Apple Oatmeal Crisp


Apple oatmeal crisp is simply delicious. The sweet apples take on such a unique flavor in the slow cooker and infuse each bite of oats and brown sugar with their sweetness. I like to eat it warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. This is a dish that screams Fall. Serve it up when you have guests who appreciate the seasonal flavors (hint: I ALWAYS do).

Related post: Recipe For Keto Apple Crisp

How to Make Oatmeal Apple Crisp

apple crumble

Combine multiple apple varieties for deep flavor.

Start to Finish: 60 minutes Servings: 4 to 6 Difficulty Level: Beginner

With lightly spiced apples — cooked down until they melt in your mouth — and crunchy oatmeal topping that’s buttery and sweet, apple crisp tastes like autumn, no matter when you make it. You can use any apple variety for this recipe, but Golden Delicious and Granny Smith are two of your best bets.


Filling 5 large or 6 medium apples 1 tablespoon cornstarch 2 tablespoons white sugar 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, softened

Topping 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 cup white flour 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon salt * 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold

Prepare the Filling

Heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Wash, peel, and core the apples. Cut the apples into slices that are about 1/2 inch thick. Transfer the slices to a large bowl. Add the cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon, zest, and lemon juice. Stir the apples until they’re evenly coated with the sugar mixture.

Using clean fingers, spread the butter over the bottom and sides of an 8-inch-by-8-inch or 9-inch-by-9-inch glass baking dish. Pour in the apple slices.

Make the Topping, and Assemble

In a clean bowl, combine the first six topping ingredients. Add the cold butter. Use a pastry blender or a fork to press the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Alternatively, prepare the topping in your food processor. Pour in the dry ingredients and let the processor run for a few seconds to combine them. Add the butter and pulse the mixture until it’s the correct texture.

Sprinkle the oat topping in an even layer over the apple slices. Bake the dish for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the crust is a deep golden color and the apples are soft when pierced with a knife.

Let the crisp cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Top it with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Tips and Suggestions

  • Berries and nuts make ideal companions for apples and oats. Add a cup of **blueberries or mixed berries** to the apple filling, or add **1/2 cup of chopped and lightly toasted pecans** to the crumb topping.
  • Make individual dishes of apple crisp using **ramekins** instead of a larger baking dish.
  • Refrigerate apple crisp for up to **three days**. Always reheat it in the oven to get the topping crunchy again — 10 minutes at 350 degrees should crisp it nicely. You may also freeze an unbaked apple crisp for up to **six months**. Tightly seal the dish with plastic wrap and a layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil.



Makes 6 to 8 servings


  • Topping:
  • ½ cup (2½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (1½ ounces) old-fashioned oats (do not use instant)
  • ½ cup (4 ounces) firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • ½ cup (2 oz) pecans, toasted and chopped (optional)
  • Filling: Apple Oatmeal Crisp
  • 1½ pounds firm, tart baking apples (such as Granny Smith), peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch thick slices
  • 1 bag (12 ounces) cranberries, picked through, rinsed, and patted dry
  • ¾ cup (6 ounces) firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch or tapioca flour, or 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving


The ultimate comfort food on a cold fall or winter night, this dessert fills the house with the aroma of warm apples, butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. If this crisp were a person, it would be your best friend. Granny Smith is a reliably tart and firm baking apple available in all supermarkets—but don’t hesitate to use local varieties found in your area. Always taste the fruit; if it is quite sweet, you might want to reduce the sugar slightly. You can substitute quick oats for the old-fashioned, but don’t use instant, or you’ll end up with soggy mush.

Topping: Place the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on low speed until blended evenly about 10 seconds. Add the cold butter pieces and mix on low for 3 to 4 minutes. At first, the mixture will look dry, but eventually, it will begin to look like wet sand, and finally, it will form small clumps about the size of peas. Add the nuts, if used, and mix for a few more seconds to evenly disperse them.

Related Post: Carbquik Apple Crisp

Filling: Preheat the oven to 350°F and position an oven rack in the center.

In the large bowl, use the spatula to toss together the apple slices, cranberries, brown sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, and cinnamon until all the fruit is coated evenly. Scrape into a baking dish and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle the topping in an even layer over the fruit (do not press down). Apple Oatmeal Crisp

Bake and serve the crisp: You may want to place a baking sheet or a piece of foil under the crisp to catch any juices that may bubble over. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until the topping, is nicely browned and the fruit is bubbling and soft (the tip of a paring knife should easily slide in and out of the apple slices). Spoon the warm crisp into bowls and place a scoop of ice cream next to each serving.

Apple Crisp

This season, channel your inner pastry chef and bake up a delicious apple crisp with buttery oat topping. For maximum flavor, saute the apples first to ensure each piece is tender and caramelized before hitting the oven.

Apple crisp in a baking dish

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.

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 is released 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 it 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.

Person adding crumble topping to an apple crisp inside a baking dish

Serve this with

  • Homemade whipped cream
  • Caramel sauce
  • A big scoop of vanilla ice cream or no-churn ice cream

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.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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 apples 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 it or freeze it for up to 30 days.

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