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. 🙂

4.93 from 68 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.

Recipe Video

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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  • Maryann says:

    Can I make this recipe with peaches?

  • Marie Rehmann K. says:

    Excellent recipe with great flavor. The best I’ve ever baked! It’s Yummy-Good! 👍🏼😃

  • Heather says:

    How many apples roughy gives you 10 cups

  • Patricia Cosgrove says:

    I like the skin, so I don’t peel the apples. I have friends who can’t deal with flour so I just use oatmeal. This makes the recipe very easy and healthy.

  • Maritza says:

    What would be the best ice cream flavor to top this with? I want to make it for my boyfriend’s Thanksgiving dinner!

    • Krissa says:

      I’d think a simple French vanilla would be best

  • Debbie says:

    I tried this recipe. For me it was way to sweet and I didn’t feel that the ingredients needed to be on the bottom. DIsapointed sorry not a five star for me.

  • Amber says:

    This recipe is the best Apple Crisp I have ever had

  • Susan says:

    Going to make this now

  • Mary says:

    Delicious! My family loved it.

  • naomi hindman says:

    I absolutely love the apple crisp never thought of putting crumb mixture on the bottom, what Brilliance.

  • Donna says:

    Hi! I was so excited about making this apple crisp. I followed the instructions exactly and baked it for 35 mins, but my top didn’t brown. I didn’t want to over bake so I ended up putting it under the broiler to brown it up. Any idea why?

  • Kelly Malm says:

    Great recipe!
    A little to sweet, I will cut back on the sugar next time. My husband doesn’t usually like the topping, let alone a crust but he said this recipe converted him. I baked mine for 1 your as I added a bit more apple mixture.
    It’s a winner! 😀

  • Cathy says:

    Just tried it today. Is on the grill now as my oven doesn’t work. Will let you know how it turns out. Excited to see for myself.

  • Kate L says:

    Could it be made with cooking apples or would they go all mushy.
    Thanks… 🙂

  • Denise says:

    I love to bake and I love to try new recipes. I won’t be looking for another apple crisp recipe. This was amazing!

  • Charlotte Christensen says:

    This looked so good I had to try it. Turns out if you forget to mix in the flour with the apples, you get apple topping!! It was delicious!!! Put it on ice cream!!! Saved the day!!!!

  • Eileen says:

    Don’t laugh but for a shortcut could you use canned apple pie filling?

  • Amanda says:

    I made this tonight. I followed the directions, but even after 45 minutes at 375 it was not done. There were un-crisped areas on the top, and the apples weren’t quite done. I melted some butter and poured it over the spots that had not crisped. I bumped up the oven temp. to 400 degrees. Another 5 or 10 minutes at 400, and about 1 minute under the broiler, and it was finally done to perfection! I served it with some vanilla ice cream and it was delicious!!! My boys also gave it two thumbs up each!

  • Kate says:

    How can I print it?

  • Clare says:

    It was awesome

  • Deborah says:

    Wow best ever

  • Candy says:

    Won’t make again way to sweet so much brown sugar took away the taste of the apples

    • Amanda says:

      So sorry! I do recommend a Granny Smith apple in this recipe. 🙂

  • Louise says:

    This was absolutely delicious, thanks Amanda! My pregnancy craving yesterday was apple crisp and this totally hit the spot! So glad I found your perfect recipe. Saving this one for sure 🙂
    (ps it’s not too sweet like others have commented!)

  • Manal says:

    Can i do it ahead and keep it in the fridge until baking time hope to answer me soon I’m making it tomorrow thanks

  • Aimee Enright says:

    😋 Yum!I love the crisp in Apple crisp 🍎 so this recipe is sweeter than any other recipe I’ve tried. Also homemade brown sugar…THANKYOU

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