Gluten Free Caramel Apple Oat Squares Recipe

by Carol Kicinski on June 19, 2014

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There is nothing not to like about apples and caramel. From caramel apples to apple tarts with caramel sauce – it is just a winning combination.

These gooey, soft, delectable bars are just as winning with a little bonus – they are packed with whole grain goodness and protein. They make for a sinfully delicious yet surprisingly wholesome way to start your day or have a quick pick me up in the afternoon.

These bars keep for a few days, stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Although I cannot guarantee they will last that long before being gobbled up.

Recipe Notes: For added protein and to help these bars stick together without flour, I used Sunbutter which keeps the recipe nut free. Make sure you use certified gluten free oats – even though oats don’t naturally contain gluten many brands are contaminated with wheat during processing. As always, use pure vanilla extract, not only is the flavor superior, some imitation extracts contain gluten. Dairy free substitutions are listed in the recipe.


Gluten Free Caramel Apple Oat Squares Recipe


Apple Oat Squares

Gluten free non-stick cooking spray
¾ cup Creamy Sunbutter
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup unsalted butter or dairy free buttery sticks, at room temperature
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2½ cups gluten free rolled oats
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and chopped

Caramel Sauce

4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or dairy free butter
2 tablespoons cream or full fat coconut milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously spray an 8 by 8 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper so that it hangs over the sides of the pan.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the Sunbutter, applesauce, ¼ cup butter, and lemon juice until smooth. Add the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla. Stir in the chopped apples. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Level the top with a spatula. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until golden brown and fairly firm (they will firm up more after cooling but will always be on the soft side).

Let cool to room temperature then refrigerate for 2 hours or up to a day ahead.

Remove the bars from the pan by lifting the parchment out. Place on a cutting board and cut into 16 squares.

Make the sauce:

In a small skillet or saucepan, mix all the sauce ingredients and cook over low heat, stirring,  until smooth and thickened – about 2 minutes. Drizzle over the top of the bars.


A gluten free recipe that makes 16

Ready for dessert?

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Categories:    Dessert

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Ginger August 9, 2014 at 8:26 pm

My husband loves this! It’s one of his favorite breakfasts. Question… Do you think you could double this recipe and cook it in a larger pan?


Carol Kicinski September 18, 2014 at 8:44 am

Hi Ginger!
Yes, as long as it stays the same thickness you might want to double check the middle part, it may have to cook a few minutes longer to cook completely through.


The Food Explorer October 1, 2014 at 7:14 am

Hi Carol,

Your delicious recipe has been nominated as one of the “Top 100 Best Apple Recipes of 2014 for National Apple Month”. You and your readers can vote for it here: (position #88 – random order).

Happy National Apple Month! :)


Nicole December 12, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Could this be made with almond butter instead of sunbutter?


Carol Kicinski January 6, 2015 at 10:59 am


Give it a try! I haven’t made the recipe with almond butter, but there’s a definite chance it’d be good!



Dolores Dunn July 9, 2015 at 12:02 am

What is Sunbutter? Is it a peanut butter alternative?


Carol Kicinski July 9, 2015 at 2:34 pm

Yes Dolores, It’s a butter made from Sunflower Seeds. xo, Carol


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