Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars are creamy, sweet and super delicious. These are a guaranteed crowd pleaser!

Whenever I make a new recipe at my house I ask my husband to rate it. Like on a star scale. One star being, awful, four stars being YESSSS.

Here’s the problem, though. We never actually GET to the recipe rating, because we always end up arguing over the rating system. The husband thinks there needs to be more than 4 stars on the scale…at least 5 stars, he says. But I already made the 4 star system and have actually RATED the recipes in cookbooks…SOO, the rating system is here to stay.

I mean, you can’t change a system that’s already in effect…What if the Olympics decided to start giving Platinum medals?  All those former gold medals wouldn’t be so important anymore. We’d have to start using *asterisks* next to the ratings, to show whether they were pre-change or post-change.

Not fun.

And then what if one day you learn that this will be your final meal and you scroll through the cookbook and pick a four star recipe, only to learn that it was marked BEFORE the switch, and now you’ve just wasted your final meal on a “pretty good” lasagna. That sounds like possibly the worst scenario ever.

Alls I am saying, is that whether or not the 4 star system is the best…which hello, it totally is…we can’t change it mid-adulthood. So, short-story -long, I want to share with you my final recipe for Caramel Apple Week.  Which is totally a 4 star-that-should be 5-star-but-is-staying-a-4-star recipe. In other words, it’s final-meal-good.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars.

First make your crust.  And you get to use your pastry cutter, if you have one.  I’m always looking for a reason to use mine.  I know, I’m weird.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake BarsPress your crust in a lined 9×9 and bake it up.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake BarsWhile it’s baking, make your yummy cheesecake layer…and then spread it all up in there…

Caramel Apple Cheesecake BarsThen dice up some apples and sprinkle them with some fall spiciness…

Caramel Apple Cheesecake BarsAnd don’t forget about the streusel.  Nobody puts streusel in the corner.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Layer the apples and then the streusel.  Now it’s ready to make the journey into the oven.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

When it’s baked and almost perfect, you need to pour some caramel on top.  You neeeed to.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake BarsAnd then you have to let it sit for a while to cool. It’s excruciating.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake BarsBut OH so worth it.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

I wrote this recipe originally back in 2012, and knew the finished product photos needed a little sprucing up…and to remind you guys how AMAZING these bars are! Enjoy!


Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

  • Author: Cookies & Cups


makes 25 bars



  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 1 (8 oz) block cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar + 1 Tbsp, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 2 small Granny Smith apple, peeled and small diced
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Steusel Topping

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup caramel sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Line a 9×9 baking pan with foil.
  3. In a medium sized bowl combine crust ingredients, flour, brown sugar and butter. Using a pastry cutter, or fork combine the ingredients until they make a coarse crumb.
  4. Press mixture firmly in the bottom of the pan and bake for 12-14 minutes until lightly browned.
  5. Meanwhile, in a mixing bow, combine cream cheese, vanilla, egg and 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Beat until combined and smooth. Set aside.
  6. Dice apples and sprinkle with remaining 1 Tbsp sugar and 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice. Stir until coated evenly. Set aside.
  7. Make streusel by combining all ingredients, light brown sugar, flour, oats and butter and stir with your pastry cutter or fork until evenly mixed. Set aside.
  8. When crust is done baking, spread the cream cheese mixture on top of warm crust, top with diced apples and finally with streusel.
  9. But back in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until center is set.
  10. When done drizzle caramel sauce all over the top.
  11. Let the pan cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes and then place in refrigerator to chill for approximately 2 hours, or overnight.
  12. Cut into squares when ready to serve.


store in an airtight container for up to 3 days




89 Responses

  1. Our rating system goes something like this:

    “Is it good”
    “Like…good GOOD or just GOOD? Make again good or just maybe you’ll eat it if it’s around good???”

    Perhaps things need to get more specific around here.

  2. Well, I hate to agree with a boy, I do agree there needs to be an extra star. That is just a huge jump from horrible to perfect in 4 little stars. Like, there’s horrible, bad, good, perfect? Where is the “just okay” rating?

    That said, you totally can’t change the system now. You are LOCKED IN.

    Love these bars. I give them 5 stars.

  3. Each caramel apple recipe is more extraordinary than the next! I suggest – all caramel apple, all the time! These bars need to be my breakfast (they’ve got fruit so they’re healthy, right?) Can I come over? 😉

  4. I make James rate my stuff too… and he hates it… he says, “Yeah, these are good”, and then I say “But WHY are they good… could they be better? Do you like the filling… the crust… could there be more of this, or more of that?”… I think he just wants to eat in peace =)

    These bars look totally amazing!! I’m sure they are worthy of 4 stars AND a gold metal!

