Apple Crisp

Fall is in the air, and for some that only means one thing: homemade Apple Crisp. This glorious dessert, made from scratch with a buttery oatmeal streusel topping, is the easiest, most outstanding way to celebrate the season.

Apple crisp on a plate with a scoop of ice cream on top.

A rustic, homey dessert made for digging into with a big spoon, topped with ice cream, and snuggling up to a fire while the leaves fall. Choose your favorite baking apples; the farmers at the market are happy to make any recommendations.

It’s so much easier than any apple pie, but tastes just as delicious. You don’t need to roll out dough, make sure your butter is chilled, or worry about overworking the crust. All you need to do is enjoy it.

Recipe ingredients:

Labeled apple crisp ingredients in bowls.

Ingredient notes:

  • Rolled oats: Flat and flaky, these are otherwise known as “old-fashioned” oats.
  • Cornstarch: A natural thickener to keep the apples from getting too juicy as they cook down.
  • Apples: Tart “pie” apples work best. Some prime candidates for baking: Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, Jonagold, McIntosh, and Cortland.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. First, find a 9-inch square baking dish or 2-quart oval baking dish and rub the inside with butter. Then preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. To make the topping, combine the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Drizzle the melted butter over this and gently toss it all together.
    Streusel topping in a bowl.
  2. In a larger bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cornstarch, and salt. Then add the prepared apple slices and toss so the dry ingredients coat the apples. Pour the apples into the buttered baking dish.
    Apple crisp in a baking dish (no streusel).
  3. Sprinkle on the oatmeal topping and bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes until the fruit juices are bubbling and the topping is crisp and golden brown.
    Apple crisp in a baking dish.
  4. Let the crisp cool for at least 15 minutes before eating; you don’t want to burn your mouth!
    Apple crisp in a baking dish.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Keep fresh apple slices from browning: Fill a bowl with cold water and add the juice of half a lemon. As you slice up the apples, drop them into the lemon water. The acid keeps them from turning brown before they have a chance to bake.
  • A sturdy pan matters: A cast iron pan, a thick casserole, a baking dish, whatever you can find. The recipe can be scaled up or down to fit the pan you want to use, and takes improvisation well, as long as you have enough apples.
  • Crisp vs crumble: Technically, an apple crisp without oats is considered a crumble. But it really doesn’t matter what you call it as long as you try it. Both crisps and crumbles are easy, delicious desserts that go great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  • Extra crunch: For a crisp high on crunch, switch out the flour for almond meal and keep the rolled oats as-is.
  • Gluten-free: Make sure your rolled oats are made in a facility that doesn’t also process wheat. (FYI, Bob’s Red Mill makes strictly gluten-free oats.) Then switch out the small amount of flour for your preferred gluten-free flour blend.
  • Protect the crisp as it bakes: All ovens are a little different. If the crisp starts to brown too soon, cover it loosely with a layer of aluminum foil and continue baking.
  • Make ahead: I love apple crisp freshly warm from the oven, but I learned a great trick for making fruit crisps ahead of time, ensuring crispy toppings without any sogginess or crumbles that sink to the bottom of the fruit. (By the way, this method applies to any variety of fruit crisp. It’s a time-tested secret of professional kitchens and restaurants, and always used when making fruit desserts.)
    1. Bake the apples in the pan without the topping. Arrange the topping on a separate parchment-lined baking sheet and pop it in the oven to bake separately.
    2. When both the apples and the topping are finished, allow both to cool. Then wrap the apples to store in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, store the baked topping in an airtight container at room temperature.
    3. When you’re almost ready to serve, sprinkle the baked topping over the cold baked fruit filling, and reheat the crisp in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes until hot and bubbly. The apples warm up, the crisp gets crispier, and all of a sudden, you have one beautiful homemade dessert.
  • Storing: Loosely cover the crisp with foil or plastic wrap and leave out at room temperature overnight, so you can have it for breakfast. Refrigerate the rest if you aren’t able to eat it all; it will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  • Freezing: You can make the oatmeal topping and refrigerate it for up t o2 weeks or freeze it for up to 3 months. When apple crisp calls, just apply it to the sugared, spiced apples (no need to thaw) and bake.

