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Perfect Apple Crisp

If you're looking for that perfect Fall dessert to use up apples, then you NEED to make this Perfect Apple Crisp! It has perfectly spiced apples, the crispiest oat topping, and is a great easy dessert to serve to a crowd.

Dish or baked apple crisp with a spoon in it
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Easy apple dessert

Crisps and crumbles are some of the easiest desserts out there, so I never let the Fall season go by without making an apple crisp!

This recipe is so easy. Sure, it takes some time, but I find slicing apples to be therapeutic. This is the perfect dessert recipe to make on a weekend.

Spoon with apple crisp to show texture.

What makes this apple crisp special, you ask??

This apple crisp is the BEST because I always let the sliced apples sit and soak up the cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar mixture. This softens the apples and gives them MORE flavor before you even start to bake.

It's my secret trick for making the tastiest apple crisp.

My other flavor-boosting trick is to use a whole tablespoon of lemon juice with the apple filling and balance it with a little extra sugar. It prevents the apples from turning brown and also adds a really nice flavor to this apple crisp.

More holiday dessert recipes: Pecan Pie Bites

Granny smith apple recipe

I typically use Granny Smith apples for apple crisp because I love how their natural tartness balances out the sugar, and I think they hold up really well to baking. So if you have an abundance of granny smith apples that you want to use up, definitely give this granny smith apple crisp a try!

And if you don't have granny smith apples, or have a mixture of apple varieties, that's OK too! Apple crisp is very forgiving like that. 🙂

Ready to get started?  Here's what you need:

Ingredients

For the apple filling:

  • 2.5 pounds Granny Smith apples
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ⅔ cup sugar (you can cut this down to ½ or even ⅓ if you don't like desserts that are too sweet. If using less sugar, cut down on the lemon juice)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Ingredients to make apple crisp filling

For the crumble topping:

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1.5 sticks), softened slightly but not melted
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant oats, not steel cut)
Ingredients to make apple crisp topping

Related recipe: Apple Raspberry Crisp

Equipment

Related recipe: Air Fryer Baked Apples

Instructions

This recipe requires the apples to sit for about 45-60 minutes. This step is optional, but highly recommended. Don't forget to preheat your oven when you're ready to bake! I recommend preheating it when you start making the crumble topping.

Make sure to read the recipe notes and tips section below for make-ahead tips!

Make the apple filling:

Peel and core the apples, and then slice them into ¼-inch thick slices.

How to peel and slice apples for apple crisp

Add the sliced apples to a large non-reactive bowl (ceramic, glass, plastic, enamel-coated, or stainless steel) and toss with the lemon juice to coat.

Stir in the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg and gently toss to coat the apples.

Sugar and spices added to sliced apples in a bowl

Let the apples sit at room temperature until they start seeping juices, about 45 to 60 minutes. You'll use all those juices for this recipe!

Collage of 2 pictures showing apples covered in sugar and spice mixture

Tip: Don't forget to take the butter out of the fridge to soften it now!

Make the crumble topping:

Tip: You might want to preheat the oven to 375F before starting on the topping!

In a medium-large bowl, mash the butter with a fork or beat it with an electric mixer.

Mashed butter in a bowl

Add the brown sugar and salt.

Adding brown sugar and salt to mashed butter

Add the flour and oats and combine until the mixture is in large crumbles. You can use a fork or your hands, mixing the mixture with your fingertips.

Apple crisp topping in a bowl

Assemble and bake the apple crisp:

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Pour the apple filling (including the juices) into a 9x13-inch baking dish and spread it out evenly.

Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly on top.

How to layer apple crisp in a baking dish

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the crisp is golden on top and bubbling around the outside. Cool slightly and serve.

Baked apple crisp

Related recipe: Apple Toffee Cake

Recipe notes and tips

→ Apples: I love Granny Smith apples for their tartness and how they hold up during baking, but you can use any apples you have on hand! Make sure to take the time to slice the apples to about ¼-inch thick, because this crisp only bakes for 30-35 minutes.

→ Sugar: I recommend using light brown sugar for the crisp topping, but you can use white granulated sugar or a mixture of white and brown sugar for the apple filling. You can cut down on the sugar in the filling and the topping if you like a less-sweet dessert.

→ Butter: This might seem like a lot of butter, but remember that this recipe makes about 12 servings! The butter really is needed to to make the crisp topping REALLY crispy! Want to make a vegan crisp?? Use vegan butter or coconut oil, but it will turn out a little different. If you start baking and realize you don't have that much unsalted butter, you can skip the salt and use 1 stick of UNSALTED butter and ½ stick of SALTED butter. Any more salted butter would make the topping too salty. Forgot to let the butter come to room temperature?? You can microwave it for just a few seconds to soften it.

→ For softer cooked apples, reduce the oven temperature to 350F and increase the baking time. This will give the apples more time to bake without burning the top of the crisp.

