This homemade apple crisp without oats is a timeless old-fashioned recipe, just like Grandma made. This dessert will warm your soul with juicy, tender cinnamon–sugar apples, and a crisp, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth no-oats topping. Make it for an easy, irresistible fall dessert!
Team Apple, here and reporting for duty! While there’s something about pumpkin spice recipes, there’s nothing better than warm, cinnamon-filled, cozy, and comforting apple desserts. There’s no shortage of them here, from salted caramel apple cake to apple cider cupcakes with bourbon frosting, or cinnamon sugar apple fritters.
But there’s something extra special about this apple crisp. It takes the cake…er, crisp. It’s sweet, soul-warming, and completely nostalgic. And it’s so easy to make that when the mid-week craving strikes, you’ll have a bowl of warm apple crisp in no time.
This recipe hits all the nostalgic points for me. Made by my grandma for years, and a recipe my mom routinely made for Sunday night dessert, enjoyed warm out of the oven with big scoops of ice cream (and caramel drizzle on extra-special nights). Now, it’s part of my fall traditions, too.
Why is Grandma’s Apple Crisp the Absolute Best?
This recipe goes a long way back in my family, and there are differing stories about how it came to be.
One story says it originated in my Great Grandparent’s restaurant in a little Iowan town. The second story is that my Grandma got it off of a sugar sack (yes, I said sack) many, many years ago. As she put it, “I’m 75 years old, so you know that was a long time ago.”
I couldn’t be more thankful for family heirlooms like these. It is the perfect apple crisp.
It’s like a big Grandma hug that fills your soul to the very top with comfort. It’s the best old-fashioned apple crisp out there.
Over the years, my mom has evolved this recipe and it’s what I’ve grown to love. Not just me either, it’s a favorite for everyone who’s tried it (not biased at all…).
My mom doubles the amount of buttery topping, because the more crisp butter topping, the better. She tends to have a way of making desserts extra indulgent.
You’re going to love the buttery crisp topping. Since there are no oats in the topping, it melts in your mouth with each bite, melding into the sweet, juicy apples. There’s nothing like it, and once you have it, you won’t go back.
Signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours, easy, best-ever apple crisp.
How to Make Homemade No Oats Apple Crisp
Please be sure to see the full recipe card below for the complete instructions and notes.
This recipe is absolutely so easy to make! From start to finish it takes about an hour, but most of that is the time it takes to bake it. Waiting is always the hardest part. Here are the simple recipe steps:
- Slice the apples fairly thin. You don’t want them falling apart during the baking process because they’re too thin, or because of the apple type – see more in the FAQs for which type of apple to use.
2. Mix the apples with sugar and cinnamon. A little water, too, to aid in mixing. One reader recommended using apple cider in place of the water. I think that is an excellent substitution if you have it on hand already! You can mix the apples, cinnamon, and sugar in the baking dish you’ll use to save on dishes, too!
3. Make the crisp topping. Use a separate mixing bowl and a pastry cutter to blend together butter, flour, and granulated sugar until the butter is into a pea-sized mixture.
With the apple mixture in an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish (this is totally flexible!), gently press the topping on the apples and then bake until bubbly and the topping is golden brown.
The first bite of this heavenly dessert will make you fall in love. It transports me right back to being 11 years old again on those Sunday nights, snuggled in and cozy, filled with all the love of the strong women in my family. I’m excited to hear how it becomes part of your fall tradition in your family, too.
So what are you waiting for? Run to the store, apple orchard, or your neighbors to pick some fresh in-season apples and get to choppin’! The best is yet to come!
Any apples that are best for baking will work in this recipe. If you’d use it in a pie, you should use it here. You want it sturdy enough to hold up to the baking. I recommend a sweet yet tart apple for the best flavor, too. I love Jonathan’s or Honeycrisp, but a good ol’ granny smith apple will work as well.
Yes, you can! This recipe is pretty customizable to the size of a baking dish. I tend to use a more oval casserole pan and a more traditional square baker. The baking time for this recipe is written for an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish, however, you can adjust it as needed. For a larger baking dish, the crisp will be thinner and require less cooking time. Adjust accordingly.
For the first day, I cover the apple crisp with foil and store it at room temperature. If it lasts any longer than that, I recommend storing the pan covered in the fridge.
If you are reheating individual portions, I like to heat it in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave until warmed through. If you are reheating an entire pan, make sure the pan is at room temperature (don’t take a cold pan and stick it in a hot oven). Then heat in a 350F oven until warmed through.
Yes! You can prepare the apple crisp without baking, and store it in the fridge until you are ready to do so. Otherwise, you can bake the apple crisp and then reheat it when you’re ready to serve. Alternatively, you can bake it ahead of time the day you’ll be enjoying it, and serve it at room temperature.
I love it warm, fresh out of the oven, served with a scoop of ice cream and caramel drizzle. It’s also great at room temperature. And no one could argue with a little whipped cream on top.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Apple Crisp Without Oats
- 6-8 medium baking apples*, sliced, around 2.5-3 pounds
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water, or apple cider
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature and cubed
- Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Peel and slice apples into approximately 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices.
- In a large mixing bowl or the baking dish you will be using, toss the apple slices with 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Mix well to coat the slices completely, and spread in an even layer in an 8×8 glass or ceramic baking dish.
- In a separate medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and butter cubes with a pie blender or two forks, until well combined and small crumbles form. Lightly pat the topping over apples in the baking dish.
- Bake the apple crisp for 45-50 minutes, until bubbling and the topping is golden brown. Let sit for 15-20 minutes to cool slightly, then serve warm with vanilla ice cream as desired. Enjoy!
- Apples: You want to use apples that are sweet yet tart and will not break down too much during the baking process. If you can find Jonathan apples, they are best. Honeycrisps are a great option, and Granny Smiths will work in a pinch, too.
- Storage: I usually store the apple crisp on the counter, covered, for the first day (if it lasts that long!). You can reheat in the microwave, oven, or enjoy at room temperature. For longer storage, cover and place in the fridge.
- Reheating: you can enjoy it at room temperature, or reheat individual portions in the microwave. To reheat the entire pan, heat in the oven at 350°F for approximately 10-12 minutes depending on how much is left in the pan.
- Baking Dish: Adjust the size of the pan as needed. A 9×9 pan works just as well. The thickness of the crisp just may vary if using an oval or other shaped baking dish. If using a pan larger than 9×9, you will likely need less baking time.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.
This recipe was originally published in October 2015. The photos were updated and a video was added in October 2018. No changes to the actual recipe were made.