Two old-fashioned desserts come together to bring a remarkably delicious fall dessert - apple crisp shortbread bars. Known as the lazy bakers best friend, apple crisp is big on taste, yet it only takes a fraction of the time to prepare than it would if you were to make an apple pie! Sweet, and tender with crispy brown sugar topping, it's hard to pass up on this beloved fall treat!

Our apple crisp is piled high atop of a rich buttery shortbread crust. Shortbread is, by far, one of the simplest desserts you could prepare and possibly one of the most delicious! Combine this light, crumbly buttery cookie classic with heavenly apple crisp and you have a home run of a dish!

Serve apple crisp shortbread bars cold, cut into bars, or (if you can't wait) enjoy them warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream from scratch.



Shortbread Crust

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Apple Filling

  • 3 large apples
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Crumb Topping

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted


Shortbread Crust

  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Grease an 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

  2. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high until it has a soft white hue, and it becomes creamy. Next, add in the sugar, vanilla, and salt. Mix until well combined. Then, add the flour and blend until you have a soft dough.

  3. Place the dough in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Using your hands, gently press the mixture into the bottom of the pan to form an even crust — bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Apple Filling

  1. Wash and dry your apples. Peel and core your apples, then thinly slice. In a medium bowl, toss the sliced apples with flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg until well coated. Set aside.

Crumb Topping

  1. Remove the crust from the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then in a small bowl mix the flour, brown sugar, and melted butter. A crumb-like mixture will form.

  2. Sprinkle half of the crumb mixture on to the bottom of the shortbread. Next, add the apples. Spread the apples out evenly, and then sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture on top of the apples — bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

  3. Allow the apple crisp shortbread bars to cool on the counter completely before placing them into the fridge to set for 2 hours or overnight. Once set, cut into 9 bars. If you prefer them warm, be aware that they may be fragile when you cut into them straight out of the oven.


Apple Crisp Shortbread Bars

  • 8x8 baking dish
  • cooking spray
  • stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment
  • medium bowl
  • small bowl

Recipe Notes

Check out what types of apples are best for baking.

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