Apple Crisp

December 15, 2019
32 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Serves 6 or more
Author Notes

Fact: Apple crisp is the best apple-y dessert. It’s low-effort, with a bigcrumbly, sweet, juicy reward—like pie, minus all the drama. There are no rolling pins involved, no dough scrapers, no moments where you have to stop and watch an episode of Love Island because your gluten hasn’t had time to relax yet.

Another fact: The streusel topping is far and away the best part of apple crisp, no disrespect to the apples. A good recipe will yield streusel so delicious—buttery and sweet like shortbread, with a generous dose of salt—that it’d be well-worth eating on its own. Our best-ever apple crisp recipe knows this innately, and shows up ready to introduce you to a streusel layer you won’t be able to stop thinking about. You could use the same topping on almost any fruit: peaches, plums, a berry medley, cherries, pears. In addition to the usual suspects (flour and butter, we see you), it’s got brown sugar for caramely intensity, oats for nubby texture, and ground almonds for a deep nuttiness that will have you wondering if some bites are actually a fully formed cookie.

Last fact—I promise—is this: Most apple crisps don’t have nearly enough crisp. This recipe will make sure that never happens to you again. Crisp for all! Crisp for life! (But if you do prefer a thinner layer, no judgement—you can simply add a couple extra apples to the filling, plus another tablespoon or so of lemon juice and brown sugar, and spread everything out in a 9x13-inch baking dish instead of the 8x8, and the same amount of streusel topping will form a shallower layer.)

Before we turn on the oven, let’s talk apples for a sec. We like to use a firm, juicy kind that’s already delicious raw but also holds up well when cooked. Think varieties like Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, Jonagold, and Braeburn—and do feel free to include a mix. When it comes to peeling, that’s an intensely personal choice you must make in your own home and heart. (But psst: Leaving peels on the apples lends the fruit layer a beautifully rosy hue.)

This crisp is quite balanced, if we do say so ourselves, meaning you could happily serve it plain. You could also top it with fluffy whipped cream (bonus points if you stir in some sour cream or Greek yogurt) or vanilla ice cream. —Ella Quittner

What You'll Need
  • Crisp Topping
  • 2/3 cup (97 grams) whole raw almonds (with skins is fine)
  • 1 cup (120 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (177 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/14 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 sticks (16 tablespoons, 226 grams) unsalted butter, cold, cubed
  • 1 1/3 cups (131 grams) rolled oats
  • Apple Mixture
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 4 to 5 large apples (about 2 1/2 pounds)—a juicy, firm variety, like Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Braeburn, or a mix—peeled if you like, then cored, and cut into ~1/2-inch slices
  1. Heat oven to 400°F.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, blend almonds until the biggest pieces are the size of coarse grains of salt, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the flour, sugar, and salt, and pulse until integrated. Add the butter, and pulse several times until it’s incorporated—the mixture should look like wet sand and hold together when pinched, with some unblended butter streaks visible throughout. Add the oats and pulse just to mix in, without chopping them much. Set in refrigerator to chill while you prepare the apples.
  3. Whisk the lemon juice with the cornstarch, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Add the apple slices and toss gently until the slices are evenly coated. Transfer to a 8x8-inch baking dish (no need to grease it), set on a sheet pan for insurance against any drips reaching your oven floor. You want about 1 inch of space between the apple slices and top of pan, so if you have too many apple slices, reserve the extras and broil as a snack later.
  4. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the apples, breaking into olive-sized clumps where needed, and transfer to oven. Bake for about 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until topping is crisp all over and browning in spots, and the apple mixture is bubbling up at the sides. The apple pieces should be tender and easily pieced with a fork. (Note: If spots begin browning too deeply before the apples become tender, you can turn the temperature down to 375°F.) Let cool about 15 minutes before serving. (You could also serve at room temperature if you prefer.)

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Brenda Griebert
    Brenda Griebert
  • Taylor Stanton
    Taylor Stanton
  • Ruth A Weed
    Ruth A Weed
  • les corry
    les corry
  • Danielle van Heeckeren
    Danielle van Heeckeren

