This apple crisp without oats has a rich, buttery topping and sweet apple filling and takes just twenty minutes to mix together. It’s a delicious, easy-to-make dessert that is perfect for any time of year, not just fall!

Our simple apple crisp recipe is sure to be a hit with family and friends, whether served at a casual gathering or a festive holiday celebration, and you’ll love how easy it is to make.

Serving of apple crisp without oats with vanilla ice cream.

Although technically a crumble since there are no oats in the topping, we still call this recipe an apple crisp because the topping gets nice and crispy. Whether you’re looking for a traditional cobbler, like our famous Southern Peach Cobbler or Blackberry Cobbler, you’ll love how easy it is to put together a tasty fruit dessert in no time.

Beloved and shared by thousands of readers, this delicious apple crisp recipe without oats is the best and easiest you’ll find. Using just a few ingredients and some basic kitchen tools, you can create a comforting and satisfying dessert that showcases the natural sweetness and texture of apples.

The crumbly topping, made without the traditional oats, adds a delightful contrast to the soft, spiced apple filling beneath.

Serving of apple crisp without oats on a white plate.

We love an apple dessert around here, so we also feature Fried Apple Pies, Baked Apple Tarts, and this super easy recipe for Apple Strudel

Why crumble topping without oats

I will tell you a secret: I love oatmeal for breakfast. But. I detest oats in any type of dessert, or pretty much anywhere that is not oatmeal for breakfast.

So when making a fruit crisp, I like to top it with a streusel topping without oats. Sometimes toasted nuts can be part of the streusel depending on who is going to eat it, but usually, I opt for no nuts and no oats.

Our homemade apple crisp is so simple you can make it for a quick dessert even during a busy week. I peel the apples and then chop them right into a buttered shallow casserole dish. Mine is a little smaller than a 9×13 dish. The key is to make sure your topping stays crispy and doesn’t get soggy, and there are several factors that affect the topping: the apples, the dish, and the ratio of topping ingredients.

What apple is best for apple crisp

When choosing the best apples for baking, you want to think about baking structure and liquid because some apples will get too mushy and ruin your dessert.

I like to use a tart and sweet mixture of Granny Smith apples and Golden Delicious or Honeycrisp apples, just like when making my Classic Double-Crust Apple Pie.

There are plenty of other apple types that you can choose from, so just keep in mind that you want to choose apples that are good for baking and mix up sweet and tart for deeper flavor.

You can also use pears or a combination of apples and pears in this apple crisp recipe, and you can even throw in dried raisins or cranberries.

Helpful tools

I like to use a shallow baking dish similar to this one when making this apple crisp. If you use a dish that’s too deep, there will be too much moisture, and the topping will get soggy.

Ingredients for apple crisp without oats

Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full ingredient amounts and instructions. 

The simple ingredients for this apple crisp are pantry staples, so it’s easy to make at any time! 

  • Apples – use a mix of Granny  Smith and Golden Delicious for the best results
  • Lemon juice – freshly squeezed
  • Brown sugar – we love the flavor of brown sugar in the crispy, oat-free topping.
  • Flour – all-purpose or self-rising is fine
  • Cornstarch – just a little helps the filling thicken
  • Cinnamon and nutmeg – add for extra apple pie flavor
  • Vanilla – you could also use almond extract
  • Butter – I use Land O’Lakes unsalted
  • Salt

Substitutions and variations

You can easily adapt this simple apple crumble without oats to suit dietary preferences. 

  • Gluten-free flour works great in this recipe! We tested with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free Flour.
  • Add nuts to the streusel topping; decrease the flour amount by 1/2 cup and use 1 cup of chopped nuts.
  • Although we haven’t tried the recipe with vegan butter, this article indicates that it would work fine.

How to make apple crisp without oats

Pro Tip: The size of the dish is important to help the topping stay crispy. If you squish everything into a smaller, deeper dish, the topping won’t be spread out, and the liquid from the apples will be more likely to affect the texture of the topping.

You’re going to love how absolutely EASY this recipe is!

Step 1. Preheat oven to 375. Butter a medium-sized shallow casserole dish.

**Cook’s Tip: Mine is a little smaller than a 9×13 dish.

Step 2. Peel apples and chop them into 1/2-inch pieces right into the prepared baking dish.

Step 3. Add the lemon juice to the apples and gently toss to coat the apples.

Step 4. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, brown sugar, and cornstarch and gently toss until distributed throughout the apples.

A white bowl filled with chopped apples.

Apple crisp topping

This apple crisp topping is a little different because I don’t use oats or nuts, but it still comes out crunchy and is absolutely delicious! Secret tip from one of my commenters—add a little lemon zest to the apple crisp topping!

Step 1. Stir together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, a little freshly grated nutmeg, and a pinch of salt. Mix well.

Step 2. Add the butter and use your hands to mix until a pebbly, crumbly mixture.

Cook’s Tip: Make sure you’re using cold butter.

Step 3. Sprinkle about a third of the topping over the apples and move the apples around a bit so some of the topping is mixed in with the apples. Sprinkle the remaining topping over the apples.

Step 4. Bake the Apple Crisp for about 50 minutes or until the apple crisp topping is deep golden brown.

Cook’s Tip: Keep an eye on it, as your oven might require less time–I have baked it in 35 mins.

Step 5. Remove your apple crisp from the oven and allow to rest for fifteen minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.

So easy but so full of flavor!

A white baking dish with apple crisp.


Does apple crisp need to be refrigerated?

This apple crisp does not need to be refrigerated, at least for a day or so. I doubt it will be around longer than that, but I would store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator after a day.

Can you freeze the apple crisp?

