinnamon and nutmeg are used, bringing warmth and flavor to these caramel apple cheesecake bars.
- QUICK OATS: The oats give the streusel that crumbly texture that's so so good.
- CARAMEL SAUCE: This is optional and can be bought from the store pre-made, or you can make your own caramel sauce.
See the recipe card below for the ingredient measurements.
- MIXING BOWLS: You will need three to four mixing bowls; for the shortbread crust, for the cheesecake filling, for the apple cinnamon layer, and for the streusel topping.
- POTATO PEELER: For peeling the apples.
- ELECTRIC HAND MIXER: For making the cheesecake layer.
- SQUARE BAKING DISH: An 8x8 square baking dish is all you need for baking the cheesecake bars with shortbread crust.
- KNIFE: For slicing and dicing the apples and cutting the cheesecake bars into squares.
- MEASURING SPOONS AND CUPS: For measuring the ingredients.
- Prepare: Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease an 8x8 square baking dish and set it aside.
- Shortbread Crust: Mix the flour, granulated sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the cold butter and incorporate all the ingredients with your hands until the mixture resembles a light crumb-like texture. Transfer it to the baking dish and evenly press the mixture firmly into the pan. Bake the crust for 18-20 minutes, until the edges start to lightly brown.
- Cheesecake Layer: Using an electric mixer, mix the softened cream cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated. Pour the cheesecake mixture over the hot baked shortbread crust.
- Apple Layer: Combine the apple layer ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix with a spoon until everything is well incorporated. Using a spoon, evenly distribute the apple mixture on top of the cheesecake layer.
- Streusel Topping: Combine and mix all the streusel topping ingredients together, except for the butter. Once fully mixed, add the softened butter and use your hands to form the streusel crumble. It should be a dampish, crumb-like texture. Evenly distribute the streusel over the apple mixture.
- Bake: Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes. Rest until room temperature and refrigerate for up to 3 hours before serving. Can also be made the day before and chilled in the refrigerator overnight. Serve with store-bought caramel sauce as desired.
- Get your hands dirty. You don’t need any fancy tools to make the crust or the streusel/crumble, you’re hands are all you need to make both these layers. However, if you do prefer to use a tool, use can use a pastry blender, or a simple fork will also do the trick.
- Dice the apples. The size of the apple pieces should be similar to the size of diced onion or tomatoes. They should be small enough so it’s easy to take a bite and cook just enough so they’re soft but still have a bit of fresh, crisp bite!
- Chill before serving. For best results, refrain from slicing into these delicious caramel cheesecake bars too soon! They need time to cool and develop their structure and flavor. If you can hold off, they taste even better the next day!
- Wipe the knife. Once you start cutting the apple cinnamon cheesecake bars into squares, you’ll notice that the knife will start to get caked in cheesecake, making it a bit difficult to cut the next square. Wipe the knife with a paper towel after every slice to avoid this.
They can sit out at room temperature for up to 5 hours, then they should be refrigerated.
Use a knife to shape the cheesecake into bars/squares. It may be helpful to wipe the knife with a paper towel after every few squares you cut as the knife may begin getting caked in cheesecake, making it difficult to make a clean cut.
Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days or up to a month in the freezer. If you’re layering the squares on top of each other, place a piece of parchment paper between them to avoid sticking.
- Toasted Pecans: If you like roasted nutty flavors, try chopping some pecans into small pieces, toasting them for a couple of minutes, and then combining them with the streusel mixture.
- Icing Sugar: Dust on some icing sugar using a mesh strainer over the streusel topping to make these cheesecake bars look beautiful and taste just as great!
- Vanilla Ice Cream: Vanilla ice cream is a must with apple pie, so what’s different here? Nothing! Top these cheesecake bars with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to top them off!
The alternative ingredients are just suggestions and have not been tested.Print