Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars are the perfect sweet treat for fall! They’re a hit for any occasion, and with layers of shortbread crust, creamy cheesecake, spiced apples, buttery brown sugar streusel, and gooey caramel, they’re impossible to resist.
Cheesecake is delicious, but it’s not exactly the kind of treat you can whip up on a whim to serve after a weeknight dinner. That’s where cheesecake bars come into play—you get the deliciousness and decadence of cheesecake, but in a more convenient form that you can enjoy anytime. And these Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars are the perfect cheesecake bars for fall.
If you love cheesecake, caramel apples, and apple pie, then these bars are sure to become a fast-favorite. They’re also a great way to use up apples if you picked a few too many from your local apple orchard! They start with a layer of buttery shortbread, which is topped with vanilla cheesecake, tender spiced apples, and a cinnamon brown sugar streusel. Once they’re cooled, you’ll drizzle on your favorite caramel sauce, which is the perfect finishing touch.
You can cut your Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars as big or as small as you want—but if you cut them small, you might not be able to stop at just one!
What You’ll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions for making Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars.
- All-purpose flour
- Brown sugar – I recommend using light brown sugar for this recipe.
- Unsalted butter – Let the butter come to room temperature.
- Cream cheese – This should also be room temperature.
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Apples – I like to use Granny Smith, Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Braeburn, or Pink Lady apples for these Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars.
- Brown sugar
- All-purpose flour
- Quick-cooking oats – Be sure to buy quick oats, not old-fashioned or rolled oats!
- Brown sugar
- Unsalted butter – Melt the butter in the microwave or in a small saucepan on the stovetop.
- Caramel sauce – I used store-bought caramel sauce.
How to Make Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
While this recipe does have a few different components to it, each step is easy. Still, you’ll want to plan sufficient time for baking, or start by making the shortbread crust, then finish the cheesecake bars later.
Make the Shortbread Crust:
Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350ºF and line a 9×13-inch pan with parchment paper.
Combine the shortbread ingredients. Use an electric mixer to beat together all of the ingredients for the shortbread crust in a large mixing bowl, until a crumbly dough forms.
Form the crust. Transfer the crust mixture to the prepared baking pan and use damp hands to press it firmly into the bottom of the dish.
Bake. Place the pan in the oven and bake the crust for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the edges of the crust begin to brown slightly.
Cool. Remove the pan from the oven and let the crust cool before you add the fillings.
Mix the Cheesecake Layer:
Start the cheesecake mixture. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract until the mixture is completely smooth, with no lumps.
Finish. Add the eggs and beat them in for 30 to 60 seconds, or until they’re incorporated.
Prep the Apple Layer:
Dice the apples. Peel, core, and dice the apples, then measure 3 cups.
Mix the apple layer ingredients. In a mixing bowl, toss the apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, ensuring that the apples are evenly coated in the sugar and spices.
Make the Streusel Layer:
Combine the streusel ingredients. Use a spatula to stir the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and melted butter in a mixing bowl until the mixture is wet and holds together when squeezed.
Assemble and Bake:
Assemble the cheesecake bars. Pour the cheesecake mixture over the cooled crust and spread it into an even layer. Scatter the apples over the cheesecake layer, then sprinkle with streusel.
Bake. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the cheesecake layer is set.
Finish. Let the bars cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate. Cut the bars and add a drizzle of caramel before serving.
How Can You Tell If Cheesecake Bars Are Done?
Cheesecake bars will have a little bit of jiggle in the center when they’re done—they’ll continue to set as they cool and chill in the refrigerator. If you have an instant read thermometer, you can check the temperature and make sure it’s 180 to 190ºF an inch from the edge of the pan.
Tips for Success
Here are some tips and hints for perfect Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars:
- Butter the pan. This is the secret to getting the parchment paper to stick to the inside of the pan. You don’t have to coat the whole pan in butter, but I’ll usually swipe the bottom, sides, and corners.
- Chill before eating. Warm cheesecake is not very good, nor is it easy to cut, so don’t just cool the bars at room temperature before serving—they need to go in the fridge to chill and set after that initial cooling time.
- Making clean cuts. Wipe your knife between each cut to get perfect clean lines. You can also get nice clean cuts by lifting the bars out of the pan, placing them on a large cutting board, and using a pizza rocker or a large chef’s knife to make big cuts across the bars, rather than cutting a little at a time.
How to Store
These Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars can be wrapped in the pan or stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Can This Recipe Be Frozen?
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars freeze beautifully! Wrap them in individual portions or place them in an airtight container or freezer bag with parchment between the layers to keep them from sticking. Freeze for up to 3 months and let them thaw in the refrigerator before serving.
More Favorite Apple Recipes
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
- 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 ½ sticks 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 packages cream cheese, 8 oz each, room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 3 cups apples, peeled and finely diced (3 large or 4 small apples, I recommend Granny Smith, Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Braeburn, or Pink Lady)
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup quick cooking oats
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- 1½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 stick 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- Caramel Sauce- I used store bought caramel sauce
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper. Tip: butter the pan before adding the parchment paper to get it to stick to the pan.
- In a mixing bowl combine the ingredients for the shortbread crust – all purpose flour, brown sugar, salt and room temperature butter. Use an electric mixer to combine, the crust will be very very crumby, that’s okay!
- With damp hands, press the crust into the pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the edges of the crust begin to slightly brown. Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool. Meanwhile make the remaining layers.
- In a medium mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth, about 60-90 seconds. Add in the eggs, beating for about 30-60 seconds. Set aside.
- Peel, core and dice the apples. Measure 3 cups of apples. In a mixing bowl combine the apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, stir together, and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and melted butter. Use a spatula to mix the crumb. The mixture will be thick and you must stir well (elbow grease!) to combine all the dry ingredients. Continue to combine until the mixture looks wet. It’s okay if the mixture is “sandy” in texture. Use your hands to squeeze clumps together, forcing the mixture together. Set aside.
How to assemble
- Once the crust has cooled for 10ish minutes, pour the cheesecake layer over the crust and spread it into an even layer. Spread the apples evenly over the cheesecake layer. Sprinkle the streusel layer evenly over the apples. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the cheesecake layer is set. Allow the bars to cool to room temperature. To serve later, once the bars cool, cover and store in the fridge. Use a sharp knife to cut the bars. Drizzle with caramel sauce before serving. Pro tip: Wipe your knife clean between each cut to get perfect cut lines.