Winning Apple Crisp Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 20 min. Bake: 1 hour
Every bite of this apple crisp has tart, tender apples and a cinnamon streusel topping. It smells like heaven when it's baking too!

Updated: Jul. 17, 2024

The best apple crisp recipe is one made with apples picked fresh from an orchard in the fall. You can make this dessert year-round though—it’s excellent no matter the season. Serve apple crisp warm from the oven with a scoop of quality vanilla ice cream on top.

What’s the difference between a crisp and a crumble?

Truthfully, crisps and crumbles are not that different. Both are baked fruit desserts with a crumbly topping. The main difference is that the topping on a crisp typically contains oats or nuts, while a crumble topping does not. This means the topping on a crisp is slightly crunchier than the one on a crumble. However, this is not a hard-and-fast rule, and the terms crisp and crumble are often used interchangeably.

Apple Crisp Ingredients

Ingredients of Apple Crisp arranged on a tableTMB Studio

  • Cinnamon streusel: Cut butter into a mixture of flour, rolled oats (also called old-fashioned oats), brown sugar and cinnamon to make a crispy crust and topping. To make large crumbles that retain their shape, use cold butter.
  • Apples: Fresh apples are the star of this show. We recommend using tart apples like Granny Smith in our apple desserts.
  • Vanilla syrup: Here’s the secret sauce: a syrup made from boiling water, sugar, vanilla and cornstarch. It adds sweetness to this apple crisp, and the cornstarch in the syrup helps thicken the juices from the apples as the crisp cooks.
  • Vanilla ice cream: What makes the best apple crisp recipe even better? Serving it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, of course.


Step 1: Make the streusel

A hand mixing the flour, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon in a glass bowlTMB Studio

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon.Use a pastry blender to cut in the butter until the mix is crumbly.

A square baking dish filled with chopped apples.TMB Studio

Press half the streusel into a greased 2-1/2-quart baking dish or a 9-inch-square baking pan. Evenly cover the layer of streusel with the chopped apples.

Editor’s Tip: Place the remaining streusel in the fridge until ready to use.

Step 2: Make the syrup

A whisk in a small saucepan of syrup on a white table.TMB Studio

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, water and vanilla. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for two minutes or until the syrup is thick and clear.

Syrup is pouring over the layer of chopped apples in a baking dish.TMB Studio

Pour the syrup over the apple layer in your baking dish.

Step 3: Sprinkle with streusel topping

A hand sprinkles the crumb mixture over the layer of chopped apples in a baking dish.TMB Studio

Sprinkle the apples with the remaining crumb mixture.

Step 4: Bake the crisp

Bake for 60 to 65 minutes, or until the apples are tender. Serve warm, with a generous scoop of ice cream.

A white baking dish of Winning Apple Crisp with a spoonTMB Studio

Apple Crisp Recipe Variations

  • Make it gluten-free: Once you know how to make apple crisp, you can make the recipe gluten-free, if you like: Just use gluten-free oats and a gluten-free flour mix.
  • Add pumpkin spice: For greater depth of flavor, add 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger or nutmeg to the streusel. A pinch of ground cloves or allspice would also be delicious.

How to Store Apple Crisp

Store any leftover apple crisp in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. For best results, reheat in a 350° oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until warmed through. You can reduce the reheating time slightly by allowing the crisp to sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before placing it in the oven.

Can you freeze apple crisp?

Yes, you can freeze cooked apple crisp! First, allow the crisp to cool completely. Transfer it to a freezer-safe container, if necessary, then cover it tightly and store in the freezer for up to three months. Let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat in a 350° oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until warmed through.

Can you make apple crisp ahead of time?

You can make the crisp topping up to two days in advance. Make it as directed, then store it in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to use. It’s best to assemble the apple crisp just before you plan to bake it.

Apple Crisp Tips

Two bowls of Winning Apple Crisp on a tableTMB Studio

What type of apples are best for apple crisp?

Nearly any type of apple works in this recipe for apple crisp. Because the recipe has a fair amount of sugar, tart apples, such as Granny Smith or Cortland, are particularly good choices.

Do you need to peel apples for an apple crisp?

Peeling the apples is up to you. It tastes equally delicious with or without the peels, though some people do not like the texture of cooked apple peels.

How do you serve apple crisp?

Serve apple crisp warm from the oven with a generous scoop of ice cream. For a lighter option, spoon a dollop of whipped cream on top. If you want to take it up a notch, drizzle each serving with caramel sauce.

Watch how to Make Winning Apple Crisp

Winning Apple Crisp

Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 60 min
Yield 8 servings


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups chopped peeled apples
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Vanilla ice cream, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine the first 4 ingredients. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press half into a greased 2-1/2-qt. baking dish or a 9-in. square baking pan. Cover with apples.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, water and vanilla. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thick and clear. Pour over apples. Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture.
  3. Bake 60-65 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm, with ice cream if desired.

Nutrition Facts

1 serving: 426 calories, 12g fat (7g saturated fat), 31mg cholesterol, 127mg sodium, 79g carbohydrate (58g sugars, 2g fiber), 3g protein.

I live in apple country, and making a delicious apple crisp is one way to use the fruit. This treat doesn’t take a lot of time to assemble. —Gertrude Bartnick, Portage, Wisconsin
Recipe Creator