In this post: Apple crisp is a traditional American dessert that’s loved for its deep, intense flavor and simple ingredients. My mom added cinnamon, which pairs well with delicious apples. This recipe is the best apple crisp I’ve tasted.


One of the best parts of the autumn season is the abundance of apples. Red ones, green ones, tart ones, sweet ones. And all the good things you can bake with them, like my mom’s apple crisp!

apple crisp detail on a plate

When I originally made this recipe all I knew about apples is that Granny Smith apples should NOT be eaten raw (blech!) and my hubby adores Cortland apples more than any other kind. Of course, I’ve done some research since then and you can find more about the different types of apples below in the FAQ section of this recipe. 

Any kind of apple makes really great pie this time of year. However, I’m not much of a pie-maker and I always use pre-made crusts (check out my easiest ever apple pie recipe here), but I can throw together a mean crisp or compote (neither of which requires a fussy crust). And my favorite go-to easy dessert recipe is My Mom’s Apple Crisp.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

My Mom’s Apple Crisp is quite versatile: I can use anywhere from 6-10 apples depending on how big I want to make it, I can use the full amount of sugar for a sweet dessert or I can cut the sugar in half (or even substitute some sugar for honey or maple syrup), and I can make it gluten-free by using rice flour or a combination of rice flour and quinoa flakes. The best part is, after 27 years of practice, I can pretty much make it on the fly without a recipe!

This easy apple crisp recipe: 

  • is quick and easy to make
  • doesn’t require fancy equipment or hard-to-find ingredients
  • is totally adaptable to any dietary restrictions or allergies (see below for ideas)

Apple Crisp Ingredients

Apple filling ingredients:

  • Apples form the base of this dessert. Use 6-10 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced.
  • Brown sugar for some sweetness. Include up to a 1/2 cup brown sugar.
  • Flour of choice. Use 1 tablespoon flour of choice. 
  • Ground cinnamon. Liberally include 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (add an additional teaspoon cinnamon if you happen to be making it FOR my Mom!)
  • Salt. Use 1/4 teaspoon salt in the filling mixture. 

Crisp or crumble topping ingredients:

  • Flour or rolled oats make up the bulk of this delicious apple crisp topping. You will need about 3/4 cup flour or rolled oats, or a combination
  • Brown sugar paired with the butter will yield a crispy topping. 1 cup of brown sugar or less will do wonders!
  • Butter or oil helps to crisp up this homemade apple crisp topping. About 1/4 cup butter melted, or oil or vegan butter substitute will do the trick. 

Variations

  • Use solely pears or add in pears for a slightly different flavor profile. 
  • Include quinoa and flour instead of oats in the topping if you need to avoid oats. 
  • Add chopped nuts like walnuts, pecans, or almonds to the topping if desired. 
  • Try to reduce the sugar to see how you like it. Depending on the apples used, it can be quite sweet with very minimal sugar. 

apple crisp

How to Make Apple Crisp

  1. Combine the apple filling ingredients (sliced apples, flour, cinnamon, salt, and sugar) together and place them into a greased baking dish. A glass is best and you can use cooking spray to grease the pan. Set aside.
  2. Stir the topping ingredients (flour, and/or oats and butter) together in a small bowl.
  3. Sprinkle the topping over the apples, covering the apples completely.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.

When finished the apples should be fork tender and the topping should be golden brown and crispy.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with any of the following apple crisp toppings, like a:

  • scoop of vanilla ice cream (real or a substitute if you’re dairy free)
  • big chunk of old cheddar cheese (my dad’s favorite!)
  • dollop of whipped cream (real or coconut based if you’re dairy free)
  • drizzle of caramel sauce and a sprinkle of cinnamon

Tips for Success

  • Make the apple crisp recipe as directed the first time. The same goes for any new-to-you recipe. Then play around with the ingredients – reduce the sugar, use flour instead of oats, add nuts, etc.  
  • Thin and even slices of apples make for a much better apple crisp. This will help them all cook evenly.

FAQs

Do I need to peel the apples?

