Southern Apple Crisp


This Southern Apple Crisp is a must for any fall gathering or dinner. Not only does it make the house smell amazing, but it is a hit with everyone that tries it! You can use canned or fresh apples for this recipe. After having been so successful with my Apple Crisp recipe I thought I would share another one using apples instead of peaches. A southern apple crisp. This is very simple recipe and can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator.

Easy and Delicious Apple Crisp Recipe

I love me a good apple recipe and I am always looking for a delicious apple dessert! You too? Then this easy apple crisp recipe is mouthwatering and perfect for beginning to experienced bakers to get their creative juices flowin’ this fall season.

Old fashioned apple crisp has stood the test of time. This popular seasonal dessert is one of my personal favorites and a recipe I enjoy baking over Thanksgiving. Nothing can compare to the taste of tender juicy apples when combined with the crispy buttery topping. It’s a match made in food heaven, which is only improved when served with a drizzle of caramel sauce and a scoop of your favorite ice cream.

I meant it when I said this is an easy and delicious apple crisp recipe too. All you need is apples and the irresistible crumble topping is made from basic ingredients I bet you already have on hand, like sugar, butter, and all-purpose flour. Yep, this is an apple crisp recipe without oats! With just a little bit of prep, your apple crisp will be ready in no time at all. This recipe is also perfect for those searching for no-egg baking recipes and with a simple switch, can be made gluten-free and vegan.

From the Southern Plate Kitchen

Recipe Ingredients

  • Granny Smith apples (5 cups) (see other options below)
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Water
  • White granulated sugar
  • Light brown sugar
  • Butter
  • All-purpose flour
  • Vanilla ice cream (optional but oh so necessary :))

Keep scrolling for detailed recipe card.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare an 8-inch pan with non-stick spray.

Slice or dice the apples thinly so they become nice and tender when baking. The skin can be left on or peeled, based on your personal preference.

Layer the sliced apples in the prepared dish and sprinkle the top with cinnamon. Then pour the water over the apples.

In a small bowl and using a fork, cut together the sugar and butter. You could also use melted butter for this step too instead of cutting it in. Your topping will be a little different texture. Try both and see which version you like better.

Then cut in the flour and sprinkle the mixture over the apples.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until apples are tender and the topping is golden. The thicker the apples, the longer it will take to bake.

Serve this easy and delicious apple crisp warm with a drizzle of salted caramel sauce or maple syrup and a scoop of favorite ice cream. I love vanilla ice cream with this but I heard butter pecan is pretty darn good too.

Recipe Notes

  • While I use Granny Smith apples, you can use any crisp apple variety. Soft apples tend to become too mushy when baked into a crisp like this. Other crisp apple options include McIntosh, Braeburn, Greening, and Honeycrisp. If you liked to mix and match between sweet and tart, why not use a combination of Granny Smith apple and Honeycrisp? The choice is yours.
  • You can also add a sprinkle of pecans or walnuts on the top to add an extra crunch to your crisp topping.


  • Store covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to five days.
  • You can store baked leftovers in the freezer for up to three months. When you want to enjoy your apple crisp again, thaw it overnight in the fridge and then bake it using the same directions as above.
  • Another option is to prepare the crisp and then place it in the fridge in its baking dish for up to 24 hours before baking.
  • You can also freeze the unbaked apple crisp for up to three months. Just remember it will probably take longer for the crisp to cook because it’s cold.

Recipe FAQs

Can this apple crisp be made gluten-free?

It’s so easy to make this into a gluten-free apple crisp, by simply using gluten-free all-purpose flour or almond flour instead.  

Should I add lemon juice to the recipe?

Some people add lemon juice to recipes when baking with apples to decrease the oxidation and keep them from turning brown. I use this or pineapple juice when I want the apples for let’s say dipping to stay nice and white.

Can I use rolled oats in this recipe?

You sure can. Some apple crisp recipes use rolled oats to give you an oat crumble topping. I would add 3/4 cup in with the flour mixture if you choose to use them.

What is the difference between a crisp and a cobbler?

The main difference between a crisp and a cobbler is the topping. While a crisp has a crumbly topping, a cobbler is a deep-dish dessert with a biscuit or pie-like topping. Here’s our delicious recipe for apple cobbler if you’d like to make one next!

How do I make this apple crisp vegan?

If you’d like to make a vegan apple crisp, use this recipe and just substitute the butter for a vegan butter alternative or coconut oil.

The Best Apple Crisp Recipe

Could there be a better treat this time of year? Especially this time of year with the abundance of fresh apples in season. Plus, I love that this easy apple crisp doesn’t take as much work as an apple pie, but it has similarly delicious flavors.

This homemade apple crisp is packed with fresh, juicy apples that are perfectly sweetened and baked until perfectly tender. And don’t even get me started on that crumb topping! It’s crispy, golden brown, buttery perfection.

Trust me, this apple crisp will be the highlight of any meal. I mean if I had it my way this would be the main meal :).

Easy Apple Crisp Ingredients

  • All-purpose flour
  • Old fashioned rolled oats
  • Light brown sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt
  • Unsalted butter
  • Granny Smith apples
  • Lemon
  • Vanilla extract

How to Make Apple Crisp

  • Adjust oven rack and preheat oven. Butter baking dish.
  • In a mixing bowl whisk together 1/2 cup flour, oats, 1/2 cup brown sugar, baking powder, 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp salt.
  • Rub butter into dry mixture with fingertips until it comes together into small crumbles. Refrigerate.
  • In a bowl whisk together melted butter and flour until well blended, then mix in water, lemon juice and vanilla. Stir in 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and pinch of salt.
  • Toss apples with butter mixture in a bowl then pour into prepared baking dish.
  • Sprinkle with crumble apple crisp topping.
  • Bake in preheated oven until top is golden brown and apples are tender.
  • Let cool slightly before serving.

What Are the Best Apples for Apple Crisp?

I prefer using a sturdy cooking apple that’s slightly tart, like Granny Smiths. Other apples would work, like braeburn or golden delicious, but sugar amounts and bake times might need to be adjusted.

Your apples should also be room temperature (this ensures that they bake evenly in the oven).

What Should I Serve on Top?

The best way to serve this always with vanilla ice cream. Then for an added bonus if you have time make some homemade salted caramel sauce.

Tips for the Best Apple Crisp

  • Be sure to slice your apples thinly so they become fully tender. No one wants a crunchy apple in their apple crisp.
  • Stick with granny smith apples for consistent results.
  • If you only have salted butter on hand, reduce the salt in the topping to 1/8 tsp and omit the salt in the filling.
  • Serve this homemade apple crisp freshly baked and warm. It will be okay for a couple of days, but the topping does start to soften up so I like it best fresh.

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