Classic Apple Crisp

I’m singing all the praises of apple crisp because it’s THE dessert of the season. Featuring warm gooey cinnamon apples and a brown sugar oat topping, this comfort food classic takes half the time and effort of traditional apple pie. You only need a handful of basic ingredients to get started.

apple crisp in white baking dish

How many ways can we bake with apples? Hopefully you’ve been enjoying sweet and simple baked apples or even dove headfirst into apple cinnamon bread and caramel apple upside down cake. There’s apple cinnamon babka, deep dish apple pie, and so many more apple recipes. Hard to keep track!

But today I want to get down to the basics. This is pure and simple apple crisp, a timeless dessert highlighting the natural flavor of apples. An end-of-the-meal treat that delivers BIG flavor for very little work. Let’s be honest– if you can chop apples, you can make apple crisp.

spoonful of apple crisp

Apple Crisp Video Tutorial

Why Make Apple Crisp?

  1. Easier Than Pie: I adore you apple pie, but you’re a labor of love. Here 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– there’s no strange ingredients required. Most of them 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 I love homemade pie, it comes with a long cooling time. Sometimes we need something 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.

Above all else– if you have little ones, this dessert is convenient and manageable. With a toddler and infant, I’m a tired mama who can speak from experience! You don’t have to wait for anything to come to room temperature, chill, or cool down. My daughter had a ball spreading the apples into the dish and sprinkling the oat crumble on top.

apple crisp in white baking dish

Overview of Apple Crisp Ingredients

  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– I find it tastes flat otherwise.
  5. Cinnamon & Nutmeg: Obvious suspects. 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: Best part of the topping. 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.

The topping is the same recipe we use for blueberry crumble pie and bourbon cherry crisp, only slightly increased for the larger dish. It’s what I use for cinnamon apple pear crisp, too.

chopped cinnamon apples for baking

topping for fruit crisp

apple crisp before baking

Can I Make Apple Crisp Without Oats?

Yes, absolutely. To make apple crisp without oats, we’ll 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. 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.

  • Feel free to add 1 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts. Add with the flour.

Or you can turn this into an apple cobbler. Cobblers are usually topped with a biscuit or cake-like topping instead of an oat topping. Use the same apple filling and oven temperature in the recipe below, but use the topping and bake time from my berry cobbler instead.

One thing you can’t change? Vanilla ice cream. It’s an apple crisp non-negotiable. Plus a drizzle of salted caramel for good measure. Best fall dessert around.

serving of apple crisp with vanilla ice cream and caramel

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, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, and Fuji
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spoonful of apple crisp

Classic Apple Crisp

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
  • Yield: serves 8-10
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


This classic apple crisp combines warm gooey cinnamon apples with a buttery brown sugar oat topping. See recipe notes for make ahead & freezing instructions.



  • 78 medium apples, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 10 cups chunks)
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (31g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 3/4 cup (94g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 3/4 cup (150g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick; 115g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 cup (80g) old-fashioned whole oats
  • optional: salted caramel and vanilla ice cream for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking pan. Any 4 quart baking dish works.
  2. Mix all of the filling ingredients together in a large bowl, then spread into the baking pan.
  3. Make the topping: Whisk the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or fork until the mixture becomes super crumbly. Stir in the oats. Sprinkle over filling.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the fruit juices are bubbling around the edges. Remove from the oven, place on a wire rack, and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold– plain or with salted caramel and/or vanilla ice cream.
  5. Cover leftovers and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Baked and cooled crisp freezes well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bake (covered) in a 350°F (177°C) for 30 minutes or until heated through. You can prepare the crisp through step 3, then cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day before baking. You can also freeze the unbaked crisp for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then continue with step 4. Bake time will be a little longer since the crisp will be cold.
  2. Apples: See blog post above for the best apples to use. An equal mix of Granny Smith and Jazz or Pink Lady is my favorite for apple crisp.
  3. Oats: Whole oats are best, but you can use quick oats if needed. The crumble topping will just be a little more powdery. (Don’t be tempted to reduce the flour, though– the topping may turn out greasy.) Use a 1:1 swap from whole oats to quick oats. For an oat-less topping, see blog post above.
  4. Nuts: Feel free to add 1 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts to the crisp topping. Stir into the mixture when you add the oats.
  5. Half Recipe: You can easily halve this recipe by halving all of the ingredients and baking in a 9-inch square or round baking dish. Reduce bake time to about 30-35 minutes.

Keywords: apple crisp, fruit crisp, apples


  1. Lydia Extross. says:

    Thank you for your lovely receipe.
    Its looks lovely and yummy too

  2. Hi Sally. Is it possible to mix fruit with this crisp recipe? I have a few plums I need to use and I wondered if that could replace some of the apples.

    1. Absolutely! As long as you keep the total amount of fruit the same. Everything else remains the same.

  3. Jennifer Burmesch says:

    Is this a generous amount of the topping? Or should we double it if we love the topping part?

