There’s nothing more cozy for fall than baking this easy apple crisp recipe and topping with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! This recipe is easy to make ahead for a crowd and is a little bit healthier than other apple crisp recipes (but it doesn’t taste like it!). You only need 7 ingredients for this old fashioned classic recipe, and your house will smell AMAZING while it bakes!
Did I eat the leftovers of this apple crisp for breakfast this morning? Maybe yes. Maybe no. OK… definitely yes. But I don’t feel too bad about it, because it’s healthier than your average apple crisp, without sacrificing flavor or texture!
With a few tricks to boost flavor and richness, you can add more whole grains and use less added sugar in the recipe! I also used a food processor to make a perfect topping with butter that melts into every bite.
This recipe uses fuji apples for natural sweetness, lots of cinnamon for rich flavor, and warm, molassesy brown sugar instead of white, which means you only need 1/2 cup of added brown sugar for the whole batch.
It also uses more whole grain oats than other apple crisp recipes, which means you get the added benefit of their fiber and nutrition as well, without denying the fluffy goodness the starchy all-purpose flour imparts to this classic dessert. The crunchy turbinado sprinkled on top is the final delicious touch!
What kind of apples to use
Fuji apples are naturally sweet, but also reliably firm and almost never mealy. This means when you use them in recipes like this, you can rely on their natural sugars for sweetness without adding too much extra sugar. They also won’t get mushy when they bake.
I added the juice of a whole lemon to balance out the sweet flavor with some tartness. If you use a more tart apple, like granny smith, I recommend only using 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and using a little more sugar in the topping.
I also prefer to dice my apples rather than slice them. It makes for more bite-sized pieces that you can easily shovel into your mouth as fast as you can (just being honest here).
And while I usually love leaving peels on fruits and veggies (as they can pack a lot of fiber and nutrition), I recommend peeling the apples for apple crisp. It will make for a more melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Apples come in all sizes, and this recipe is very forgiving, so don’t stress out if you only have small or big apples. I keep mini apples in my fridge for my toddler, who loves them (and she was totally distracted munching on it while I cooked this- win win!). I used three large and four small apples.
How to make the topping
The topping for apple crisp is a mixture of oats, flour, cinnamon, sugar, and butter. But the trick to getting the best texture is to add the butter cold, like a pie crust. Then, mix it with the rest of the ingredients, so you end up with small chunks of butter throughout.
The EASIEST way to do this is in your food processor. Just add all the ingredients, including the butter, to the food processor. A few pulses later and you have a perfectly mixed topping- the butter will be in small pieces about the size of a pea. It will look dry- don’t worry, it’s supposed to!
If you don’t have a food processor, you can mix it with your hands, breaking up the chunks of butter as you go, or use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the mixture.
How to make apple crisp ahead of time
You can easily assemble this apple crisp and keep it in your refrigerator for up to 48 hours before baking. I made this for company, and while we were eating dinner, I baked it, so it was fresh and hot out of the oven when we were ready for dessert!
Just layer the apples, mixed with cinnamon, sugar, and lemon juice (which helps balance the sweetness and prevent the apples from oxidizing/turning brown) in a buttered baking dish. Then, spread the topping on top of the apples.
And if you’re feeling crazy, sprinkle a little turbinado sugar (like Sugar in the Raw) on top of that! It adds a crunch and a shimmer to the top that’s delicious and also pretty.
Do you need to refrigerate apple crisp?
After you’re done baking the apple crisp, it can stay out at room temperature for a few hours. But beyond around 4-5 hours, I recommend refrigerating it.
Luckily, apple crisp is one of those things that reheats really well. You can pop an individual serving in the microwave. Or, place the whole baking dish back in the oven to warm up. It’s hard to overcook and it won’t dry out.
Other desserts with fresh fruit
Did you make this apple crisp recipe? Please comment below and Rate this Recipe
Easy Apple Crisp
- 8x8 baking pan (or similar size)
- 8 tablespoons salted butter divided (see notes for unsalted)
- 5-7 apples peeled and diced or sliced (about 6 cups) I used Fuji apples
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon divided
- juice of one lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar divided
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar or white sugar, optional
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8x8 or 9x9 (or equivalent) baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter.
- Mix the diced apples in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar, and the lemon juice. Spread evenly in the buttered baking dish.
- To make the topping, add the oats (1 cup), flour (1/2 cup), the rest of the brown sugar, and the remaining 1 tablespoon of cinnamon to a food processor. Cut the remaining 7 tablespoons of butter into small pieces and add on top. Pulse the food processor about 8-10 times, or until small, pea-sized chunks of butter form and the rest of the mixture has combined well. Alternatively, you can use your hands to do this in a bowl or a pastry cutter.
- Spread the topping on top of the apples in the baking dish.
- Sprinkle turbinado sugar (1 tablespoon) evenly on top, if using. At this point, you can cover with foil and refrigerate for up to 48 hours before baking, if you want.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes, until browned on top and bubbly on the edges. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, if you prefer.
- If using unsalted butter, add 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt to the topping mixture.
- Instead of all-purpose flour, you can make it healthier by using whole wheat flour, or for a gluten-free version, you can use 1/2 cup more oats and pulse in your food processor a little more to make sure more oats are ground up.
- You can keep this apple crisp out at room temperature for a few hours, but I recommend refrigerating it beyond that. Just pop it in the microwave or stick it back in the oven to reheat.
- I used fuji apples for this because they are naturally sweet, which meant I could use less added sugar. If you use a more tart apple, like granny smith, I recommend using only 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and adding 2-4 more tablespoons of sugar to the recipe.
- The provided nutrition information does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. Feel free to calculate it yourself using this calculator or by adding the recipe to Yummly.