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Apple Crisp: The Best Simple & Seasonal Comfort Dessert

I don’t know about you, but come October I have more apples than I know what to do with. I can’t resist the “home grown” signs at the supermarket and the overflowing apple tables at the farmers’ market relentlessly call my name.

When it comes to using up apples, apple crisp is your best friend. You can use just about any kind of apple (crisp and tart work better than sweeter varieties. Try Empire, Granny Smith or Honey Crisp… or mix all three!), and there is no fussy pie crust to deal with. I guarantee you most likely have all the ingredients in your pantry. Plus, a crisp is very forgiving and if your apples have gone a little soft, no worries, overripe apples are just fine.

My favorite apple crisp features lemon zest and juice for a delicious tart flavor, and unlike some crisps, the topping has oats for a great crunch. Plus, there are nearly equal parts apple filling and crisp topping. Isn’t the topping the best part anyway?

You start by peeling and chopping the apples. A few notes on this step. I am all about shortcuts and I hate peeling apples (and all fruits and vegetables – potatoes, carrots, you name it) but you have to peel the apples for a crisp. I have tried making crisps with the peel left on the apples and you don’t want to go there. Trust me. You also want the apples to be cut in uniform-sized chunks so they bake at the same rate or else you will have some apples that are under-done, some over, etc. I cut my apples in equal fourths after I peel them and then cut each fourth into four chunks.

Next you add the rest of the filling ingredients. Notice the aromatic cinnamon and tart lemon zest at center stage.

Mix it up. I could eat this with a spoon. Yum.

Transfer to a pan.

Next is the crust. You mix up the oat-y topping ingredients with a standing mixer with a paddle attachment. Make sure to use cold butter so it’s crumbly, not creamy like oatmeal cookie dough.

Pat the crisp topping mixture on the apple filling and you’re off to the races.

One hour later, your house will smell ridiculously delicious. I dare you not to dig in. My daughter and I were eating this out of the pan.

Apple Crisp

Serves 4 – 6 (Recipe can be doubled for a 9″ x 13″ pan)


For the filling:

5-6 large apples (about 2+ pounds) (Granny Smiths and Empires are my favorite)

zest and juice from one half of a lemon

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1  teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of kosher salt

For the topping:

3/4 cup flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup oats

1 stick cold butter, diced


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Peel and core apples and cut them into large uniform chunks. Place apples in a bowl and toss with lemon zest, lemon juice, granulated sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon. Transfer to either 5 one-cup ramekins or an 8″ square baking dish.

For the topping:

Combine flour, sugars, salt, oats, and cold butter in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 2 minutes, until mixture is well combined and crumbly.

Spread evenly over fruit mixture and pat down slightly.

Place baking dish on a cookie sheet and bake for one hour, until top is browned and fruit is bubbly. (You can also refrigerate, covered, and bake later for 1  hour – 1 hour and 15 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Check out these other tasty apple dessert recipes from

Apple Pie Sundaes

Easiest Ever Baked Stuffed Apples

Caramel Apples

Baked Walnut and Apple Torte

Apple Pie

Plan B Mom is a mostly-stay-at-home mom of 3 who works from home but sees her main job as managing her family. When she is not taking care of her 13-year old and 11-year old girls, 9- year old son, yellow lab, and husband – she is baking, running, carpooling, or helping with homework. She tries to stay organized to keep life running smoothly – or at least catastrophes at bay. Follow her on Twitter at @PlanBMom.

Rachael Ray