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Old Fashioned Apple Crisp

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This is THE dessert you make when you’ve found fresh apples in the store or when you’ve been out picking apples in the orchard! Nothing says FALL, spooky season, and the return of baking like this Old Fashioned Apple Crisp.

Two plates of apple crispy with ice cream.

This old-fashioned crisp is full of fresh apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg. And then it’s topped with my favorite crisp topping recipe made with oatmeal, brown sugar, and butter and baked until bubbly hot. This easy apple crisp will make fall baking fun and tasty!

A fresh pan of baked apple crisp.

Ingredients for the Best Apple Crisp

Apple Filling:

  • Baking apples-they must be baking apples! More information on baking apples is below
  • Lemon juice
  • Melted butter
  • all-purpose flour
  • Brown sugar
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Old Fashioned Crisp Topping:

  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cold butter

Can I use Apple Pie Spice Mixture in Apple Crisp?

Yes, you can! Apple Pie Spice is a premade mix of warm spices consisting of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground all-spice. Using it in place of the cinnamon and nutmeg works perfectly in this recipe! And if that sounds good to you and you don’t have apple pie spice mix just add a pinch of allspice. 

Baking apples for apple crisp.

Can We talk about Baking Apples?? 

I can’t stress enough that the key to well-baked apple desserts is baking apples. There’s a huge difference between baking apples like Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, or Granny Smith apples and their softer counterparts. These can be sweet or tart apples that bake up nice and firm in baked goods. Soft or non-banking apples get mushy and can ruin your baked goods.

When you go to the store or orchard just ask someone in charge of fruit to point you towards the baking apples. Anyone in charge will know exactly what you’re looking for.  

Diced apples for apple crisp.

Soft apples make great apple sauce or apple jelly, and the two varieties of delicious apples make a good addition to the lunch box. So don’t write them off just yet! And I LOVE to add 1 sliced soft apple to my apple pies for textural variety. But that’s me! There are great things about both kinds of apples just depending on where you use them.

Crisp topping ready to go on top of fruit.

What makes a crisp vs a crumble?

A Crumble is a topping made with flour, sugar, butter, and maybe spices. It makes a fine dessert over apples or even rhubarb! I love a good apple crumble! 

Crisps are everything from a crumble but with the addition of oatmeal! The oats get toasty and crispy and you have a crisp!

Fresh apples topped with crisp about to be baked.

This is my tried and true recipe for crisp. It was handed down to me and tweaked ever so slightly to become my favorite crisp. The brown sugar, butter, and oats are just the perfect combination. I love it in this Blueberry Crisp and this Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp!

If you loosely break up the crisp it bakes up really fine like granola on top of the baked filling. And if you leave the crisp in bigger chunks it’s almost like an oatmeal cookie on top of the apples. I like it both ways. 

Fresh crisp with ice cream.

Can I use a Food Processor to Make the Crisp Topping?

My favorite way to make this topping is in the food processor. It makes dessert SO easy when you don’t spend time cutting cold butter into the dry ingredients. Just add the butter, flour, and sugar to the bowl of a food processor EXCEPT for the oatmeal, and pulse to combine.

Then take the blade out and gently stir in the oats with your hands pressing the topping together until the oats are incorporated. If you add the oats to the food processor and mix with the blade you’ll chop them up, and you don’t want that! You want the oatmeal to stay as whole as possible so it makes a crunchy topping.

If you don’t have a food processor you can use a pastry blender or pastry cutter to cut the butter into the dry ingredients instead of the food processor. It’s the same process just done by hand. And if you don’t have a pantry blender you can use two knives to chop the butter into the flour and sugar.

All three methods will work just use the best way that works best for you. Basically, you need to cut the butter into the flour to make coarse crumbs for the topping, however you get there, it works.

Fresh crisp in a cast iron skillet.

How to serve a Fruit Crisp

You can serve this apple crisp either HOT out of the oven or let it cool down a bit first and then serve it. There’s just something about warm fruit dessert that makes people happy. And if you have to make it ahead of time you can serve it at room temperature.

I think the preferred way to serve this is with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream in warm apple crisp. If you don’t have ice cream you can use fresh whipped cream, a drizzle of heavy cream, cool whip, or even a squirt of canned whipped cream.

How to Store an Apple Crisp

Let the apple crisp cool at room temperature and then store uncovered at room temperature for a day. After that cover it lightly with foil but leave so it can breathe. If you cover tightly it or put it in an airtight container it will be soggy the next day.

Our Other Favorite Apple Recipes

Yield: 8 servings

Best Apple Crisp

Fresh crisp with ice cream.

Fresh apple crisp made with spiced apples and a crispy oatmeal-based topping.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 3 lb apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

Crisp Topping

  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats


    1. Preheat the oven to 375 F
    2. lightly grease a 9-inch skillet or round baking dish
    3. Peel, core, and dice the apples into ½” thick pieces. As you dice them, place the chopped apples in a large bowl and toss them with the lemon juice to prevent browning
    4. in a medium bowl, mix together the melted butter, flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt until it creates a thick paste
    5. Transfer the sugar mixture to the bowl of apples and toss to coat
    6. Spoon the apple mixture into the prepared baking pan, spreading evenly
    7. put the flour, brown sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a chopping blade
    8. cut the cold butter into the bowl as well
    9. place the lid on the processor and pulse to chop until it looks like coarse crumbs
    10. remove the blade from the processor and add the oatmeal and press together until the oatmeal is incorporated
    11. sprinkle the topping mix over the prepared fruit
    12. bake in the preheated oven 45-50 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling hot and the topping is crispy brown
    13. cool 10 minutes or so before serving with ice cream
    14. OR cool completely a store lightly covered after 24 hours

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Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 573Total Fat 28gSaturated Fat 17gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 72mgSodium 346mgCarbohydrates 80gFiber 5gSugar 51gProtein 4g

This nutrition information was calculated using a computer program, results may vary.

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laura sampson

About Laura

Laura is on a mission to teach modern family oriented women how to make old-fashioned foods new again. A wife and mom of 3 boys, Laura understands the struggles of trying to serve a home-cooked meal each night. She provides recipes and cooking hacks for busy moms to create dishes they may think take more time or skill than they have to make. Read more...

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