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Contest-Winning Caramel Apple Crisp Recipe

Contest-Winning Caramel Apple Crisp Recipe

When my children and I make this scrumptious layered dessert at home, we use a variety of apples to give it a nice combination of flavors. —Michelle Brooks, Clarkston, Michigan
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 45 min. YIELD:12 servings


  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 8 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples
  • 1 package (14 ounces) caramels, halved
  • 1 cup apple cider, divided


  • 1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, mix oats, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon; cut in butter until crumbly. Press half of the mixture into a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Layer half of each of the following: apples, caramels and remaining oat mixture. Repeat layers. Drizzle 1/2 cup cider over top.
  • 2. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes. Drizzle with remaining cider; bake 15-20 minutes longer or until apples are tender. Yield: 12 servings.

Nutritional Facts

1 serving: 564 calories, 20g fat (11g saturated fat), 43mg cholesterol, 213mg sodium, 94g carbohydrate (59g sugars, 4g fiber), 7g protein.

Reviews for Contest-Winning Caramel Apple Crisp

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rebelwithoutaclue User ID: 4288906 255653
Reviewed Oct. 20, 2016

"It needed an extra 1/2 cup of cider to keep it from being dry. I also added 1 can (14 oz) of fried apples to the mixture. (you could also add apple pie filling here also if you can't find fried apples) I believe that also added to the moisture of the crisp."

Scottville User ID: 7113891 255568
Reviewed Oct. 18, 2016

"Here, we like our pies and crisps to be jucy. Not dry. If I had looked this over I would have seen it was going to come out dry. Maybe in another area this won a prize, but not with my husband."

suecarini User ID: 3397324 254808
Reviewed Sep. 29, 2016

"I am sorry but I can not see how this recipe won any prize. I threw the entire crisp out. The apples were dry in fact the entire crisp was so dry that even ice cream and extra caramel drizzle did not help."

gina1016 User ID: 3513935 254602
Reviewed Sep. 25, 2016

"I made this recipe for a work function. Everyone who tried it loved it. I got numerous compliments. It was easy to make, and quite tasty. The most difficult part was unwrapping the caramels. I added additional caramels on top, in the future may drizzle with carmel ice cream sauce."

lis472 User ID: 7335906 254114
Reviewed Sep. 14, 2016

"Oooey Gooey goodness! YUM! I used Macintosh apples and they cooked perfectly!"

Susie77 User ID: 98373 252952
Reviewed Aug. 20, 2016

"This was good. I did leave out the caramels though because neither one of us like them. Also cut the recipe in half since there is only two of us. It's good warmed up!"

hicks91 User ID: 6731271 249198
Reviewed Jun. 8, 2016

"Awesome ! Could cut in 1/2 for smaller version."

AmyE007 User ID: 6828226 242344
Reviewed Jan. 23, 2016

"If you are expecting apple crisp, this is not it. Caramels do get hard especially when you top with ice cream. Sweetness takes over traditional apple crisp flavors. Dry....not the gooey apple crisp we were expecting."

amehart User ID: 1464390 236206
Reviewed Nov. 2, 2015

"First time I made it was good, but the caramel was a little hard, especially for my folks. The flavor was very good, so made again, using caramel ice cream topping, and everyone enjoyed it so much more."

swetraar User ID: 8556971 233945
Reviewed Oct. 4, 2015

"Thought the recipe was great, though a tad too sweet. I also made a few additions along the way, so my rating doesn't exactly reflect on the word-for-word recipe.. It was a bit of work, but most of my favorite apple pie/dowdy/crumble recipes are, so I thought it was worth it.

