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.

Apple crisp in square ceramic baking dish with two scoops of vanilla ice cream on top.

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?

Ingredient notes

Apple crisp ingredients in bowls labeled with text.
  • 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.

Recipe variations

You can get creative with the filling for this crisp. Try half apples and half pears (Bosc work best). 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

Photo collage demonstrating how to make apple crisp topping in a food processor.
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease a ceramic or glass baking dish with butter. Set aside.
  2. 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.
Photo collage demonstrating how to prepare apple for apple crisp.
  1. 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.
  2. Bake at 375 F for 40 minutes until juices are bubbling. Let cool for a couple minutes before serving warm.

Expert tips

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

Does apple crisp need to be refrigerated?

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.

Can you reheat apple crisp?

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.

What if I don’t have a food processor?

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.

Do you have to peel apples for apple crisp?

It’s personal preference! The skins will add a touch more texture and some color to the dish.

Serving of apple crisp with scoop of vanilla ice cream on white round plate.

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apple crisp in square ceramic baking dish with two scoops of vanilla ice cream

Easy Apple Crisp

Easy apple crisp is made with fresh fall apples and a crisp apple topping.
5 (4 ratings)

Ingredients

Topping

  • 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

Filling

  • 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

Instructions 

Crisp Topping

  • 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.

Apple Filling

  • 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.

Notes

Best apples: I suggest using a mix of apples. I prefer half Granny Smith and half Honeycrisp. Braeburn, Golden Delicious, Gala and Northern Spy work well too.
Double the recipe: This recipe can be doubled and served in a 13×9 baking dish. Increase baking time to 55 minutes.
Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 
Freezing instructions: Let crisp cool completely. Wrap is securely and store in a flat surface in your freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat from frozen, cover crisp with aluminum foil and bake at 350 F for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 5 minutes longer to crisp the topping.
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 392kcal, Carbohydrates: 59g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 19g, Sodium: 103mg, Potassium: 266mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 45g, Vitamin A: 390IU, Vitamin C: 11mg, Calcium: 30mg, Iron: 1mg

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