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This easy apple crisp recipe with oats is classic! Golden crumbles sit atop a luscious, warm-spiced fruit filling.

Apple Crisp Recipe
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Cakes, cookies and brownies are easy to pass up for us. But crisp? Give us a good old apple crisp and we’re sure to cave! This apple crisp recipe with oats is absolutely classic, harnessing all that cozy nostalgia of the season. The crumble topping is the ideal texture: crispy but not crunchy, and buttery but not soft. The fruit layer below will make your heart sing: cinnamon, a hint of ginger and allspice set off just a hint of orange and lemon zest.

Best types of apples for an apple crisp

The best apples for an apple crisp recipe? Firm, crisp cooking apples. A sweet tart apple yields the best flavor, because the acidity makes the flavor pop. (Acidity is to desserts what salt is to savory food: we’ll get to that more later!). Here are a few of the varieties that shine in a basic apple crisp recipe:

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

Even better, use a mix of apples! You can infuse even more nuance in flavor by using different varieties. We like to use a mix of Golden Delicious and Jonagold, which are easy to find apple picking here in Indiana.

Apple Crisp with Oats

How to core and chop apples…fast!

When you go to make the filling for this apple crisp recipe, you can ditch that apple corer and slicer. (In fact, we finally threw ours in the trash.) Why? Use this easy way to cut apples, which is so much faster:

  • Slice off each of the four sides: Holding the core of the apple, use a large chef’s knife to slice off four sides of the apple, cutting as close to the core as possible. Discard the core.
  • Cut into chunks: Take one of the quarters and place it flat side down. Then slice in half and cross-wise to dice. Repeat with all four quarters!

Cut and apple this way, and it’s just as fast as with an apple corer. (Of course, if you have one of those fancy apple-corer-peeler-slicers, use that instead).

Keys to this apple crisp recipe

This apple crisp recipe with oats is pristine: it’s just what you’d expect in a classic, but a little bit elevated. Here are a few notes on what makes it so divine:

  • Orange and lemon zest accentuate the sweetness. Acidity in desserts is like salt in savory food: it makes the flavors shine! Here the citrus zest (and a little lemon juice) strike just the right balance with the sugar.
  • Cinnamon, ginger and allspice add a cozy flair. There’s a hefty dose of cinnamon, then a hint of ginger and allspice. Keep in mind: the ginger flavor increases when refrigerated if you save leftovers.
  • The right ratio of butter to oats makes the crumble topping. A good apple crisp recipe should have a topping that’s crumbly and crisp: not crunchy, soft, or soggy. This one has just the right ratio of butter and oats for that signature texture.
Easy Apple Crisp

Customize the sugar to taste

This apple crisp recipe has a little variation on the sugar level in the filling. Here’s what to know:

  • Use ⅓ cup sugar for a sweet tart crisp. This also is perfect if you are planning to serve with vanilla ice cream.
  • Use ½ cup sugar for a sweet crisp. If you’re a sweet dessert lover, go up to ½ cup sugar. It’s sweet but not overly sweet.

Variations: vegan and gluten-free

Want to make a vegan apple crisp recipe or gluten-free apple crisp recipe? Here are a few easy substitutions that make this recipe work for almost any diet:

  • Substitute almond flour for gluten-free. Crisp recipes are easy to make gluten-free using almond flour! It works well in a crumble topping, especially because it becomes slightly crispy when baked.
  • Substitute vegan butter or coconut oil for gluten-free. The vegan substitutes don’t get nearly as crisp of a topping, but it works! Vegan butter is the best option. You can also use room temperature coconut oil, though the topping comes out softer. We recommend refined coconut oil, which has a subtler coconut flavor. Go to Vegan Apple Crisp.
Easy apple crisp recipe

Toppings for this easy apple crisp recipe

You might think vanilla ice cream when it comes to apple crisp, and that’s fantastic. But here are a few other options for getting creative:

Leftover storage info

Want to save leftovers of this apple crisp? Here’s what to know about storage:

  • Refrigerate for up to 3 days. The topping holds up pretty well in the fridge, and even better when reheated.
  • Freeze up to 3 months. You can freeze it for up to 3 months in a sealed container. Reheat it in a 350 degree oven until bubbly and the topping is crisp.

More apple recipes & desserts

There are so many apple recipes to try once you’ve made apple crisp! Here are a few more apple desserts to try:

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Apple Crisp

Classic Apple Crisp

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4.5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings 1x
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This easy apple crisp recipe with oats is classic! Golden crumbles sit atop a luscious, warm-spiced fruit filling.


  • 6 (2 pounds) medium to large cooking apples
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar*
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon each ginger and allspice
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour (or almond flour for gluten-free)
  • ¾ cup Old Fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (or vegan butter or room temperature refined coconut oil for vegan)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Core, peel and cut the apples into 1/2-inch chunks. Combine the apples with the lemon juice, lemon zest, orange zest, granulated sugar*, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice in a large bowl and toss until well coated.
  3. In a separate bowl, make the crumble topping: stir together the flour, oats, brown sugar, and kosher salt. Add the vanilla and stir. Cut the butter into small pieces and add it to the bowl. Use your hands to mix it into the dry ingredients until fully distributed and a crumbly dough forms. It may take a while, so be patient; you can also use a pastry cutter or fork if you prefer.
  4. Grease a 9 x 9-inch (or equivalent size) baking dish. Place the apple filling in the bottom, then evenly distribute the crumble over the top.
  5. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until browned and bubbly. Allow to cool slightly, then serve with Greek yogurt sweetened with maple syrup, whipped cream or ice cream. Stores refrigerated for 3 days or freeze up to 3 months in a sealed container. Reheat it in a 350 degree oven until bubbly and the topping is crisp.


*If you prefer a sweet tart apple crisp, go for ⅓ cup sugar (also good if you’re planning to top it with vanilla ice cream). Use ½ cup sugar for a sweet apple crisp.

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American
  • 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. Ronald McClung says:

    Mmm… Apple deserts, especially warm & topped with fresh whipped cream is excellent on too-cool nights. How come almost none of you folks use yellow transparent apples? Granny had a huge tree that produced many bushels of near perfect apples most years of the 1900s. They were a wonderful tart & juicy eating AND cooking apple that was the base of the best apple butter in this world. Hard to beat golden delicious for a sweet apple, & Granny Smith is a distinct 2nd place cooking apple when yellow transparent comes to town.
    Thanks much

    1. Katherine says:

      It turned out great! It was as easy as pie, lol…..easier!

  2. Edith Thayer says:

    This is a delicious apple crisp. I used the smaller amount of sugar and we thought it was just right. I made a couple of minor changes and used apple pie spice instead of the separate spices. I also added some walnuts to the crumble topping because we love nuts in our apple crisp. We topped it with some homemade whipped cream and enjoyed it warm the first day. We were very happy to have some leftover.