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. 🙂

4.94 from 79 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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  • Mary Conrad says:

    WOW! Can’t wait to try your bread I haven’t baked bread in ages. Will surprise Hubby! Speaking of Hubby he loves tea biscuits….do you have a tea biscuit recipe?I’ve tried a couple of recipes but don’t like them. Three weeks ago I discovered Pecan Maple Fudge. So smooth ….. smells delicious & melts in your mouth. (I know that it’s a cardinal sin …. but it’s better than the butter tarts in Ontario Canada. When we go home to visit they always surprise me with plenty of tarts. The area where I was born & raised they have a TART TOUR …. numerous bakers.) I was talking with my sister yesterday & she didn’t believe me. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes!

  • Christina says:

    It says to your “prepared pan” what do you do to the pan to prepare it?

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Some folks like to spray with non-stick spray, some like to line with parchment, some use homemade pan release, some use the butter & flour method. It’s just what you prefer.

  • Jessica says:

    This was delicious!!! My whole family loved it. Perfect dish to make during Covid-19 pandemic!

    Thank you for this recipe!

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Thrilled you all enjoyed it, Jessica! <3

  • Gina says:

    Soooo delicious! Loved that it had a top AND bottom crust. Kiddo had it again for breakfast. Hey – it’s apples and oats! It’s healthy(ish)! Adding this recipe to our “go-to” list.

  • Danielle says:

    I can’t find baking soda at the store. Is it ok to omit?

  • Karen Finley says:

    These times of adjusting to life is very hard for all of us, I noticed that the things that we’re taught me when I was younger has gotten myself to abetter state of mind. Thanks to these people with their help of bringing younger days forth.

  • Nancy says:

    This recipe is the best I sometimes use apple pie filling instead of peeled apples turns out delicious. Only recipe I will use thank you

  • Denise says:

    I just made this and it is the best dang apple crisp on the planet! Who would have thought about putting some of the crisp under the Apple??? Sooooo goooood!

  • Helen says:

    Amanda, how many apples are 10 cups? I only have 4 apples. Would love to make this for my son when he returns back home at the end of this week. My son is a registered nurse in the ICU in NYC and has been staying in a hotel so that he doesn’t have to travel back and forth to the suburbs. Thank you

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      I work with iambaker and am happy to help out with questions!
      Hi, Helen! You would need about eleven apples for 10 cups, so I would recommend going to the recipe and adjusting the serving size in half to get the updated recipe. Please tell your son we all appreciate what he is doing, and to stay safe! Have a great day!

  • Pam Grieder says:

    Was looking for an oats crisp recipe

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Pam! I work with iambaker and am happy you found this recipe. I hope you love it and have a great day!

  • penny says:

    Could i use peaches instead of apples?

  • Dee says:

    Can’t wait to try this!

  • Kimberly says:

    I like a more thicker crunchy topping for apple crisp
    But it never works when I try to make it
    What do I need to do to make it

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Kimberly! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. The double crust in this recipe does give that extra crunch to it. You could always use a little less on the bottom to make the topping a little thicker. Have a great day!

  • Nathalie says:

    This is the best apple crisp I have ever had & it was so easy!!!!
    Thank you.

  • DeDe says:

    Can I use old fashioned oats instead of quick oats? What kind of adjustment could I make to make this work?

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Yes, you can.

  • Nancy Badertscher says:

    Would Jonathan apples also work fine?

  • Elizabeth a Meaney says:

    This is the best apple crisp that I have ever made, thank you for all of your wonderful recipes.

  • Debbie Ross says:

    Tried this out in (covid19) July… A large recipe but had NO problem seeing it disappear. Family all agree that it’s the best I’ve made ever!! This is a KEEPER! And will always share my best faves. Now that my own apples are picked, today I start this crisp again … glad I found “I am baker dot net” 👍🏻

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Thank you! <3

  • Amy says:

    Do the quick cooking oats need to be cooked 1st?

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Nope. 🙂

  • Rebecca Silvester says:

    can you prep these and freeze? or bake them first and freeze?

  • Wanda Petrino says:

    I have all the ingredients set to go. Can’t wait to taste this delicious sounding recipe. It has enough topping (an bottom) to really make this into a winner. Thank you that nothing is skimped.

  • Debbie says:

    This dish is sooo delicious! My husband has requested that I make a second pan a week after I made the first! Thank you for sharing such a delectable dessert 🙂

  • Dora E Mendoza says:

    I loved your Apple Crisp Recipe, Easy and Has a Great Taste.

  • MaryAnn Suda says:

    Can pears be used instead of apples? Have a bushel full & looking for recipes!

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, MaryAnn! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. You could try this Gingered Pear Crisp recipe to use up your pears. Have a great day!

  • Heather Wolf says:

    This was absolutely delicious ! Everyone loves it including the neighbors . 😀