Nothing says Fall like a warm Apple Crisp made with lots of apples and the best cinnamon oat streusel topping! It's quick and easy to throw together and can even be made in the slow cooker!
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It's finally FALL! And while the rest of the world is going pumpkin crazy, I'm over here dreaming of all things apple, which is the superior Fall flavor, IMO.
Cooked fruit desserts like pies, cobblers, crumbles, and crisps are my favorite. As much as I love cookies and cake, nothing can beat a warm cooked fruit dessert with lots of crunchy oat topping served with a scoop of ice cream.
While we are at it, there are also the lesser known galettes, buckles, grunts, and slumps. Some of which sound made up but are all legit old-fashioned recipes.
The ratio of crumbly streusel to fruit in this classic apple crisp recipe makes my heart happy. I'm always disappointed in a crisp with too much fruit and just a sprinkling of the crisp part of our favorite fall dessert.
This really is the best apple crisp recipe because it has just the right balance of fruit to crunchy topping, where you should be able to get a bit of both in every single bite!
Reasons why Apple Crisp is the Easiest Fall Dessert
There is no worrying about fussy crusts or decorating techniques when it comes to apple crisp, which makes it a great dessert for beginning bakers to make. Also, unlike a pie, where you run this risk of the filling not setting up, there's no worry about a soggy bottom crust with apple crisp.
Plus, when your kitchen starts to fill with the heavenly fragrance of baking apples, cinnamon, and oats filling your kitchen, everything feels just a little bit simpler and brighter. And in case you need any more convincing, you don't have to wait an hour or more for the apple crisp to cool down and the filling to set up before you can dig into it!
We like to serve it still warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce drizzled on top for the best Fall dessert of all time!
What You'll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Lemon juice
How to Make Apple Crisp
Prep the fruit. Start with your fruit filling by peeling, coring, and slicing a bunch of apples! This part takes the longest, but if you enlist some helpers it's not too bad. And the apple peels make a fun snack while you wait for the apple crisp to bake.
I like to slice my apples to an even thickness so they bake evenly in the oven. If you slice some really thin and leave others chunky, you won't have as consistent results with your apple crisp.
Add sugar and spice! Toss the sliced apples with cinnamon, sugar, and lemon juice, then dump the apple mixture into a 9x13-inch baking dish. You can easily cut this recipe in half, but we always make the full thing because everybody always wants second helpings. And if I'm being honest, it's pretty delicious for breakfast the next day.
Make topping. Combine the topping ingredients of oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter in a large bowl. Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the other ingredients until they resemble crumbs, then scatter this streusel-y oat mixture topping on top of the apples.
You could also use a food processor to make the crumble topping if you have one.
Bake. Pop the apple crisp in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the apple filling is bubbling, the fruit is tender, and the crisp topping is browned.
What kind of apples are best for baking?
Granny Smith apples, honeycrisp, envy, braeburn, pippin, golden delicious, and pink lady are our top picks for making apple crisp. I like to use more than one type of apples for the best flavor and texture.
In my experience, tart, crisp apples tend to be best for baking because they maintain their structure and don't just melt into mush in the oven. Plus, I love the play of tart apples sweetened with a little sugar over already sweet apples.
I do not like baking with gala or red delicious apples as they tend to have less flavor and break apart more and get mushy from the heat of the oven.
Variations and substitutions
- Adding nuts: One really great option is to add chopped walnuts or pecans to your crisp topping. It adds another flavor of dimension and crunch that is wonderful with the warm, spiced apples beneath.
- Apple-cranberry (or other fruit): One of my favorite things to do is add a few handfuls of fresh or frozen cranberries in with the apple filling to change up the flavor this dessert. A mix of apples and other fruits like blackberries, raspberries, or rhubarb are also yummy. Or halve the amount of apples and replace them with sliced pears for an apple pear crisp.
- Gluten-free version: This dessert is an easy one to make gluten-free by using a 1-to-1 gluten-free flour replacement and oats that are gluten-free. Be sure to check the labels on the oats because some of them actually do have gluten in them. You could also use almond flour in place of the all-purpose flour.
- More spices: If you love the warm spices that are associated with fall, try adding small amounts (¼ to ½ teaspoons each) of ground nutmeg, ground cloves, or ground allspice.
Slow Cooker Apple Crisp
This recipe can easily be made in the slow cooker! This approach has two advantages: First, it frees up your oven in case you are making apple crisp for Thanksgiving (genius) or just don't want to heat up the kitchen or use oven space. Second, you get to enjoy the scent of slowly baking apples apple day. Which is one of the side benefits of making apple crisp.
Just follow the same directions for making the apple filling layer first and sprinkle with the crisp topping. Then place a couple of paper towels or a kitchen over the top of your slow cooker before putting the lid on. As the apple crisp cooks, the moisture that would otherwise condense on the lid and fall back on the crisp part of the dessert will be absorbed by the paper towels!
Cook on HIGH for 2 hours or LOW for 3-4 hours.
How to Store and Reheat
You can store this apple crisp in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days covered with plastic wrap or up to 1 week in the fridge.
Can I freeze this recipe?
Yes, you can freeze leftover apple crisp! The crumb topping would be as crisp after thawing and reheating, but it will still taste pretty darn delicious! Just thaw and reheat either in a warm oven, the microwave, or the air fryer (my preferred method because it will crisp up that topping much better than the other two).
More Fruit Dessert Recipes
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
- 7-8 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (125g)
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup salted butter
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Add apples, sugar, flour, lemon juice, vanilla, and cinnamon to a 9x13-inch pan. Toss to coat the apples evenly.
- In a large bowl, combine the remaining flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter using a pastry cutter to cut the softened butter into the other ingredients until they resemble coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over the apple layer.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes until the apples are tender and the crisp topping is a nice golden brown.
This post was originally published in August, 2020. The photos and content were updated in September, 2022.