This recipe for Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp is the absolute best! Made with sweet, soft, and tender apples and a buttery oat crisp that is spiced to perfection, apple crisp makes the ultimate fall dessert.
This Apple Crisp Recipe has been in my family for generations and still remains one of my family's all-time favorite desserts. It is a no-frills, simple recipe that comes together fast, yet it is absolutely perfect! The apple crisp is not too sweet, not too spiced, not too buttery--everything is balanced and in taste and textures.
Just like my great-grandma taught me, this recipe features an oatmeal crumble that is made with oats, butter, flour, sugar, and spices, and a simple filling made with just fresh apples.
That's right! No lemon juice, no cinnamon, no sugar, no cornstarch are added to the apple filling. The buttery crumble melts into the apples as they bake and soften, giving the apples all the flavor they need. The apple flavor really stands out and is not cloyingly sweet or overwhelmed by spices. It is perfection.
Served warm, and paired with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, this Old Fashioned Apple Crisp is sure to become a favorite at your house as well!
Notes on Ingredients
- Apples: Choose an apple that is suitable for baking, such as Granny Smith, Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Braeburn, Mutsu, Winesap, or Pink Lady. Stay away from McIntosh, Gala, Fuji, or Red Delicious which can break down and become mushy as they bake. Feel free to use a variety of apples.
- Oats: Use either old-fashioned rolled oats or quick-cooking oats for this apple crisp. Do NOT steel cut oats!
- Brown Sugar: Brown sugar adds so much depth and richness to the apple crisp, so I much prefer using it over granulated sugar when making a crisp recipe.
- Flour: All-purpose, whole wheat, white wheat all work for this recipe. Even a 1:1 Gluten-Free Flour mix works to make this gluten-free apple crisp.
- Butter: Unsalted butter is always best when baking, as it allows you to control the added sodium. You also want to be sure your butter is at room temperature before proceeding with the recipe so that it will easily incorporate into the crisp topping.
- Spices: For a warming flavor that is classic in apple crisp, use ground cinnamon and grated nutmeg. Grating a whole nutmeg with a Microplane produces a far superior flavor to ground nutmeg.
How to Make Apple Crisp
Step One: Prepare Apples
Whether or not you want to peel your apples when making apple crisp is a matter of personal preference. I typically opt to leave the skins on the apples to add some fiber and additional nutrients to the crisp, but if you do not like the texture of the apple peel, simply peel the apples.
- Wash and dry 4-5 medium apples.
- After washing the apples well, peel if desired.
- Remove the cores from the apples and thinly slice, into ¼-inch thick slices. For this recipe, you need a total of 4 cups of sliced apples. Typically, I find that 4 apples will yield 4 cups of sliced apples.
Step Two: Prepare Crisp Topping
The crisp topping is what makes an apple crisp. Made with oats, flour, butter, and brown sugar, this topping produces a crumble that is buttery and sweet and has a nice texture from the oats.
Remember, your butter needs to be at room temperature before making the crumble so that it can be evenly incorporated into the sugar, oats, and flour.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg until well combined.
- Cut in the soft butter into the mixture with a pastry cutter, 2 forks, or your hands. I find my hands work best to really mix that crumble and that is just the way my Great-Grandma mixed the topping.
Step Three: Assemble
- Place apples into a buttered 2-quart baking dish.
- Cover apples evenly with the oat topping.
Step Four: Bake
- Cover with foil and bake covered for 20 minutes. This will give the time for the apples to become super tender without over-browning the crisp topping.
- After 20 minutes, remove the foil and bake another 20 minutes, allowing the topping to become browned and the apples to finish cooking through.
Step Five: Serve
It is best to allow the apple crisp to cool slightly before serving. You want the crisp to still be warm, yet not bubbling. Just don't forget to serve with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream. The ice cream melts into the warm apple crisp and is a little bit of heaven!
Apple crisp is best served after it has been baked, as it is classically enjoyed warm. While you can prepare the crisp in advance, you MUST bake the apple crisp prior to refrigerating. If not, your apples will become brown and your apple crisp will have an unappealing color and texture.
That said, you can assemble and bake your apple crisp as directed. Allow to cool fully to room temperature and then cover and refrigerate the apple crisp for up to 48 hours. Before serving, remove the apple crisp from the refrigerator, and allow it to come to room temperature while the oven preheats to 350 degrees F. Bake the prepared apple crisp, covered with foil, for 20 minutes or until warmed through.
- Gluten-Free: To make Gluten-Free Apple Crisp, be sure your oats are certified gluten-free and use an all-purpose 1:1 gluten-free flour blend.
- Dairy-Free: I have made this apple crisp using dairy-free butter, such as Earth Balance, instead of traditional butter with success.
- Add Nuts: If desired, you can add up to ¼ cup of chopped walnuts or pecans to the crisp topping for a nutty, earthy crunch.
- Doubling the Recipe: If you are feeding a crowd or just really love apple crisp, double this recipe and bake as directed using a 9x13 baking dish or 4-quart shallow baking dish.
More Apple Recipes
If you enjoyed this Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
- 4 cups sliced apples 4-5 medium apples
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup flour
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ¾ tsp cinnamon
- ¾ tsp grated whole nutmeg
- ⅓ cup butter softened
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter an 8x8 pan and set aside.
- Wash and dry the apples. Remove the core and if desired, peel the apples. You can also leave the peels on the apples. Thinly slice the apple into ¼-inch slices. Place the apples into the buttered baking dish.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the oats, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and flour together. Add in the butter, and with a pastry cutter or your hands, combine the mixture until crumbly and the butter is evenly distributed through the mixture. Sprinkle the crisp topping evenly over the apples.
- Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue to bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until apples are tender and topping is golden brown.
- Allow the apple crisp to cool slightly. Serve warm with whipped cream. milk, or vanilla ice cream.