Crispiest Apple Crisp


Crispiest Apple Crisp is an old fashioned fall dessert recipe. Soft, chewy, apple-licious apples with a crumbly topping and a warm baking scent throughout the house as it bakes. I love the crispiest apple crisp, but it’s always a bit of a challenge to make it. I found a recipe that is the perfect blend of sweet and salty and even has a streusel topping. This is now my favorite dessert!

An Apple Crisp Recipe with the Crispiest Top You Can Ever Imagine

Fall is my absolute favorite season. I live for that first day of the year where it’s just cool enough to finally wear your favorite pair of jeans and boots again. The leaves have just began to fall and your favorite soups are on the menu again. One thing I especially love about fall? APPLES ARE EVERYWHERE. And what better dessert to make than an apple crisp.

It took me about three times to master this apple crisp recipe. When I eat one, I want the top to be so crispy. Like really really crispy. And, the apples? I want them soft and buttery doused in the deepest flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Oh, yeah – and I like a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream as the cherry on top.

This easy apple crisp recipe is all the above and so much more. This dessert also happens to be the very first thing I made in my 7th grade home ec class. However, over the years, I’ve put my own little Krisp spin on it.

apple crisp recipe

The first few attempts at this recipe, I found myself needing an extra something. The oats were falling a little flat and I wasn’t getting the crunch I was looking for. Finally, I reached into my cereal cabinet and realized the answer was staring me right in the face. GRAPE NUTS. I literally eat them every morning for breakfast (with blueberries!), and realized they would be the perfect thing to accompany the rolled oats and other flavors on the top.

What kind of apples are the best for an apple crisp?

You really can use any apple you have but I love the green Granny Smith apples. You’ll need to peel the apples first, otherwise you end up with weird slimy skin in the dish. For around 4 servings, you’ll need 4-5 large apples. After you’ve peeled each one with a vegetable peeler, you’ll want to core and slice them (here’s a great tool to use!). If you’re not going to use them right away, you can squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice on them to prevent them from browning.

What to serve with an apple crips?

Ice cream. Ice cream. Ice cream. Plain vanilla ice cream is the perfect sidekick to serve with this. And if you have any nuts around the house — pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts — you can toast them up and sprinkle them on top. That will give you a deeper, crunchier texture.

Easy Homemade Apple Crisp

yield: 4-6

prep time: 15 MINUTES

cook time: 45 MINUTES

total time: 1 HOURPRINT


Make the topping

  • 2 1/2 cups of rolled oats 
  • 1/2 cup of grape nuts cereal (if you don’t have grape nuts you can use all rolled oats)
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup of melted butter 

Make the apples

  • 4-5 large apples, peeled, cored, sliced
  • 1/4 cup of milk (any milk will do – 2%, whole, almond)
  • 4 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp corn starch


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Grease a 9×13 baking dish and set aside.

Make the topping: In a medium-large mixing bowl, mix together all the ingredients. Mix real well until the butter starts to clump. Place in refrigerator while you get the apples together.

Make the apples: Place the apples in a medium/large bowl. Mix together all ingredients. Place apple mixture in baking dish and top with crisp topping. Cover all the apples well and place in oven for 35-40 minutes.

Serve with ice cream and enjoy!

The Goal: My Very Own Perfect Apple Crisp

Over the years, I’ve eaten (and baked) too-many so-so apple crisps. So I set out to create my very own “perfect” recipe: barely sweet apples firm and tart, topped with an extra-crispy topping. That extra-crispy topping? It’s thanks to a secret ingredient!

How one makes a bad apple crisp is beyond me. What can go wrong with apples and butter, cinnamon and nuts? Trouble is, there’s just so much that can go wrong with this simple classic. The culprits are:

  • The Sugar Too often, apple crisp is just way too sweet, masking the sweet seduction of the apples themselves. THE FIX Way less sugar and brown sugar for a flavor boost.
  • The Apples Some apples melt into something cousin to apple sauce. Other apples are just too sweet for apple crisp. THE FIX For both texture and tartness, apple variety matters. Start with half Granny Smith apples, then use another baking apple.
  • The Topping Ever heard of Apple Sog? That’s what I call too-soft and too-sweet toppings that turn apple crisp into Apple Soggy and something more like granola (too much oatmeal) or cake (too much flour) or a layer of frosting (too much sugar). THE FIX A 1:1:1:1 mix of oats:flour:nuts plus the secret ingredient, graham cracker crumbs.

The Secret Ingredient? Graham Cracker Crumbs

At last, I’ve found what to my taste, anyway, is the perfect combination for apple crisp, barely sweet, perfectly soft apples with an extra-crispy and flavor-rich topping.

So what do you think of my secret ingredient for apple crisp, graham cracker crumbs? Will you give it a try?!

At these things go, the discovery arrived as happenstance.

The first time, graham cracker crumbs filled in for flour, just because I was short. But the sweet crumbs added such a great texture, such a nutty sweetness, that I’ve been adding them to apple crisp on purpose ever since!


Hands-on time: 35 minutes
Time to table: 90 minutes
Serves 8 (easy to halve)

  • Juice of two lemons, about 4 tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup (50g) brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 6 large apples (see TIPS), peeled, quartered, “thirded” and “thirded” again
  • 1/2 cup (62g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (the secret ingredient!)
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal (old-fashioned or quick, not instant)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (see TIPS)
  • 1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt (omit if using salted butter)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick/8T/112g) butter, cold or at room temperature

Heat oven to 375F/190C.

