This easy recipe for Apple Crisp comes straight from my grandma's kitchen to yours! Made with sweet, tender apples, warming spices, and a buttery oatmeal topping, this old-fashioned apple crisp makes the ultimate fall dessert.
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!
And while she made many delicious desserts, the recipe that lives on in her memory is this recipe for Apple Crisp.
What Makes this Apple Crisp the Best
- Easy Recipe. This is truly the EASIEST recipe for apple crisp I have ever seen, yet it is the one I am asked to make again and again.
- Not Overly Sweet. One of the reasons this apple crisp is preferred over other recipes is that it is perfectly balanced. Instead of being coated in sugar, the natural sweetness of the apples is enhanced as they bake and the spiced, crisp topping melts into them.
- Oatmeal Topping. My grandma made her apple crisp with both flour and oats, which gives the apple crisp a nice texture and flavor.
Ingredients Needed for Apple Crisp
This apple crisp is made with 2 components; the apples and the oatmeal crisp topping.
- For the 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 or Red Delicious which can break down and become mushy as they bake. Feel free to use a variety of apples for a contrast in flavor.
- Crisp Topping:
- 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: Use either all-purpose flour or a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend.
- 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 dried whole nutmeg with a Microplane produces a far superior flavor to ground nutmeg.
- 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.
How to Make Homemade Apple Crisp
Step One: Prepare the Apples. Instead of the apples being tossed with sugar and cornstarch, which can make for an overly sweet apple crisp, they are simply sliced and then layered in a buttered baking dish. The buttery, spiced oatmeal crumble melts into the apples as they bake, 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!
∗ to peel or not to peel? ∗
Whether or not you want to peel your apples when making apple crisp is a matter of personal preference. Leaving the skins on the apples, makes this apple crisp come together that much faster and adds fiber and nutrients to the dessert. However, for a more appealing texture, I recommend peeling the apples.
Step Two: Prepare Oatmeal Topping. The oatmeal topping is what makes this 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. To make the topping, find that your hands are the best tools for combining the soft butter with the oats, flour, and spices. Then simply sprinkle that topping evenly over the apples in the prepared baking dish.
Step Three: Bake. Cover the apple crisp with foil for the first 20 minutes of baking. This will allow the apples to become tender without drying out or over-browning the topping. After 20 minutes, remove the foil and continue to bake until the apples are tender and the crisp topping is golden.
Step Four: 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!
Store leftover apple crisp in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat individual servings in heat-safe bowls for 1 minute in the microwave. For several portions, place the leftover crisp into an oven-safe baking dish, cover it with foil, and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until warmed through.
More Delicious Apple Recipes
If you enjoyed this Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
- 4 cups cored, peeled, and sliced apples ~4 large apples (Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, etc.)
- ⅔ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup uncooked rolled oats
- ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¾ tsp nutmeg
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter softened
- Preheat the oven to 375℉. Butter an 8x8 pan and set aside.
- Wash and dry the apples. Remove the core and if desired, peel the apples. Thinly slice the apple into ¼-inch slices. Place the sliced 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 the baking dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue to bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the apples are tender and the topping is golden brown.
- Allow the apple crisp to cool slightly. Serve warm with whipped cream, milk, or vanilla ice cream.