Make-ahead tip: I recommend making everything FRESH, but you can prepare the crisp topping in advance and you can let the apples soak in the sugar-spice mixture a little longer than an hour, if you need to. You can also slice the apples and coat them in the lemon juice or keep them soaked in lightly salted water, to prevent browning. If using the salt water method, make sure to rinse the sliced apples really well before adding all the seasonings and lemon juice.

Related recipe: Apple Pie Cups

Apple crisp with vanilla ice cream in a bowl

How to serve apple crisp

Apple crisp is best served warm with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on top, so that the ice cream melts a little onto the warm crisp.

It's also amazing with whipped cream on top and a drizzle of this bourbon caramel sauce.

Related recipe: Instant Pot Apple Crumble Cheesecake

Reheating apple crisp

This recipe makes about 12 servings, so unless you have a crowd of people over, you're going to have DELICIOUS leftovers!! That's a GOOD thing!

This apple crisp reheats fairly well in the microwave because the "crisp" part stays pretty crispy. If you want a really crispy topping on leftover apple crisp, just reheat it in the oven for a few minutes, until it's heated through. You can reheat the whole leftover crisp, or place single portions into oven-safe ramekins or small Pyrex glass dishes that are labeled safe for the oven.

If you enjoyed this recipe, let me know with a comment and a star rating below. And don't forget to share it on Facebook and save it on Pinterest for later!

Recipe card

Spoon picking up apple crisp in a baking dish
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Perfect Apple Crisp

This EASY Fall dessert has 2 simple tricks for making it extra tasty! This Apple Crisp recipe serves a crowd and is the perfect way to use fresh apples.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Additional time;45 mins
Total Time1 hr 40 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegetarian
Servings: 12
Author: Kate

Ingredients

For the apple filling:
  • 2.5 pounds Granny Smith apples
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • cup sugar - (you can cut this down to ½ cup if you like tart desserts. If using less sugar, cut down on the lemon juice)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the crumble topping:
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter - (1.5 sticks), softened slightly but not melted
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar - lightly packed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 old-fashioned rolled oats - (not instant oats, not steel cut)
For serving:
  • vanilla bean ice cream
  • whipped cream
  • caramel sauce

Special equipment

Instructions

Make the apple filling:
  • Peel and core the apples, and then slice them into ¼-inch thick slices.
  • Add the sliced apples to a large non-reactive bowl and toss with the lemon juice to coat. Stir in the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg and gently toss to coat the apples.
  • Let the apples sit at room temperature until they start seeping juices, about 45 to 60 minutes. You'll use all those juices for this recipe!
    Tip: Don't forget to take the butter out of the fridge to soften it now!
    Collage of 2 pictures showing apples covered in sugar and spice mixture
Make the crumble topping:
  • Tip: You might want to preheat the oven before starting the topping!
  • In a medium-large bowl, mash the butter with a fork or beat it with an electric mixer. Add the brown sugar and salt.
  • Add the flour and oats and combine until the mixture is in large crumbles. You can use a fork or your hands, mixing the mixture with your fingertips.
    Apple crisp topping in a bowl
Assemble and bake the apple crisp:
  • Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Pour the apple filling (including the juices) into a 9x13-inch baking dish and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly on top.
    How to layer apple crisp in a baking dish
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the crisp is golden on top and bubbling around the outside. Cool slightly and serve warm with vanilla ice cream and/or whipped cream.

Notes

→ Apples: I love Granny Smith apples for their tartness and how they hold up during baking, but you can use any apples you have on hand! Make sure to take the time to slice the apples to about ¼-inch thick, because this crisp only bakes for 30-35 minutes.
→ Sugar: I recommend using light brown sugar for the crisp topping, but you can use white granulated sugar or a mixture of white and brown sugar for the apple filling. You can cut down on the sugar in the filling and the topping if you like a less-sweet dessert.
→ For softer cooked apples, reduce the oven temperature to 350F and increase the baking time. This will give the apples more time to bake without burning the top of the crisp.
→ Make-ahead tip: I recommend making everything FRESH, but you can prepare the crisp topping in advance and you can let the apples soak in the sugar-spice mixture a little longer than an hour, if you need to. You can also slice the apples and coat them in the lemon juice or keep them soaked in lightly salted water, to prevent browning. If using the salt water method, make sure to rinse the sliced apples really well before adding all the seasonings and lemon juice.

Nutrition

Calories: 305kcal (15%) | Carbohydrates: 50g (17%) | Protein: 2g (4%) | Fat: 12g (18%) | Saturated Fat: 7g (35%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 30mg (10%) | Sodium: 55mg (2%) | Potassium: 143mg (4%) | Fiber: 3g (12%) | Sugar: 34g (38%) | Vitamin A: 402IU (8%) | Vitamin C: 4mg (5%) | Calcium: 27mg (3%) | Iron: 1mg (6%)

The nutritional information displayed is an estimate and not to be used as dietary or nutritional advice. Consult a nutritionist or dietician for nutritional info based on the exact ingredients you use.

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