Are you looking for an apple crisp recipe for 4? I think you will really like this one. It is a family favorite that is easy to make and fast. When the seasons change, I start craving apples. Like so many other cooks, I gravitate toward apple crisp in the fall and winter months. Apple crisp is classic—and a staple in American cooking.
Cinnamon Apple Crisp Recipe for Four
If you love the flavors of apple pie, but don’t have time to make an actual pie, try this easy Cinnamon Apple Crisp recipe. It’s SO good, serves four people, and has all of the familiar pie flavors.
Tip: This is a great dessert to put together ahead of time for company. Put the crisps together (don’t bake) and place in the fridge. Right as everyone sits down to dinner, pop them in the oven and they’ll be ready just in time for dessert.
The moment a piping hot apple crisp comes out of the oven, your kitchen will fill with amazing aromas. This sweet treat may not be as fancy as classic apple pie, but it’s just as tasty and easier to prepare when the craving hits. The caramel glaze, warm spices, and rustic oat topping are a winning combination. It’s one of my favorite fall desserts, especially when served warm with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.
The key to a great apple filling is making sure the fruit is cooked thoroughly preventing a runny sauce. Undercooking commonly happens when tart apples are tossed raw with a flour-dusting, then baked. The topping cooks faster, so the filling never softens, and the juices don’t thicken up. The good news, this is easy to avoid by pre-cooking the apples.
What kind of apples do you use?
The best kind of apple to use is Honeycrisp. This juicy, tart and sweet fruit is my top pick when fall rolls around until the end of spring. They are great for cooking because they hold their shape and don’t become mealy like Red Delicious apples.
You can use other types of apples, such as Fuji or McIntosh. Fuji is closest to the flavor profile with a slightly more flower blossom taste. Granny Smith apples offer a more tart flavor profile, or you can use a combination with the sweeter varieties for a balanced taste.
These Are The Best Apples For Cooking
Different Types of Flour and Uses
Pre-cook the apples
To make a fork-tender filling with a syrupy glaze, you’ll need to pre-cook the apples. Slice them to a uniform 1/2-inch thickness to ensure even cooking and faster softening. To quick-start flavor development, toss the apples with sugar, a pinch of salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and zest to balance the sweetness.
Saute the apples until crisp-tender and coat with the sticky cinnamon sauce. I notice that the apples reduce to about half their volume. Even though 3 pounds of apples seems like a lot, don’t forget the shrinking factor as the moisture releases from their flesh. Do not overcook, since the apples will still have more heat exposure when baked with the topping.
The crunchy oat topping
After experimenting with the crisp topping, I found just the proper ratio of flour, brown sugar, butter, oats, and sweet spices. I use old-fashioned rolled oats because the flakes maintain their shape and stay chewy once cooked.
Be sure to cut the butter into dime-sized pieces before adding to the flour mixture. You can try including larger chunks for a more interesting texture.
Add the topping then bake
Evenly coat the surface of the apples with the oat mixture. Once baked, the proteins in the flour deepen in color and harden while the sugar creates a wonderful caramel flavor. Once the topping is golden brown, the outside will be brittle with a slight chew in the center.
If you can imagine tiny bites of oatmeal cookie crumbles, that’s what you’ll experience. The result is a lightly sweet but crunchy texture.
Serve this with
- Homemade whipped cream
- Caramel sauce
- A big scoop of vanilla ice cream or no-churn ice cream
What’s the difference between apple crisp and apple crumble?
They both have streusel-style toppings made of butter, sugar, and flour as the base. However, crisps have oats, and crumbles do not.
How do you make apple crisp not soggy?
Pre-cooking the apples first evaporates some of the internal moisture that would otherwise cause steam inside the oven and beneath the crisp topping. The result is a crunchy texture with a sauce that clings to the fruit.
Can you make it in advance?
You can saute then chill the apples 3 days before assembling and baking. You can make the topping 5 days ahead of time and refrigerate, or freeze for up to 30 days.
Gently pre-cook the apples for better texture
Don’t be tempted to crank up the heat to cook the apples in a shorter time. In this case, a little patience, constant stirring, and moderate heat prevent the apples from becoming too soft and mealy. Gentle heat helps retain the fruit’s internal structure, so it keeps its shape once baked. We want intact apples, not applesauce filling.
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
- 1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
- 3 pounds apples, such as Empire, Gala, or Braeburn, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Step 1Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, salt, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Cut butter into flour, using a pastry blender or two knives, until mixture is the texture of coarse meal. Add oats, and use your hands to toss and squeeze mixture until large, moist clumps form. Transfer to freezer to chill while you prepare apples.
- Step 2In another large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice, cinnamon, and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Transfer to a shallow 2-quart baking dish, and sprinkle with topping mixture. Place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until golden and bubbling, 55 to 65 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
This cinnamon-scented crisp is best served still warm from the oven, topped with a scoop of vanilla, cinnamon, or caramel ice cream.
The secret to a crunchy, chunky topping is working the oat mixture into large clumps with your hands — this helps the topping hold together atop the apples while toasting to a golden brown.