No, you don’t. One of the wonderful things about this apple crisp recipe is that it’s super easy. So why make more work for yourself than necessary? Just wash the apples well before slicing. 

If you’d prefer your apple crisp to be peel-free, then by all means peel your apples before slicing them. 

What kind of apples work best for apple crisp?

Really it comes down to preference and what you have available when you’re making this apple crisp recipe. 

Generally speaking though you want a variety of apple that’s not too soft, so that it holds its shape after baking. Honeycrisp will work. As will granny smith, golden delicious, and pink lady apples. 

Can I reduce the sugar?

Yes, you absolutely reduce the sugar! I’ve done it many times with differing amounts of sugar over the years. Find a sweetness that you and your family love and go with that. 

What should I serve on top?

There are several options for apple crisp toppings. A scoop of vanilla ice cream), a big chunk of old cheddar cheese, a dollop of whipped cream, or a drizzle of caramel sauce and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Can I freeze this?

Yes! Once fully cooked and cooled the apple crisp can be stored in a freezer-safe container or wrapped in multiple layers of plastic wrap for a few months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before serving. 

How to store and reheat leftovers

Leftover apple crisp can be stored in an airtight container (or in the baking dish covered with plastic wrap) in the fridge for several days. 

Then simply remove from the fridge, take off the lid or plastic wrap and reheat in a 350-degree oven for 5-10 minutes or in your microwave for 1-2 minutes and serve. 

What is the difference between apple crisp and apple crumble?

In the U.K. and Australia apple crisp and apple crumble are the same thing. But in the U.S. and Canada apple crumble is slightly different. The topping has a different texture ( the topping mixture is more clumpy than crisp) and rarely includes nuts or even oats. 

Here’s a fun article on the different apple dessert recipes and each of their unique features. 

my mom's apple crisp

Dietary Considerations

  • For a gluten-free apple crisp, choose gluten-free oats or use a mixture of gluten-free rice or other flour. 
  • For a dairy-free apple crisp, use a vegan or dairy-free butter substitute in place of butter. 

More Awesome Apple Recipes

My Mom's Apple Crisp Recipe

My Mom’s Apple Crisp Recipe

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Warm, cozy apple crisp is the perfect dessert to whip up at the last minute for guests - or just for yourself!

Ingredients

  • 6-10 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, or more if you happen to be making it FOR my Mom!
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup flour or rolled oats, or a combination
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter melted, or oil

Instructions

  1. Combine first 5 ingredients together and place into a greased baking dish (glass is best). Set aside.
  2. Combine last 3 ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Sprinkle over apples, covering apples completely.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.
  5. Apples should be soft and the top brown and crisp.
  6. Serve with vanilla ice cream or as my Dad likes it a big chunk of old cheddar cheese!

Notes

Variations

  • Use solely pears or add in pears for a slightly different flavor profile.
    Include quinoa and flour instead of oats in the topping if you need to avoid oats.
  • Add chopped nuts like walnuts, pecans, or almonds to the topping if desired.
  • Try to reduce the sugar to see how you like it. Depending on the apples used, it can be quite sweet with very minimal sugar.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with any of the following apple crisp toppings, like a:

  • scoop of vanilla ice cream (real or a substitute if you’re dairy free)
  • big chunk of old cheddar cheese (my dad’s favorite!)
  • dollop of whipped cream (real or coconut based if you’re dairy free)
  • drizzle of caramel sauce and a sprinkle of cinnamon

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

As I said, a super easy dessert that is perfect for last-minute guests! Do you have any go-to recipes that you can make from scratch without looking at a recipe? How about a favorite fall dish?

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13 Comments

  1. I love that your father enjoys his apple crisp with cheese. My own father taught me to love those flavors together so now every time I serve apple pie or crisp, or even fried apples……the rest of the family wants ice cream but give me cheese! Oh, the power of cheese.

  2. I love apples in every recipe, especially this time of year Your apple crips looks absolutely delicious. I will be deffinitely making this one of these days. Thank you for sharing your mom’s recipe.
    Besa