Best Apple Crisp

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Cheap. Simple. Yummy. This was the recipe for my best apple crisp, which I created for my family during a blizzard in Pennsylvania. Because of its goodness and simplicity, I decided to share it with all of you. You’ll never see an apple crumble on top of a caramel cake or next to a delicious cheesecake, but I feel like you should because it can go with any dessert and make it better.

The Best Apple Crisp

Are you looking for the BEST Apple Crisp Recipe? One that is full of flavor and perfected over time to be a NO-FAIL recipe? This is it. My secret? DOUBLE the crisp! I am making this and my Sugar Cookie Recipe as well as a Piggy Pie Dessert for the holidays! (And if you are short on time, try my Apple Dump Cake!)

The Best Apple Crisp on Plate with Fork and Ice Cream.
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Apple Crisp Recipe

If you are anything like me, you always think your recipe is the best. I was convinced that the apple crisp I have been making for the last couple years couldn’t be beaten but was I ever wrong. I tried this recipe last fall and have made it at least 15 times since. It is perfect every single time!

It is the ideal combination of rich oat crisp paired with a slightly tart apple (this is important, I will tell you why below) and just the right about of buttery richness. If you are looking for the best apple crisp you have ever tried, look no further. Be sure to top it with my perfect No-Churn Ice Cream!

How to Make Homemade Apple Crisp – Step by Step

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a baking dish with butter. Grab a large bowl and combine about 5 cups of sliced apples (this comes to about 2 pounds of apples, or 4 large ones) with some granulated sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract.A glass bowl of sliced apples with sugar
  2. Pour that yummy goodness into your baking dish. Next make the topping by combining flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Pour in some melted butter and stir until well coated and crumbly (I usually put my hands in there to get it mixed up well). Sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly over the top of the apples.
  3. Now pop that dish into your waiting oven for 45-60 minutes, and get ready for heavenly smells to start floating your way! I cook mine until my apples are soft and tender. Once it’s done baking, allow it to cool slightly then serve. It tastes amazing warm with some vanilla ice cream on top!

What kind of apples work best for Apple Crisp?

This kind of comes down to preference, or what you have available, but generally you’re going to want a variety of apple that will hold its shape after baking and not turn to total mush. We had a huge bag of Honeycrisp apples (my personal favorite) to use up, so that’s what I used. Granny Smith are usually considered the best apples for apple pie, but Golden Delicious, Braeburn, and Pink Lady apples would all work well for this recipe, or for a pie.

Do I need to peel the apples?

My short answer for this is no! But that’s because I don’t like to do more work than I have to, and I don’t mind apple peels, especially once they’re baked. If you would prefer yours without the peel, though, feel free to remove them!

More Tips

  • I slice my apples using this slicer to speed up the process and remove the core easily. I then slice the apples one more time each with my knife so that the widest part of the slice is roughly 1/2 an inch wide. You can also chop them into big chunks if you would prefer, but just make sure that you chop your apples to a uniform size to ensure even baking.
  • If your topping is starting to get too brown but your apples still need more time to cook, simply place some aluminum foil loosely over the top of your  pan and continue baking.
  • Chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts would be a delicious addition to the topping! I didn’t add any to ours because my son has a nut allergy.

Here’s Why You’ll Love This Apple Crisp

  1. Easier Than Pie: It’s easy to adore apple pie, but there’s no doubt that homemade pie is a labor of love. In this fruit crisp, we’re swapping pie crust for oat streusel topping. Skip all the pie dough chilling and leave your rolling pin in the cabinet.
  2. Basic Ingredients: Crisps are pretty unfussy and there’s no strange ingredients required. Most of the ingredients you need are repeated in both layers, too.
  3. No Eggs: Many bakers have been asking for egg-free baking recipes like this.
  4. Short Cooling Time: As much as we all love homemade pie, it requires a long cooling time to properly set up. Sometimes we need a crowd-pleasing dessert that’s a little quicker, but just as seasonal and impressive.
  5. And It’s Delicious: What’s better than warm cinnamon apples and chewy-crisp oat topping? This is a cold weather must.

And above all else– if you have little ones, this dessert is convenient and manageable. You don’t have to wait for anything to come to room temperature, chill, or cool down. Kids have a ball spreading the apples into the dish and sprinkling the oat crumble on top.

Overview of Apple Crisp Ingredients

There are 2 components in apple crisp: the apple layer and the oat topping. The topping is the same recipe we use for blueberry crumble pie and bourbon cherry crisp, only slightly increased for a larger 9×13 inch dish.

  1. Apples: See below for the best apples to use. You need about 8 medium apples, peeled and chopped into chunks.
  2. Brown Sugar: We use brown sugar to sweeten and bring flavor to the entire dish. You need it for both the apple layer and topping.
  3. Flour: All-purpose flour thickens the apple filling and is the base of the topping. Do you need a gluten free version? Here’s my super flavorful gluten free apple crisp.
  4. Vanilla & Salt: I’ve made a lot of apple crisp recipes and nothing compares to the way I make it now (recipe below). Vanilla complements these warm flavors and salt balances out all the sweetness. Trust me, you don’t want to skip either– the dessert tastes flat otherwise.
  5. Cinnamon & Nutmeg: Use cinnamon and nutmeg in the apple layer and cinnamon again in the topping.
  6. Butter: To prevent it from melting too soon and losing texture, use very cold butter. Take it right from the refrigerator and cut it into cubes. Then use a pastry cutter or fork to mix it into the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Don’t overcomplicate this step, let the mixture be messy, crumbly, and coarse. Less is more. (Music to our ears!)
  7. Oats: Some oats get a little crispy, some stay soft and chewy. Use whole oats for the best texture. Stir the oats into the topping mixture *after* you cut in the butter. We do this with strawberry crisp as well– you just don’t want the oats to break down too much.

What Are the Best Apples to Use for Baking?

Firmer apples are ideal for baking. Avoid soft, mealy, and mushy apples. For depth of flavor, it’s best to bake with a mix of tart and sweet apples. For apple crisp, I usually use 4 tart and 4 sweet.

  • Tart apples I love to bake with: Granny Smith (in my opinion, this is the best overall apple for baking), Braeburn, Jonathan, and Pacific Rose
  • Sweet apples I love to bake with: Jazz, Pazazz (sometimes harder to find but delicious!), Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, and Fuji

Can I Make Apple Crisp Without Oats?

Yes, absolutely. To make apple crisp without oats, use the topping from apple crumble pie, only slightly increased. Use 3/4 cup (150g) brown sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour, and 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled. Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour together. Using a fork, stir in the cooled melted butter until the mixture is thick and crumbly. Don’t over-mix– it will become a paste if you over-mix. Use the same oven temperature and bake time as below. I prefer melted butter to keep the crumble topping on the softer side. If you want a crispy crumble topping, use cold butter and cut it into the mixture just as you do in the recipe below.

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