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.
I honestly can’t eat apple crisp any other way now…as examples with Cherry Crisp, and Blueberry Almond Crisp. No-oats crisps are truly amazing.
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.6-8 medium baking apples*
- In a large mixing bowl or the baking dish you will be using, toss the apple slices with sugar, water (or juice), and cinnamon. Mix well to coat the slices completely, and spread in an even layer in an 8×8 glass or ceramic baking dish.1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 cup water
- 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.1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 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.
I made this earlier today and it the MOST DELICIOUS APPLE CRISP EVER!!! It is fabulous, thank you for sharing such a gem with us. I’ll never make apple pie again!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Brooxie!
I have a topping for apple crisp i found in my old grange cookcook ‘this recipe called for oil instead of other things ‘this book is very old most ot the recipes are from scratch .. Recipes i never heard of ‘awesome book .the one i’ve been using was very simple ‘did you ever hear of one using oil ? There are so many out there ‘some i don’t like the taste . Will try this one .. Thanks for sharing with us …
Love it. Hate when recipe calls for oats. I used half cup white sugar and half cup brown. I also sprinkled nutmeg and cinnamon on top b/4 baking.
Love the adaptations! Glad you enjoyed, Judith!
This recipe could NOT be more amazingly perfect!!!!!!!
Tons of buttery topping!! Best Apple crisp I’ve EVER had….even better than my previous favorite at a local farm!!!
I added pecans, just because we love them, but no changes are necessary to this wonderful recipe.
I’d give it a hundred stars if I could!
I’m so glad you liked it, Jo! It’s my absolute favorite too! I’ll have to try the pecans next time – sounds yummy!
I can’t wait to make it again, and share it !!!! I’m printing the recipe right now for co-workers!!!
Also making a ton when my daughter graduates from high school in June for her big party.
I love it, Jo! What an awesome thing to hear! Thank you! 🙂
WAY too sweet!!! Would be better with MUCH less sugar. At least half amount.
Sorry to hear it was too sweet for you!
Sounds like a great family dish! Looking forward to trying it! Recipe did not give the size of pan to use. Glass, metal or ceramic? Help!
Hi Sue! I suggest using an 8×8 in the step-by-step directions. I’ve made it in both glass and ceramic baking dishes, but would probably stay away from metal. Hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions! Enjoy!
BEST apple crisp ever!!! Made it today after apple picking yesterday. This is a DEFINITE for Thanksgiving dessert! Thanks for such a great recipe. (btw…I doubled the ingredients and STILL made it in a 9×13 glass dish. The result was a dessert that could feed MANY…LOL!! Still amazingly DELICIOUS!)
So happy to hear, Maria!! It’s my favorite post-apple orchard activity (eating this, that is ;)). You’ve inspired me to go for the double batch now! 🙂 Thanks for commenting!
This really is the most sinful Apple crisp I’ve had! I have nothing against oatmeal in other recipes, but this really does taste like my grandma made it! Thank you for the recipe!
Sinful is spot on! 🙂 Thank you!
my great grandmother called a very similar version of this recipe English Apple Pie. It had a bottom layer too!. I will need to share her version, when I unpack it. Recently moved and not unpacked yet. It is simply the “best” ever.
Her ancestors were English.
That’s so special! There’s always something extra sweet about family recipes, isn’t there? <3 Thanks for sharing!
I just made this.
I did 1/2 white sugar and 1/2 brown sugar, and instead of all flour, I did 1/2c oats and added in 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and upped the butter amount to 14 tablespoons. It’s on top of the homemade cherry pie filling. So delicious.
Sounds great..and your description sold me ! Can you give me a suggestion for using peaches ?
Hi Eddie! That sounds delicious. The peaches will likely release more liquid than the apples do, so you may want to reduce the sugar by half and leave out the water.
Super easy and amazing. I would personally reduce the sugar a bit in the apple mixture if you want it a little more tart. The crisp has a good amount. Also, I added some pears with the apples and it was incredible. Don’t be afraid to throw in some more spices too. Cloves, nutmeg, and ginger are great additions.
Pears sound like a delicious addition, I can’t wait to try it next time! And yes, more spices are always good, too! 🙂 Thanks for commenting!
Absolutely amazing! So delicious, I made this because I had extra apples that I didn’t want to waste and I am so in love with it. Halved the recipe because I was low on flour and using what I had on hand, also used a mix of brown sugar and white. This is the perfect apple crisp and a great way tokick of the fall season
Love, love, love, Anna! I often make a half-batch too (to try to stop myself from eating it ALL in one sitting ;)). Thanks so much for commenting!!
We use the exact same recipe in our family that has traveled down from my grandmothers mother. The only difference we do is instead of the water we use apple juice or fresh apple cider is my personal favorite! I think it adds that special fall taste. Kristine
yummy recipe! Thanks for sharing this healthy recipe!
