Like the best apple pie ever, but easier as a crisp.
This deep-dish easy apple crisp recipe with oatmeal and brown sugar streusel topping, has all the satisfaction of a homemade apple pie, in half the time and work.
All About This Easy Apple Crisp Recipe With Oats Streusel
When it comes to fall and winter baking, a warm homemade apple crisp with oatmeal streusel topping hits all the right marks: sweet, cinnamon-kissed apples generously topped with a brown sugar and oat streusel, baked to golden-brown perfection.
Best of all? This apple crisp recipe does not require a pie crust. Instead, apples are layered right into a pie pan, topped with an easy crumb streusel topping, and baked.
This gives you all the satisfaction of apple pie, with a lot less work. Now read on for all the details, and the recipe.
Apple Crisp vs. Crumble vs. Cobbler vs. Pie
The terms apple crisp and apple crumble are often used interchangeably. And the general idea is the same: sliced apples tossed with sugar and cinnamon on the bottom, topped with a streusel made from some combination of butter, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and perhaps nuts or oats.
But for those who sometimes like to get technical (and I count myself among those people), here’s the difference between apple crumble and apple crisp:
- An apple crisp has a streusel topping made with oats
- But apple crumble has a streusel topping made without oats
- And apple cobbler has a biscuit topping
- Apple pie has a pie dough shell
How to Make the Apple Crisp Topping With Oatmeal
This is an apple crisp, and stays true to the oat streusel crumb topping. The recipe is simple:
- In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of brown sugar with 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup oatmeal, cinnamon, and salt. Mix.
- Add cold, diced butter. Work it in with your hands until crumbly.
- Chill until ready to use.
Be sure to use rolled oats and not quick oats. Quick oats tend to become lost in the recipe. Rolled oats have more structure and will remain visible when baked. The oatmeal crisp texture should be like wet, crumbly sand.
Apple Crisp and Oatmeal Topping: Recipe Steps
After you make the apple oatmeal crisp topping, make the apple filling.
- Peel and slice the apples.
- Toss the apples with sugar, flour, a pinch of salt, cinnamon, and a squirt of lemon juice. Lemon juice brightens the flavor of the apples.
- Pour the apples into a deep-dish pie plate. Give them a light press to settle them into the pie plate.
- Top the apples with the crisp topping.
- Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until the apples are bubbly and the crisp topping is golden brown, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Cool for about 20 minutes, then serve on its own or with vanilla ice cream.
Which Apples Are Best for Baking Apple Crisps and Pies?
All apples are not created equal, especially when it comes to baking them.
The best baking apples for pies, tarts, crisps, and crumbles are apples that keep their structure and don’t turn to applesauce when baked. The key is to find a very crisp apple with some note of tartness, not overly sweet.
My favorite baking apples for pie and crisps are:
- Tart, crisp Granny Smith apples. But I also love:
- Pink Lady, and
Which Apples Are Worst for Apple Pie, Crisps, and Cobblers?
Not to hate on this widely-available apple, but if you have an option, avoid Red Delicious apples. I think this is true in general, but especially for baking.
The pale color and often mealy texture of Red Delicious, combined with a blandly sweet flavor, will not make an apple dessert with the flavor or texture you deserve.
With the right apples and little effort, you can have an amazing fall apple dessert.
You’ll also love these favorite fall and winter desserts:
- Apple Pie With All-Butter Crust
- Pumpkin Donut Muffins Rolled in Cinnamon Sugar
- Fresh Pear Cake
- How to Make Perfect Pie Dough
Apple Crisp With Oatmeal Topping
For the Oatmeal Crisp Topping (Crumble or Streusel)
- 1 cup light brown or dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 stick (1/2 cup; 1/4 pound) cold, unsalted butter, diced
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup rolled oats (not quick oats)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
For the Apple Crisp and to Finish
- 7 or 8 medium apples, such as Honeycrisp or Granny Smith
- ¾ cup sugar (maybe more depending on the tartness of the apples)
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- pinch salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F, and lightly grease a deep-dish 9" or standard 10" pie plate.
For the Oatmeal Crisp Streusel Topping
- In a mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon, and salt. Stir to mix.
- Add the diced, cold butter. Work the butter into the sugar-flour mixture with your fingers until the texture resembles coarse, damp sand. Refrigerate until ready to use.
For the Apples and to Finish the Apple Crisp
- Peel the apples and cut them into wedges. Put the apple slices in a large mixing bowl as you go. PRO TIP: Here's how to cut apples for apple pie or crisp. Using a sharp knife on a cutting board, place each apple right-side up so that the stem faces upward. Slice the apple on either side of the core, creating two halves. Place the remaining apple on the cutting board, and cut the remaining flesh on either side of the core. Discard the core. Cut the two apple halves into thirds or so, creating wedges. It doesn't have to be perfect.
