Easy Apple Crisp with Oats
If you’re searching for a quick and easy fall recipe, look no further! Bake this apple crisp and you will have the best dessert of the season. It has warm crisp apples and an oat crumble topping. Let’s dive in to this comforting dessert.
Who here is ready for some fall baking? I’ve got you covered starting with this quick and easy apple crisp. Not only is it simple to make, it reheats well and is a fall favorite among my friends and family (this pear crisp is a close second!).
Why this recipe works
This simple and flavorful crisp topping can be mixed up by hand or added to the food processor. This can easily be doubled to serve large crowds or made ahead to make holiday meals easier. Did you know that a crisp always has oats (and usually nuts) where a crumble is basically a streusel?
- Rolled oats (sometimes called old fashioned) give you the best texture for your crisp topping. Quick oats can be used in a pinch, but the texture will be a little different and you will need less butter. I do not recommend steel cut oats.
- Pecans are classic crisp topping addition but you can omit them if you prefer.
- Both brown and white sugar are used here to give lots of flavor and contrast with the tart apples.
- Apples – the star of fall and this recipe! A mix of apples is best for baking. Granny Smith, Honey Crisp, Braeburn and Golden Delicious are just a few good examples. For this crisp I used Granny Smith apples and Honeycrisp apples. A mixture of apples adds depth of flavor and texture to the crisp. Avoid Red Delicious apples as they will turn mushy and the crisp will be flavorless.
You can get creative with the filling for this crisp. Try half apples and half pears (Bosc work best). If you want to add some orange zest, I suggest you follow my recipe for apple pear crisp.
You can also mix in 1 cup fresh cranberries or 1/4 cup dried cranberries. For the topping, pecans are a personal preference, but walnuts and almonds work too!
How to make easy apple crisp
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease a ceramic or glass baking dish with butter. Set aside.
- Make the crisp topping: Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until combined. Add cold butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand. Add pecans (if using) and pulse until nuts are chopped.
- Prepare apple filling: Peel, core and slice apples. Place them in a bowl and toss with sugar, flour, lemon juice and lemon zest. Place apples in prepared pan and sprinkle with crisp topping.
- Bake at 375 F for 40 minutes until juices are bubbling. Let cool for a couple minutes before serving warm.
In order to have the best topping, make sure your butter is cold when you cut it into the other crisp topping ingredients. If it’s too warm, the topping won’t be crispy and the butter will melt into the filling once it is in the oven. It helps to chill the topping for 15 minutes before adding it to the apples and baking.
Reach for the tastiest apples of the season. A nice mixture of crispy apples will keep the filling from being mushy and tasteless. I prefer Honeycrisp and Granny Smith apples. Once baked, let cool slightly before serving so the filling sets up.
Make ahead tips
The wonderful thing about apple crisp is that you can make it ahead of time! Prepare the filling and topping in separate containers and refrigerate up to 24 hours in advance. Assemble and bake when ready to serve. The lemon juice on the apples will keep them from going brown!
For holiday prep, you can freeze the apple crisp up to 3 months in advance. Let the crisp come to room temperature after baking, then securely cover the dish so it is airtight. Freeze until ready to serve. Reheat from frozen in a 350° F oven for 25 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Apple crisp keeps at room temperature for a few hours; longer than that it is best to store it in the refrigerator. To keep the topping fresh, place a paper towel on top of the crisp before covering it. The paper towel will absorb excess moisture.
Yes, reheat uncovered at 350° F for 10 minutes or until heated through. To reheat from frozen, cover the crisp with aluminum foil and bake at 350° F for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 5 minutes longer to crisp the topping.
You can also make the crisp topping by hand. Whisk together flour, oats, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl. Add cold butter pieces and using a pastry cutter (or two knives) cut the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly. Stir in coarsely chopped pecans if using.
It’s personal preference! The skins will add a touch more texture and some color to the dish.
If you are in search of more apple recipes, I rounded up a few for you to try.
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Get the Recipe: Easy Apple Crisp
- 6 tablespoons (47 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (40 g) rolled 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
- 5 tablespoons (85 g) cold, unsalted butter
- ¼ cup pecans, optional
- 4-5 Granny Smith apples, (see notes for types of apples to use)
- ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon flour
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, about 1 lemon
- ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
- Food processor method: In a food processor, place the flour, oats, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Pulse briefly to combine. Add the cold butter pieces and pulse 10 times, about 4 seconds each pulse, until the mixture looks like cornmeal. Add the pecans and pulse about 5 times, each 1 second each, until the nuts are chopped. The mixture will look like wet sand with some clumps. Avoid over-processing.
- Make by hand: Whisk together flour, oats, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl. Add cold butter pieces and using a pastry cutter (or two forks) cut the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly and resembles coarse, wet sand. Stir in coarsely chopped pecans if using.
- Place the mixture into a bowl and in the refrigerator to chill for 15 minutes while the filing is prepared.
- Adjust oven rack to the middle position. Preheat oven to 375° F.
- Peel, core and cut the apples into slices about ¼-inch thick. Place the apples in a large bowl and toss them with the lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar. Transfer the mixture into an 8×8 baking dish. Sprinkle the chilled topping over the apple mixture evenly.
- Bake for 40 minutes at 375° F. It is done when the filling bubbles and the topping is golden brown. Serve warm on its own or with vanilla ice cream and caramel.