Apple Pecan Crisp is a classic fall dessert! Warm filling of tart apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a crunchy pecan oatmeal topping.
Whoever invented the phrase “easy as pie” definitely wasn’t a time traveler. They would have known that in today’s baking world there are so many desserts that taste just like pie but are way easier to make! From cobblers to buckle cakes to fruit crisps, you can enjoy fresh pie fillings baked in a buttery “crust” with no rolling pin in sight.
What makes an Apple Pecan Crisp different from an Apple Cobbler is the crunchy oatmeal topping that bakes on top. Cobblers have a more buttery topping made completely with flour and sugar, no rolled oats. The crunchy oats and pecans in this Apple Pecan Crisp give it a wonderful flavor too.
Apple Pecan Crisp is ready for the oven with very little prep work. The apple mixture and topping mixture are both hand stirred in a large mixing bowl in just minutes. You could always prepare the apple filling in the baking dish to save on clean up. If you want to fill your house with the most delicious apple cinnamon scent, make this Apple Pecan Crisp in the slow cooker!
You can prep Apple Pecan Crisp up to a day ahead of time in the refrigerator or freeze it for up to 3 months. To bake from frozen, just add 10-15 minutes to the overall baking time. Bake the Apple Pecan Crisp covered with foil for the first 30 minutes so the crumble doesn’t burn. Then remove the foil so the topping gets crispy.
Apple Pecan Crisp is a delicious and homey dessert recipe but you can also serve it for a yummy breakfast too! For dessert, top your Apple Pecan Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream, Salted Caramel drizzle, or a dollop of thick, homemade Whipped Cream. A little plain or vanilla yogurt adds protein to the oatmeal pecan crumble topping and tasty apples for a satisfying breakfast.
How to Make Apple Pecan Crisp
- Mix 2 pounds apple slices, orange juice, ¼ cup sugar, ¼ cup brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- To make the crisp topping, mash together flour, ¾ cup sugar, ¾ cup brown sugar, salt, rolled oats, unsalted butter and pecans.
- Add the apples to a 8×8 pan and add the crisp topping on top before baking at 350 degrees for 30 – 40 minutes until golden brown.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Rolled oats, also known as old fashioned oats, are best to use for baking recipes. Rolled oats have been processed enough to remove the tough husks, but still retain their chewy texture and hold up well to being cooked. Do not use instant or quick cook oats for baking recipes, as they have been additionally processed to reduce their cooking time, which makes them turn out mushy when baked into recipes.
Use a tart, crisp apple variety like Fuji or Granny Smith when baking. The added sugar and baking time results in the sweet tender apples that taste like apple pie. You can also use Honeycrisp or Braeburn apples for baking.
Prepare adorable individual desserts by prepping your Apple Pecan Crisp into small ramekins or mini baking dishes. You may want to chop the apple slices in halves or thirds to fit into the smaller containers. Divide the apple filling among 8 to 10 ramekins, depending on the size, and spoon the oat mixture over apples. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Guests can choose from a variety of toppings like ice cream, whipped cream, or caramel sauce.
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Key Ingredients in Apple Pecan Crisp
- Apples: The best apples for Apple Pecan Crisp are firm, tart apples that have a natural sweetness. We recommend Braeburn, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Jonagold or Granny Smith apples. Red Delicious or Gala apples can be too mealy for baking and don’t hold up as well.
- Brown Sugar: Brown sugar contains molasses to make it extra sweet and moist. Use light brown sugar for baking unless a recipe calls specifically for dark. To measure brown sugar correctly, pack it down into the measuring cup until it is completely filled and you can’t fit any more.
- Oatmeal: You want to use old fashioned rolled oats or quick cook oats for your oatmeal topping. Don’t use instant oat meal because it gets mushy and won’t give you a crispy topping. Steel cut oats won’t cook quickly enough without overcooking the apple filling.
- Pecans: Pecans add a wonderful crunch to the crispy oat topping. The brown sugar and butter also brings out the sweetness of the nuts. . Pecans are cultivated in the southern United States, which makes them a perfect pairing for the apple pie flavors of this recipe.
- Butter: Always use unsalted butter for baking recipes so that you can control the amount of salt that is added. For this recipe, it is helpful to dice the butter first and place it back into the fridge while you assemble and measure the other ingredients. That way it is still cold when you are ready to incorporate it into the oatmeal topping mixture.
Slow Cooker Apple Pecan Crisp
- Grease the bottom and sides of slow cooker generously with butter or cooking spray.
- Add apples, orange juice, ¼ cup white sugar, ¼ cup brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg.
- Stir apple mixture well.
- In a medium bowl, mash together remaining ingredients until crumb topping forms.
- Cover apple mixture with even layer of pecan oatmeal topping.
- Lay a couple paper towels (or a folded linen towel) on top of cooker to absorb moisture.
- Cover slow cooker with lid and cook on low 2-3 hours or high for 1- 1 ½ hours.
Can Apple Pecan Crisp be Made Ahead?
To save time, prepare the oatmeal pecan topping and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to assemble the rest of the recipe. You can also prepare Apple Pecan Crisp up to one day ahead and keep covered in the refrigerator before baking. Keep a baked Apple Pecan Crisp in the refrigerator up to one day before serving, and reheat in the oven at 300 degrees to serve warm and crispy. Freeze a baked Apple Pecan Crisp up to 3 months.
Variations on Apple Pecan Crisp
- Fruit: In addition to apples, mix in fresh sliced peaches, blueberries, strawberries, or cherries to make a combination fruit crisp.
- Gluten Free: For a gluten free and lower carb option, omit the flour from the crisp topping. You can replace it with more rolled oats or use oat flour in its place. An easy way to make your own oat flour is to use a bullet style blender to grind rolled oats into flour.
- Sugar: Swap the white sugar in the apple filling with maple syrup or honey. You can also drizzle your Apple Pecan Crisp with maple syrup for a breakfast topping!
- Nuts: Make toasted pecans for extra flavor in the oatmeal pecan crumble topping. You could also make this apple crisp recipe with an almond oat topping by swapping chopped almonds and using almond extract instead of vanilla extract.
- Spices: Add a teaspoon cinnamon to the oatmeal pecan crumble topping or for more holiday flavor, use Pumpkin Pie Spice for the cinnamon and nutmeg.
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How to Store Apple Pecan Crisp
- Serve: Apple Pecan Crisp can be kept at room temperature up to 3 days, covered tightly with plastic wrap. Cover apple crisp with a paper towel before plastic to absorb moisture and keep the pecan topping crispy.
- Store: Wrap baking dish tightly with plastic wrap after the Apple Pecan Crisp is completely cooled to keep moisture from collecting. Refrigerate homemade apple crisp for up to 1 week and reheat in the oven to make the topping super crispy again.
- Freeze: Once cooled, wrap Apple Pecan Crisp with plastic wrap, then aluminum foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat from frozen in the oven or thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- 2 pounds Fuji or Granny Smith apples , peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar , packed
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar , packed
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup rolled oats , not instant
- 1/2 pound cold unsalted butter , diced
- 1 cup pecans , chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl add the apple slices, orange juice, ¼ cup sugar, ¼ cup brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- To make the crisp topping, mash together the flour, ¾ cup sugar, ¾ cup brown sugar, salt, rolled oats, unsalted butter and pecans.
- Add the apples to a 8×8 pan and add the crisp topping on top before baking for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.