This strawberry vanilla crisp features loads of fresh strawberries cooked down into a sweet jammy consistency. Of course this quick and easy summer dessert wouldn’t be complete without a crumbly and crisp oat streusel topping. Brown sugar sweetens the topping and seeds from vanilla bean add richness and depth to the strawberry layer underneath.
One reader, Amy, says: “This was SO delicious. I couldn’t stop eating it. Loved serving it at room temperature with french vanilla ice cream. And, you’re so right — the vanilla beans were SO worth it.”
There’s little in life that one could love more than simple fruit crisp on a warm summer day. The juicier the fruit, the crumblier the oat streusel, the colder the vanilla ice cream, the better. You see, fruit crisps are dessert saviors. After you chop your fruit, this dessert comes together in minutes. Most of the work is done in the oven, so you can sit back, put your feet up, and relax while you take in how massively delicious your house smells and how little work you did to get it that way.
Let’s make strawberry vanilla crisp!
Strawberry Vanilla Crisp Details
- Flavor: This is a dessert where strawberries shine. In fact, it’s one of the first suggestions I make when readers ask me about using their buckets of freshly-picked strawberries. Pair the strawberries with flavors that bring out their natural flavor rather than cover it up. Vanilla bean seeds add fanciful flavor and depth (like bourbon does in our cherry crisp), while the lightly cinnamon-spiced brown sugar oat topping tastes like nostalgic comfort food. If I could sum it up, this dessert is your summer staple.
- Texture: Strawberry crisp boasts a medley of textures! If you crave texture like I do, you’ll enjoy the combination of juicy, jammy strawberries, crumbly crisp oat streusel, crunchy almonds, and creamy vanilla ice cream. Even if you skipped the almonds and ice cream, you still have that powerhouse texture duo of SOFT and CRISP.
- Ease: I always say that if you like pie but want to do half the work, make a fruit crisp. I remember telling you that apple crisp is convenient and manageable and the same goes for today’s strawberry vanilla crisp. You don’t have to wait for anything to come to room temperature, chill, or cool down. Enjoy it warm from the oven!
And finally, there’s no eggs. Many readers have been asking for egg-free baking recipes like this.
Like many bakers out there, I’m always trying to improve and perfect my recipes. When I prepared this strawberry dessert recently, I made 2 small changes and updated the recipe accordingly. Here’s what I did:
- More Strawberries: I added an extra cup of chopped strawberries so there’s more fruit. Luckily it can all still fit in the same size pan! I added more fruit so there’s a better balance of strawberries and oat topping.
- Reduced Salt: With 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the oat topping tasted pretty salty. Perhaps my tastebuds have changed over the years, but 1/4 teaspoon of salt is plenty in the topping!
How to Perfect the Strawberry Vanilla Crisp Layers
The full printable recipe and step-by-step photos are below.
- Strawberry Layer: Chop the strawberries into 1/2 – 3/4 inch pieces. The strawberry mixture also includes flour to soak up some juices and thicken, sugar, and vanilla. (This recipe would be a wonderful place for vanilla sugar and homemade vanilla extract!) To really amp up the vanilla flavor, use both vanilla extract and vanilla bean in the strawberry layer. Vanilla bean is on the pricier side, but it lends the most flavor. And aren’t the black specks so pretty and satisfying? If you want a recommendation, I use and love these Madagascar vanilla beans. If needed, feel free to leave the beans out or add a little more vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. See recipe note below.
- Oat Streusel Layer: To prevent it from melting too soon and losing texture, use very cold butter. Like we do with pie crust, take it right from the refrigerator and cut it into cubes. Use a pastry cutter or fork to mix it into the flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Don’t overcomplicate this step because the mixture should be messy, crumbly, and coarse. Stir the oats into the topping mixture *after* you cut in the butter. You don’t want them to break down too much. The almonds were an afterthought– I didn’t add them the first time I made the crisp and the dessert certainly doesn’t need them. But they’re an easy way to introduce another flavor and some extra texture.
You can make this strawberry crisp in a pie dish, oven-safe skillet, or even in ramekins as individual crisps. Instead of all strawberries, try subbing in some sliced rhubarb or even peaches, raspberries, or blueberries.
More Summer Dessert Recipes
- Berry Cobbler
- No Bake Cheesecake Jars
- Ginger Peach Pie
- Blueberry Crumble Pie
- Strawberry Shortcake Cake
This warm strawberry vanilla crisp with buttery brown sugar oat streusel comes together quickly. Review the recipe notes before starting.
- 6 cups (1080g) chopped strawberries*
- 1/4 cup (30g) all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup (130g) granulated sugar
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla bean*
- 2/3 cup (84g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 2/3 cup (133g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 Tablespoons (86g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 2/3 cup (65g) old-fashioned rolled oats (or quick oats)*
- optional: 1/3 cup (35g) sliced almonds
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Lightly grease a 9-inch baking dish (circle or square or any similar size pan that can hold about 2 quarts). Set aside.
- Make the filling: Combine strawberries with the flour, sugar, vanilla extract, and vanilla beans in a large bowl. Toss gently until combine, then spoon and spread into prepared baking dish.
- Make the topping: Whisk the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt together. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or fork until the mixture becomes super crumbly. Stir in the oats. Sprinkle over filling. It seems like a lot of topping, but it will cook down. Top evenly with almonds, if using.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes until the topping is golden brown and the strawberry juices are bubbling around the edges. Remove from the oven, place on a wire rack, and cool for 5 minutes before serving. Tastes excellent with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
- You can serve this dessert warm, room temperature, or cold. Cover leftovers and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Baked crisp freezes well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then warm in a 350°F (177°C) for 20 minutes or until heated through. I do not suggest preparing the crisp and storing it, unbaked, in the refrigerator because the topping will get soggy. You can, however, prepare the crisp through step 3 and freeze for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then continue with step 4.
- Baking Pan: Any baking pan that holds about 2 quarts is best. You could also divide the filling and oat topping up in individual oven-safe ramekins. Bake them on a baking sheet. The bake time and yield depends on their size, but bake until the topping is lightly browned and strawberry filling bubbles up on the sides.
- Strawberries: Cut the strawberries into 1/2 – 3/4 inch pieces. You can use frozen chopped strawberries if needed. Do not thaw.
- Vanilla: If you don’t have vanilla bean, feel free to skip it and add another 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the filling. If you have vanilla bean paste, you can use that instead of vanilla bean. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste with the vanilla extract. If you want to replace the vanilla extract with vanilla bean paste too, use 2 teaspoons paste.
- 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.
Keywords: strawberry crisp