I read the "8 cups" as 8 apples, so I used about 9 semi-tart apples (8 didn't seem like enough, I wonder why!), and threw a bag of cranberries & orange zest in there too, for a nice fall combo. I also chopped and toasted 1 cup of walnuts and added it to the crumble mixture. I think the layering is a nice idea. The juices from the apples & cranberries soaked into the bottom layer, which made it very soft and tasty.
I didn't like how the caramels melted either, so next time (and there WILL be a next time), I'll probably just make a thick sauce to drizzle on top of the apples. I would also add a couple different spices into the mix as well, perhaps some cloves and allspice.
I didn't have a problem with dryness (maybe that was because of the cranberries?). The final product was sweet-yet-tart, gooey, and delicious, though I very much made this recipe my own."

Missydostal1958 User ID: 6592960 233734
Reviewed Sep. 30, 2015

"If this won, I would hate to see what lost. Very dry and tasteless. I would never make this again. Waste of allot of ingredients. It was a bunch of dry mush."

vstern User ID: 4035754 233586
Reviewed Sep. 27, 2015

"This has a really good flavor, but I was afraid it would be dry, so after I baked it the last 15-20 mins., following the recipe, I added another 1/2 cup or so of apple cider and baked 10 more minutes. I now understand why the recipe says to eat when warm, as the caramel doesn't melt very well. Next time I will melt the caramels in a double boiler with 2/3 cup evaporated milk, and drizzle 1/2 on each layer."

Cook_aholic User ID: 797539 231156
Reviewed Aug. 13, 2015

"I am not much of a baker so maybe I did something wrong with this recipe. I do however, make lots of baked oatmeal recipes both for breakfast and for dessert because of the lack of sodium they have. This just tasted like a baked oatmeal for breakfast to me and to my husband. Couldn't get enough whip cream on it to make it not seem dry. Once again, I didn't skip anything in the recipe but maybe I did something wrong."

No_Time_To_Cook User ID: 6334849 159717
Reviewed Oct. 26, 2014

"It was good, but I honestly expected better since it was contest winning. Not sure I would go thru the effort to make again."

cauzin User ID: 4129156 92474
Reviewed Oct. 26, 2014

"I don't often leave reviews but I was compelled to leave one for this recipe. I really don't know why this won anything. There was nothing "crisp" about this, more accurately it would be apple oatmeal mush. The flavor was "ok" but it sure doesn't do my apples or the caramel justice and it was a lot of work. I actually think that if you halved it, had one layer (apples on the bottom, crumb on top) and no added apple cider it might be better. The layering just makes it too much. Sorry, I'm not trying to be mean, just honest. I will not make again."

djmirous User ID: 4163727 97135
Reviewed Oct. 6, 2014

"I made this last week, and our family thought that it was good. I took the "thinly sliced" to heart and used my mandolin slicer. My slices were about 3/32 of an inch thick. I used Granny Smith and Gala apples; to get 8 cups took about 11 of them total. I used the Kraft Caramel Bits which I weighed out to get 14 ounces. I had no trouble with them "not melting." I accidentally bought apple juice instead of apple cider, and it worked fine. I used my food processor to cut the butter into the dry ingredients to try to save a little time and effort. This cut up the oats and it probably would have had a better texture if I had done it by hand. I put 1/2 this mixture into the bottom of the pan as per directions. The remaining mixture is somewhere between three and four cups. I used half of the remaining mixture on top of the first layer of apples instead of 1 cup, and it worked well. (There seemed to be some discussion on this earlier on in the reviews.) As some people mentioned that they thought it was a little bland, I did pump up the spices (since our family likes these sorts of flavors a lot). I used a tablespoon of cinnamon, a quarter of a teaspoon of cloves, and one teaspoon of allspice. I did not have any problem with it being dry."

Michelle5472 User ID: 6503098 72113
Reviewed Oct. 4, 2014

"This was a terrible waste of money. Caramels did not melt and were hard to even chew. I would not recommend making this recipe."

ambuva User ID: 3482991 97134
Reviewed Aug. 16, 2014

"I served this to a group of ladies - they loved it. I found it very good, but a little dry."

klamgs User ID: 2752584 208138
Reviewed Mar. 13, 2014

"Great dessert. Worth the effort of unwrapping all those caramels"

bsktcase-kiki User ID: 7675806 159712
Reviewed Feb. 16, 2014

"Turned out Fantastic!!!"

