Apple Crisp (With Oat Topping)

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This easy apple crisp with oat topping made with apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon comes together quickly and easily using just one mixing bowl! Serve warm and top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and it’s the easiest Fall dessert to serve during the holidays!



 

When it comes to the holidays, I love making an apple pie but let’s face it sometimes you want all the goodness in a homemade apple pie without the fuss. Enter the apple crisp. And this year, since my due date basically IS Thanksgiving (fun fact also my birthday!) I’ve decided making an apple pie just isn’t in the cards.

An apple crisp with oat topping is the way to go instead. So much easier! And I’m a huge fan of apple crisp recipes around here, like my Apple Cranberry Crisp, healthy apple crisp or my caramel apple crisp recipe. But today we’re talking about the classic apple crisp recipe with a brown sugar oat topping.

I perfected this apple crisp to make it one bowl. You just need to give it a quick wipe in between making the apple filling and the oatmeal crisp topping. Hooray for less dishes around the holidays!

It took a few attempts to get to make this the best apple crisp recipe. I wanted the perfect ratio of apple filling to oat topping. I went through a few rounds of too much apple, not enough oat topping before landing on this version. I used Granny Smith apples and Honey Crisp apples, but you can use either. The apples get tossed with some lemon juice, spices, and sugar.

And the brown sugar oat topping is just as easy made with melted butter, old fashioned oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon. It all gets baked together to golden brown perfection that really is so easy to make you might wonder why you bothered with apple pie before! And I think now I have finally achieved the best apple crisp recipe.

spoonful of apple crisp taken out of the casserole dish

What’s The Difference Between An Apple Crisp And An Apple Crumble?

The main difference between an an crisp and a crumble is that a crisp uses oats in the crisp topping and a crumble doesn’t. Like my blackberry crumble, there are no oats in the crisp topping, like I use in my berry crisp.

Why This Is The Best Apple Crisp

  • Quick Prep Time– An apple crisp is easy to mix up and get in the oven, and uses just one bowl to do so! This recipe takes about 20 minutes or so to prepare and throw in the oven.
  • No Fancy Tools Needed – I love homey desserts like this that don’t require me busting out my stand mixer. And since the crisp topping uses melted butter instead of cold butter, I don’t need to cut the butter in and can just pour the butter over and stir it together. Easy. Peasy.
  • Simple Holiday Dessert – Of course you can make this any time, but when apples are in season is when this easy apple dessert shines! This apple crisp uses wonderful in season apples in the Fall time making for a simple holiday dessert that will be at its peak of freshness and flavor.
  • Perfect Make Ahead Dessert – You can prepare this apple dessert the day before and then refrigerate before baking. And then bake the next day when ready to serve!

What Apples Are Best For Apple Crisp?

Unfortunately not all apples are made for baking. Granny Smith is the most traditional and go to apple used in baking and you can’t go wrong using them. I used a combination of Granny Smith and Honey Crisp which gives great texture, sweetness, and tartness. But using 100% of either apple works.

You can also swap out Granny Smith apples for Jona Gold, Golden Delicious, or Pink Lady – all great options. I love mixing in a couple Cortland apples too. They are softer, sweeter and pair well with a more tart apple.

I do NOT recommend a Red Delicious (not much flavor) or a MacIntosh which do not hold up well during baking and can turn very mushy.

Do I need to peel the apples?

That’s up to you! I prefer to peel them because I don’t like the texture of the skin in the finished baked dessert, but if you don’t want to peel them you can skip this step. This will change the texture overall but make this apple crisp with oat topping recipe much faster to come together.

I skipped peeling the apples for my healthy apple crisp recipe, for example, to make it more nutritious so it’s a definitely a preference you can choose!

Now in addition to peeling, I prefer to dice the apples into “chunks or cubes”, but you can also use sliced apples.

apple crisp in a white casserole dish with a spoon in it

Ingredients Needed

  • Flour – Regular all-purpose flour will be used in the filling to thicken the apple mixture, and also in the oat topping.
  • Old fashioned oats – I prefer old-fashioned rolled oats because they are bigger and provide a better texture. But quick oats can also be used, but the topping may be a bit more powdery.
  • Light brown sugar – I used light brown sugar but dark brown sugar will also work.
  • Granulated sugar – You will use this for both the crumb topping and apple filling.
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt
  • Apples – You can use Granny Smith apples, Honey Crisp (my two personal favorites) – these apples are tart and hold up during baking. Cortland, Pink Lady, and Jona Gold are three more great varieties. You need to peel and dice the apples.
  • Unsalted butter – I bake with unsalted butter instead of salted butter so I can control the amount of salt and prefer the flavor. But if you use salted butter, simply omit the added salt.
apple crisp ingredients prepped

How To Make This Apple Crisp Recipe

Prep oven and pan. Preheat the oven to 375oF. Lightly grease a 8×8” baking dish.

