Apple Crisp is a comforting, classic dessert that’s made with a generous amount of spiced apple filling and a crisp oat topping. This fall classic is perfect when served hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. You can’t find a better way to use up all those gorgeous, fresh apples in the fall!
There are a few deserts that truly represent the fall season, and apple crisp is one of them! There is nothing that brings out the feeling of this season better than the house filled with sweet aroma of baking apples with cinnamon. It’s even more special if the apple have been freshly picked from the orchard.
I always see pictures of people apple picking in the fall and I have to admit, I get a little jealous. Freshly picked apples make the best desserts but I settle for farmer’s market apples in my favorite apple crisp recipe. There are a couple of things that I do to make my crisp extra special, and that is to precook apples with apple pie spice and sugar and have extra oat topping for a higher crisp to apple ratio.
Precooking the apples makes it almost into an apple pie filling by releasing natural apple juices and combining it with spices, butter, sugar, and flour. It makes apples softer as well.
Butter – You’ll need butter for preparing the baking dish, for the filling, and for the topping. I always recommend using unsalted butter in baking and cooking to control the salt.
Apples – For my apple crisp recipe, I like to use sweet and juicy apples like honeycrisp or gala. Honeycrisp apples give out a lot of their own natural juice, and that’s where the best apple flavor comes from.
Brown Sugar – light or dark brown sugar will work just fine. Dark brown sugar will have a deeper molasses flavor.
Apple Pie Spice – Apple pie spice is a blend of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. If you happen to have any left over, use it to make some deliciously autumnal Apple Pie Pancakes!
Lemon Juice – I’ve found that freshly squeezed lemon juice gives the best touch of natural acidity to the apple filling.
Old Fashioned Oats – Use old fashioned oats NOT instant oats. Top of the oat topping will get nice and crispy while the bottom part, that touches the apple filling, will soak up some of the apple juices. It’s the best combination of soft and crunchy.
See the recipe card below for the full list of ingredients and instructions.
How to Make Apple Crisp
Precook the apples. Simply combine the peeled, cored, and sliced apples in a pot with melted butter, sugar, flour, lemon juice, and spices. Cook it covered over medium-low heat until apples give out natural juices and start to soften.
Make the crisp topping. Combine old fashioned oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, spices, and melted butter in a bowl and thoroughly mix it all together.
Assemble the dessert. Spread apple filling in a buttered 9×9 baking dish (1) and spread oat topping evenly over the top (2).
Bake it. Bake your homemade apple crisp at 350°F for 35-40 minutes, until topping is golden brown and apples bubble (3).
PRO TIP: You will want to let it sit for about 15 minutes after it’s baked and then serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream of top.
The best way to serve apple crisp is warm and with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top! You can always use different ice cream flavors, like cinnamon, maple, or salted caramel. Try adding a drizzle of caramel sauce or maple syrup. You can also try my Pumpkin Spice Syrup on top, it’s great!
Try adding other fruit like pears, Asian pears, peaches, plums, cherries, or nectarines. Add berries like blueberries or raspberries. Feel free to add some nuts like pecans, walnuts, and almonds – they all make a great compliment to apple crisp.
To make this apple crisp gluten free, make sure to substitute the flour in the apple filling and in the crisp topping with a gluten free all purpose flour. All of the remaining ingredients should already be gluten free, but double check the packaging just in case.
How to Freeze Apple Crisp
You absolutely can freeze apple crisp but do it before baking.
If you’re planning on freezing apple crisp, you can prepare it right in an aluminum baking pan. Prepare the apples and the oat topping according to the recipe, spread it in the pan, and wrap it tightly with plastic wrap first and then with aluminum foil. Label and freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before baking. When ready to bake, make sure to take off the plastic wrap and foil and bake uncovered at 350°F for about 35 minutes.
The most common question about apple crisp is whether it has to be refrigerated after baking. I always recommend to refrigerate it because it will extend the shelf life by several days and it will prevent bacteria from growing in your dessert. Left on the counter, there is a high chance of bacteria growth in apples, so it’s better to be safe.
It’s very easy to reheat the crisp in a microwave, in a microwave safe bowl, for a few seconds.
To store cooked apple crisp, cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap or a fitted lid to keep it air-tight and keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.
More Oat Desserts To Try
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Apple Crisp Recipe
- 1-2 tbsp butter to coat the baking dish
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 lbs honey crisp apples peeled, cored, and sliced
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp apple pie spice
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp apple pie spice
- 1/2 cup salted butter melted
- Peel, core, and slice apples thinly.
- Melt butter in a heavy bottom sauce pot over medium-low heat and add apples. Mix to coat apples with butter.
- Sprinkle apple pie spice, sugar, and flour over the apples and mix well, until ingredients are evenly incorporated. Add lemon juice and mix.
- Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, until apples give out its natural juices and start to soften. Take off heat.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients for the oat topping and mix well, until evenly incorporated.
- Pour in melted butter all over and mix very well. Feel free to use your hand to make sure butter and ingredients are mixed very well.
- Preheat the oven to 350° and rub inside of a 9×9 baking dish with butter, all over the bottom and up the sides.
- Spread apple topping evenly in the dish.
- Spread oat topping evenly over the apples.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, until topping is golden brown and apples bubble.
- Gluten Free Notes: To make this apple crisp gluten free, make sure to substitute the flour in the apple filling and in the crisp topping with a gluten free all purpose flour. All of the remaining ingredients should already be gluten free, but double check the packaging just in case.
- Additional Flavors: Try adding other fruit like pears, Asian pears, peaches, plums, cherries, or nectarines. Add berries like blueberries or raspberries. Feel free to add some nuts like pecans, walnuts, and almonds – they all make a great compliment to apple crisp.
- Apple pie spice: this is a spice mix you can find in post grocery stores. Apple pie spice is a blend of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. To make your own, simply combine 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon with 2 teaspoons or ground nutmeg and 1 teaspoon of ground allspice. Mix it all together and store in a small glass jar with a lid.
Originally published on Will Cook For Smiles in September, 2019.