The Best, Easiest Apple Crisp

updated Aug 31, 2023
thanksgiving
Apple Crisp Recipe

This one-bowl apple crisp recipe is packed with lightly sweetened, warmly spiced apples and finished with a buttery oat topping.

Serves8

Prep30 minutes

Cook1 hour

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Credit: Joe Lingeman

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 old-fashioned oats that crack under the pressure of a spoon. It’s truly the only crisp recipe you need for fall.

Quick Overview

4 Key Steps for the Best, Easiest Apple Crisp

1. Apple choice matters. 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.

2. Use the same bowl for the filling and topping. 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.

4. Bubbles are key for baking. The crisp should be bubbling when you take it out — not just around the edges, but in the center as well.

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.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

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.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

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.

Apple Crisp Recipe

This one-bowl apple crisp recipe is packed with lightly sweetened, warmly spiced apples and finished with a buttery oat topping.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 1 hour

Serves 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the filling:

  • 2 pounds

    Granny Smith apples

  • 1/2

    small lemon

  • 1/2 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons

    cornstarch

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

For the topping:

  • 12 tablespoons

    (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish

  • 1 1/2 cups

    old-fashioned rolled oats

  • 1 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup

    packed light brown sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon

    pure vanilla extract

Equipment

  • 9x9-inch glass baking dish

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Mixing bowls

  • Gallon-size zip-top freezer bag (optional)

  • Whisk

  • Wire rack

Instructions

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  1. 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.

  2. Prepare the topping and filling ingredients. Cut 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter) into a few pieces and melt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Set aside to cool. Peel, core, and cut 2 pounds Granny Smith apples into 1/4-inch thick slices. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 small lemon until you get 1 tablespoon.

  3. Make the fruit filling. Whisk 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons 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.

  4. Make the crisp topping. Place the 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher 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 melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract over the oat mixture and stir to combine.

  5. Top the crisp. Scatter the crisp topping evenly over the fruit mixture, leaving large clumps intact.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

Recipe Notes

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.