Crispy on the outside and moist on the inside! Make the best pear crisp with oats this fall using fresh spiced pears and a buttery, crunchy topping. Serve this comforting dessert warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or heavy cream.

pear crisp in a bowl with vanilla ice cream next to pears, pecans and baking dish.

It’s officially pear season and this easy pear crisp with oats is a delicious, warming crowd-pleaser. By following a few simple steps you’ll be enjoying this pear dessert in no time! I personally love this recipe because it is a great way to enjoy this seasonal fruit.

Plus, when it comes to texture and flavor this dessert has it all! The spiced caramelized pears make this dessert sweet and the oat crumble adds a crunch to every bite.

Why this recipe works

This recipe is a winner because Bosc or Anjou pears are used to ensure that the pear filling stays crisp and firm when baked. The oat topping is delicious, easy to make and works well with the fruit filling. In addition, all of the ingredients used to make this dessert are super easy to find in most grocery stores.

Ingredient notes

pear crisp ingredients in bowls labeled with text.
  • Pears: Use Bosc, Anjour or Barlett pears for the best texture after baking. Select pears that are firm-ripe or right at the beginning of the ripening stage to prevent an overly soft and soggy filling.
  • Oats: Oats are a key ingredient in the crumble topping. Use old-fashioned rolled oats for the best results as they have a great texture. If you want your crumble to have a finer texture then pulse the oats in a food processor before combining them with the other topping ingredients. If you don’t have rolled oats, then feel free to use quick oats instead. I would not recommend steel-cut oats because they have a tough, grainy texture which does not work well in this recipe.
  • Unsalted butter: Make sure the butter is cold and cut it into equal-sized cubes. If the butter is not cold then the texture of the crisp topping will not be firm.
  • Pecans (optional): Feel free to skip them if you do not have any to hand but I love adding pecans because they add more flavor and texture to the topping. Almond or walnuts work too!
  • Ground ginger: Make sure you use ground or powdered ginger for the best results. Avoid using crystallized ginger as it is more difficult to work with.

Recipe variations

If you don’t have ripe pears then you can make pear crisp with canned pears instead. This is a quicker option as the baking time will be shorter (25 to 30 minutes).

Another great way to spruce up this dessert is by adding apples and cranberries. Swap out 2 pears for 2 apples (peeled and sliced). Then add 1 cup of fresh cranberries, prepped apples and prepped pears to a bowl and follow the rest of this pear crisp recipe.

You can also make a gluten-free pear crisp if you have special dietary requirements. Swap oats with gluten-free oats and use gluten-free flour instead of all-purpose flour. To make this recipe vegan, use dairy-free butter in the crisp topping instead. Serve with dairy-free ice cream or coconut ice cream.

How to make pear crisp

photo collage demonstrating how to make pear crisp with oat crumble topping.
  1. Prepare topping: Combine the dry ingredients. Add all-purpose flour, old-fashioned rolled oats, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pecans to a bowl and whisk until evenly combined.
  2. Combine butter with dry ingredients: Next, cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or two forks. Mixture should resemble a sand-like crumble. Set aside for later.
  3. Make pear filling: Peel, core and slice the pears then add them to a separate bowl. Next, add the spices to the same bowl and toss the pears in the spices until they are fully coated. Place the pears in a baking dish.
  4. Bake: Sprinkle the oat mixture on top of the pears in the baking dish. Then, bake the crisp at 375 F for 35 to 40 minutes or until the topping is golden brown. Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream, heavy cream or drizzle caramel sauce on top.

Expert tips

Make the pear crisp ahead of time. Assemble the dessert and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking. Ensure the oven has been preheated for at least 10 minutes before baking.

Alternatively, you can bake the crisp, leave it to cool down completely and cover it with plastic wrap or foil. Then refrigerate it for up to 3 days and reheat it before serving.

Reheat the crisp in the oven or microwave. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Then place the crisp in the oven uncovered and reheat for 20 minutes or until heated all the way through. If you are using a microwave then add 1 serving to a bowl and heat it for 1 minute or until the crisp is heated through.

Use the right baking dish for the fruit crumble. For this recipe, you will need an 8X8 inch or 2-quart baking dish to help the dessert stay firm and give it the perfect depth.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you freeze pear crisp?

Yes. Let the crisp cool completely, then double-wrap the crisp and the baking dish with two layers of aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Then freeze for up to 3 months in the freezer. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before reheating and serving.

Should pears be peeled before baking?

Yes, peel, core and slice pears before making this dessert. If the skin is not removed then the skin will fall off as the pears bake and add an undesirable texture to the filling of the crisp.

How ripe should pears be for baking?

When baking pears they should be right at the beginning of their ripening stage. To ensure the pears are ripe, gently press them. They should be firm and tender near the stem.

Can I use apples in this crisp recipe?

Yes, you can swap out two pears with two small apples and follow this recipe to make this variation. Alternatively, you can make an apple pear crisp instead.

Pear crisp in a baking dish next to white cloth, pears and cinnamon sticks.

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Best Pear Crisp with Oats

Crispy on the outside and moist on the inside! Make the best pear crisp with oats this fall using fresh spiced pears and a buttery, crunchy oat topping. Serve this comforting dessert warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or heavy cream.
5 (9 ratings)

Ingredients

Oat Topping

  • ½ cup (62 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (40 g) old fashioned 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
  • ¼ cup (35 g) chopped pecans, optional
  • 6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter

Pear Filling

  • 5-6 medium Bosc pears, peeled and sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • Vanilla ice cream for serving

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease a 8-inch x 8-inch square baking pan (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 two forks) incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly and resembles coarse, wet sand. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine sliced pear, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Toss to coat pears and transfer to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle crisp topping evenly over pears in the baking dish.
  • Bake crisp for 35 to 40 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

Best pears for baking are Bosc, Anjou or Barlett. Pears should be ripe, but still firm.
Pecans may substituted with walnuts or almonds if preferred, or omitted entirely.
Store crisp covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Freeze pear crisp after cooling completely. Double wrap the crisp in aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight.
Reheat crisp in 350 F oven for 20 minutes.
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 365kcal, Carbohydrates: 58g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 30mg, Sodium: 103mg, Potassium: 245mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 36g, Vitamin A: 391IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 38mg, Iron: 1mg

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