Make apple filling. In a second mixing bowl, toss apples, all-purpose flour, sugar, ground cinnamon, and lemon juice in bowl until the apple are evenly coated.

apples and spices being stirred together in bowl

Spread into pan. I used an 8×8 square baking pan, but you could also use a 9×9 baking pan. I just give it a quick spray with cooking spray.

apple filling for apple crisp in baking pan

Wipe out bowl. You could use a second mixing bowl, that’s up to you but I’m trying to save you from extra dishes, friend. You’re welcome! I just give it a quick wipe with a paper towel and it’s ready to go.

Make the oat topping. In the same mixing bowl, stir together the flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, brown sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

apple crisp oat topping being stirred together in bowl

Stir in the melted butter. Stir until mixture is thoroughly moistened and crumbly.

apple crisp oat topping in bowl

Crumble the oat topping over apples evenly. 

apple crisp oat topping sprinkled over apples in baking dish

Bake. Bake at 375oF for 40-45 minutes until top is golden brown and apples are tender. Cool slightly before enjoying. Eat with whipped cream, ice-cream, or just as is! I think it’s best eaten the day it’s made and the topping can lose crispness each day as it sits Eat with whipped cream, ice-cream, or just as is!

two hands holding an unbaked apple crisp

What do I serve with apple crisp?

Of course you could eat apple crisp on its own. Grab a spoon and dig in. Warm is best. Room temperature isn’t so bad either! But who am I to tell you how to eat it? But let’s face it what makes an apple crisp the best apple crisp is what you serve on top with it. Here are my go to favorites:

Recipe Tips

  • Core, peel, and slice the apples easily. Taking the time to peel the apples, core and slice, is the part that can take the longest for this easy apple crisp recipe. But I recommend using an apple peeler which will do all three at once! Then all I do is simply use a knife and dice them into cubes – such a time saver!
  • Cover loosely with foil if topping is getting too dark. I didn’t find this to be needed, but every oven is different. If your oat topping is browning too much, just place some foil over the top until the apples are tender and the crisp is baked through.
white plate with apple crisp on it topped with vanilla ice cream

Recipe Variations

The best part about when you make apple crisp with oat topping is you can put your own twist it to meet your needs! Try some of these apple crisp recipe variations:

  • Gluten Free: Simply swap the flour for your favorite gluten free flour, and be sure to use gluten free oats.
  • Nuts: You can stir in 1 cup of chopped walnuts or pecan into the oat topping.
  • Doubling The Recipe: If you have a bigger crowd to feed, simply double the ingredients and then bake in a 9×13 baking dish. You may need to bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.

FAQ’s

Why is my apple crisp not crispy?

This sounds like you underbaked your crisp. You want the topping baked to a golden perfection and the apples should be tender underneath. If it’s dry and crumbly you may have not added enough butter or added too much flour or oats.

It may also depend on your baking dish. A glass baking dish will take longer to bake than a metal baking dish. If using a glass dish, then add on an additional 5 minutes of baking time.

Can I make apple crisp with oat topping ahead of time?

You can make this apple crisp the day before. Simply assemble the crisp, then cover and refrigerate. Then bake as directed the next day.

Leftover apple crisp with oat topping can be stored in the fridge, for up to 5 days, but just be aware that the crisp topping can begin to soften with each day.

Can I freeze apple crisp?

Apple crisp is a great dessert to freeze. Baked and cooled apple crisp can be frozen for up to 3 months. Then when ready to serve, thaw the apple crisp overnight in the fridge overnight before serving. You can then warm the crisp back up in the oven before serving.

You can also freeze the crisp unbaked. Simply assemble the crisp and then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge overnight, and then bake as directed.

top down view of apple crisp on a plate topped with ice cream and caramel

More Recipes To Try

If you loved this easy apple crisp then be sure try one of these easy apple recipes as well!

