Ultimate Apple Crisp

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Ultimate Apple Crisp is a fall favorite full of sliced apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, butter, and crispy baked oats.

We have a passion for apple crisp in this house, and in our kitchen this week we’re cooking up Apple Crisp Crumb Cake, Apple Crisp Cookies, and my Legendary Apple Crisp Pie!

Ultimate Apple Crisp
 Ultimate Apple Crisp

Ultimate Apple Crisp is a MUST in our house when this time of the year rolls around. My favorite part is that it tastes a lot like apple pie, with less than half of the work!

Plus the topping. The topping is the best part of any dessert because it’s crispy, buttery, full of brown sugar and it has (in our house at least) a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream melting over it making it this mix of hot and cold and buttery. Did I mention the apple and caramel-y goodness in the apple mixture? This dessert is heaven.

The apples cook down with the brown sugar and spices to make something really close to apple pie filling. And the soft texture of the apples are perfectly matched with the crispy crunch of the oat crumble topping. My kids LOVE having this dessert with vanilla ice cream on the holidays.

You can assemble this apple crisp recipe ahead of time or even freeze it so it’s ready when you are. You can also throw nuts into the crisp streusel topping, like pecan or almonds, to add even MORE crunchy texture.

Easy Apple Crisp


Apple crisp topping uses all-purpose flour, butter, and sugar as the base. From there, you can add ingredients like oats, nuts, seeds, or pieces of dried fruit for sweetness and crunch. Each apple crisp recipe does it a little bit differently. You want to cover the entire dessert, so make enough for the length of the baking dish.

Make sure you’re using rolled oats for this topping and not quick oats or oatmeal. You need the firmness of the rolled oats to stand up to the baking, the others will disappear into the topping when baked.

I also consider ice cream a topping, even if it’s not technically part of the apple crisp recipe, because it really completes the dessert.


Fuji, Cortland, Golden Delicious, Honey Crisp, Braeburn or Granny Smith apples all great choices for this because they are all sweet / tart apples, and hold up really well in this crisp recipe. These are also great for baking other recipes, like Apple Slab Pie With Spiced Glaze.

Choose your favorite apple and it’ll likely work, just please don’t use apple filling from a can or store bought caramel sauce.


Add apples to slow cooker and stir together with orange juice, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
In a separate bowl mix together your all-purpose flour, sugar, and other topping ingredients, and add on top of apples.
Bake on high for a total time of 3-4 hours, or on low for 6-8 hours. In the last half hour, open top slightly. This will help the top crisp up of the dessert.
Serve warm with ice cream.

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Classic Apple Crisp


Apple crisp is a great make ahead dessert because it can be assembled in a baking or casserole dish and stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 days before baking. You can also seal it tightly and freeze it, then defrost in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before baking.


Cooked apple crisp should be cooled and tightly sealed either in a container or with plastic wrap, and stored in the refrigerator. It will keep about 2-3 days. You can also wrap the apple crisp tightly and freeze it. When you’re ready, defrost in the refrigerator.


  • Make sure you’re using rolled oats. They are less processed then quick cooking or instant oats, so you’ll get a crispier crust this way.
  • Don’t skip the brown sugar. It adds some of those deep molasses notes to the apple crisp that make it really flavorful instead of just sweet.
  • If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can pulse the topping ingredients a few times in the food processor. Just make sure to not over-process, or the topping won’t turn out as crispy.
  • Once you add your butter you want about pea-sized pieces.
  • If you cut your apples ahead of time, add 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice to keep them from browning.
  • For the full dessert experience, top warm apple crisp with cold vanilla ice cream!
  • If you want a fun topping that isn’t caramel sauce use apple cider that you cook down to a glaze. You’ll love it so much you’ll never use caramel sauce again.

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Ultimate Apple Crisp

4.83 from 29 votes
  • Yield: 9 servings
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Course: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder
A Fall favorite full of sliced apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, butter and oats baked crisp. Top with whipped cream for a perfect cold weather favorite or top with a scoop of ice cream you're still experiencing this never-ending heat wave with the rest of us.


  • 2 pounds Fuji or Granny Smith apples peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar , packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1/2 pound cold unsalted butter , diced


Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  2. In a large bowl add the apple slices, orange juice, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.

  3. To make the crisp topping, mash together the flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 3/4 cup brown sugar, salt, oats and butter.

  4. Add the apples to a 8x8 pan and add the crisp topping on top before baking for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.

