Apple crisp is the lazy baker's best friend. It delivers all the flavor and satisfaction of apple pie, but in half the amount of time. Tender, lightly sweetened, warmly spiced apples get dressed up with a sprinkle of buttery oats that crack under the pressure of a spoon. It's truly the only crisp recipe you need for fall.
Apple crisp requires just a few basic ingredients, an abundance of apples, and a warm oven. Here's how to make the best, easiest apple crisp, plus tips for having the topping on hand all fall long.
Why Apple Crisp Is So Much Easier than Pie
Most crisps are easy enough — you just need some fresh fruit and pantry staples — but we're making this one even easier by using just one pan and one bowl, and finishing it with the easiest topping. In fact, it's so simple you'll quickly be able to make this recipe by heart.
4 Key Steps for the Best, Easiest Apple Crisp
1. Apple choice matters. Since we aren't pre-cooking the apples (an extra step many recipes call for), the type of apple you choose will greatly affect the texture of the finished crisp. Granny Smith is our first choice, since its tartness holds up against the sweetness of the crisp topping, and they always bake up tender but not mushy. Cortlands, Pink Cripps, Honeycrisps and Jonagolds are also good options.
2. Use the same bowl for the filling and topping. Oftentimes, easy just means washing fewer dishes! Once you've tossed the apples into the baking dish, use the same bowl to mix up the oat topping.
3. Melted butter makes for clumpier, crunchier crisp. Skip trying to work cold butter into flour for a crunchy crisp topping and use melted butter instead. If you like big clusters, gently press some clumps of the topping together before you scatter it over the apples.
4. Bubbles are key for baking. It's important that the crisp bakes for about an hour to give the apples ample time to soften and release their juices, which will thicken as they cook, thanks to the cornstarch. The crisp should be bubbling when you take it out — not just around the edges, but in the center as well.
Make-Ahead Apple Crisp
I'm quite biased, but keeping some crisp topping on standby in the freezer is one of my secrets to a happier fall. While the crisp bakes, mix up an extra batch or two of the topping and stash it in the freezer. You just made the next batch of crisp even easier on yourself.
How To Make the Best, Easiest Apple Crisp
Prep time: 30 minutes ; cooking time: 1 hour
What You Need
- For the filling:
Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick
freshly squeezed lemon juice
- For the topping:
1 1/2 cups
old-fashioned rolled oats
packed light brown sugar
(1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the baking dish
pure vanilla extract
9x9-inch glass baking dish
Measuring cups and spoons
Gallon-size zip-top freezer bag (optional)
Heat the oven to 350°F and prepare the baking dish. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch square glass baking dish with butter; set aside.
Make the fruit filling. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together in a large bowl to break up any lumps. Add the apples and lemon juice and toss gently to coat. Transfer to the baking dish and spread into an even layer.
Make the crisp topping. Place the oats, flour, brown sugar, and salt in a medium or large bowl — it can be the bowl that was just used for the apples — and stir until combined. Drizzle the butter and vanilla over the oat mixture and stir to combine.
Top the crisp. Scatter the crisp topping evenly over the fruit mixture, leaving large clumps intact.
Bake the crisp for 50 to 60 minutes. Bake until the fruit juices are bubbling around the edges of the baking dish and the topping is golden and firm to the touch, 50 to 60 minutes.
Cool the crisp. Let the crisp cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before serving. If transporting to a picnic or party, let the crisp cool completely to give the fruit filling time to set.
Make ahead: The crisp topping can be made in advance. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze for up to a month.
Storage: The cooled crisp can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week. Serve cold, room temperature, or re-warmed in a low oven for 20 minutes.