This cinnamon apple crisp without oats is made the old-fashioned way, with a cozy apple filling, and a crunchy crumble top. One of the most sought-after fall desserts, this easy apple dessert made with just 6 ingredients takes 15 minutes to put together and is ready in under an hour.
This apple crisp without oats is full of cinnamon sugar apples, and a delicious crispy crumble topping easy to make with pantry ingredients. The crumble top is made without oats, the way crisps were made mid-century, and the difference makes the crumble top silky soft, and it melts in your mouth.
This cinnamon apple crisp is perfect for the days you crave homemade apple pie but don't want to put in the work. Top a plateful of this apple crisp with ice cream, whipped cream, or yogurt, and drizzle with caramel or warmed homemade date paste.
Like my other apple recipes, cinnamon apple cake, my baked apple cider donuts and my cinnamon roll overnight oats, this recipe really showcases the sweetness of fresh apples. And it's a recipe really easy to get right because I'm clear on the key elements for apple crisp success: the correct apple type, the size of the pan, and the proper amount of crumble top.
Why You'll Love This
Easy to make. This delicious nostalgic apple dessert is so easy to make in your oven using just a bowl, fork, kitchen knife and a baking pan, as well as apples, spices, apple cider and flour and a few other pantry ingredients. My recipe feeds probably 9 people but can easily be doubled or halved or made in muffin tins for individual apple crisps.
It's an apple crisp with no oats. While oats are nutritious, this apple crisp is made with only flour, resembling the old fashioned and earlier version of the recipe, called an apple crumble.
Perfect for all diets. As is, this apple crisp is dairy free, and is easy to customize to fit any diet, including gluten free, vegan, paleo, refined-sugar-free and nut free.
Healthy adjustments. This apple crisp is much lower in calories and lower in sugar than similar recipes. One serving of this easy apple dessert is only 167 calories, and the sugar is 15 grams.
See the recipe card at the bottom for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Apples. You'll need 3-4 apples. Choose crisp varieties such as Gala, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Granny Smith.
Apple cider. Just a little will replace some butter found in traditional recipes, keeping the spices up and the calories down.
Sugar. Use brown sugar with the apples to bring a caramel flavor similar to apple pie. A combo of brown and white sugar in the crumble top creates the perfect crumble texture. The amounts are already low but you can leave it off the apples to reduce sugar further.
Cinnamon. You can add other spices too if you want such as a quarter teaspoon each of nutmeg and allspice to expand on an apple pie flavor profile.
Flour. This is the replacement for oats, and with the other ingredients it helps bring a toasty buttery texture to the topping.
Butter. This works best using chilled sticks. Use regular or dairy free such as Earth Balance sticks. Use salted, or use unsalted and add ¼ teaspoon of salt to crisp top.
See the recipe card at the bottom for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Substitutions & Variations
Substitute the apples. Feel free to substitute the apples for pears, peaches, blueberries, cherries or even cranberries, or try my fresh cranberry crisp. These fruits mimic apples enough in moisture and structure to be successful in a fruit crisp.
About the sugar. In the crisp topping, you can swap brown sugar for all cane sugar. If you prefer a refined-sugar-free treat, you might want to try my baked pumpkin donuts.
About the flour. The traditional old-fashioned oat-free apple crisp uses all purpose flour, but you can use gluten-free baking flour, or even almond flour. The latter will create a heavier crumble so reduce it by ¼ cup. Try my pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies if you like fall recipes with oats.
Make individual apple crisps. Assemble the apples and crisp layers in a greased muffin pan and bake at 350 F for 25 minutes or until top is tinged brown and crispy.
Step by Step Instructions
For more detail, visit the complete recipe at the bottom of this post, but here are general steps.
Preparations. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Prepare the apples, and measure ingredients. Either grease with butter or line a pan with parchment paper. Chop chilled butter into small cubes.
Step 1: Chop the apples. Stand each apple up, and cut all four sides off close to the core. Discard the core, and chop the apples into slices.
Step 2: Make apple filling layer. Add the apples to a bowl, and toss with the apple cider, brown sugar and cinnamon. Layer them level in the pan.
Step 3: Make crisp crumble layer. In another bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir together, and then add the butter. Chop the butter into the mixture until clumps form about 30 seconds to leave butter chunks intact.
Step 4: Sprinkle crisp crumble layer on apples. Spoon the mixture over the apples, shuffle the apples a bit so some of the topping falls between them.
Step 5: Bake for 35-45 minutes or until it is bubbling, and the top is golden. Let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then serve.
Cutting apples. I just use a paring knife. A corer is not necessary. Stand the apple up, cut off four sides, and discard the core. Cut the 4 chunks into ¼-inch slices - you want the apples to be strong enough to withstand baking but thin enough to cook through.
Butter. Make sure the butter cold and hard; don't work the crumble layer longer than 30 seconds or butter will become too soft.
Pans to use. Use an 8-inch square pan or the like. It can be metal or ceramic. Don't use a deep pan like a loaf pan or your crust will become soggy.
Keep apples from browning if you'd like by tossing them in a tablespoon of lemon juice before you add the crumble top. Also, you can thicken the juice the apples make by tossing the apple slices with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch or arrowroot to increase the syrupy texture of the apple layer.
Watch the crisp in the oven. It can take 35 minutes to 45 minutes to bake depending on your oven. Test by watching the top - you don't want it to burn. And taste the center apples to be sure they are hot.
Storage & Make Ahead
Storage of leftovers. Store leftover apple crisp in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave for 30 seconds uncovered, or bake on foil for 15 minutes at 350 F.
Make ahead. The apple crisp without oats cannot be refrigerated ahead of time, but it can be frozen. Bake, cool and freeze right away. To serve, thaw the frozen crisp overnight. To warm, bake for 15 minutes uncovered or as needed to be sure middle apples are hot.
No because it would all become too soggy, but I have a single serving apple crisp recipe in the works and will link it here.
You can put the whole pan in the oven and heat at 350 F for up to 15 minutes.
You need to use a fresh, dry crispy apple that will not dissolve into a puddle while baking. I recommend using Gala, Fuji, Honey Crisp or Granny Smith. Don't use them over-ripe - they should be blemish free and firm to touch.
I don't peel them because the texture adds chewy, and the peel adds nutrition and fiber.
Some sources say a crisp general contains oats in the topping while a crumble does not. But Wikipedia says the two terms mean the same in the US, while the word crumble refers to a different dessert in the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
More Apple & Fall Recipes
If you tried this recipe or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below. Thanks for visiting!
Apple Crisp Without Oats
- 8-inch square pan grease or use parchment paper
- kitchen knife
- 4 apples chopped, 3 cups
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoon apple cider
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoon cane sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 4 tablespoon butter chilled and cubed
- Prep. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Prepare the apples, and measure ingredients. Either butter your 8-inch square pan, or line it with 8-inch by 12-inch parchment paper. Chop chilled butter into small squares.
- Chop the apples. Stand each apple up, and cut all four sides off close to the core. Discard the core, and chop the apples into slices.
- Make apple layer. Add the apples to a bowl, and toss with the apple cider, brown sugar and cinnamon. Layer them in the pan.4 apples, 2 tablespoon apple cider, 2 tablespoon brown sugar, ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Make crisp layer. In another bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir together, and then add the butter. Chop the butter into the mixture until clumps form. Don't overwork, leave butter chunks intact.1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 cup flour, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 4 tablespoon butter, 2 tablespoon cane sugar
- Sprinkle Crisp on Apples. Spoon the crisp mixture over the apples, and bake the crisp for 35 minutes or until it is bubbling and the top is golden. Let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then serve.