Recipe Notes

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 9 servings, Amount per serving: 396 calories, Calories: 396g, Carbohydrates: 62g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 40mg, Sodium: 105mg, Potassium: 161mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 42g, Vitamin A: 525g, Vitamin C: 6g, Calcium: 37g, Iron: 1.3g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keyword: ultimate apple crisp

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  1. I am planning on making this for Thanksgiving. Does it turn out caramely? I had a quest for a apple crisp with lots of caramel ?thank you in advance!

    1. This recipe is very crisp heavy which is our favorite but it’s still got a saucy filling. If you want more caramel sauce You could double the sauce mixture but it’s going to be a LOT. As in a lot of heavy flavors. If you like the crisp topping, this is absolutely hands down your dessert, it just hasn’t been tested with tons of sauce. Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. I made this last year for Thanksgiving and everyone loved it. I’ve tried multiple Apple crisp recipes and this is by far the best. I do have a question for this year though, I need to make it gluten free and I was wondering if there is any specific flour substitute you would recommend? Or maybe they would all turn out pretty much the same? I don’t know anything about gluten free baking ?

  3. Just tried this recipe out! I used 1/4 less butter only because I didnt have enough. came out perfect in a 9×13 glass pan. Even made the apple cider glaze and vanilla ice cream to go with it 🙂 thank you thank you!

  4. This is my dads new favorite dessert. Now I’m making two other of your recipes for Thanksgiving. So delicious! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  5. Very good! Thanks for the recipe, perfect for a cold snowing winter day.
    My other half truly appreciates you, I appreciate the ease of the recipe.

    1. I used 1 teaspoon of nutmeg for this recipe. If you don’t have it, you can substitute with more cinnamon or ginger or clove. Pumpkin pie spice would even make a great substitution. Hope this helps!

  6. I made it 4 days ago and just ate the last bit myself last night… Fantastic. Another winner. Made it as written. Gosh, thank you for this awesome recipe! lol

  7. This was a great recipe and had great flavor! I’m fairly new to baking, so I’m thinking may have messed up the topping. I cubed the cold butter and mixed it in. When it was done baking the top layer looked kind of dry and powdery instead of what is pictured. Is there a tip or recommendation you can offer? Thanks in advance!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. It sounds like maybe your butter was still in too big of pieces. Try mashing it more into smaller pieces that’ll melt easier. Hope this helps.

  8. Would it work to replace the apples with peaches and if so, would the amounts still be the same? This looks amazing ! Thank you

  9. Simple and delicious! I swapped out orange juice for lemon juice and used gluten-free flour. It turned out really well. I will definitely use this recipe again!

  10. Some nice woman gave me a bag of apples this past weekend and I just made this Apple Crisp. It was absolutely delicious but I am not sure how you made this in an 8×8 pan. I did mine in 9×13 and it was perfect. I did bake it for about 50 minutes. So good!

  11. Soooo good! Hubby said it was perfect! It has the best apple to topping ratio of any crisp ever! It totally fits in an 8×8 pan so I’m not sure what other people are talking about. Smoosh it in the pan if you have to, but don’t be afraid of the topping. It condenses a little during baking anyway. I cannot say enough about how amazing this recipe is!!!

  12. I used a 9” x 13” glass pan.
    Additional ingredients added:
    Apple mixture:
    Add 1 cup of frozen cranberries.
    Instead of Orange juice, substitute 1/2 cup of Countreau or Grande Marnier

    Crumble Topping:
    Add 1/2 cup of chopped unsalted pecans

    Absolutely incredibly awesome recipe. Love it!!! Bakes up like a dream. Be courageous, use all the crumble topping. You’ll be glad you did.

  13. Could you please us a different amount for the butter, like a cup etc.
    Thanks a lot and it looks very very good I really want to make it.

  14. The topping was delicious! Topping part can be the toughest sometimes but this recipe was easy and came out good. Just a personal opinion- i will make it with less nutmeg next time, too overpowering for my taste. (But I’ve never been huge on nutmeg)

  15. It is delicious! We made it to take to a Thanksgiving Dinner. It was a hit. I just made it again to take to another event but we are having trouble not sneaking bites before 🙂

  16. This was delicious! My husband tried it at a dinner party, then he made it for the next dinner party we hosted. It’s now a go-to dinner party dessert for us.

  17. Made this for Thanksgiving and it was delicious! The amount of cinnamon was perfect for me. The very slight orange flavor is really nice, too. I did use a 9×13 pan as others suggested. And, since we don’t eat dairy, subbed in Earth Balance for the butter. Will definitely make again!

  18. If I make this tonight, do I bake it before I put it in the fridge or do I just put on the crumble and put in the fridge and bake it tomorrow?

