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 69 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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  • Eileen Winter says:

    Can I use my frozen apples for this recipe?

    • Amanda says:

      I have not made this with frozen apples so can’t speak to it’s effectiveness.

  • Barbara says:

    The best Apple crisp ever!!!

  • Carolyn kelly says:

    Is this recipe freezer friendly

  • Karen Ottenbreit says:

    I tried this recipe. Even though I used Granny Smith apples, It was way too sweet for my taste. Next time I will 1/2 the amount of sugar in both the apple filling and crumble. I did really like the extra crumble though! I was afraid the bottom crumble crust wouldn’t bake well enough.

  • Pat says:

    I didn’t see a nutrition guide, everyone likes to know how many carbs and calories they eat…

  • Marilyn says:

    Too sweet. I suggest cutting the sugar in half and adding more oats.

  • Ann Marie C Murphy says:

    I made this last night for husband, son, daughter-in-law, and 3 grandchildren. It was a huge success. I served it warm with vanilla ice cream and caramel syrup.Delicious!!!!!

  • Donna Morris says:

    Oooo this recipe is THE best! You can taste every ingredient. I used real butter n wasn’t stingy! Soooo good.

  • Janna Sanders says:

    Challenge Butter is the best! My pick for everything butter!❤️

  • Jeff & Libby Bergman says:

    Try adding a bit of chopped black walnuts and drizzle a tiny bit of Carmel on top. Please state what kind of oats you are using.too. Quick oats or Old Fashioned. Thank you! I’ll try it soon.

  • Holly says:

    I just made this and it is DEEEEELICIOUS! I modified the amount of sugar, though. I used only about 1/4 cup of brown sugar in the apples and only 1 cup of brown sugar in the oat mixture. It’s plenty sweet and if you add ice cream or whipped topping it’s still not over the top sweet. I highly recommend this recipe but definitely reduce the amount of sugar. Thanks 😊

  • Abby says:

    Can you use old fashion oats??

  • Rachel says:

    Salted or unsalted butter

  • Salma Kazi says:

    I also want your tomato soup recipe,can you send me the recipe.

  • Sandy says:

    I love your recipes. But this is one of my favorites. But i think goo much sugar definitly.
    One hint I would like to give is to add some lemon to the apples no matter how sour they are. Gives it a plus tang. Going to use your recipe minus so much sugar and see how it goes. Your the best baker.l

  • Michelle says:

    I wanted crispy top and bottom, so I blind baked the bottom oat layer only for 5 minutes, then added apples and top crisp mixture and baked for 35 minutes. Perfectly crisp, top and bottom, no need to tent.

    Thank you. It’s delicious….

  • GerryDownen says:

    Want to see the finished product!

  • Amy P says:

    I made this for Easter and it was amazing!! Thank you for such a great and easy recipe! Happy Easter xo

  • Joy says:

    Just made this and WOW it is incredibly good! I used half truvia brand brown sugar (75% less calories than regular brown sugar) and half dark brown sugar. I also used margarine instead of butter to reduce saturated fat content. I added salt to both the apples and the crust. Topped with vanilla frozen greek yogurt. YUM! It’s so sweet the sugar could be reduced some – but very happy with this recipe.

  • Elizabeth P says:

    I am making this recipe right now, and OMG does it look amazing and the smell 😋 i can’t wait till it comes out of the oven!!! Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  • Lynn says:

    Love Love Your Recipes

  • Mema Diva says:

    I substituted almond flour for the white flour and added a couple teaspoons of apple pie spice and Mexican vanilla. It was delicious.

  • cjwl says:

    Terrific recipe.
    Thanks for sharing it.


  • Gail Troyer says:

    A-mazing!!! Was the hit at the party! Thank you!

  • Tisha says:

    I don’t have granny Smith, but I have a bunch of gala apples that I need to use. Would those work?

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