- Combine the sliced apples with the sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, and lemon juice.
- Pour the apples into the deep-dish 9" pie pan, or a standard 10" pan. Press the apples lightly to settle them evenly into the pie plate and eliminate any large air pockets.
- Use a large spoon or your hand to cover the apples completely with the crisp topping. Use it all up; you want it to be a substantial layer. Do not worry if some of the crumble falls into gaps in the apples.
- Bake the apple crisp for 45 minutes to 1 hour on the center rack of the oven, until the apples are bubbly and the crisp is a golden brown. PRO TIP: Many apple pies are baked at 425°F. But this bakes at 400°F to slow browning, due to the high sugar content of the oatmeal topping. If your crisp starts too brown too much before the apples are cooked, lightly tent the top of the crisp with foil. PRO TIP #2: Place a rimmed baking sheet or aluminum foil beneath the crisp as it bakes to catch any juices that bubble over.
- Let the finished apple crisp cool, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
Fawn R. says
Delicious crumble recipe. I love using Granny Smiths.
Excellent! The streusel is very, very good and I loved the cinnamon sugar flavor in the apples.
loved this very straightforward recipe.
Love this. Thanks. I am wondering if the streusel can be made ahead?
Definitely. Put it in an airtight container or plastic bag. It can be made up to 3 days in advance, or frozen for a couple months. You can put the streusel right onto the fruit from frozen; no need to defrost.
Turned out great! I love the streusel recipe.
So delicious! My family enjoyed so much and easy to put together.
Kay Johnson says
just curious.. at the beginning, it says to heat oven to 375, but then at bottom it says to bake at 400, which is it?
Yikes! Typo! My apologies. Either will work (it will just vary the time a little, but I changed it to 400 degrees for consistency. Thanks so much for pointing that out.
no problem! thanks for replying so fast!! going to try this for Thanksgiving! 🙂
how much cinnamon in the apple mixture? it says cinnamon in directions but doesn’t have it in the ingredients list! help! I’m making this rt now
Kay! Hello and my apologies for this! I’ve had some software updates running and it is making some recipes glitchy. I restored a previous version. You’ll add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon to the apple mixture. That said, I realize that you wrote this several hours ago, so I hope it turned out well. Even if you didn’t add any (or added a little more than this), it will taste absolutely delicious. All the best, and my deep apologies for the missing quantity.
It’s been a while since I asked baking &cooking questions…I’ve got one :
“If I change out the oatmeal for chopped walnuts,how do you think the baking time & temperature should change (if at all).
BTW for anyone reading,I’ve made Lisa’s Apple Pie &Crisp-both are AWESOME.. Her recipes are all very,very good ! And the directions are easy to understand & make sense. I’ve learned a lot .
Hi, Lisa! So good to hear from you, and thank you for such kind words! Made my day. That’s an interesting question. I have never tried using all nuts instead of oatmeal, but my instinct says to lower the oven temperature a bit, since nuts will toast easily. So try lowering the temperature by 25 degrees, and bake for a longer period. You still want the apple crisp to be bubbling when it’s done and for the apples to cook through. Let me know how it turns out!
I was wondering if the pie was freezable? Either prior to cooking or after baking. That way I can keep one in freezer and take out, defrost and either bake or reheat as needed.
Hi, Jacquie! Good question. Yes, this is freezable. Place it in the freezer, unbaked and covered tightly with plastic wrap, and then bake it directly from the freezer without thawing first. It will take an extra 30 to 40 minutes to bake. If the top starts to look to dark while baking, just tent it with foil.
Peter J. says
Love this streusel. I use it for all of my crumbles. Did a blueberry crisp over the summer with it and everyone loved it.
great recipe for both streusel and the apple crisp
After going a bit overboard apple-picking (Galas, Honeycrisps, and Johnagolds) I ended up making three of these. Mine was in a deep-dish pie pan, the others were in foil 8×8 pans. The friends I gave them to were absolutely rhapsodic about how delicious the crisp was, and I completely agree. I learned one thing, though: under no circumstances do I want to be a professional baker!
Hahah! Yes, that was a LOT of apple baking. But I am so glad you and your loved ones enjoyed the results. (And let’s be honest: It’s impossible not to go overboard with apple picking — it’s so much fun!) Thanks for writing.
Can I assemble early in the day and then bake before dinner?
Yes, but hold the crumble separately in the fridge until you’re about to bake it, so it doesn’t absorb the juices and become less crisp than it should be when baked!
I’d like to make this as one of my Thanksgiving desserts and am wondering if I can also add dried cranberries? If so, what quantity would you suggest? Thank you and happy Thanksgiving!
You can! Soak them in warm water first, for about 15 minutes. I’d go with about 1/2 cup. Great idea, and you’ll get a nice pop of color, too.