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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.
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.
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!
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.
Commonly Asked Questions
The best apples are a mixture of Granny Smith and Honeycrisp apples. They should be firm and slightly tart.
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.
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.
It’s actually super easy! So much so that we put together this post on how to make a gluten-free apple crisp.
More to Bake And Eat
- Chewy Apple Oatmeal Bars (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Refined Sugar-Free) – Everyone’s favorite dessert meets a healthy on-the-go breakfast with these easy bars.
- Apple Pie Bars – If you love this apple crisp, these apple bars will become your new go-to snack this fall.
- Dutch Apple Pie – The perfect balance between sweet and tangy, this apple pie is absolutely scrumptious and perfect for feeding a crowd.
- Apple Cake with Caramel – If you’re looking for a make-ahead treat, this gem of a cake is just what you need.
- Best Apple Pie with Flaky Butter Crust – This is hands-down everyone’s favorite apple pie around here. One bite, and this is all the apple pie you’ll ever wish for.
Did you make this?
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Easy Apple Crisp
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.