APPLES In a large bowl, stir together all the ingredients except apples. Drop in the apple pieces as they’re prepped, stirring often so that each piece is lightly covered.

TOPPING In a separate bowl, stir together all the ingredients except the butter. With your hands, work in the butter until small even clumps begin to form.

ASSEMBLE Lightly butter a shallow baking dish such as a quiche pan or pie pan. Transfer apples into the dish, then top evenly with the topping. (If making ahead of time, stop here and let rest for 3 – 4 hours.)

BAKE Bake for 50 – 60 minutes, covering with foil or a baking sheet for the last 15 minutes if the topping starts to get a little dark. Let cool a bit.

SERVE Serve warm, plain or dolloped with whipped cream. Just whip a cup of heavy cream with a tablespoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and a 1/2 teaspoon of black walnut extract or vanilla.

ALANNA’s TIPS I start with half Granny Smith apples which are tart and hold their shape. For a contrasting sweetness and softness, I use another baking apple such as a Braeburn or Gala. 

 Black walnuts are spectacular paired with apples. Too bad, however, they’re not so easy to find, my best sources are Sam’s Club and Walmart! If using English walnuts or pecans or even almonds, be sure to toast them first. You can do this easily by slipping them into the oven as it preheats.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving: 372 Calories; 16g Tot Fat; 8g Sat Fat; 30mg Cholesterol; 188mg Sodium; 54g Carb; 4g Fiber; 37g Sugar; 5g Protein. 

 WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 8 & PointsPlus 10 & SmartPoints 17 & Freestyle 13 & myWW green 17 & blue 13 & purple 12

Ultimate Apple Crisp

Ultimate Apple Crisp

Ultimate Apple Crisp is a fall favorite full of sliced apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, butter, and crispy baked oats.

 Ultimate Apple Crisp

Ultimate Apple Crisp is a MUST in our house when this time of the year rolls around. My favorite part is that it tastes a lot like apple pie, with less than half of the work!

Plus the topping. The topping is the best part of any dessert because it’s crispy, buttery, full of brown sugar and it has (in our house at least) a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream melting over it making it this mix of hot and cold and buttery. Did I mention the apple and caramel-y goodness in the apple mixture? This dessert is heaven.

The apples cook down with the brown sugar and spices to make something really close to apple pie filling. And the soft texture of the apples are perfectly matched with the crispy crunch of the oat crumble topping. My kids LOVE having this dessert with vanilla ice cream on the holidays.

You can assemble this apple crisp recipe ahead of time or even freeze it so it’s ready when you are. You can also throw nuts into the crisp streusel topping, like pecan or almonds, to add even MORE crunchy texture.

Easy Apple Crisp


Apple crisp topping uses all-purpose flour, butter, and sugar as the base. From there, you can add ingredients like oats, nuts, seeds, or pieces of dried fruit for sweetness and crunch. Each apple crisp recipe does it a little bit differently. You want to cover the entire dessert, so make enough for the length of the baking dish.

Make sure you’re using rolled oats for this topping and not quick oats or oatmeal. You need the firmness of the rolled oats to stand up to the baking, the others will disappear into the topping when baked.

I also consider ice cream a topping, even if it’s not technically part of the apple crisp recipe, because it really completes the dessert.


Fuji, Cortland, Golden Delicious, Honey Crisp, Braeburn or Granny Smith apples all great choices for this because they are all sweet / tart apples, and hold up really well in this crisp recipe. These are also great for baking other recipes, like Apple Slab Pie With Spiced Glaze.

Choose your favorite apple and it’ll likely work, just please don’t use apple filling from a can or store bought caramel sauce.


Add apples to slow cooker and stir together with orange juice, ¼ cup sugar, ¼ cup brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
In a separate bowl mix together your all-purpose flour, sugar, and other topping ingredients, and add on top of apples.
Bake on high for a total time of 3-4 hours, or on low for 6-8 hours. In the last half hour, open top slightly. This will help the top crisp up of the dessert.
Serve warm with ice cream.

Classic Apple Crisp


Apple crisp is a great make ahead dessert because it can be assembled in a baking or casserole dish and stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 days before baking. You can also seal it tightly and freeze it, then defrost in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before baking.


Cooked apple crisp should be cooled and tightly sealed either in a container or with plastic wrap, and stored in the refrigerator. It will keep about 2-3 days. You can also wrap the apple crisp tightly and freeze it. When you’re ready, defrost in the refrigerator.


  • Make sure you’re using rolled oats. They are less processed then quick cooking or instant oats, so you’ll get a crispier crust this way.
  • Don’t skip the brown sugar. It adds some of those deep molasses notes to the apple crisp that make it really flavorful instead of just sweet.
  • If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can pulse the topping ingredients a few times in the food processor. Just make sure to not over-process, or the topping won’t turn out as crispy.
  • Once you add your butter you want about pea-sized pieces.
  • If you cut your apples ahead of time, add 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice to keep them from browning.
  • For the full dessert experience, top warm apple crisp with cold vanilla ice cream!
  • If you want a fun topping that isn’t caramel sauce use apple cider that you cook down to a glaze. You’ll love it so much you’ll never use caramel sauce again.

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