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Easy Apple Crisp (Wth Oat Topping)

This easy apple crisp with oat topping made with apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon comes together quickly and easily using just one mixing bowl! Serve warm and top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and it's the easiest Fall dessert to serve during the holidays!
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 395kcal

Ingredients

Filling

  • 4 cups apples peeled, cored, and cut in to ½” thick pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 2 Tablespoons (25 g) granulated white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice

Topping:

  • ¾ cup (90 g) all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cups (75 g) old-fashioned oats *see note
  • ½ cup (107 g) packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (75 g) granulated white sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

Instructions

  • Prep oven and pan. Preheat the oven to 375oF. Lightly grease an 8×8” baking dish.
  • Make apple filling. In a large mixing bowl, toss apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice in a bowl until the fruit is evenly coated. Spread apple mixture into pan. Wipe out the bowl to re-use for the topping
  • Make the oat topping. In the same mixing bowl, stir together the flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, brown sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the melted butter until mixture is thoroughly moistened and crumbly. Crumble topping over apples evenly.
  • Bake. Bake at 375°F for about 35-40 minutes until the top is golden brown and the fruit mixture is bubbling. If your oat topping is browning too much, just place some foil over the top until the apples are tender and the crisp is baked through. Cool slightly before enjoying. It's best enjoyed warm, the day that it is made. The topping will soften each day. Eat with whipped cream, ice-cream, or just as is!

Video

Notes

  • Make ahead/storage: You can make this apple crisp the day before. Simply assemble the crisp, then cover and refrigerate. Then bake as directed the next day.  Leftover apple crisp can be stored in the fridge, for up to 5 days, but just be aware that the crisp topping can begin to soften with each day.
  • Freezing: Baked and cooled apple crisp can be frozen for up to 3 months. Then when ready to serve, thaw overnight in the fridge before serving. You can then warm the crisp back up in the oven before serving. You can also freeze the crisp unbaked. Simply assemble the crisp and then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge overnight, and then bake as directed.
  • Apples: I love baking with Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Fuji, or Golden Delicious, and Cortland apples. I find Red delicious to be bland and mushy, and Macintosh make for too mushy of a filling that doesn’t stand up to baking. You can also combine a couple different apples for best texture and taste. One of my favorite combos is Granny Smith and Cortland for tart sweet, soft and crunchy!
  • Old fashioned oats: I prefer old-fashioned rolled oats because they are bigger and provide a better texture. But quick oats can also be used, but the topping may be a bit more powdery.
  • Gluten Free: Simply swap the flour for your favorite gluten free flour, and be sure to use gluten free oats.
  • Nuts: You can stir in 1 cup of chopped walnuts or pecan into the oat topping.
  • Doubling The Recipe: If you have a bigger crowd to feed, simply double the ingredients and then bake in a 9×13 baking dish. You may need to bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 395kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 203mg | Potassium: 175mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 39g | Vitamin A: 513IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 1mg
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15 Comments

  1. This recipe looks so easy and delicious! I’m definitely going to try it out this weekend. Love the addition of oats to the topping – it gives it a nice crunch and nutty flavor. Can’t wait to see the video and learn more about the recipe. 😋

    1. aw thank you! I hope you love it as much as I did!

  2. 5 stars
    My husband requested apple crisp and he wanted it to be crispy. I made this recipe and it turned out perfect.I used honeycrisp apples and they made the taste great. The topping was crispy and even the next day after heating it up it was still crispy.
    Thanks for a great recipe. I realy like everything I’ve tried. No disappointments.

    1. thank you Maureen I’m so glad you and your husband loved them! And I’m so glad you loved all the recipes so far!

  3. 5 stars
    This is one of the best apple crisps recipes I’ve tried! So easy to prep and has delicious flavors!

  4. 5 stars
    This. Crisp. Was. Delicious! I loved the texture of the topping – and the beautiful baked apples.

  5. 5 stars
    This apple is was so simple and so good. The buttery topping held in a tender apples , it was perfect with a big scoop of ice cream. Thanks for a great recipe

  6. Moop Brown says:

    5 stars
    This apple crisp looks like such a tasty treat. I love recipes like these because they really get me in the mood for fall.

  7. 5 stars
    Apple crisp is a fall and I admit Christmas favorite for me. The oat topping is a nice option from the typical topping you find. Thanks

  8. 5 stars
    I LOVED this apple crisp recipe. This will be on repeat during apple season. Thank you!

  9. 5 stars
    Apple crisp is a favorite around here once fall begins and this recipe looks amazing. My. kids love it as much as apple pie!

  10. The sweet tart scent of ripe apples are in the air and that can only mean one thing…apple crisp! Your recipe looks perfect and I can’t wait to make it with new crop apples.

  11. 5 stars
    Apple season is just around the corner. This crisp looks delicious. Easy to whip up any night of the week for a tasty dessert.

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