    1. Very generous amount of topping. No need to double! Perfect for streusel lovers.

  4. Nancy Mcleary says:

    Hi Sally!
    I hope you are enjoying your two adorable daughters!
    I am absolutely going to make this, I used to make apple crisp for my kids when they were little!
    I already gave it five stars because I have no doubts it will be beyond five stars ⭐️

    You are so right about the cinnamon Apple babka, oh my goodness, we are pretty sure this will be served in heaven! Thank you again for all of your fabulous recipes and detailed instructions! I was already a good baker, now I am a terrific baker! My friends and family are blown away! Most of what I’ve learned is due to your many tutorials and tips as well as the gorgeous photos on your recipes. All of these treasures are saved and many I’ve shared! I have told so many others about your site and they are all having fun learning and trying new recipes! Even my doctors , dentist and physical therapist are
    your fans! My hairdresser, people I meet at the grocery store! When I share a yummy goodie the response is generally “ this must be a Sally recipe “‍

    1. You’re too sweet, Nancy! Thank you for making and sharing my recipes with so many others – I truly appreciate it. Let me know what you think of this Apple Crisp!

  5. OMG SALLY! It’s like you read my mind: I was craving a freshly baked dessert that I could say is healthy haha! I figured the 9×13 pan would be too dangerous for just me and my boyfriend, so I halved the recipe and it’s already halfway done. Thanks for another perfect recipe! =)

  6. Thanks for finally adding an apple crisp recipe! My boyfriend loves it, and I love your website, but the only crisp recipe you had on here was with pears, so I had to adjust it slightly up until now. You’re amazing!

  7. Really yummy!

  8. I needed something to do with the extra “fall picking apples” and this hit my inbox at the perfect time. It’s in the oven now and already smells divine! Thanks, Sally.

    1. The crisp came out of the oven and it was perfect. There was a generous amount of streusel topping and it was a perfect blend of crispy on top and gooey inside. Most of the other crisp recipes I have tried have not had enough streusel topping. Now I’m glad I made the full-sized version!

      1. Thrilled to hear that it was a success, April! And I’m so glad you appreciate the very generous amount of topping 😉 Thank you for giving this recipe a go!

      2. I feel like my apple crisp is flavorful but the gooey consistency was very low, too dry for me and I followed the recipe, I’m not sure why.

  9. This might be an ignorant question, but are rolled oats the same as whole oats? If not, do rolled oats work?

    I have a ton of Honeycrisp from the farmers market, would it be too sweet? Would you not recommend that?

    Lastly, if I make this the day before and refrigerate, do I need to bring it to room temperature before baking?

    Thank you! Can’t wait to make this for my in-laws!

    1. Hi Reem! Rolled oats are whole oats, yes. (Can also be called old-fashioned oats.) I use honeycrisp apples in this recipe all the time. I usually add some tart apples in there, such as Granny Smith, but you can use all honeycrisp if you’d like. Feel free to cut down on the sugar to 1/3 cup (67g) in the filling or even add a splash of lemon juice to cut some sweetness. You can bake it from the refrigerator, just add a few extra minutes to the bake time.

  10. Review from Tween Baker –
    I was really wanting something to bake, and this was PERFECT! So easy, so good. I put vanilla ice cream and made some caramel sauce for topping – AMAZING. THANK YOU SALLY

    1. So delicious with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce – thank you for making my recipe and for the positive review!

  11. I got my fall baking on today and made this crisp, your salted caramel sauce to go with it, and a batch of homemade vanilla ice cream. Can’t wait to dive into them!

  12. Lisa Karasack says:

    Scrumptious! Used local honey crisp apples and it was divine!

  13. This is the BEST apple crisp recipe I’ve tried. It was gone in one day between my family of four. Everything on this site is amazing! I have one question I was hoping you’d help me with. I want to make it again, but I was wondering if I could add cranberries. I have fresh and dried but I’m worried the dried might make it overly sweet?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Beth, We are so happy your family enjoyed this! Yes you can definitely add fresh or dried cranberries to this. If using fresh cranberries the filling would be similar to this Apple Cranberry Pie. Enjoy 🙂

  14. I just took this out of the oven about 10mins ago, and I am tasting it as I write this review.
    I used rolled rye flakes instead of oats, because that is what I have. I also ended up using a combination of cane sugar and molasses, because I didn’t have brown sugar. Haha. Even with those changes, it came out lovely! The apple mixture isn’t too sweet, and it goes so well with the slightly sweeter topping. We will definitely be making this again.
    Thanks again for a wonderful recipe!

  15. Ferrin Wheeler says:

    Made this today with half Granny Smith and half Honeycrisp. It was perfect with vanilla ice cream. I split the recipe into two 9×9 dishes, baked them both for 40 minutes. One for now and one for the freezer to enjoy later. The whole family loved it, told me it was delicious. And such an easy recipe to follow. Thanks for another winner Sally!

