Apple Crumble Bars

These Apple Crumble Bars are made with whole grain oats, whole wheat flour, and homemade apple butter. An easy recipe that comes together quickly, these apple squares are on the healthy side and make a great sweet snack or dessert.

apple crumble bars on a marble surfafce with apples and apple butter

If Ryan Gosling was an apple square, he would be these.  

Better yet, if Ryan Gosling made you a batch of homemade apple crumble bars, I have it on good authority that he’d be using this exact recipe; just like The Gos is pretty, but still manly (soooooooo manly), these apple bars are on the healthy side, but they’re most certainly still a treat in every way.

If anybody has a direct line to the Gos, please tell him I’m running low on apple squares. 

I like baking with wholegrain flours because I enjoy the more complex, malty flavour they bring to the table, especially when paired with certain fruits. That’s why you’ll find combinations like Healthy Cherry Muffins made with rye flour, Carrot Pineapple Muffins made with oat bran, or Vegan Banana Waffles made with spelt flour here on this blog.

These Apple Crumble Bars are of a similar ilk, pairing the intense, caramel flavour of apple butter (I used this Instant Pot Apple Butter) together with rolled oats, a blend of flours, and a good amount of omega-3 rich walnuts.

And we’re using juuuuust enough light brown muscovado sugar and butter to pull it together into a deep, complex apple square that’ll be calling you back for more.

Do you need any more convincing? 

I thought not. Let’s make some Apple Crumble Bars!

oats, butter, apple butter, flour, brown sugar, egg, walnuts, and cinnamon on a grey surface

What’s in these apple crumble bars?

I think I’ve listed out most of the spoilers above already, but here’s your official ingredients list:

  • Oats! –> We’re using lots and lots of rolled oats.
  • Flour –> I’ve used a blend of spelt and all-purpose flour here.
  • Butter –> I used salted butter but a better baker would definitely use unsalted.
  • Egg –> Just one lonely old egg today.
  • Sugar –> Light brown muscovado sugar is how I roll, but did you know you can make your own brown sugar?
  • Walnuts –> You could swap these for your favourite nuts (hehe) if walnuts aren’t your thing.
  • Apple Butter –> Yasss!!! This stuff is so good. Use homemade unsweetened apple butter if you have it on hand, or store bought, or another preserve would work as well. 
  • Cinnamon –> Don’t mind if I do! 

photo collage of apple crumble bars being mixed up in a metal bowl

How do you make apple crumble bars?

Alrighty. Line a 9×11 pan with parchment paper, pre-heat your oven, and let’s get down to business. 

First things first, we make the crumble part. I usually do this in my Kitchen Aid Mixer, but I’ve also done it in my food processor, or just with a wooden spoon and a good amount of elbow grease. 

Add the flours, oats, sugar, butter, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt to the bowl of your mixer, and mix until crumbly, with the butter broken down into pea-sized pieces. 

Remove half of the crumble mixture and set aside, then add the egg to the remaining mixture and mix well.

photo collage of apple crumble bars being pressed into a pan and topped with apple butter

Press the half of the mixture with the egg into your prepared pan. I find that wet hands do a good job of spreading it out evenly. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, until just golden around the edges.

Remove from the oven, cool slightly, and then spread with the apple butter. 

Mix the walnuts into the the remaining crumble mixture, and scatter over the top in an even layer. Return to the oven to bake for another 15 minutes. 

Remove the apple crumble bars from the oven and cool completely before slicing into bars. This is the single most difficult part of the entire recipe. 

photo collage of baked and unbaked apple crumble bars

Can I use a different kind of preserve or fruit in this recipe?

The great thing about using my Instant Pot Apple Butter in these oat bars is that it’s unsweetened, so the apple flavour is outstanding but the sweetness doesn’t overwhelm the bars. But you can for sure use another kind of preserve if you prefer!

Sure thing. I’ve made these oat bars using raspberry jam before (try this Raspberry Freezer Jam) and they are damn delicious. You could also use Strawberry Chia Jam to mix things up.

If you’d prefer a chunkier apple crumble bar with bites of fruit, start with these Cinnamon Roasted Apples and spread ’em into a single layer. Ohhhhhh so good. 

How long do apple crumble bars last?

