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 95 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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  • Carol says:

    You say in the article that your secret is double the crisp. Did you already do that in the instructions? Or do we need to double the oats, flour & brown sugar to 4 cups?

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Yes, the instructions are complete. Just follow them for a double crust.

  • Jaime says:

    Just curious if the Challenge butter is salted or unsalted ? Thank you

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      I used unsalted butter but either works.

  • Emily says:

    Made this recipe last night for my whole family with my mil and sil, 7 people in total. Everyone loved it. They may have griped while making it, but the taste could not be beat. They want to make it again tonight! Absolutely delicious. We didn’t have Granny Smith apples, but we substituted Harlekin apples that we picked for a local orchard yesterday. Absolutely fabulous! Will make again and recommend to anyone looking for a great recipe!

  • Maribeth Stefanak says:

    Hi, the recipe sounds delicious and I haven’t tried it yet but I will. The amount you made for the top and bottom crust was used by the recipe that you have written out? Do we double the oats, brown sugar, etc. or just use what we make>

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Hi, yes, just follow the written recipe exactly and you will have the double crust.

  • Lois says:

    Haven’t tried this recipe yet, but have found with other apple crisp recipes that the oatmeal stays hard & doesn’t soften, even when using quick oats, which is not appetizing when you’re eating it. Does it soften in this recipe?

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      No, it is not soft and mushy. 🙂

  • Lora Swick says:

    We are making this today our grandson is allergic to so many foods and milk products. So I am using a vegetarian stick butter. He loves oatmeal and apples. Thank you for this recipe.

  • Judy says:

    I like all of the recipes.

  • Dianne Knoben says:

    I think you mean this recipe has “won” not “one” many blue ribbons! Thanks!!

  • cornelia smele says:


  • Nelly says:


  • Gaye Blaine says:

    I like Challenge butter because I read the pkg and want to help the milk producers make a living. One farm lady to other farmers!!

  • Irene Allen says:

    Best Apple Crisp recipe ever!

  • Laura Brito-Hazelton says:

    It sure looks very tempting!
    I will make it today!

  • Rebeccah D says:

    So, so good!! Tastes like homemade without a ton of work. This is a recipe I’ll be remaking for years to come!!

  • Keaton says:

    As a school teacher I zero in on mistakes. Please proofread your writing. The first error I spotted was that this recipe “one” several blue ribbons. Oh honey, you must know better than that. There were more but then I couldn’t keep reading. I hope your recipe is error free because I intend to try it. It sounds delicious!

  • Edna Queen says:

    Can I cut this in half and make it in an 8 x8 pan? There is only two of us and 9 x 13 is a bit too much for two people.

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Yes, you could cut the recipe in half.

  • Dianne Knoben says:

    Boy, I sure don’t know what I did wrong but this was the driest apple crisp I’ve ever made. I do know that the apples I used were not ideal, I used Cortland, on the advice of the farmer’s market manager in St Paul, I think. They were just like I’d put applesauce in the center instead of apples. I had Honeycrisps too that I could have used!! But that shouldn’t have made the crust & topping barely able to be swallowed cuz it was so dry. I didn’t use Challenge because I only had 3 quarters & we use it for toast, bagels & other things. I’m 90 miles round trip from the Challenge source so. I’m really disappointed in how this turned out.

  • Thomas Boyle says:

    My family is attending deer camp this week. I already got my buck so I am trying to help my wife Patricia with the cooking. We just made this recipe this evening. Super easy and super good! Very impressed! Thanks, Tom and Patricia

  • Judith says:

    Reply to Keaton, School Teacher,
    You reminded me of a dear friend, who was a teacher in her younger years, who was looking at the end of her life at 92 years old. She agonized at the many student papers that she “red marked” in her attempt to teach them. She now realized that her excessive corrections dampened their spirits more than helped them. Oh Honey, don’t be “red marking” everyone in life!

  • Elizabeth Gordillo says:

    My family love it, thank you

  • Tayyaba Asif says:

    Awesome looks yummiest I don’t know about taste but definitely iam going to try

  • Terese Santaro-Gustke says:

    Made this today for my family. I used Honeycrisp apples. It came out absolutely delicious! I’ll definitely be making this again! Thank you for another fantastic recipe!

  • Naomi says:

    I would love to make this soon. My son is gluten free. Any recommendations to replace the flour in the crisp?

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Naomi! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. You can substitute gluten-free flour at a 1:1 ratio. However, we have not tried any flour substitutions in this recipe, so I can’t speak for its effectiveness. Let us know if you try it, and have a great day!

  • Holly Kitaresku says:

    If I can’t find challenge butter can I use regular butter? And if so how much do I use??

  • Debbie Ross says:

    Loved this recipe so much that I’ve made two batches, one with chopped walnuts .. and one without for family with nut allergy..
    this is a keeper! Thank you Amanda!