easy apple crisp (+ tons of variations!)
one recipe = many recipes
An apple crisp is my favorite fall dessert. It’s so comforting. Everyone gets excited about it. It’s pretty impossible to mess up. There’s no making or rolling pie crust (and no need for anything to rise, rest, or any other baking instruction that typically causes some of us to hesitate). I don’t even peel my apples. Just slice them, toss with some brown sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch, and lemon juice, then top with buttery crumbs made with oats, flour, and some more brown sugar and cinnamon. You can serve it hot, warm, room temperature, or eat it cold the next day for breakfast (highly recommend). It’s incredibly versatile and small tweaks make it an easy dessert for anyone who doesn’t eat dairy and/or gluten, plus you can vary the fruit, spices, topping ingredients, and more. My recipe is below and below that, tons of variations. I love it so much we’re even going to make this in my online cooking class this weekend!
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Want to SEE an apple crisp in action??! Here’s a fun IG reel I made the other day.
Apple Crisp / serves about 6 - 8
For the apples:
About 2 pounds apples (about 6 medium apples), cored and thinly sliced (use any type you’d use for apple pie— I like something tart)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup [100 g] light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch kosher salt
For the topping:
1 cup [200 g] light brown sugar
1 cup [130 g] all-purpose flour
1 cup [120 g] rolled oats
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
First, preheat your oven to 375ºF.
Place the apples in a 9-by-13 baking dish. Add the lemon juice, cornstarch, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Mix well.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the brown sugar, flour, oats, salt, and cinnamon. Add the butter and then work the mixture with your hands, rubbing it between your fingertips, to form large crumbs. Really scrunch it with your hands so it’s like dense, wet, moldable sand.
Dot the top of the apples evenly with the crumb mixture. Bake until the apples are bubbling and the crumbs are dark golden brown, about 45 minutes.
Allow the crisp to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Vegan: just use vegan butter instead of regular butter in the topping and you’ll be good to go
Gluten-free: either substitute gluten free all-purpose flour in place of the regular flour OR leave out the flour and double the rolled oats
Vary the topping mixture:
do all flour instead of oats and you’ll have…an apple crumble!
add some chopped nuts and/or sesame seeds and/or coconut to the topping for extra texture
use granola instead of rolled oats
Vary the fruit:
do half apples, half berries….or all berries….or peaches or nectarines…or pears…or whatever!
for berries/peaches…use frozen! so much easier and cheaper, too
add a handful of dried fruit to the fresh (or frozen) fruit
Vary the spices: add some ground ginger or any other warm spice
pear crisp with cardamom + dried cherries (2 pounds pears + 1/2 cup dried cherries, use 1/4 tsp ground cardamom in both the filling and the topping)
peach + blueberry crisp with coconut (1 pound frozen peaches, 1 pound frozen blueberries / add 1 cup coconut flakes to the topping)
apple + raspberry + walnut crumble (1.5 pounds apples, .5 pound raspberries / use 1.5 cups chopped walnuts INSTEAD of the oats in the topping)
Vary what you serve it with:
vanilla ice cream (or any flavor ice cream you’d like), whipped cream, creme fraiche or sour cream, yogurt…anything creamy!
for whipped cream, creme fraiche or sour cream— try sweetening with brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey for a little extra flavor
if vegan, vegan versions of any of the above
Vary the baking dish: make individual portions in ramekins or cut the recipe in half and make in a pie dish
Thanks for being here! Happy apple season. xo, JT