This easy apple crisp recipe is hands-down the best I’ve ever tried. It tastes warm and cozy thanks to the baked cinnamon apples and brown sugar oatmeal crumble topping. Made with fresh apples and simple pantry ingredients – it’s the perfect fall treat.
When it comes to apple desserts – you can’t beat apple crisp. The apples turn sweet and tender as they bake, and are coated in cinnamon sugar goodness. And then the brown sugar oatmeal crumble on top? DIVINE.
(So divine I’m even capitalizing my letters).
What I also so love about apple crisp is that it’s made with easy, simple ingredients that you likely already have around the house. You can throw everything together without any fancy skills, ingredients or equipment – and you end up with the most delicious, comforting, cinnamon filled dessert around.
When I was kid my Mom would often make fruit crumbles and crisps for dessert at Sunday dinner. We always made ours with oatmeal crumble on top, and a hefty dose of cinnamon (could you really have it any other way). And if I was lucky, I might even get the cold leftovers for breakfast the next morning. (The benefits of being the youngest child).
Ok – let’s talk recipe specifics.
What’s the Difference Between an Apple Crisp and Apple Crumble?
Well – that depends on who you ask. A fruit crumble is a baked fruit dessert. The bottom layer is made of fruit (apples, blueberries, peaches, etc), and the top layer is an oatmeal streusel – typically made with butter, flour, sugars, cinnamon & oats. An apple crisp is the exact same thing. Some say that fruit crisps don’t have oats, but I’ve always called it an apple crisp and had oats in my streusel topping.
How to Make an Apple Crisp
If you’ve never made an apple crisp before – there’s absolutely nothing stopping you. To get started, make the topping:
- Whisk together the flour, sugars, cinnamon, salt & oats.
- Cut cold butter into small chunks, then add it into the bowl.
- Work the butter into the flour mixture by either cutting it in with a pastry cutter or fork, or crumbling it in using your fingers.
In the end, you should no longer have chunks of butter and it will be crumbly in texture. If you squeeze it in your palm it’ll stick together, but it definitely won’t resemble a dough per say. Here’s what mine looked like.
Then it’s time to make the apple layer. What kind of apples are best for apple crisp?
Apple crisp really isn’t too fussy of a dessert. Choose an apple that’s slightly tart and firm because the apples will sweeten and soften as the crisp bakes, and a slightly tarter apple really compliments the brown sugar cinnamon flavor. I like to use Granny Smith apples – Honey Crisp or Empire work well too.
Peel the apples and slice into thin slices. Then we make a cinnamon sugar mixture by whisking together melted butter, water, a little flour, cinnamon & sugar. The mixture gets drizzled on top of the apples to coat them evenly. I find this step absolutely necessary because it helps the apples soften and sweeten as they bake without getting too soupy.
The apple mixture is spooned into the bottom of a greased 2-quart casserole dish (a 9×9 inch square pan, 8×8 inch square pan, or 11×7 inch casserole pan work perfectly). Then the crumble topping is crumbled on top. Your pan will definitely look quite full but as the apples bake and soften they take up less volume – so you don’t need to worry about the pan overflowing.
The cinnamon apples end up with this delicious cinnamon coating that has a slight caramel flavor, and the oatmeal crumble is buttery, crunchy and delicious.
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup large flake oats
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter , cut into cubes
- 6 large apples , I recommend Granny Smith
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Grease a 2-quart baking dish.
- In a medium bowl stir together the flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon & salt.
- Add in the butter and cut it in using a pastry cutter or rub the butter into the dry ingredients using your fingers. At the end it should be crumbly in texture, but no large chunks of butter should remain. Place in the fridge as you make the filling.
- Peel and slice the apples into thin slices about 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick.
- Whisk together the melted butter, flour, water, sugar, cinnamon & nutmeg.
- Pour the mixture over the sliced apples and toss to coat.
- Spoon the apples into the greased pan, then crumble the oatmeal crumble overtop.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and you can see the apples bubbling around the edges of the pan.
- Remove from the oven and cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.