  5. Sonja

    I almost agreed with your husband about needing more stars, until I read your rationale and realized that you are absolutely right…you can’t change things at this point. Can’t wait to make these squares very soon. My husband’s palate is very limited so I don’t even let him rate my food anymore.

  6. love so many things about today’s caramel apple recipe Shelly! Using my 8×8 pan is always preferred over a huge batch of whatevers in my 9×13 pan. I also am a SUCKER for apple dessert. Plus cheesecake. And I want to eat that streusel and caramel with a spoon!

  7. It looks so yummy! Definitely a 4 stars recipe.
    Though, I hate to say this, but 4 stars aren’t much really. Maybe you could try to migrate them to a 1 to 10 scale?

  8. Hope

    I made these tonight……and I’m not sure how I can wait until the morning to try them…haha! Cheesecake anything is up my alley like a fellow commenter said. Love your recipes!!

  9. These look AMAZING! Love the rating system too! I think I’m going to implement it at my house! My husband will say that’s “pretty good” meaning it’s great and I consider “pretty good” to mean pretty terrible. So I think the rating system will help with those discrepancies! 🙂

  10. AMY L

    LOL I tend to over think things anyway, so I would have to make a 3 star version. Bad, ok, and great. Looks yummy! Can’t wait to start the fall baking 🙂

  11. This recipe and your presentation look so good. I have already asked a few of my friends to try either your recipe or paula’s and I am going to Blog about them in November. I can’t wait!

  12. Sharon

    I have made these twice now. One of my favorite desserts of all time I think…and I am normally a chocolate person! I accidentally did cinnamon instead of pumpkin spice the first time around and went ahead and added the pumpkin spice in addition to the cinnamon. OMG-soooooo good. So this is how I will always make it, don’t even need to see if the original way is better because there is no way that it could be. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe!

  13. Jackie

    These look amazing and I will try them soon. I will not be using Granny Smith apples. Could someone please tell me why so many recipes call for them. There are so many really good cooking apples out there. Granny Smith just do not cook up, ending up crunchy and too tart.

  14. Kathryn

    Hi Shelly! I just wanted to post a quick note about these bars. They are delicious! I can’t keep out of the pan of them! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  15. Patty

    I made these bars in the Fall and they were excellent!!! I made them yesterday and instead of the diced apples in sugar and pumpkin pie spice, I took a can of cherry pie filling cut the cherries in 1/2 and stirred in 1/2tsp. of almond extract. I spread it on top of the cheesecake layer and then finished with the streusel. I did not use the caramel sauce. They were outstanding also! Thanks!

  16. Rebekah

    These look great, and I’ve been waiting over a week to make them. However, for some reason, when I went to bake them today, the recipe had disappeared. Is there an issue with the site or is it me?

    1. Shelly

      I happened to use salted, because that’s pretty much what I always use…but unsalted will be FINE!! You might need to adjust the amount of salt you add, adding 1/4 tsp-1/2 tsp more…but just do it to your own taste!

  17. Cookies4kids

    Could these bars be frozen?? I do a ton of baking each month for our church bake sale, and I try todo as much ahead as I can. I would love it if all recipes came with a note stating if they could be frozen. This one sounds so delicious and it will be first on my list for this month!!!

  18. Cher

    I noticed that someone else substituted Fuji apples in this recipe, I have some beautiful Braeburn apples laying around that I’m gonna try, I’ll report back!! 🙂

  19. Jess

    These were by far the best dessert I have ever made, thank you so much for the recipe! I do have a couple of questions though. I made these yesterday with Granny Smith apples like the recipe calls for, but would it make a huge difference in taste to use two macintosh instead? I have so many of those left and am looking to use them up. Also, my streusel came out very moist and looked darker than yours did in the picture. Tasted absolutely AMAZING, but just looked different even though I used the same ingredients. So I guess my question is, is it supposed to be super moist or more dry of a topping?

    1. Shelly

      You could absolutely use Macintosh…I just like the tartness of the Granny Smith. But Macintosh will be totally fine!! It isn’t supposed to be dry, but not totally moist either. you could certainly play around with the ratios to suit your like 🙂

  20. Cher

    I used my Braeburn apples and it was a hit! I’m fairly certain ANY kind of apple would taste great in this recipe…Thanks for posting! I’m going to use it again for Thanksgiving with the family!

  21. Cyndi

    I’m planning to make these this weekend. Would you recommend drizzling the caramel sauce after chilling and just when slicing and serving? Or is it more important for the streusel to absorb it? I’m making my own caramel sauce and was thinking it might make the streusel soggy if I drizzle it after baking and before chilling. Thank you!

  22. Lynda

    This is a perennial favorite with my co-workers, especially the ones with Autumn birthdays! It is always gone before lunch.

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