Here is an easy homemade dessert that is perfect to serve during the holidays: apple cranberry crisp. Tart cranberries complement fresh apples that are tossed with orange zest and cinnamon. The warm buttery crisp topping is asking to be served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

white bowl with apple cranberry crisp and scoop of vanilla ice cream.

November is that time when you see fresh cranberries at the store. While you might think they are simply for homemade cranberry sauce, think again. Cranberries shine in dessert recipes and this apple cranberry crisp is no exception. The cranberries add a tart flavor to the crisp that makes each bite a pleasant experience for the tastebuds.

Why this recipe works

You can use a variety of apples and fresh or frozen cranberries work in this crisp. The addition of fresh orange zest and juice complements the flavors wonderfully. This crisp is a dessert that can be made ahead of time and frozen too!

Ingredient notes

apple cranberry crisp filling ingredients in bowls labeled with text.
crisp topping ingredients in bowls labeled with text.
  • Apples: Granny Smith, Honeycrisp or Braeburn apples are best for baking because they keep their flavor and texture.
  • Cranberries: Fresh are best, but frozen may also be used. You do not need to defrost them.
  • Orange juice and zest: Fresh is best since it provides the most bang for your buck in terms of flavor.
  • Butter: use cold butter for the crisp topping for the best texture.
  • Pecans: Nuts are optional for the topping. You can omit them if there are allergy concerns.

How to make apple cranberry crisp

photo collage demonstrating how to make crisp topping.
photo collage demonstrating how to make filling and assemble apple cranberry crisp.
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking pan.
  2. Make the crisp topping: Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the butter and use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the dry ingredients to form a crumble.
  3. Make the filling: In a large bowl, add all the filling ingredients. Use your hands to toss the ingredients until the apples and cranberries are coated.
  4. Assemble: Transfer filling to prepared dish. Sprinkle crisp topping over the filling.
  5. Bake the crisp for 40 to 45 minutes or until the filling is bubbling.
apple cranberry crisp serving with scoop of vanilla ice cream in white bowl.

Make ahead tips

Make ahead: Bake crisp, let it cool completely, then cover it. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat before serving.

How to freeze apple cranberry crisp: Let the crisp cool completely, then double wrap the crisp and the baking dish with two-layers of aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Crisp will last 3 months in the freezer. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Reheating instructions: Preheat oven to 350 F. Reheat crisp (uncovered) for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I add pears to this crisp?

Yes, you can replace two apples with two pears. I suggest Bosc pears for baking, but Anjou pears also work as an alternative.

Can I use gluten free flour?

Yes. Gluten free flour and oats may be used in this recipe.

Can I use steel cut oats in the crisp topping?

I do not recommend steel cut oats because the crisp topping will have a tough, grainy texture.

Can I use dried cranberries?

The dessert will have a different texture and flavor so I personally do not prefer dried cranberries. However, if that is all you have, you can substitute with 1/3 cup dried cranberries.

serving spoon holding scoop of apple cranberry crisp in a serving dish.

Related recipes

If you enjoy fruit crisps or want more cranberry recipes, here are some suggestions:

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white bowl with apple cranberry crisp and scoop of vanilla ice cream

Apple Cranberry Crisp

Apple cranberry crisp is an easy dessert to serve during the holidays. Tart cranberries complement crisp apples and a buttery crisp topping.
5 (6 ratings)

Ingredients

Crisp Topping

  • ½ cup (62 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (40 g) old fashioned oats
  • ¼ cup (50 g) packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup (35 g) chopped pecans, optional
  • 6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Apple Cranberry Filling

  • 5 Granny Smith or Honeycrisp apples
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, see notes
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
  • ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Vanilla ice cream for serving

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 375° F. Lightly grease an 8×8-inch baking dish (or 2-quart baking dish) and set aside.
  • For the crisp topping, whisk together flour, oats, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and chopped pecans in a bowl. Add cold butter pieces and using a pastry cutter (or your hands) incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly and resembles coarse, wet sand. Set aside.
  • For the filling, peel, core and cut the apples into slices about ¼-inch thick. Place the apples in a large bowl and add cranberries. Toss the fruit with orange juice, orange zest, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Transfer the mixture into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle crisp topping evenly over apple cranberry filling.
  • Bake apple cranberry crisp for 40-45 minutes or until the crisp topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Allow crisp to cool for 10 minutes before serving warm with vanilla ice cream.

Notes

Cranberries: If using frozen, do not thaw.
Store crisp, after it has cooled completely, covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Freeze crisp for up to 3 months. Let the crisp cool completely, then wrap the entire dish in two layers of aluminum foil. Store on a flat surface in the freezer. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
Reheat crisp uncovered in a 350° F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through.
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 332kcal, Carbohydrates: 75g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 191mg, Potassium: 336mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 45g, Vitamin A: 473IU, Vitamin C: 11mg, Calcium: 41mg, Iron: 5mg

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