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Easy Apple Crisp

Envelope your tastebuds in the flavors of fall. This easy apple crisp is teeming with juicy apples and topped with crispy, crunchy oats, and toasted pecans. It’s the ultimate celebration of autumn.

homemade apple crisp on a white plate with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a fork
Apple crisps are easier to make than apple pie, and just as delicious.

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What Is Apple Crisp?

Apple crisp is a lot like an apple pie. The biggest difference is its assembly! Instead of a crust, it is topped with a crispy cinnamon sugar oatmeal topping. The apple crisp filling is tender, sweet, and extra delicious.

This is a classic dessert that dates back to Britain in 1924. Nowadays, there are so many different varieties of crisps. Besides apple, peach crisps are also very popular.

The flavors of cinnamon and apples are reminiscent of apple orchards and hot lattes, similar to these baked apple donuts. This is the perfect way to celebrate the changing of the seasons as summer gives way to colder months.

Many people struggle with how to get the topping crispy when making this type of dessert. This recipe will give you a crispy topping every single time.

Here’s the secret: keep the butter cold and in small pieces. Use a pastry cutter to mix

the butter into the other ingredients. As it bakes, the cold butter will crisp up the topping perfectly.

eating a fall apple crisp with vanilla ice cream and forks
This apple crisp recipe combines tender apples with a crispy, crunchy topping.

What You’ll Love About This Apple Crisp Recipe

  • The contrasting textures of crispy oats and soft apples are a delightful combination.
  • The ingredients are pantry staples, and you probably already have everything you need.
  • This simple recipe feeds a crowd, so it’s perfect for large family dinners.
  • The tart apples enhance the sweet flavors in the buttery cinnamon sauce.
  • It tastes just like apple pie, but without all the fuss of a homemade crust.

Key Ingredients For The Best Apple Crisp

Though amounts can vary a bit depending on taste, the basic ingredients are items you may already have in your pantry and fridge. Here they are:

For The Cinnamon Oat Topping

  • All-purpose flour: gives body to the apple crisp topping.
  • Old-fashioned rolled oats: old fashioned oats work better than instant oats, as they have a heartier texture.
  • Brown sugar: sweetens the topping and adds a rich caramel flavor.
  • Cinnamon: essential for any fall-flavored apple dessert; be sure your ground cinnamon is fresh.
  • Salt: balance and enhance your baking or cooking with a bit of salt.
  • Butter: real butter gives the topping a rich golden color/flavor as it bakes.
  • Toasted pecans: adds a wonderful crunch to the topping and nutty flavor.
how to make a apple crisp topping
Use old fashioned whole oats in the topping.

For The Apple Filling

  • Apples: we recommend using granny smith and honeycrisp apples, as they hold their shape during baking.
  • Lemon: both the lemon zest and lemon juice bring out the sweetness in the apples.
  • Brown sugar: this sweetens the apple crisp and caramelizes beautifully as it bakes.
  • Cinnamon: be sure your cinnamon is fresh; it’s highly recommended that you start with a fresh new jar every fall.
  • Nutmeg: this earthy, fragrant spice that pairs perfectly with cinnamon.
  • Cloves: you’ll often find cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves together in apple pie spice!
Making the cinnamon apple filling
Granny smith or honeycrisp apples are ideal for baking, as they hold their shape better.

Pro Tips for Success

  • Butter the baking dish really well to prevent sticking.
  • Make sure the butter is cold before you add it to the rest of the topping ingredients. You should be still able to see small chunks of butter in the mixture.
  • If you want to mix the topping by hand, make sure your hands are cool and clean. Warmer hands will melt the butter too much.
  • After baking the crisp for about 45 minutes, cover loosely with foil to prevent it from burning.
pouring apple filling into baking dish
Be sure your apples are quite firm; not overripe.

Commonly Asked Questions

What are the best apples for apple crisp?

The best apples are a mixture of Granny Smith and Honeycrisp apples. They should be firm and slightly tart.

How do you prevent the apple crisp from becoming soft in the refrigerator?

All apple crisps will become softer the longer they sit in the fridge. Cover the apple crisp airtight and keep in fridge no longer than 3 days. We recommend reheating in a toaster oven or oven until topping crisps back up.

What is the difference between apple crisp and apple crumble?

Oats are the difference between apple crisp, and apple crumble. Apple crisp has oats in the topping. Apple crumble is basically crumbled brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon.

How can I make this apple crisp gluten-free?

It’s actually super easy! So much so that we put together this post on how to make a gluten-free apple crisp.

assembling the best apple crisp in a baking dish with apple filling and cinnamon oat topping
Bake 45 minutes uncovered, and then cover loosely with foil if apple crisp browns too quickly.

More to Bake And Eat

easy apple crisp with crispy pecan oat topping with vanilla ice and two forks
Serve your apple crisp with plenty of vanilla ice cream.

Did you make this?

Please give us a rating and comment below. We love hearing from you!

apple crisp with ice cream

Easy Apple Crisp

4.94 from 75 ratings
Apple Crisps are a classic, yet they’re often dry or mushy with less than stellar topping. This Easy Apple Crisp is tender, juicy, yet holds its form. You’ll love the ultra crispy topping.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8
Author: Amy Dong


For the Topping:

For the Filling:

  • 2 ½ lbs apples, recommend firm granny smith and honeycrisp apples, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch thick pieces
  • Zest + Juice of 1 large lemon, a little under 1/4 cup juice
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • Optional: vanilla ice cream


  • Butter a 8×8 baking dish. Preheat oven to 350F with rack on middle position.
  • In a bowl, combine all topping ingredients except butter. Stir to combine well. Using a pastry cutter, cut cold butter into the ingredients until mixture is crumbly, resembling wet sand with little clumps of butter still intact. (If your fingers are cool, it’s easier to mix with clean hands.) Cover and chill while you prepare the filling.
  • In a large bowl, combine all filling ingredients and toss to incorporate. Pour into buttered baking dish. Scatter cold topping evenly over the apples.
  • Place baking dish on a large baking sheet. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes, check the topping, and cover loosely with foil if it's already browning.  Continue baking another 15-20 minutes, or just until topping is nicely browned and edges are bubbling. Let cool to room temperature, to allow filling to thicken. Cover leftovers and store in fridge.


If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating ♡

Nutrition (per serving)

Serving: 1g | Calories: 387kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 103mg | Potassium: 236mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 49g | Vitamin A: 435IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Amerian
Diet: Vegetarian
Method: Bake
4.94 from 75 votes (54 ratings without comment)

Add a comment

Recipe Rating


    • Yana
    • 5 stars

    Lemon juice was a great addition and the crisp part turned out perfect. I doubled the recipe, but next time I’ll reduce the cinnamon, it was a bit too much for the kids.

      • Amy Dong

      Thanks, Yana!

    • Jeri
    • 5 stars

    Mmmmm, this apple crisp was so good! We loved the addition of pecans on top!

    • Alexandra
    • 5 stars

    A simple and delicious dessert that is just perfect for the fall!

    • Toni
    • 5 stars

    Everyone at my house enjoyed this!! Such an amazning fall treat!

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