Apple crisp with skins is a tasty dessert recipe that will make your family come running. Crisp skin-on apples are mixed with a crumbly topping and baked on a sheet like apple pie. To make this recipe, use whatever fruit you have on hand.
I read somewhere that it was once considered lucky in the Deep South to make an apple crisp with nothing but apples, but I consider it more like making a fruit salad and just calling it dessert since the ingredients are fruit by definition. No matter what you call it, this is a great recipe for using up any extra fruit you might have hanging around.
Bea’s No-Peel Apple Crisp (Do You Have to Peel Apples for Apple Crisp?)
This is your rabbit-from-a-hat when you have no time to make a “proper” pie–or if you are scared silly of making pie crust in the first place. But this is no second best; it’s a star in its own right and far better than most apple pies! I leave the skins on the apples, as my mother did, because they add flavor and body to the filling.
Choose apples from the farmers market or get the produce guy in your market to let you sample before buying. If you include some red apples, the filling will have a gorgeous rosy hue. In a hurry? Skip the dried apricots and orange zest and juice (as my daughter used to do in college). The crisp is terrific warm or at room temperature, but it is especially flavorful cold–even after two or three or four days in the fridge. I know this because I make multiple recipes the day before Thanksgiving every year, also as my mother always did, so we can eat apple crisp after as many meals as possible (and before bed for as many days as possible).
Why This Recipe Works
- Easy to make. The preparation for this apple crisp is so quick and easy! It takes just 15 minutes to whip this thing up and then let the oven do the rest. This easy apple crisp recipe is a simple but delicious fall dessert!
- Great way to use up your apples! You can use any kind of apple for this recipe, and it’s a great way to use up any apples from your tree, apples that are on sale at the grocery store, etc.
- The perfect balance of flavor and texture. This recipe perfectly balances the sour of the apples with the sweetness of the oat crumble topping while also providing the perfect texture. The apples are tender but not mushy and the bottom of the crumble gets nice and caramel-y and gooey, with crunchy oats on top.
Enough crumble to go around. Nothing’s worse than an apple crisp and not enough crumble! This recipe has plenty of crumble so you get some in every bite!
- Apples: You can use any kind of apples. I use a mixture of apples, typically Granny Smith and Gala.
- Flour: Adding a bit of flour to the apple mixture (as well as flour in the crumble) creates a bit more structure in both of the elements.
- Cinnamon: Because apples and cinnamon are the perfect fall combination!
- Rolled Oats: Using rolled oats gives more structure to the oat crumble topping than you’d get with instant oats.
- Sugar: We’ll use granulated with the apples and brown sugar in the cinnamon oat crumble topping.
- Butter: Make sure the butter is COLD.
- Toss the peeled and sliced apples in the sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon.
- Place the sugar-coated apples in a 9″- or 10″-inch baking dish sprayed with butter or nonstick cooking spray.
- Make the streusel topping by combining the oats, flour, baking powder, and brown sugar. Use a fork to combine.
- Add the cubed butter to the mixture. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Spread the crumble mixture evenly over the sliced apples.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes at 350°F or until the apple mixture is bubbly and the top is golden brown.
- Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Prep the pan: To grease the pan, I used butter. However, you can use cooking spray.
I used the oval pan version in this set, but have also made this crisp in a square 9″x9″ inch pan and it fit perfectly. I wouldn’t bake this in a 9″ inch round pie dish because I don’t think the sides will be tall enough.
Additional Toppings: Add some homemade whipped cream or candied pecans on top of your apple crumble.
Apples: Always peel and core the apples. Leaving skins on will mess with the apple crisp consistency and texture. I used a combination of Granny Smith and honey crisp or gala apples. You’ll need about 3-4 large apples. Granny Smith is an exceptionally crisp and tart apple that stands up well to baking. The honey crisp is sweeter and bakes well too.
If you were to use all Granny Smith apples, you won’t get as much juice seeping from the apples, hence I like to use a combination so get some good hold up during the bake and some juicy apples that’ll break down slightly to provide the sauciness. With that being said you can use any apple variety you like. Experiment. Mix and match.
The apple crisp will last for about 3 days. I recommend you cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator. When ready to eat it again, pull it out and eat it cold, or better yet, heat it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds or reheat the apple crisp in the oven at 350°F for 15 minutes. Top it with vanilla ice cream and dig in!
What’s the difference between apple crisp and apple crumble?
Apple crisp is also known as apple crumble. The terms are interchangeable. Apple crisp/apple crumble contains fresh apples topped with a sweet streusel topping that gets baked until the apples are soft and cooked.
Which apples are best for apple crisp?
Any kind of apples will do. Granny Smith apples are very tart so they pair well with the sweetness of the added sugar. I like to use a blend of Granny Smith and Gala apples or even Honeycrisp apples. The beauty of it is that you can use whichever apples you have on hand!
Do you have to peel the apples in an apple crisp?
Technically, no you don’t have to peel the apples before making apple crisp. However, I recommend you do.
I’ve made apple crisp with the skin on and I don’t enjoy it. Despite the apples cooking in the oven long enough to soften the flesh and the skin, I found the skin to be chewy and catch in my throat easily.
What kind of apples should I use for apple crisp?
You want to select a crisp variety of apples for an apple crisp recipe as it will not turn mushy. So a soft variety of apple, like red delicious will not work for apple crisp. My favorite apples that I like cooking with are Honeycrisp, Gala, Fuji, and Pink Lady apples. Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, and Braeburn are also apples that taste great in a baked apple dish. For this recipe, you are going to want to buy about 7 medium apples as that will yield about 5 cups of sliced apples. Buy a couple more apples, just in case. You can always snack on the extra apples later. Apples are great healthy snack ideas for kids. My boys love apple slices with peanut butter or in apple nachos.
How to keep the apple slices from turning brown
Apple slices can quickly turn brown when sliced. So my baking tip is to toss the apple slices in lemon juice to keep them from browning. I just have a bowl with a couple tablespoons of lemon juice next to my cutting board and I toss the slices of apples into the bowl as I slice each apple, making sure to stir them up. Other juices will work too and I have used apple juice and fruit juice to keep my apples from turning brown. It is the vitamin C in the juice that prevents the apples from turning brown.
Can I make this apple crisp dairy-free?
Since I have a dairy allergy, all my baking is dairy-free. I simply replace the butter in the recipe with a non-dairy vegan butter substitute. This does not affect the sweet delicious taste of the apple crisp. You can also make this apple crisp low sugar by swapping out the sugar in the recipe with a low-calorie sweetener. I like to use a monk fruit type of sweetener for baking as it has the closes taste to real sugar. My favorite sweetener to use is Lakanto as they have a golden sweetener that is similar to brown sugar.
+ To make slicing the apples easier, you can use a hand-held apple slicer. An apple slicer will also take out the core of the apple, so that is one less baking step.
+ If you crumb topping is browning too quickly but the apples need more time to cook, cover the baking dish with foil. This will prevent your crumb topping from burning.
+ If you like nuts, you can add chopped pecans, walnuts, or even peanuts to the apple crisp.
+ This dessert can be served warm from the oven or you can cool it down. If you are like me and don’t like cooked fruit, you can chill this in the fridge and serve it cold.
+ For an even more delicious dessert, serve this baked apple crisp with vanilla ice cream or whip cream.