This Apple Crisp is easy to make and turns out perfect every time! With a sweet and juicy apple filling and a buttery, sweet crisp topping, this classic apple dessert is a favorite year-round.
Apple crisp, along with apple pie, is one of my most-loved apple dessert recipes. This homemade apple crisp will satisfy your craving for a good old-fashioned dessert, the kind that grandma would make from scratch.
Making apple crisp is simpler than you might expect. And the results are so deliciously satisfying.
As I tested this recipe, my family ate A LOT of apple crisp. I wanted to make sure that the recipe was perfect before I shared it with you, so I baked apple crisp after apple crisp to find the just-right balance of ingredients.
Guess what? No one complained one bit about the abundance of apple crisp to be eaten.
This easy apple crisp has a generous amount of oatmeal topping, ensuring that you’ll get some of the sweet buttery topping with every bite of juicy apple filling.
I’ve used brown sugar in both the filling and the topping because I just love the caramel flavor notes that it brings to this cozy dessert. Cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla take this apple crisp to the next level when it comes to flavor.
This classic apple crisp is so delicious, it will leave you reaching for a second helping.
What are the Best Apples for Apple Crisp?
Any apples that are good for baking work well in this recipe. Baking apples are firm enough to hold up to the heat of the oven, so they won’t turn to mush.
I love to use a combination of Granny Smith apples and Honeycrisp apples. This mix gives you the perfect sweet-tart balance. I also make this recipe often using only Granny Smith apples, which are on the tart side.
Other baking apples include Northern Spy and Cripps Pink, which are on the tart side. If you prefer sweeter baking apples, try Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious, Fuji, Pink Lady, Jonagold, Jazz, Braeburn, or Crispin (Mutsu). Learn more about apple types.
How to Make Apple Crisp
Here is an overview of how to make the best apple crisp. Find the full recipe with ingredient amounts and instructions in the recipe card at the end of this post.
This recipe starts with an easy to make apple filling. The hardest part is peeling the apples! If you prefer, you can leave the peel on the apples. It’s a matter of preference, as the apple skins will change the texture of the filling.
Once the apples are peeled, slice them into 1/4-inch slices. I like to then cut each slice in half to make smaller chunks of apple.
Place the apples in a large bowl and add the remaining filling ingredients:
- All-Purpose Flour: The flour helps to thicken the filling.
- Brown Sugar: I use mainly brown sugar for sweetening the filling because it adds delicious caramel notes.
- Granulated Sugar: The granulated sugar helps the apples to release their juices, making the filling juicy, not dry.
- Vanilla Extract: You can’t beat the warm, sweet flavor that a little vanilla adds.
- Cinnamon and Nutmeg: Cinnamon and apples are perfect pair. Just 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg adds flavor.
- Salt: Salt is essential when baking to bring out the other flavors.
Stir everything together. At this point, it is ok if everything isn’t perfectly combined. You will let the filling rest at room temperature while you prepare the apple crisp topping. While they rest, the apples will release some of their juices. Then you’ll stir the apple mixture again to make sure the ingredients are evenly distributed.
Apple Crisp Topping
The topping is easy to mix up by hand. In a large bowl, stir together:
- Old-Fashioned Oats: Old-fashioned rolled oats give the topping the best texture. Do not substitute quick oats.
- All-Purpose Flour: You can use whole wheat flour instead if you prefer.
- Brown Sugar: Brown sugar sweetens the topping and gives it the best rich, caramel flavor.
- Cinnamon: We’re using more cinnamon in the topping to really bring out the apple-cinnamon flavor.
- Salt: Just a little bit of salt brings out the other flavors. You can omit the salt if you will use salted butter in your topping.
Once those are combined, cut 1/2 cup of cold butter into small cubes. Add the butter to the other topping ingredients and use either a pastry blender or your hands to work the butter into the dry ingredients. The mixture will start to clump together a bit. Once the largest pieces of butter are the size of small peas, the topping is ready.
Give the apples one more stir and then transfer them to an 8×8-inch or other similar sized square baking dish. Sprinkle the topping over the apples. Bake until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbly and juicy.
Easy Apple Crisp Recipe Tips
- To feed a crowd, you can double this recipe. Bake it in a 9×13-inch baking dish or other similarly sized rectangular baking dish.
- This apple crisp has a generous amount of topping. If you like less topping, you can halve the topping ingredients.
- Cut the apples into slices or chunks, depending on your preference. If you prefer chunks of apples, first slice 1/4-inch thick and then cut each slice in half. If the apple pieces are too thick they won’t soften enough with the bake time given in the recipe.
- You can adjust the amount of sugar in the recipe to your tastes. As written, the apple crisp is sweet but not overly so. You can reduce the brown sugar in the filling and/or topping if you prefer a less sweet dessert. If you like your apple crisp really sweet, you can add a little more sugar.
More Apple Desserts to Love:
- 6 cups peeled Granny Smith apples, sliced or chopped (no more than ¼-inch thick)*, 6-7 apples
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
- Preheat oven to 350° F with a rack in the middle position. Lightly grease an 8x8-inch square baking dish.
Make the Apple Filling
- In a large bowl, combine all of the apple filling ingredients: apples, flour, ¼ cup brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir and then set aside. It's ok if everything is not well combined at this point, because the apples will release some of their juices while you prepare the topping and then you will stir the apple mixture again.
Make the Crisp Topping
- In another large bowl, stir together the oats, flour, ⅓ cup brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.
- Add the cold butter cubes to the bowl. Use a pastry blender or your hands to work the butter into the oat mixture, until the largest pieces of butter are the size of peas.
Assemble the Apple Crisp
- Stir the apple mixture again until everything is well combined. Pour the apples and all of the juices from the bowl into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle on the crisp topping.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the topping is lightly browned and the filling is bubbly on the sides of the baking dish. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- I like to peel the apples, then slice them slightly less than 1/4-inch thick, then halve the slices to make 1-inch pieces.
- Other varieties of baking apples may be used. A combination of Granny Smith and Honeycrisp is especially delicious.
- Recipe may be doubled. Bake a double recipe in a 9x13-inch baking dish or other similarly sized rectangular baking dish.