Easy Applesauce Bars with peanut butter cream cheese frosting are soft, cake-like bars with a hint of spice. This simple recipe makes perfect fall treat or easy dessert!
This easy applesauce bars recipe has been a family favorite for a long time! I started making these delicious bars when my oldest was little because they're super easy.
The original recipe for old fashioned applesauce bars called for whole wheat flour, but I use only all purpose flour. I also add just a hint of cinnamon instead of the usual warming spices like allspice and cloves.
This adds the right amount of spice to make this snack cake more kid friendly, while keeping all the fall flavors. The texture is soft and cakey, so it's like an apple cake in bar form.
The best part is definitely the peanut butter cream cheese frosting -- it is literally the icing on the cake for the perfect treat!
You can find the ingredients for applesauce bars in your local grocery store if you don't already have these pantry staples at home. Exact amounts are in the recipe card below.
- All purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Brown sugar -- for sweetness
- Applesauce -- I use unsweetened applesauce. You can also use homemade applesauce if you like.
- Eggs -- large eggs
- Maple syrup -- for added flavor
- Cream cheese -- at room temperature
- Peanut butter -- creamy peanut butter works best
- Powdered sugar -- to sweeten the frosting
- Milk -- to thin the frosting
How to Make Applesauce Bars
Add the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, brown sugar and cinnamon to a large mixing bowl. Mix the dry ingredients slightly.
Then, add the eggs and ⅔ cup applesauce. Use an electric mixer or hand mixer to beat the ingredients until well blended.
Alternately, you can use a stand mixer if you have one.
Pour the batter into 9 x 13 inch baking pan that has been lightly sprayed with non stick cooking spray.
You will notice that the batter is on the thin side. This is normal, as the bars are not very thick.
Bake at 350 degrees f for about 15-18 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the bars comes out clean.
Allow to cool completely before frosting.
How to Make Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
Add the softened cream cheese to a large mixing bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until creamy. Then, mix in the peanut butter and the maple syrup and milk until well combined.
Gradually add in the powdered sugar, and beat until smooth and creamy.
Use a spatula to spread the frosting over the cooled bars and up to the edges of the pan.
How to Store Frosted Applesauce Bars
Applesauce bars with cream cheese frosting need to be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. They stay fresh for up to 5 days.
Unfrosted bars can be stored at room temperature.
You can freeze the bars for up to 3 months. Or freeze unfrosted bars and frost when you are ready to eat them.
These bars have a short baking time since they are thin. Keep a close eye on them, and be careful not to over bake them.
Allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature before using, as softened cream cheese is easier to work with.
You can leave out the peanut butter and make plain cream cheese frosting if you want to avoid nuts. These apple sauce bars are also delicious with just a dusting of powdered sugar or just plain.
More Applesauce Recipes
If you love using applesauce instead of oil, try my banana applesauce muffins or my easy pumpkin muffins with applesauce. My apple spice cake donuts are made with 2 ingredients and are perfect for fall!
Easy Applesauce Bars with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅔ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3 ounces cream cheese softened at room temperature
- ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- Heat oven to 350℉
- Mix the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.
- Stir in the applesauce and eggs, and beat with electric mixer on medium speed until fully combined.
- Pour the batter into an ungreased 13 X 9 inch baking dish, and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow bars to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, mix the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer on medium speed until soft and creamy
- Add the peanut butter, and mix until combined
- Mix in the maple syrup and milk
- Gradually add the powdered sugar, starting on low speed. Mix on medium speed until frosting is smooth and creamy
- Spread frosting on top of the cooled bars, and store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Nutrition information is estimated. Please do your own calculation to fit special diets.
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Recipe published in 2015 and updated in 2023.