39 Reviews

Joanne April 22, 2023
But half a pound of butter? Keeping cardiologists in business… 😟
[email protected] January 18, 2023
Besides needing a bigger dish to bake in, this recipe is delicious. The best apple crisp my family has ever had!
[email protected] November 13, 2022
I love this recipe. I altered it a little because I wanted more apples and I only had granny smith like pie apples.
9x9 pan
Doubled apple & wet sugar mixture plus a little more sugar for the tart apples(white and brown).
Added 2 smaller cubes quince.
Apples left 1cm space for crisp so formed a hill with crisp mixture (nothing overflowed)
I didn’t have ginger so used a little shake of cardamom in crumble.
Baked maybe 20 min longer and used 350°
Came out perfectly!!
I was unhappy with soggy crumble on closest layer to apple when warm but when totally cooked the next day the thick crumble was all crunchy and firm. Perfect crumble when cold.
[email protected] November 13, 2022
Should read: “when totally cooled, the next day, the thick crumble was all crunchy and firm.”
Brenda G. October 23, 2022
I did not use nuts and I think too big a pan 9 x13 or I did not have enough apples I used 5 apples but there was more topping than apple. Taste was good but maybe less oats? Overall I will make again and adjust the pan and apples. The spice was spot on loved it on the apples without the topping.
Taylor S. October 17, 2022
I made this again last night and it still is my go-to crisp recipe for 2 years now. I agree that is does not fit in an 8x8 - I usually put it in two 8x8s or one 9x13. It makes a LOT of crumble and it seems like it's too much but it's not!! But I also have made it with less crumble and reserved the extra for another crisp. Pulsing the oats in with the rest of the crumble ingredients and then adding the cinnamon/ginger/lemon really makes it stand out in a subtle way.
les C. October 17, 2022
So you pulsed in the cinnamon,ginger,and lemon that is intended for the apple mixture?
Taylor S. October 17, 2022
No, I made the recipe as written
ptiamiyu October 17, 2022
Too salty for my taste and my husband did not like the lemon flavour. Next time, I will use 1/2 the salt and take out the lemon. I do love the crumble with the added almonds.
Ruth A. October 17, 2022
Taste is wonderful and easy to make. The oats and almonds in the crisp are the ingredients that make this recipe standout
Sherie October 15, 2022
Just excellent. The only comment I have is that I needed to bake it longer to get the apples cooked through. I covered it with foil, lowered the oven temp to 350 after the allotted cooking time, and baked for another 20 minutes. Perfection in a bowl. My family devoured it. The topping was so crisp and delicious. We loved everything about this one.
Gary October 13, 2022
No way this would fit in my 8x8 pyrex. I used a 9x13 and it filled it to the top. Weighed the apples (2.5 lbs) and used Cosmic Crisp Apples. Although these are great apples, they didn't produce much juice, so the recipe came out dry. Next time I would do 50/50 with a different juicier apple to get the texture better. Flavor was good. Maybe a little on the salter side so I will cut that back a bit. All in all I will try it again with the adjustments and see if it stays in the make again pile.
les C. October 13, 2022
This is the first apple crisp I have made and it was delicious.Followed recipe to the letter,it was very easy as advertised.The balance was spot on,not too sweet.This goes in our do again file.It does make a lot of crisp but not to worry,just put the extra in the middle,slight mound but amazing.
Mdescrivan October 13, 2022
I did this recipe yesterday for a lunch with friends, and it turned out spectacular!! Other apple crisp recipes that I have tried were too sweet. This recipe has the perfect “sweet and salt” balance, I also loved the ginger!!! The chopped almonds instead of almond flour is crucial for texture. I followed my instincts with the amount of apples and I didn’t go wrong. Had also leftovers of the crumbles that I will use today for cookies. In love with this recipe!!!
Fidelma October 11, 2022
My Crisp didn't get "crisp" way too much butter.
I used pecans as that's what I had on hand. Used 3 lbs Honeycrisp apples baked in 9 x 13 pan as recipe said to leave 1" above the topping. I will make this again but with
less butter, the apple 'slurry' really made it carmelize.
les C. October 13, 2022
Try weighing the ingredients it`s very important to get the balance right so your crisp turns out,well crispy!
Fidelma October 14, 2022
I double checked when making the crisp as I was concerned with the amount of butter. So, I weighed everything, to no avail.
Still not crispy :(
les C. October 14, 2022
Sorry to hear that,is it possible that quick cooking oats were used instead of rolled oats?
Fidelma October 14, 2022
Nope :)
les C. October 14, 2022
Well I`m out of suggestions here,better luck next time.
Fidelma October 14, 2022
Thanks for your suggestions. I will try using less Butter and see if that's the problem. In Canada, using Canadian butter so maybe that's it.
Danielle V. October 11, 2022
We had a plethora of apples and a deep 9x12 pan so we doubled the recipe. I never count apples for a pie because I am more focused on filling the dish that I’m using. For some reason I find that most pie and crisp recipes are light on the apples. We also used almond flour because we had a bag that needed to be used. Next time we will grind up whole almonds for extra nuttiness. As many people have commented, doubling the topping and using a pound of butter is quite literally over the top. We had more than enough for two crisps. The good news is that it is ready for out next crisp! I recommend doubling the apples instead. I probably tripled them! What I loved about the recipe is the lemon. Which gives it just enough tartness to balance the sweetness. Next time we will also cardamon for a little extra something!
Lola17 October 10, 2022
There are a few things I’d change with this recipe. There was too much topping to apples for my liking.
For one, this could not completely cook at 400° for 30min. I had to cook for 1hr., so I would just change it to 375° for 1hr.

Instead of a 8”x8”, make in a 9”x13”, increase apples to 5, but keep the same topping recipe (I used 1/2 tsp Morton’s). Also, peel the apples. Not sure if I’d make this exact recipe again or try another one. No one said WOW delish.. it was meh.
Sue October 10, 2022
This recipe has way too much salt. Enough so that salt is the dominate flavor. It really ruins the recipe.
Leslie October 9, 2022
Why not just use almond flour, instead of the whole almonds and white flour? Haven't made it yet, but going to try it that way -- only with blueberries, instead of apples because I have a freezer full of those. Wil let you know how it turns out :)
Sherry W. October 10, 2022
Can't wait to hear how it turned out!
les C. October 10, 2022
Almond flour is made from almonds that have been blanched and skins removed.By grinding nuts whole the author is essentially making almond meal that will produce a more coarse texture with superior almond flavor.
The P. October 9, 2022
Five minutes to go it looks and smells wonderful. At the halfway point I turned the heat down to 375F and then covered the baking dish with a sheet of foil to prevent burning the topping.
rgupta October 9, 2022
This was excellent. Any suggestions on how one could sub out some of the butter? Would applesauce work?
Debra C. October 9, 2022
I assume that’s 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt?
Cheryl October 9, 2022
Mercergirl October 9, 2022
My tip: Make a double batch of crisp topping and keep the extra in your freezer. You can make a crisp in an instant: butter a ramekin, add fruit of choice, top with crumble, and bake. You can bake a crisp for 2 while eating dinner and dessert is ready when you're done.
This is good as-is, but I like it better with walnuts or pecans instead of almonds.