Apple crisp is the perfect fall dessert if you ask me. It’s an old-fashioned recipe that everyone loves and it doesn’t take much time to put together. Since there’s no crust involved, it’s so much easier to make than apple pie, but tastes just as good.
Apple pie is one of my all time favorite desserts. Especially in the fall when fresh apples are everywhere! Since I’m not that big of a fan of pumpkin pie, I often serve the apply variety when I’m hosting fall dinner parties or Thanksgiving.
My only problem? I really hate making pie crust!
The solution? This old-fashioned apple crisp recipe with oat topping. It tastes just as good as pie and there’s no crust to make (a big win if you ask me).
Plus, if you’re cooking for a crowd, you can double or triple the recipe and bake it in a bigger dish. So much easier than having to make 2 or 3 pies!
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Here is your shopping list:
- Apples – about 6 medium-sized apples. I like to use tart apples like granny smith apples. I think their flavor combines well with the sugar. However, you can use whatever type of baking apples are your favorite.
- Lemons – 1 lemon should do it. You can also use pre-bottled lemon juice.
- Sugar – Brown sugar melts well in the oven and makes a thick delicious filling. You’ll need 3/4 cup.
- Flour – 1/2 cup
- Rolled oats – 1/2 cup
- Spices – 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, pinch allspice
- Butter – 1/2 cup (or 1 stick). The butter should be cold.
- To make the recipe gluten-free, substitute measure-for-measure gluten-free flour for the all-purpose flour. King Arthur Measure For Measure Gluten Free Flour* works very well. Also make sure the variety of rolled oats is gluten-free.
- You can replace all of the spices with 2 teaspoons Apple Pie spice* if you have it.
How To Make Apple Crisp
Pre-heat the oven to 375ºF.
Juice half a lemon to get 1 Tablespoon of juice.
Most of the work for this recipe comes when you are preparing the apples.
I really hate peeling and coring apples. Which is why I go for the gadgets.
An apple peeler* makes the first step, peeling the apples, so much easier.
The one I use isn’t very expensive and it works!
For coring and slicing the apples, I use one of these gadgets*.
Bonus: If you buy the apple peeler above, it usually comes with an apple corer and slicer!
To have the apples cook evenly, you’ll want them to be thinly sliced.
If you’re using a slicer like mine that cuts them into 8 pieces, you’ll want to cut each of those slices in half, so you get 16 slices per apple.
Make the apple filling
Put the apples in an 8″ or 9″ baking dish or cake pan.
If you want to keep your baking dish looking cleaner, you can also do this in a large bowl. But for me fewer dishes wins 🙂
Toss with 1 Tablespoon lemon juice. This helps to keep the apples from turning brown.
Make the oat topping
Mix 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup oats, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, and a pinch of allspice in a mixing bowl.
Take 1 stick of butter straight out of the refrigerator. Cold butter is much easier to use for this process.
Cut it into slices that are about 1/4″ wide and add them to the mixture.
Use a pastry knife to cut the butter into the flour. If you don’t have a pastry knife, use two knives in a cross pattern to cut the butter.
Keep cutting until the butter is chopped into pea-sized pieces.
Sprinkle the flour mixture over top of the apple mixture.
Bake and serve
Bake at 375ºF for 30 minutes, or until the apples are soft and the topping is golden brown.
Serve warm or cold. Just like apple pie, it tastes great with vanilla ice cream!
Tart apples like Granny Smith add the best flavor to apple crisp. Other crisp apples such as Honeycrisp or Golden Delicious also work well because of their texture. But any of your favorite apple varieties will taste good, too.
Baked apple crisp can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. However the longer it is stored, the less crispy the topping will be as it soaks up some of the juice from the apples.
Yes. I like to prepare and store the apples and the oat topping separately. (Keep the apples in the refrigerator.) Then put the apple crisp together and bake it as directed (it may need a few extra minutes in the oven if the apples were cold). This way the topping will still be crispy when you serve it.
Yes, but the topping won’t be quite as crispy. To do this, prepare the apple crisp as directed. Wait until it has completely cooled and then freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. When you are ready to serve it, let it thaw before baking it at 350F for 15 to 20 minutes, until it is warm all the way through.
Other dessert recipes you might like
- Pumpkin spice cake with ginger cream cheese icing
- Oreo cheesecake cupcakes
- Mincemeat cheesecake tarts
- Frozen lemon mousse with raspberry sauce
- Classic carrot cake with cream cheese icing
- apple peeler
- apple corer and slicer (or a sharp knife)
- 8" or 9" baking dish or cake pan
- measuring cups and spoons
- pastry knife or 2 butter knives
- 6 apples
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup flour
- ½ cup rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- pinch allspice
- ½ cup butter
- Heat the oven to 375°F.
- Peel the apples.
- Slice the apples into thin slices.
- Put the apple slices into the baking dish and sprinkle lemon juice over them.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, rolled oats and all of the spices.
- Mix in the butter by using a pastry knife to cut the butter into pea-sized pieces in the flour and spice mixture.
- Sprinkle the flour mixture over the apples.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Serve warm (or cold) with vanilla ice cream.
- Granny Smith apples have a tart flavor that mixes well with the sugar. But you can use any type of baking apples that you prefer.
- Substitute 2 teaspoons of Apple Pie spice for all of the spices.
- Try to cut the apples into thin, evenly-sized pieces (about 16 per apple). This will allow them to cook more evenly.
- Cold butter will be much easier to cut into the flour than warm butter.
- If you don’t have a pastry knife, use two regular knives to cut through the butter in a crossing pattern.
Have comments or questions about Apple Crisp? Tell us in the section below.
This post was originally published on April 21, 2016 but was updated with new content on November 10, 2021.