Scrapbookingmom User ID: 7398968 92473
Reviewed Sep. 6, 2013

"I made this recipe recently for a picnic. I left before the dessert came out but was told it was great!! Cannot wait to make it again and actually try it!"

edl2745 User ID: 6045902 85152
Reviewed Oct. 22, 2012

"I made this with the caramel bits, more cider, and more cinnamon. Had to bake it 20 minutes longer because of high altitude.Disappointing results -- none of us could taste much of the caramel. I think I'll stick with my apple-cranberry crisp."

bham80 User ID: 6932201 85084
Reviewed Oct. 21, 2012

"Kind of hard work but it's definately worth it. This is one the best desserts I've ever had!"

LyndiRDH User ID: 5988768 159711
Reviewed Sep. 30, 2012

"Reading other reviews about the caramel not melting, I used the caramel dip you can find in the produce section of the grocery store. I don't know if it was this or just what, but I felt like I was eating oatmeal with some apple thrown in. I didn't care for this."

administrator User ID: 1996148 97131
Reviewed Sep. 25, 2012

"This was very good. I also added more cider and I baked it about 15 minutes longer so the apples were soft. I used the caramel bits but next time I think I will try caramel ice cream topping and see how it works. This is a keeper."

willzy User ID: 6442902 159667
Reviewed Sep. 7, 2012

"ok...I'm not a chef or baker (ask my family!)...BUT..this was absolutely the Best apple crisp ever !!! and actually pretty easy to make. Followed the directions to the tee and came out GREAT !! :)"

blhenn User ID: 5747906 143069
Reviewed Sep. 6, 2012

"I made this out of my "best loved recipes" cook book. It seemed like it would be amazing but....The caramel's did not melt enough or distribute like they should and I think there was too much crumb mixture with kind of a gritty texture. I think I will stick to my caramel apple pie recipe. If I did make this again I would use liquified caramel and spread it evenly and I would use 3/4 of the crisp mix it called for and add more cinnamon and some other spices because it did not have enough flavor in my opinion. Overall it's an average crisp I suppose but I have definetly made and tasted way better."

katiebrownky User ID: 4775005 112170
Reviewed Sep. 3, 2012

"This is so good! I made it almost exactly to the recipe. The only thing I changed was the caramel (only because it seemed there was some negative feedback about it not melting good). So what I did was unwrap all the caramels and put them in a microwave safe bowl, added 1 (5oz) can evaporated milk, and microwaved until melted and smooth. This made it easy to pour over each layer. Everything measured out perfectly and it was a huge hit! I will for sure be making this again."

fudgeybutt User ID: 5208212 92472
Reviewed Sep. 3, 2012

"I just made this last night and the whole family loved it! This is the best apple crisp we've ever had.Thank you for sharing it!"

pamdesrochers User ID: 2065163 112169
Reviewed Aug. 31, 2012

"I've made this several times now. It is our son's favorite Apple Crisp. I also use the caramel bits found in the baking aisle. It is yummy!"

makicole User ID: 1121460 112004
Reviewed Aug. 10, 2012

"Yummy! Yummy! Yummy!"

frankjohn User ID: 5211188 143066
Reviewed Dec. 23, 2011

"The instructions don't make sense. If you layer with one half of crumb mixture, then half of apples and caramels. Then it says to add 1 cup of the mixture again and then top it with apples and caramels. There's not much crumb mixture to put on 2nd layer of apples. So far the caramels are not melting."

kristinscotth User ID: 2609242 159288
Reviewed Nov. 9, 2011

"I've reviewed this recipe before, so I'll just add that I like using the caramel bits. I think it distributes the caramel better having it in smaller pieces. I still think this is the best crisp ever, and one of my favorite Fall desserts!"

