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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!
Pies, Cobblers, Crumbles, and Crisps
Cooked fruit desserts like pies, cobblers, crumbles, and crisps are hands down my favorite type of dessert. There are also the lesser known galettes, buckles, grunts, and slumps that are also all desserts but not as widely known. As much as I love cookies and cake, nothing can beat a warm cooked fruit dessert with lots of streusely, crumbly, topping served with a scoop of ice cream.
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. And 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.
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. 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!
Apple crisp with a whole lot of topping
There is just something about lots and lots of crumbly streusel that makes my heart sing. I'm always disappointed in a crisp with too much fruit and just a sprinkling of the crisp part of the dessert.
This is the best apple crisp recipe I have ever made because it has just the right balance of fruit to crisp, where you should be able to get a bit of both in every single bite!
We served it with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce drizzled on top!
Let's make apple crisp!
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.
Toss the sliced apples with cinnamon, sugar, and lemon juice, then dump 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.
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 topping over the spiced apples.
Pop the apple crisp in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the apples are tender and the crisp topping is browned.
What apples are best for baking?
Granny Smith, honeycrisp, envy, braeburn, pippin, golden delicious, and pink lady are our top picks for making apple crisp. I tend to use more than one variety of apple for the best flavor.
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 in the heat of the oven.
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.
Quick disclaimer though: there is a chance that using a towel with your slow cooker could be a fire hazard. I have never had anything bad happen when using this approach, but want you to be aware of the risk so you can check your paper towel layer periodically and make sure it's not too dry and hot.
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. Other fruits that would go well with apples are blackberries, raspberries, or rhubarb. 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.
More fruit desserts you'll love
- Blackberry Nectarine Crumble
- Secret Ingredient Baked Apples
- Mixed Berry Cobbler
- Best Homemade Apple Pie Recipe
- Rhubarb Crisp
- German Plum Cake
- Cherry Crisp Cake
- Peach Cobbler
- Cherry Crisp
- 7-8 apples peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 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.