Cream Cheese Apple Bars with Pecan Streusel

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This delectable dessert is the true celebration of everything we love about baking in the fall!

Perfect served warm, room temperature, or even chilled. We love to serve it with homemade warm caramel sauce, but, honestly, it’s amazing on its own. Perfect for the holiday season and beyond.

Cream cheese apple bars with pecan streusel on a white plate

How to Make Cream Cheese Apple Bars with Pecan Streusel


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The Ingredients You Will Need

Nothing exotic with this recipe at all. Below is what you’ll need to have on hand.

For the Shortbread Crust
Pecans – Roughly chopped
Brown sugar – Light or brown, whatever you prefer or have on hand.
Butter – Softened to room temperature.
Vanilla extract
Flour – All-purpose
Salt – Kosher

For the Cream Cheese Filling
Cream cheese – Room temperature.
Sugar – Granulated.
Eggs – Room temperature, if possible.
Lemon – Both zest and juice.
Vanilla extract

For the Apple Filling
Apples – We recommend Granny Smith.
Sugar – Granulated
Spices – Cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
Lemon – Zest and juice.
Vanilla extract

For the Streusel
Brown sugar – Light or dar, whatever you prefer or have on hand.
Flour – All-purpose.
Oats – Old-fashioned.
Toffee bits – Heath is our favorite.
Pecans – Chopped
Salt – Kosher.
Butter – Softened to room temperature.

EXPERT TIP: Be sure to let the crust cool on a wire rack before spreading the cream cheese filling over the top of it. It only takes about 15 to 20 minutes for the crust to cool.

cream cheese batter pouring onto crust for cream cheese apple bars

Tips for Making Perfect Cream Cheese Apple Bars

Make Sure Butter and Cream Cheese are Room Temperature – This will allow you to make a flaky, tender crust and very creamy filling.

Use a Food Processor – This makes the pecans a uniform size for the crust and makes preparing it easy and fast.

Let the Bars Cool Completely – Letting the bars cool completely before cutting will allow them to set and make them easier to cut cleanly. If you want to serve warm, simply reheat in the microwave or on a low-temp oven.

EXPERT TIP: We love all types of apples, but we find that Granny Smith apples work best.

Diced apples for cream cheese apple bars

How To Serve

As mentioned, these can be served warm, room temperature, or even chilled.

We like to cut them into bars once they have completely cooled off. Be sure to chill them so the filling will completely set. You can serve them warm right out of the oven, but they will be a little messy (see video for reference).

It’s not necessary, but a drizzle of homemade caramel sauce truly puts them over the top.

Pecan Oatmeal streusel in a glass bowl

Other Fall Baking Recipes to Try

Fall is such a glorious time for baking. Here are some of our favorite recipes that we’re pretty certain you and your family will love, too!

Apple and Caramel Pie
Sweet Potato Pie with Pecan Topping
Homemade Apple Pie
Classic Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Homemade Pecan Pie
Sweet Potato Bundt Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting
Butterscotch and Pumpkin Bread
Banana Nut Bread
Apple Cider Doughnuts

These are all wonderful in their own way, but, in the meantime, aren’t these bars calling your name?

Cream cheese apple bars on a spatula

If you’re looking for a delicious fall dessert that will put a smile on the faces of the one’s you love…you’ve come to the right place.

These are even better with a drizzle of warm caramel sauce of the top.

Make these bars, and you will have lots of happy folks in your home.

Cream cheese apple bars with pecan streusel on a white plate.

Ready to make the best fall dessert in town? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

A close-up view of a cream cheese apple bar with pecan streusel topping sitting on a white dessert plate.

