The Best Apple Crisp

filed under: Pies + Tarts on March 8, 2020

  Are you looking for the BEST Apple Crisp Recipe? One that is full of flavor and perfected over time to be a NO-FAIL recipe? This is it. My secret? DOUBLE the crisp! I am making this and my Sugar Cookie Recipe as well as a Piggy Pie Dessert and Pumpkin Crisp for the holidays! (And if you are short on time, try my Apple Dump Cake!)

The Best Apple Crisp on Plate with Fork and Ice Cream

Apple Crisp Recipe

If you are anything like me, you always think your recipe is the best. I was convinced that the apple crisp I have been making for the last couple years couldn’t be beaten but was I ever wrong. I tried this recipe last fall and have made it at least 15 times since. It is perfect every single time!

It is the ideal combination of rich oat crisp paired with a slightly tart apple (this is important, I will tell you why below) and just the right about of buttery richness. If you are looking for the best apple crisp you have ever tried, look no further. My Pumpkin Crisp recipe isn’t too shabby, either!

I opted for Challenge Butter and to make sure that my cake would be the best tasting pound cake you will ever try!

Challenge Butter is made the old-fashioned way, from the freshest milk and cream from happy cows at family-owned dairies. In fact, Challenge is the only major U.S. dairy product company that controls the whole process when it comes to making its butter, from milking the cows, to transporting milk, to making the butter to packaging and distributing. Talk about quality control!

How to Make Apple Crisp, Raw Ingredients in Bowl and on Cutting Board

Brown Sugar Apple Crisp

Most recipes call for all granulated sugar or 1/2 granulated and 1/2 brown. While these recipes are sweet, they lack the depth of flavor that all brown sugar adds. And after you try this apple crisp, you will definitely understand what I mean! I used light brown sugar, but you can definitely use dark brown sugar as well. If you don’t happen to have any brown sugar on hand, you can always make your own!

Homemade Brown Sugar
For light brown sugar add 1-2 tablespoons of molasses to 1 cup of granulated sugar. For dark brown sugar add 3-4 tablespoons to 1 cup of granulated sugar. I like to mix up a big batch in my food processor but you can also mix by hand if you prefer.

Pan Showing Bottom Layer of Double Crisp Apple Crisp with Apples on Top

Oat Mixture

As you can see I use brown sugar in the apple coating as well as the oat mixture. (This is what makes it a crisp! A “crumble” used to not include oats, but the names are used interchangeably today.) But let’s talk about the butter because that is equally important! I like to use good quality butter like Challenge Butter.

One thing that makes this recipe unique is that the oat mixture is used on the top AND the bottom. The amazing thing about this layer is that it changes depending on how long you bake the crisp.

If you bake at 375°F for 35 minutes, the bottom oat mixture will be slightly caramelized and gooey while the top will be perfect crispy deliciousness.

If you bake at 375°F for 45 minutes, the bottom oat mixture will be crispy throughout. The top will be darker, but if you prefer a less dark crispy top you can add a foil tent to the crisp after 35 minutes.

Apple Crisp Bite on a Fork with Ice Cream and Caramel

Best Apples to Use in an Apple Crisp

It is important to use tart apples in order to get that tang that contrasts well with the buttery topping in an apple crisp. Honeycrisp (they are crisp and juicy with a honey-sweet and tart flavor) or Granny Smith (they are crisp and very sour) are my top two favorites. The Honeycrisp was developed right here in Minnesota. #proudMinnesotan Either of those apples is ideal, but you could also do a combination of the two. Some folks in my extended family love to do a combination of a sweet apple (like Golden Delicious) and a tart apple. When we sampled this version we did enjoy it but found that the leftovers did not reheat as nicely as the version will all tart apples. (they were mushier than we liked)

This recipe calls for 10 cups of apples after they are peeled and sliced. I found this to be anywhere from 7-9 apples depending on the size. When preparing this recipe I like to wait until the very last moment to peel and cut my apples as I want them to stay as crisp as possible. And whatever you do, don’t skip the peeling!

Apple Crisp on a Gray Plate with Fork

Want to Make This into an Apple Crumble?

Years ago there was a more notable distinction between Crisps and Crumbles. Usually, crumbles did not include oats; it was a wonderful mixture of flour, sugar, butter, and sometimes even nuts like walnuts or pecans. Today, the lines are very blurry between crisps and crumbles and the names are actually used interchangeably. However, you could simply add nuts to this recipe and call it the Best Apple Crumble and no one would be the wiser. 🙂

4.95 from 100 votes
Apple Crisp
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins

Once you try this recipe you will never want another! Perfection in every bite!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Apple Crisp, apple crisp recipe
Servings: 12 large pieces
Calories: 422 kcal
Author: Amanda Rettke
Apple Mixture
  • 10 cups Granny Smith apples peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 cup (200g) brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Crisp Mixture
  • 2 cups (180g) quick-cooking oats
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (400g) packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks, 226g) Challenge Butter cubed while cold
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Prepare a 9x13 pan with baking spray or coating with butter.

