Basic Cinnamon Apple Crisp With Oat Topping

Apple crisp with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in a serving dish
Apple crisp with a scoop of ice cream.

Gareth Morgans / Getty Images

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings

When the weather turns cool and apple trees give up their bounty, this simple apple crisp dessert is a fall favorite that also can be made year-round. Serve it with ice cream, whipped cream, or whipped topping for an extra-special dessert. 


  • 4 to 6 medium tart apples (peeled, cored, and sliced, or about 4 to 5 cups of slices)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar (firmly packed)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • For the Topping:
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 6 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • For Serving:
  • Optional: ice cream or whipped cream

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Heat the oven to 375 F.

  3. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish.

  4. In a large bowl, toss the apple slices with the lemon juice, the brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg; arrange in the prepared baking dish.

  5. To make the topping, in a medium bowl, combine the granulated sugar, 1/2 cup flour, and the oats; stir in the melted butter.

  6. Scatter the topping mixture over the apples.

  7. Bake in the heated oven for 30 minutes, or until apples are tender and the top is nicely browned. Serve warm or cooled with ice cream or whipped cream.

  8. Store leftovers in the refrigerator. To reheat, place slices in a baking dish and heat in a heated 350 F oven until warmed through. 

  9. Enjoy!

Serving Suggestions

While the crisp is delicious all by itself, there's nothing wrong with adding a little something extra.

  • Serve the crisp with homemade or purchased caramel sauce for drizzling.
  • Garnish with sweetened vanilla or maple whipped cream by beating 1/2 cup cold whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Continue beating until it holds stiff peaks.


This recipe is a basic one, so it lends itself to many variations. When Thanksgiving and Christmas roll around, cranberries are a great addition and that's when brown sugar should be used instead of white sugar in the topping. 

  • Make the topping with 1/3 cup brown sugar instead of granulated sugar.
  • Add about 1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins to the filling.
  • Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups fresh chopped cranberries.
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the topping crumbs.
  • Use half apples and half pears in the crisp, or make the filling will all sliced pears.
  • Add about 1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts to the crumb topping.
  • If you're looking for a smaller crisp, bake this apple crisp for two.
  • This apple crisp is an excellent choice if you like loads of crispy oat topping.
  • If you're watching calories, try this low-calorie version.

More Homespun Desserts

Cobblers, crumbles, crisps, slumps, brown bettys, and grunts are all one-pan desserts made with fruit, often apples, that are like a hug for the tummy. They're easy to prepare, a good project for the kids, and create an atmosphere of "everything's right with the world" when the heady aroma of baked fruit permeates the air.