HappyHomemaker88 User ID: 4537336 142705
Reviewed Nov. 9, 2011

"This recipe is a keeper for me. It excels all other apple crisp recipes, in my opinion. I used a whole package of caramel bits instead of regular caramels to save time and work. Results were amazing!"

amyadam User ID: 3327110 208137
Reviewed Nov. 7, 2011

"This is delicious; I used the sheets of caramel that you can use to make caramel apples, and it worked great (I used three sheets). I also used an extra 1/2 cup of apple cider, so I did not have a problem with it being too dry. Will definitely make it again!"

hunter6295 User ID: 1021074 208136
Reviewed Nov. 6, 2011

"Making it again today but with a little less sugar. Absolutely delicious!"

nancy headlee User ID: 5479331 143065
Reviewed Oct. 21, 2011

"The taste was okay, but wasn't impressed with the texture. It was gritty, the brown sugar didn't melt."

pamdesrochers User ID: 2065163 85044
Reviewed Oct. 18, 2011

"The first time I made this it was delicious!The next time it was too dry. Maybe I didn't cut the caramels small enough. This is our son's favorite crisp recipe. Can you use the caramel bits or caramel ice cream topping?"

Italy4me User ID: 6153736 92471
Reviewed Oct. 11, 2011

"I made this for my boys on a cool fall day and it was a hit! So easy and fun to make with kids also."

jewels2468 User ID: 2727773 111920
Reviewed Oct. 10, 2011

"My family didn't like the caramel, maybe because mine didn't fully melt so we would get mouthfuls of caramel. Some reviewers mentioned caramel bits which I couldn't find at the stores near me. The apple crisp was tasty, even between bites of caramel."

MY REVIEW User ID: 2072985 159666
Reviewed Oct. 5, 2011

"Took it to our end of the year camping weekend with great friends and it was a big hit"

erinodie User ID: 5794951 85043
Reviewed Sep. 24, 2011

"This was the best crisp I have ever eaten!"

turtledaisy User ID: 3675355 142704
Reviewed Jul. 25, 2011

"We love apple crisp. This recipe is fabulous especially with the caramel!"

mimmip User ID: 4012288 144005
Reviewed Nov. 5, 2010

"Wonderful recipe. The only problem I had was that the caramels did not fully melt. I will try the Kraft caramel bits next time."

jgund User ID: 1401538 158222
Reviewed Oct. 29, 2010

"This recipe is replacing the old family recipe that I have used for 30 years! The caramel is the secret ingredient that makes it so wonderful. I used a bag of Kraft Caramel Bits. It beats unwrapping and cutting up all of those squares!"

mvtino User ID: 3124558 92470
Reviewed Aug. 20, 2010


kristinscotth User ID: 2609242 165066
Reviewed Apr. 19, 2010

"Crisps are definitely not my favorite kind of dessert. I prefer something richer and fancier, but I LOVED this crisp. It was so good! It will definitely become a Fall tradition."

cjgoaliemom1 User ID: 2796068 158219
Reviewed Nov. 11, 2009

"This has become a fall favorite with my family and many friends have requested the recipe. The only thing I change is I 1/4 the caramel's for a more even distribution in the crisp."

linsvin User ID: 1584655 208135
Reviewed Nov. 3, 2009

"This is a perfect fall recipe when apples are abundant. Definitely try a couple of different baking apples. I wouldn't say it took 20 minutes to prep though...unwrapping and cutting caramels, add some extra time."

bcweiher User ID: 1979357 208134
Reviewed Oct. 3, 2009

"great for potlucks, everyone wanted recipe!"

babyjag222 User ID: 1287153 92753
Reviewed Sep. 17, 2009

"Our favorite apple crisp...sweet, crunchy and DELICIOUS!!"

Charobic User ID: 947618 208133
Reviewed Oct. 19, 2008

"DELICIOUS!! Awesome recipe."

arisbeh.herrera User ID: 2490234 142701
Reviewed Jun. 27, 2008

"very good!!!"

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