Glad you enjoyed! Thank you!
Awesome recipe. I doubled it and used 6 apples and 8 bananas (I was needing to use them up quick), and it turned out extremely delicious.
I’m so glad you enjoyed, and were able to use up the bananas, what a fun twist! Thanks for commenting!
Very similar to my recipe which I’ve used for many years. I don’t care to use oats either. I use cold butter and then chill the sugar/flour/ butter/salt topping after combining ( pulse in a food processor so butter is pea-sized) before I bake…. you might try That… it makes for a very crispy, more crunchy topping, ( Somewhat the same principle when making a pie crust flakier, using ice water, not over- warming the crust ingredients )
Excellent food processor tip, Marilyn! I like your take on chilling the topping too, thanks for sharing!
Absolutely delicious Made half of the recipe since we are a family of two. Only thing I would change is I would make the full recipe so we had more! A real winner.
I made a half batch for us last night too, and I couldn’t agree more that I should’ve made a full batch, too! Hah! It’s also delicious with coffee in the morning…so I was really wishing I had some this AM 😉 Thanks so much for commenting, Marti! So glad you enjoyed!
I have been making this recipe for years!! It is definitely a family favorite! Of course, I always double it.
Doubling it is 100% the right call! 🙂 Thanks so much, Rhonda, I’m glad your family enjoys it as much as mine does!
This was so easy and so delicious! We used apple cider instead of water and it added so much flavor! I highly recommend using it! Definitely a must make!
Thanks so much, Hannah! I love the apple cider substitute!
This recipe was delicious just as written. Will be making this again. Thank you for a great recipe. I got lazy and added the topping ingredients to my food processor and pulsed it a few times~~it worked beautifully.
YAY, Rhoda! I’m so glad you enjoyed. Also, pro tip about the food processor, that’s such a good move! Thank you!
I am celiac as well as having an allergy to oats. Can I substitute almond flour for the regular flour?
Hi Nancy! Unfortunately I haven’t tested it with almond flour myself so I can’t say for certain, but since you’re not actually binding a batter together I’m guessing you should be fine. I’d love to hear how it works if you try it!
Elba N. Hada
My family doesn’t care for an oatmeal topping so this is our new favorite apple crisp recipe.
Yay, I’m so glad to hear you all love it! Thanks so much for commenting, Elba!!
My husbands absolute favorite. Ok mine too lol.
So happy to hear, Louise 🙂 Thanks for commenting!
Has anyone ever substituted whole wheat flour with good results? It’s all I use anymore, but have not used it for baking yet.
Hi Anne – great question! I haven’t had any feedback from someone who has used whole wheat flour in this recipe before, and haven’t tested it yet myself. My hunch is that you should be fine substituting it, you just might want to use a little less (maybe around 1 cup) since whole wheat flour is more dense. Let me know if you give it a try!
Thank you for sharing your recipe ! Made this today and my husband loved it ! Will be making this again !
So glad to hear! Thanks so much, Arlene!
I made this for my boyfriend’s parents, took it over to their house fresh out of the oven with a pint of vanilla ice cream . It was devoured by the next day! They said it was absolutely delicious!!
That sounds about right…that’s how long it lasts around here too 😉 I’m so glad to hear they loved it. And pro move bringing the ice cream, too! Thanks, Jennifer!!
Oh goodness! This recipe is one to SAVE😋😋😋 It’s absolutely delicious!
Yay! So glad to hear! Thanks so much, Karen!!
Absolutely delicious! I am a great grandmother and have made apple crisps, always with oats, for 50 years. Never again. This recipe is the BEST!
This made my day!! I’m so glad to hear you loved it, Susie. Thank you so much!
So I was searching online for a recipe but most had negative reviews…came across this one and felt good about it and boy was i right!! Thank you! Sooo good!!
Yay!! I’m so glad you enjoyed it – it sure is a favorite around here! 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Carmen!
Another amazing dish. Just wow. I have made this twice and both times all I want to do is scrap off the crisp and leave the apples. Really easy to make. Great job.
Haha I can relate! I’m so glad you enjoyed it – thank you!
Hmmm, I’ve always used oats in my apple and fruit crisps but I’m curious to try this recipe. It looks just as ‘crispy’ as when oats are used. I bet it smells amazing when it’s baking in the oven.
Definitely smells amazing! The topping is still crisp, but I would say it melts in your mouth more than a topping with oats. Would love to hear if you give it a try!
Really easy and delicious. I had some blueberries that were a little soft so I added a cup of those. I will definitely make this again!!!
Yum! So glad to hear you enjoyed it, Gail!
So glad you loved it! Thanks, Barbara!
I am using a dish with a lid, should the crisp be covered?
Hi Jennifer – nope, keep it uncovered so the topping can get golden brown and crisp. Enjoy!