Until Ryan Gosling has fed me the last crumb, that’s how long. 

No. Only kidding. In an airtight container they’ll be good for 3-5 days. However, I recommend you freeze any apple squares that don’t get eaten on day one to preserve their freshness. 

And just so you know – and I have tested this thoroughly – these oat bars are the bomb eaten straight from the freezer.

close up photo of three apple crumble bars in a stack

Can these oat bars be made gluten free? 

I have not personally tested this, but if you used gluten-free oats and a gluten-free all purpose flour blend I’m pretty sure they’d work out just fine. If anyone does try this, please let us know in the comments!

Can I made vegan apple crumble bars?

Again, I have not personally tested this, but I’d recommend using a vegan butter substitute such as Earth Balance, and replacing the egg with a flax egg. If you do make vegan oat bars, please share your results!

Can I swap / remove the nuts?

You can definitely swap the walnuts for your preferred nut (chopped almonds are very delicious here). As for leaving them out, I’d be inclined to increase the oats by about 1/2 cup or add some coconut chips in their place.

overhead photo of apple crumble bars with three apples on a marble background

Other recipes you might enjoy:

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Whole Wheat Muffins with Cinnamon Roasted Apples
Peanut Butter Oat Bars

Apple Crumble Bars

These Apple Crumble Bars are made with whole grain oats, whole wheat flour, and homemade apple butter. An easy recipe that comes together quickly, these apple squares are on the healthy side and make a great sweet snack or dessert.

Course Baking
Cuisine American
Keyword Apple Crumble Bars, Oat Bars
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 15 Bars
Calories 357 kcal
Author Katie Trant

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups apple butter or other preserve
  • 1 cup light brown muscovado sugar
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup spelt flour or whole wheat
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup walnuts chopped
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C / 350°F. Line a 9x11 inch baking pan with parchment paper.

  2. In large bowl or in the bowl of an electric mixer combine butter, brown sugar, oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Mix until the mixture is well combine and crumbly.

  3. Remove half of the mixture and set it aside.

  4. Add the egg to the half you still have in the bowl and blend it in well. Use your hands to press that half evenly into the baking pan (wet your hands with cold water to prevent the dough from sticking).

  5. Toss the bottom crust in the oven and bake for about 10 min, until the edges are starting to brown just ever so slightly.

  6. Remove the cooked bottom crust from the oven, and spread with apple butter or other preserve.

  7. Add the chopped walnuts to the remaining crumble mixture.

  8. Sprinkle the oat crumble topping over the top evenly. Set the pan back into the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, until the crumble topping is beginning to brown.

  9. Remove from the oven and cool well before slicing. Slice into squares, and enjoy.

Recipe Notes

  • Nutrition values are an estimate only.
  • These oat bars will last in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week, or you can stash them away in the freezer for much longer.
Nutrition Facts
Apple Crumble Bars
Amount Per Serving
Calories 357 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Fat 19g29%
Saturated Fat 8g40%
Cholesterol 43mg14%
Sodium 200mg8%
Potassium 200mg6%
Carbohydrates 44g15%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 25g28%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 400IU8%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 67mg7%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Originally posted on November 13, 2011. This recipe was re-tested, re-photographed, and updated on September 24, 2019.

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Comments

  1. Dennis says

    Really enjoyed your depiction of Sweden as it transitions to winter nights. Drew me right in.
    My old guy will love these with the apple butter and cinnamon. Two of his very favourites.

  2. Christina says

    You paint a very lovely picture of Sweden!
    These bars look great. I like making recipes like this to have on hand as a healthy snack, or quick breakfast.

    • themuffinmyth says

      They are a great snack with a cup of tea, I hadn’t really considered them for breakfast but you’re right! I think they’d be great with a layer of fresh blueberries (in the summer) instead of preserves.

  3. Natalie Jackson says

    You’re simple welcome on the side made me take notice and then I started reading your depiction of Sweden and I thought “Wow” i must go visit there one day and experience what she’s talking about. If you’re ability to draw me in with your words are that good, I figure your recipes probably are too. I have never followed a cook online however I just realized I don’t sit at the tv and watch cooking shows so this is the next best thing…I can’t wait to try the oat bars…i have never felt that comfortable eating them out of a box for breakfast…yours look scrumptious!

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