Cream Cheese Apple Bars with Pecan Streusel

These Cream Cheese Apple Bars with Pecan Streusel are the quintessential fall dessert to fall in love with.  So heartwarming and a little decadent...they are simply divine.  You can serve them warm, but we love them chilled with a little warmed caramel sauce drizzled over the top. Heavenly. 
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Fall baking, fall baking recipe, Granny Smith Apples
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Cool: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 752kcal


  • 9"x13" baking dish


For the Pecan Shortbread Crust

  • 1 cup pecans chopped
  • ½ cup brown sugar light or dark
  • 1 cup unsalted butter 2 sticks, room temperature
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp butter softened, for greasing the dish

For the Cream Cheese Filling

  • 2 8 oz. packages cream cheese softened, room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Apple Filling

  • 3 large Granny Smith apples peeled, cored and chopped
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp lemon zest
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Pecan-Oatmeal Streusel

  • 1 cup brown sugar light or brown
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • ½ cup toffee bits we use Heath bar bits
  • ½ cup pecans chopped
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter softened, room temp
  • 1 cup caramel sauce, warmed purchased or homemade, optional


Make the Pecan Shortbread Crust

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a food processor, pulse together the pecans and the sugar for 30 seconds.
    1 cup pecans, ½ cup brown sugar
  • In a mixer, on medium speed, beat the butter, vanilla, and pecan/sugar mixture until creamed and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Mix in the flour and salt until just combined.
    1 cup unsalted butter, ½ tsp vanilla extract, 2¼ cups all-purpose flour, ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • Press the shortbread into the bottom of a 9"x13" baking dish that has been well-greased with butter, shortening, or cooking spray.  Use a fork to puncture the crust all over.
    2 tbsp butter
  • Bake for 15 minutes until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. 

Prepare the Cream Cheese Filling

  • In a medium bowl, mix (stand mixer our hand-held mixer) beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
    2 8 oz. packages cream cheese, ¾ cup sugar
  • One at a time, add the eggs, beating well after each addition.
    2 large eggs
  • Add the lemon zest and lemon juice along with the vanilla and beat until combined.  
    ½ tsp lemon zest, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Spread the filling over the cooled shortbread. 

Prepare the Apple Filling

  • In a separate bowl, stir together the apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla.
    3 large Granny Smith apples, 3 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp nutmeg, ½ tsp allspice, ½ tsp lemon zest, ½ tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Spread the apple mixture over the cream cheese mixture. 

Prepare the Pecan-Oatmeal Streusel

  • In a medium bowl, stir together brown sugar, flour, oats, toffee bits, pecans, and salt.  Carefully fold in the butter with a fork, until incorporated. The mixture will be a bit crumbly. 
    1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup old-fashioned oats, ½ cup toffee bits, ½ cup pecans, ½ tsp Kosher salt, ¾ cup unsalted butter
  • Sprinkle the streusel over the apples. 

Finish Off the Bars

  • Bake until set, about 30 minutes.  Let cool for 30 minutes on a rack.
  • Serve warm, or cover and chill in the refrigerator.  Serve with warm caramel sauce, if desired. 
    1 cup caramel sauce, warmed


See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel. 
Remember to set your butter and cream cheese out at least 2 hours before you start preparing the bars. 
The bars can easily be cut after the dish has completely cooled. You can serve them warm out of the oven, but the cream cheese filling will ooze a bit.
The bars will keep covered in the fridge for up to 7 days. They can be frozen for several months. 


Calories: 752kcal | Carbohydrates: 89g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 118mg | Sodium: 248mg | Potassium: 237mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 55g | Vitamin A: 1085IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

POST UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in September 2018, but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe with new tips and photography and a fabulous new video in November 2023!


  • These were FANTASTIC! My wife made them TWICE for Thanksgiving. Just delicious. Overwhelming support from the families on these – all agree – not too sweet. Rich taste of apple is the first thing to hit you, then the cool, cream cheese with a hint of lemon. Finally, the lovely texture of the streusel. So satisfying.

  • 5 stars
    Hi Kris and Wesley,Peggy here again. Just wanted you to know I made the cream cheese apple bars with pecan streusel,today,and it is WONDERFUL. I will include this in my cookie/bar Christmas exchange.Theres a whole lot more servings than for 8 people!!

    • That is great to hear!! So glad you had success with these bars. And you are right! This recipe does feed a crowd. I’ll probably up the serving to 12!! Good point!!! That’s a great idea about the cookie/bar Christmas exchange. We love that!! Thank you letting us know and please stay in touch!! Best, Kris & Wesley

    • Awesome! You could certainly use red apples. We love Granny Smith, but delicious red, or any variety would be just fine. Let us know how it turns out. We think you’ll love it!!

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