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 99 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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  • Kitten says:

    This is delucious, love the double “crisp”. I used pink lady apples as honeycrisp are hard to find this time of year. I did the 35 minutes on this one and will try the 45 minute one on three days when I can have solid food. Can’t wait!

  • Cathy says:

    Salted or unsalted butter?

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Cathy! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. We used salted butter. Have a great day!

  • Lana Bridge says:

    Hi, I was just wondering if there’s any adjustments for high altitude baking, thank you

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Lana! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. We have some high altitude baking tips that you could check out. Have a great day!

  • Veenas says:

    Wonderful Recipe Apple Crisp. I Enjoyed the Video How to Cook. I’ll definitely be Make this One Time in My Home. Thank You for Sharing.

  • Debora says:

    I can’t wait to try this recipe you never disappoint!!! Yum

  • LadyVEE says:

    The absolute BEST Apple Crisp EVER! The crust is beyond amazing and the taste beyond what I was expecting. I used Granny Smith and the dish disappeared at church. Now I have bushels of apples for next week to duplicate this amazing recipe. Thank you so much for sharing amazing recipes 😋.

  • Betty Schiess says:

    They look good I think I can made them gluten free

  • Lucia says:

    Loved 🥰 💜💜

  • Ruth says:

    Tasted great.has more ingredients then what I’m used to.

  • Genell says:

    I made this yesterday (11/8/2020) and it’s all gone.Now family wants me to make some more, which I am about to. 😁

  • Mary says:

    I’ve made many different Apple crisps in my many years of baking and this is the absolute best.

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Thrilled to hear it, Mary!

  • Amy says:

    By far the BEST apple crisp recipe I’ve ever tried! The family loves it…ask for it often😊 Have made this recipe 7 times and counting!!!

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      That’s awesome, Amy!! Thank you for letting me know!

  • lisa ludwig says:

    can you make it in advance and freeze it

  • Samantha says:

    Can i make this a day before thanksgiving and warm it for thanksgiving?
    please let me know what temp and how much time youd suggest!

  • Alexa says:

    This is my first time making apple crisp, and I’m pretty sure this will be the only recipe I ever try. Wow is this delicious! I cut the recipe in half because I was just making it for my little family of 3, and I’m sort of regretting doing that since I could probably eat the whole thing by myself 😂 thank you for this recipe!

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Ha! Love it Alexa! <3

  • Victoria says:

    This is my favorite Apple Crisp recipe! I’ve cooked it 4 times how and am cooking it for thanksgiving!!

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Yay! Happy Thanksgiving!

  • K says:

    I ran out of oatmeal I only had 1 cup so I substituted 1 cup of granola and it came out with a little extra crunch! It was heavenly.

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Great idea!

  • Alex says:

    So easy, and so delicious. Excellent ratio of simplicity to results!

  • Jodi MacMinn says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE!! My friend who ate it with me said it was the best he has ever had!! I would have to agree with him! And we used old random apples.

  • Jill says:

    When adjusting the recipe down to serve 6, other ingredients make no sense. There’s no way the topping makes 6 cups and there’s confusion about the amount of butter. Instructions say .5 cups of butter and in parenthesis it says 2 sticks. Huh?

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      The items in parenthesis will not change when making adjustments, only the initial ingredient amount. So decreasing it down to 6 servings will make it .5 cups of butter, or 1/2 cup butter, or 1 stick of butter. Hope that helps!

  • Patty Schweiger says:

    I just finished making this for my husband. It turned out great and he’s currently back for seconds!

  • Melanie says:

    Always thankful for your yummy goodness recipes. Thankyou for sharing

  • Marsha Kormanik says:

    I will try this recipe, made your Lemon Coffee Cream Cheese Cake delicious but awfully rich.

  • María Canfield says:

    Love ❤️ Your Recipes easy to follow steps and Ingredients are on hand thank you 🙏

  • Zethu says:

    I cannot wait to try this! Hello! Zethu here from South Africa!