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This apple cranberry crisp is a delightful and easy dessert, with a sweet tart spiced fruit layer and golden buttery crumble topping!

Apple Cranberry Crisp
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Apple crisp fans, here’s a dessert you might love even a little bit more: apple cranberry crisp! The tartness of fresh cranberries melds with sweet, comforting crisp apples in a cinnamon-spiced fruit layer. The berries add a zingy flavor and a bright red hue to the fruit, which shines topped with golden buttery crisp crumbles. This is the perfect easy dessert to impress anyone in fall and winter, during the holidays or just a cozy dinner in.

Ingredients in apple cranberry crisp

This apple cranberry crisp is a spin on the classic apple dessert with a handful of fresh cranberries thrown in the mix. In fact, it’s the perfect idea for using up leftover cranberries from Thanksgiving cranberry sauce (they last 3 to 4 weeks refrigerated). Or, buy a bag of fresh cranberries and use the rest of the bag in bread, muffins or a smoothie. Otherwise, you’ll need the typical cast of characters for a fruit crisp:

  • Sweet tart, crisp apples
  • Orange zest
  • Cornstarch
  • Granulated sugar and brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • All-purpose flour
  • Old Fashioned rolled oats
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt
  • Butter

Make it into a crumble

You can also make this into an apple cranberry crumble recipe! Simply use the topping in this apple crumble recipe, which omits the oats for the classic crumble feel. Use the same cranberry apple fruit filling in the recipe below.

Apple Cranberry Crisp in pan with ice cream topping

Best apples for cranberry apple crisp

The best type of apples to use in cooking any apple dessert from crisp to apple pie are firm, crisp sweet tart cooking apples. A sweet tart apple is important because the acidity makes the sweet flavor in a dessert pop, versus having only one flavor note of sweet. The firm texture is also helpful since it holds its shape when baking, instead of becoming mushy. Avoid varieties like Gala, Fuji or Red Delicious: they don’t perform well in crisps and crumbles. Here are a few of the varieties that shine in an apple cranberry crisp recipe:

  • Pink Lady
  • Honeycrisp
  • Golden Delicious
  • Granny Smith
  • Jonathon or Jonagold
  • Ida Red

Using fresh, frozen or dried cranberries

This cranberry apple crisp recipe is best made with fresh cranberries. However, you can also use frozen cranberries as a substitute! Frozen berries work especially well in baked desserts like crisps and crumbles, where the layer is designed to simply cook down into a compote-like texture. You can even use frozen apples if you have them on hand.

We don’t recommend using dried cranberries in a cranberry apple crisp since the color and flavor of the fresh berries are so beautiful. But you can use them if you like, noting that the texture will be slightly different. Use half the amount of dried cranberries as fresh.

Cranberry apple crisp recipe in baking dish

How to serve apple cranberry crisp

Apple cranberry crisp is the perfect fall or winter dessert, ideal for serving as a Thanksgiving dessert, at Christmas, or for any meal. Like most crisps, the best topping is vanilla ice cream. The contrast of rich cream against the sweet tart cranberries is perfection! Or, use one of the following toppings:

Dietary swaps

A cranberry apple crisp is simple to make gluten-free or vegan, making it extremely versatile for serving guests with different dietary needs. Here are a few options:

  • Gluten-free: Swap out the all-purpose flour with almond flour: it works like a charm to make an irresistibly crunchy topping
  • Vegan / dairy-free: Use vegan butter or refined coconut oil in place of the butter, and use vegan vanilla ice cream as a topping.
Apple Cranberry Crisp recipe with measuring cup of cranberries

Leftover storage

Cranberry apple crisp tastes best the day it is made, but it saves very well! The crisp texture holds up well over time. Here are the best practices for how to store a crisp:

  • Keep it loosely covered at room temperature for 1 to 2 days. Keeping it loosely covered helps to maintain the crumble texture.
  • Refrigerate for up to 3 days. It holds up well in the fridge, and tastes even better when reheated.
  • Freeze for up to 3 months. Freeze for up to 3 months in a sealed container. Reheat it in a 350°F oven until bubbly.

More cranberry recipes

Got fresh or frozen cranberries? Here are a few more cranberry recipes to try:

This apple cranberry crisp recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free and vegan, see the notes above.

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Apple Cranberry Crisp

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x


This apple cranberry crisp is a delightful and easy dessert, with a sweet tart spiced fruit layer and golden buttery crumble topping!



For the cranberry apple filling

  • 5 cups (4 medium to large or 1 1/2 pounds) sweet tart apples
  • 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen cranberries* (5 ounces)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon orange zest (optional; or ½ teaspoon lemon zest)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the topping

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour (or almond flour for gluten-free)
  • ¾ cup Old Fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons cold unsalted or salted butter (or vegan butter**), cut into pieces


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Make the filling: Core, peel and cut the apples into 1/2-inch chunks. Combine the apples with cranberries, orange zest, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon in a large bowl and toss until well coated. Pour into a 7 x 11 baking dish.
  3. Make the topping: In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and kosher salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and then use a fork to mix it into the oats until fully distributed and a crumbly dough forms. It may take a while so be patient; you can also use a fork or pastry cutter if you prefer. (If using coconut oil, it can be room temperature; use the same method to add it.) Pour the crumble on top and smooth it into an even layer with your fingers.
  4. Bake: Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until the top is evenly golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Cool for 30 minutes to 1 hour, then serve warm. You can leave out your crisp on the counter for up to 1 day (covered, at night) so the topping can stay crisp. After 1 day, refrigerate any leftovers. This crumble also freezes well for several months in a sealed container; reheat it in a 350°F oven until bubbly and the topping is crisp.


*Dried cranberries can also work, but use only ¾ cup of the dried berries.

**You can also substitute room temperature refined coconut oil for a vegan crisp.

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Baked
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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1 Comment

  1. Sabrina says:

    love this, apple cranberry is great for me and really like the cranberries to cut the sweetness, thank you!