  16. This was absolutely delicious! Apple Crisp is one of my husband’s favorites. I’ve been making the same recipe for years but saw this and decided to try it. It was a hit! The addition of nutmeg really gives it a great flavor. I’m sorry we cut into it before I could take a picture. Thank you!

  17. Can you use gluten-free flour instead of regular flour?

    1. Shouldn’t be a problem. Or you may enjoy my gluten free apple crisp.

  18. This Apple Crisp is to “die for” easy to make and excellent if made a day ahead!! Thank You!! For all you do Sally!!

  19. Hi Sally, this sounds amazing. I have done similar recipe but the base was cake batter, then filling and topped off with crumble it was the best apple crumble cake . But after seeing this I am tempted to try again with only filling and crust. Laso have some apples sitting around.Sure its gonna be great.

  20. Eva A Williams says:

    This recipe is sooo good!

    I love all your recipes! My only feedback would be that the prep time is way off… My husband and I made this last night. The two of us working together with no interruptions took twice as long as you had suggested, and we regularly bake together. I ended up putting portions into individual bowls and microwaving so we could eat it before got too late.

  21. Excited to try it! I LOVE your brown butter peach and blueberry crisp, do you think browning the butter here would taste good too?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes, definitely!

  22. WOW… was this delicious! Just the right amount sweetness and crunch. I made the recipe and split in two 9 inch pans so I could share with friend. Needless to say, there is nothing left. Someone asked if there is enough crunch – there is plenty. Delicious and easy to follow – will be making it again very soon.

  23. Sally, would it work to use a 9×9 pan and put topping on the bottom and the top? If I do that, should I have the filling?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Pam, You can cut the recipe in half for a 9×9 pan (see recipe notes for details). We haven’t tried this topping on the bottom but you certainly can try. You may also be interested in these apple pie bars which have a shortbread crust and streusel topping!

      1. Thank you. I made them last weekend and when I split it into two 9x9s, the topping was too sparse. It would have been great in the 9×13 size, but split was sparse. Would make more topping next time. Also, despite cutting the cold butter in, the topping was powdery and dry. It needed more butter.

  24. I made this today and the topping didn’t come out right. I don’t think I mixed the topping correctly. Other apple crisp recipes that I have tried called for melting the butter and it makes it easier for the topping to come together, in a crumbly mixture. The topping was undercooked when I took it out of the oven after 45 minutes so I put it back in for a few more minutes. The filling was yummy. This goes so well with ice cream.
    Gave this 5 stars anyhow since it’s such a simple recipe and I love this site.

  25. Hi Sally! I love your recipes. This looks delicious! I am thinking about making this for Thanksgiving. How would you go about reheating leftovers? Thanks for your help!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kathleen, You can reheat leftovers in a warm oven to your liking. We hope you love this recipe!

  26. Amazing! Used 1/2 Braeburn and 1/2 Honeycrisp apples, it was delicious!

  27. Sally-
    OMGoodness! I love all your baking ideas, tips and recipes. I admire your knowledge and expert skills in this department.
    I’m not a baker. I don’t like to measure, I’m not patient at waiting, and most of all I just don’t measure up well in the baking arena. But, I’m a real good cook.
    Nevertheless, I saw this recipe and it looked easy- right easy? Well per the usual, I found myself not measuring correctly, I pretty much got all the way through up to the crumble part. I tried the forks, I don’t have that pastry cutter. It looked more like beautiful brown sugary play dough. I figured I world just keep going. I dropped small dollops onto the apple mixture and sprinkled oats all over the top. It came
    out looking like a cookie dough pie‍♀️
    I will keep watching your baking tutorials, and try again. I’m not disappointed, or sad, ( I’m not really good at baking) and my family approved. I guess when I bake anything, they are supportive. Love your IG, tutorials, webpage and social media platforms about baking. Thank you so much.

    1. I’m loving the baking fail and trying again comments 🙂
      I know most of these go to recipes but forget/ want to double check quantities etc… I always look to see if you have posted what I’m looking for first, you have the “extras”. Added ingredients, freezer/fridge and alt options… Thanks for all you do!

    2. Just used this recipe for a ratio guide for blueberry crisp! Swapped out the brown sugar for white sugar and vanilla for the juice of a whole lemon, plus the zest. I omitted the cinnamon, but kept a little nutmeg. I kept everything else the same. Turned out AMAZING.

      Thank you!

  28. Laura Migliore says:

    Loved this recipe. Overall it was a little sweeter than I would like, but my apples were sweeter to start with. It was delicious warmed with vanilla icecream, and my 6 year old granddaughter gave it two thumbs and two big toes up. I think that said it all. Loved the crunch of the topping.

    1. What a sweet review! Thank you for making my recipe, Laura.

  29. Hi sally im a young baker and your recipes are so tasty and easy to make

  30. I hate to say it, but I’m lazy this year. I’m using a large can of apple lie filling.

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