Apple Mixture
  1. Place sliced apples in a bowl. Add brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Stir gently and make sure every piece of apple is covered in the sugar mixture. Set aside.

Crisp Mixture
  1. Combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon together. Add in the cubed butter and use your hands to combine. You want the butter to be pea-sized and coated entirely. You should have 6 cups. 

  2. Spread 3 cups over the bottom of your prepared pan and press flat. Pour the apple mixture over top and press down with rubber spatula. Pour remaining crisp mixture over top of the apples and bake uncovered at 375°F for 35-45 minutes.

Thank you for supporting the brands that support us here at iambaker! It has been a dream of mine to partner with Challenge Butter and I am just thrilled to be able to share a product that I love and use!

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  • Erin Ward says:

    Can this be made in a cast iron skillet? I want to make apple crisp when we go camping because this sounds so yummy!

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Yes, you will need a 12-inch skillet.

  • Arleen Edwards says:

    I have enjoyed your recipes and Love Apple Pie. I can’t wait to make one. Keep up the baking and please continue to post!

  • Jordan says:

    I don’t have quick cooking oats on hand but I have regular oats will that work as well? I would love to try this.

  • Janell says:

    We are able to pickup school lunches a week at a time due to the pandemic, and find ourselves overrun with apples often. Decided to give this recipe a try and it did not disappoint! The double crisp is a nice change. Will definitely make this again and again! Have followed you forever and love every recipe I’ve ever tried. (We’re big Shirley fans too 😉 )

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Thank you so much! <3 Really glad you enjoyed it!

  • Sarah Brigham says:

    This looks delicious! Can’t wait to try!

  • Kerena says:

    Delicious! It needed salt though so I added 1 teaspoon of chunky kosher salt to the crust. Perfect!

  • Deanna says:

    Best apple crisp ever! My family loves it

  • Rhoda Hill says:

    I thought this was just ok. Just not exactly what I was looking for. need to keep searching for the best apple crisp. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Iambaker

  • Joe Kudzin says:

    This is fabulous, have made it several times and it lasts 1 dinner. Can you sub peaches for the apples without changing anything else for ingredients?

  • Mel says:

    I’ve been looking for a similar recipe for making rhubarb crisp, I think I’ll try it with rhubarb and see.

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Mel! I work with iambaker and am happy to help. Here is a rhubarb crisp recipe you might love! Have a great day!

  • Barbara Skinner says:

    This sounds perfect! I’ve just picked up 50 lbs of peaches so I might use them instead of applese – maybe adding a bit of cornstarch/arroroot because the peaches are juicier – what do you think?

  • Maria says:

    This recipe did not fail me! This was definitely one of the most DELICIOUS apple crisps I’ve ever tasted. Will be in heavy rotation once fall comes around. Thank you for sharing.

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      You are so welcome, Maria!

  • Phyllis says:

    Can you make the night before for an
    afternoon luncheon?

  • Patricia Lodahl says:

    In your apple crisp, can you just leave out the oats and nuts?

  • Shelly K. says:

    I have also added Carmel apple dip to the apples and make it a Carmel apple crisp, it is soooo good!

  • Chris says:

    This recipe is the bomb!! I did not peel my apples though and it was still delicious 🙂

  • Amy Baxter says:

    I made this last night and my guests RAVED about it. One even called me this morning to say they were still thinking about it!

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      This is what I love to read!!! They will forever remember you and your amazing apple crisp! <3

  • Amy Baxter says:

    We topped it with vanilla ice cream and a homemade salted caramel sauce as well

  • Hannah says:

    So delicious! Was the perfect, best apple crisp. Took it to a Bible study and it was devoured. Everyone loved it. Served with vanilla ice cream and caramel syrup. Thank you for this recipe!

  • John Legg says:

    I plan to try your recipe. But I wanted to suggest Cameo apples. They are the best.

  • Jeannette Burnett says:

    This looks like it would be great. I can’t wait to try it. I will not be able to fix it for Thanks giving,but when I do I think I will cut back on the brown sugar a little. Even using Granny Smith able,which we eat a lot, that seams to be a lot of sugar. I will have to try it before I fix it for guests.

  • Jeannette Burnett says:

    What is Challenge Butter?

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      A brand of butter.

  • Verona Burns says:

    What can I do to make this an 8 X 8 size ??

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Cut the recipe in half. 🙂

  • Shirley Freeman says:

    I’m always looking up Apple Crisp recipe, especially in the fall season of the year. I happy to add yours to my collection. I will not wait until fall to make it though ☺️!!

  • Annette says:

    You are Amazing! I love following your blog and I especially love your recipes

  • I Am Baker Logo

    Brand new recipes that people find kinda acceptable.