Grandma’s Apple Crisp is a timeless old fashioned recipe. It will warm your soul with juicy, tender apples, and a crisp, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth no-oats topping.
When I moved out of the Midwest to the East Coast, I hadn’t given much thought to all the little things I might not have access to anymore.
Sure, I was definitely going to miss my family, my friends, and the two cuddly cats I grew up with. But I didn’t think about the little things.
I was focused on what was to come: my first classroom as a teacher, a new city (Baltimore then North Carolina), and new friends.
I was so excited to leave the cold that I didn’t realize I might miss the distinct seasons and all that comes along with it.
And I never thought I’d miss apple orchards.
Apple orchards, apple cider, caramel apples... and most significantly of all, making apple crisp with freshly picked apple orchard apples.
I mean, is it just me or are there apple orchards everywhere in the Midwest?
Maybe it’s not just the Midwest, but it’s for sure not that way here right on the coast. And come fall, I feel it big time.
Growing up, Sundays in the fall were my favorite.
Sundays meant apple orchards, crisp cool air, hikes to look at the changing leaves, and ending the day with warm apple crisp, fresh out of the oven with a big scoop of ice cream. My happy place.
GOOD NEWS ALERT:
Even without apple orchards all around, I can still make warm, cinnamon-y, soul-satisfying easy apple crisp, just like my mom did when I was growing up.
Just like her mom did when she was growing up.
And just like her mom did when she was growing up.
And my happy place it continues to be.
The Origin of Grandma’s Apple Crisp Without Oats
This recipe goes a looooong 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.”
Either way, 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.
The Recipe Evolution
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 bias at all…).
She’s double the amount of buttery topping – obviously the only natural progression. More crisp butter topping, the better.
The key to this recipe is that there are no oats in the topping, just melt-in-your-mouth sugar, buttery goodness. The topping also only uses granulated sugar.
Apple crisp without oats is my go-to now and forever. Signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours, easy, best-ever apple crisp. Always.
The apple mixture under the melt-in-your-mouth topping are tender, tart, yet sweet, and sprinkled with just the right amount of cinnamon.
The combination is to die for.
Especially when you serve a huge scoop of apple crisp with an equally large scoop of vanilla ice cream. The birds begin to sing and the skies part. It’s THAT delicious.
How to Make Homemade No Oats Apple Crisp
- 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 (photo 1).
- Also! Get apples that are best for baking. A sweet yet tart apple is best for flavor, too. I love Jonathan’s or Honeycrisp, but a good ol’ granny smith apple will work in a pinch.
- Mix the apples with sugar and cinnamon. A little water, too, to aid in mixing. Up your apple flavor and use a bit of cider. Do this right in your baking dish to save on dishes, too (photo 2).
- Use a separate mixing bowl and blend together the topping using a pastry cutter. A mixture of room temperature butter, flour, and sugar (photos 3-4).
- Gently press it on the apples and into the oven it goes (photos 5-6)!
- Bake until bubbly and golden brown.
There you have it – the easiest apple crisp recipe around.
The first bite of this heavenly dessert makes me forget about apple orchards and geography differences; 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.
And it makes it okay that I had to buy the apples at a store rather than picking them myself (which in the end, is that really so bad?).
Run to the store, apple orchard, or your neighbors – grab them apples and get to choppin’! The best is yet to come!
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Grandma's Apple Crisp
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 6-8 baking apples* approximately 10 cups, sliced
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 12 Tablespoons butter room temperature and cubed
- Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Peel and slice apples into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices.
- Combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a large casserole dish or 9x9 baking dish*. Add sliced apples and mix well to coat apple slices completely.
- In a medium mixing bowl with a pie blender or two forks, combine flour, sugar, salt, and butter cubes until well combined and small crumbles form. Lightly pat topping over apples in baking dish.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes, until bubbling and topping is golden brown. Cool slightly and serve with vanilla ice cream.
This recipe was originally published in October 2015. The photos were updated and a video added in October 2018. No changes to the actual recipe were made.