      1. I just made this with the apples we picked this past weekend. It was delicious!!!!! Can I cut out any of the sugar or butter? Put in one stick instead of two? I would love to make this soon but am thinking of a healthier option so I can make more often.

  19. This recipe looks delicious. I’m planning on making this for Thanksgiving. I don’t care for the taste of nutmeg. Should I add an extra teaspoon of cinnamon or just delete the nutmeg and not substitute the cinnamon. Also, many people have suggested using a 9×13 pan rather than an 8×8 pan. Do you think this would cause the apple mixture to be skimpy? Thank you in advance for answering my questions.

    1. Sorry for the delay. I used an 8×8 pan whenever I make this. I would add more cinnamon for the nutmeg, and maybe ground clove or cardamom if you prefer those flavors. Hope this helps!

  20. I never leave a comment unless I’ve actually tried a recipe. This one I will make again and again! It’s that good! I didn’t have orange juice so I juiced clementines, it was wow! I did cut way back on the cinnamon. I wanted a BIG pan so I tripled the recipe. I had leftover crumb topping, that I put in the freezer for another time. Oh and I shredded the apples. I was asked for the recipe by several others. Now that’s a compliment! I did make it the day before and put it in a low oven to warm before serving. mmmmmm

    1. That’s a huge compliment when people ask for your recipe! I’m glad you were able to make it your own and it turned out so well! 🙂

  21. I have a question…does this topping come out very crunchy? When my mother-in-law makes apple crisp using oatmeal in her topping, it is a soggy gooey mess. Not to my liking. I am looking for a “crunchy” topping.

    1. It does – the trick is to use rolled oats, not instant or quick cooking. 🙂 Hope this helps and it turns out well for you!

  22. Just did this as a practice round before the holidays. Not gonna lie, I felt pretty grossed out by the amount of sugar and butter that’s in it, but that’s also why it ended up being so good. Even my apple hating roommate went back for seconds.

    1. Haha well glad this won over the apple haters. 🙂 The butter and sugar make it for sure, but it’s definitely an indulgent treat for us!

    1. So sorry it wasn’t to your taste 🙁 You can always use less if you aren’t a fan of that much cinnamon. Let me know if you try it again and adjust to your liking 🙂

  23. This recipe is absolutely delicious!!! I didn’t have any OJ on hand so I used just a little lemon juice. I followed the rest of the recipe as written and it was perfect! I do agree with the pan size change, I used a 9×13 and it was great! I have made many different apple crisp recipes and this is the only one that my boys have asked me to make again!

  24. If I’m planning to make this today, and our thanksgiving dinner is tomorrow would you recommend just leaving it in the fridge and reheating in the oven tomorrow when we are ready for dessert? Or what would you suggest ?

    Thank you so much

    1. You can definitely do that! You can also make it in the slow cooker the same day (instructions in post) if you the yummy smell of apples won’t make you crazy while cooking all the other Thanksgiving stuff 😀

  25. Planning on making this tonight!… I noticed that in the recipe it doesn’t mention anything about a stand mixer, but in the blog it does. What attachment is used in the stand mixer for mixing the crumble topping?

    I also noticed that you mentioned in the comments there were more prep pictures, where would I find these?

    A lot of the comments pertain to the 8×8 square dish not being big enough… should the assembled, uncooked version be overflowing because it eventually cooks down?

    1. I use the flat beater with the mixer on low. Make sure it doesn’t over mix. I’m not sure what you mean by more pictures, the pictures I have are in the post. The only comment I could find mentioning them, references the post.

  26. Something with the flour in this recipe is not right…it seems like it’s way too much flour for the small amount of the other topping ingredients.

  27. Just popped this into the oven made with apples From my tree! I will say this recipe does NOT fit in an 8×8 pan. It filled up my 10×13. Can’t wait to try it. Vanilla ice cream is in the freezer ready to go.

  28. I made this for the second time tonight and it is PERFECT. Anytime I’m in a funk, I like to make my life as “Fall” as possible (chili, fall scented candles, pumpkin and apple everything). This makes my house smell so good and, when paired with a good Halloween movie, is a serious life saver for me. Thank you so much for this recipe.

  29. This was ridiculously sweet. The topping turned out grainy due to the excessive amount of sugar and had the flavor of toffee. I would definitely suggest starting with less sugar and adding more as you go to your own taste preferences.

    1. The recipe card includes the instructions for using the oven, not a slow cooker. Sorry if that was unclear. You’ll want to bake it in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Hope this helps clear up any confusion.

    1. The recipe states to make the crisp topping to mash together the flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 3/4 cup brown sugar, salt, oats and butter. Maybe you saw the 3/4 for the sugar and brown sugar instead? Hope this helps clear up any confusion.