Apple crisp on a plate with a scoop of ice cream on top.

Other perfect apple recipes:

Apple crisp on a plate with a scoop of ice cream on top.

Apple Crisp

Fall is in the air, and for some that only means one thing: homemade Apple Crisp. This glorious dessert, made from scratch with a buttery oatmeal streusel topping, is the easiest, most outstanding way to celebrate the season.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 471kcal
Author: Meggan Hill

Ingredients

For the oatmeal streusel topping:

  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (see note 1)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter melted and cooled (1 1/2 sticks)

For the apple crisp:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (see note 2)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 8 medium tart apples such as Granny Smith, peeled, halved, cored, and sliced 1/4-inch thick (about 8 cups or 2 pounds, see note 3)
  • Vanilla ice cream for serving, optional

Instructions

To make the oatmeal streusel topping:

  • In a medium bowl, stir together oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Drizzle butter over mixture and toss to combine. Set aside.

To make the apple crisp:

  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 350 degrees. Coat a 2-quart oval or 9-inch x 9-inch square baking dish lightly with nonstick spray or rub with butter.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add apple slices and toss to coat. Pour intro prepared baking dish and sprinkle with oatmeal topping.
  • Bake until the fruit juices are bubbling and the topping is crisp and golden brown, about 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 15 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream if desired.

Notes

  1. Rolled oats: Flat and flaky, these are otherwise known as "old-fashioned" oats.
  2. Cornstarch: A natural thickener to keep the apples from getting too juicy as they cook down.
  3. Apples: Tart "pie" apples work best. Some prime candidates for baking: Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, Jonagold, McIntosh, and Cortland.
  4. Keep fresh apple slices from browning: Fill a bowl with cold water and add the juice of half a lemon. As you slice up the apples, drop them into the lemon water. The acid keeps them from turning brown before they have a chance to bake.
  5. A sturdy pan matters: A cast iron pan, a thick casserole, a baking dish, whatever you can find. The recipe can be scaled up or down to fit the pan you want to use, and takes improvisation well, as long as you have enough apples.
  6. Crisp vs crumble: Technically, an apple crisp without oats is considered a crumble. But it really doesn’t matter what you call it as long as you try it. Both crisps and crumbles are easy, delicious desserts that go great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  7. Extra crunch: For a crisp high on crunch, switch out the flour for almond meal and keep the rolled oats as-is.
  8. Gluten-free: Make sure your rolled oats are made in a facility that doesn’t also process wheat. (FYI, Bob’s Red Mill makes strictly gluten-free oats.) Then switch out the small amount of flour for your preferred gluten-free flour blend.
  9. Protect the crisp as it bakes: All ovens are a little different. If the crisp starts to brown too soon, cover it loosely with a layer of aluminum foil and continue baking.
  10. Make ahead: I love apple crisp freshly warm from the oven, but I learned a great trick for making fruit crisps ahead of time, ensuring crispy toppings without any sogginess or crumbles that sink to the bottom of the fruit. (By the way, this method applies to any variety of fruit crisp. It’s a time-tested secret of professional kitchens and restaurants, and always used when making fruit desserts.)
    • Bake the apples in the pan without the topping. Arrange the topping on a separate parchment-lined baking sheet and pop it in the oven to bake separately.
    • When both the apples and the topping are finished, allow both to cool. Then wrap the apples to store in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, store the baked topping in an airtight container at room temperature.
    • When you’re almost ready to serve, sprinkle the baked topping over the cold baked fruit filling, and reheat the crisp in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes until hot and bubbly. The apples warm up, the crisp gets crispier, and all of a sudden, you have one beautiful homemade dessert.
  11. Storing: Loosely cover the crisp with foil or plastic wrap and leave out at room temperature overnight, so you can have it for breakfast. Refrigerate the rest if you aren’t able to eat it all; it will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  12. Freezing: You can make the oatmeal topping and refrigerate it for up t o2 weeks or freeze it for up to 3 months. When apple crisp calls, just apply it to the sugared, spiced apples (no need to thaw) and bake.

Nutrition

Calories: 471kcal | Carbohydrates: 76g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 317mg | Potassium: 294mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 45g | Vitamin A: 860IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 2mg
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