Yes, you can freeze apple crisp. First, allow the crisp to cool completely, then wrap the whole dish with plastic wrap and cover the plastic wrap with tin foil.

Can you cook apple crisp in the microwave?

No, you cannot cook apple crisp in the microwave. The oat-free topping will not get crispy.

Can I make this ahead of time?

You can make this easy apple crisp ahead of time. Put it together the day before you want to bake, but leave the apple crisp topping off until you’re ready to bake.

How do you heat the leftovers?

If you are rewarming the whole dish of apple crisp, heat in the oven until warm. This will help the topping stay crispy. You could use a toaster oven or microwave if only heating one serving. 

What is the difference between apple crumble and apple crisp?

Typically, apple crumble is made without oats, and apple crisp has an oat topping. 

Why is my apple crumble not crispy?

Working the butter too much or too finely into the flour can cause the topping to be soft. 

Can I use nutmeg spice instead of freshly grated nutmeg?

We always use freshly grated nutmeg. We don’t even own nutmeg spice! It takes just seconds to grate a little nutmeg, and the flavor benefit from using fresh is immeasurable. 

Does the apple crisp need to be served warm?

You can serve this apple crisp without oats at room temperature, although it’s best served right from the oven with a big old scoop of ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce. 

Serving suggestions

If you’re making the apple crisp without oats for a dinner party, may I suggest serving it with some good old Southern favorites? Try my Meatloaf Recipe or Baked Pork Chops, add a Southern Squash Casserole or some Macaroni and Cheese, and you’ve got the perfect meal!

Overhead of baked apple crisp.

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4.66 from 391 votes

Apple Crisp Without Oats

This apple crisp without oats has a rich, buttery topping and sweet apple filling and takes just twenty minutes to mix together.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 6
Save This Recipe



  • 4-5 apples (I use 2 Granny Smith and 2 sweeter apples, whatever I have on hand)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Pinch of kosher salt


  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cold and diced
  • **If you want to use chopped, toasted pecans or walnuts in the topping, decrease the flour by 1/2 cup and use 1 cup of chopped nuts.


  • Preheat oven to 375. Butter a medium-sized shallow casserole dish. Mine is a little smaller than a 9×13 dish.
  • Peel apples and then chop into 1/2-inch pieces right into the buttered dish. Add the lemon juice to the apples and gently toss to coat the apples. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, brown sugar, and cornstarch and gently mix until distributed throughout the apples.


  • Stir together the flour, 1 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, a little freshly grated nutmeg, and a pinch of salt. Mix well. Add the butter and use your hands to mix until a pebbly, crumbly mixture.
  • Sprinkle about a third of the topping over the apples and move the apples around a bit so some of the topping is mixed in with the apples. Sprinkle remaining topping over the apples.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes until topping is golden brown (just keep an eye on it, as your oven might require less time–I have baked in 35 mins). Remove from oven and allow to rest for fifteen minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.



Tips for Making Easy Apple Crisp:

  • Use a shallow baking dish
  • Use a mix of Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples
  • Cold butter works best for the streusel topping


Serving: 6Servings, Calories: 477kcal, Carbohydrates: 82g, Protein: 3g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 40mg, Sodium: 148mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 50g
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Calories: 477
Keyword: apple crisp without oats, apple desserts, comfort food, easy apple crisp, fall desserts
Love this recipe?Mention @southernfoodandfun or tag #southernfoodandfun!

This post is part of the Top Ten Recipes of Last Year collection.

Update Notes: This post for Apple Crisp Without Oats was originally published October 15, 2014, and on May 4, 2023, was updated with one or more of the following: step-by-step photos, video, updated recipe, new tips.

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About the author

Hi, I’m Lucy! I’m a home cook, writer, food and wine fanatic, and recipe developer. I’ve created and tested hundreds of recipes so that I can bring you the best tried and true favorites.

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Recipe Rating


    1. I haven’t tested with pie filling so I’m not sure how it would turn out. But it only takes a few minutes to chop the fresh apples and they taste so much better than canned pie filling!

  1. 5 stars
    Simple and delicious – literally switched to it in the middle of a dinner party when I discovered I was out of oats. Everyone ate it up. Thank you for the party-saver!

    1. I haven’t tested with pie filling so I’m not sure how it would turn out. But it only takes a few minutes to chop the fresh apples and they taste so much better than canned pie filling!

  2. 4 stars
    Used 3 apples; cut the topping recipe in half; made it gluten-free (necessary in our household) with 1/2 brown Rice flour and half almond flour; also used a pastry blender to mix the butter into,topping. Turned out the house smelled like fall.

  3. 4 stars
    My wife handed me a bag of Macintosh apples she bought at local farm in Southern New England. She described the apples as the skin being too tough and inside was too soft, but the flavor was good. She asked me to make a dessert with them. Because my wife is not really a dessert-eater and she works hard to maintain her girlish figure, I always reduce fat and sugar in recipes for her. I used 5 of these medium-sized Macs, but I cut all the other ingredients in half. I baked it for 35 minutes (rested for 20 after) and enjoyed thoroughly with vanilla ice cream. The texture of the apples was perfect and the flavor of the farm-fresh apples really shone through, complemented by the crispiness of the topping. Adding the cornstarch to the apples created a smooth saucy filling. The vanilla, lemon and salt all helped to enhance and highlight the flavors. I think the recipe is fine without all the streusel topping it calls for. I will definitely make the fast and easy recipe again!

  4. 5 stars
    I normally don’t care for apple crisp but my husband does. Made this and I’ve changed my opinion. This is excellent!

  5. 3 stars
    This was so good but a total mess to make. Topping didn’t turn into anything crumbly – it turned into a paste and I had to spread it on with my hands because it kept sticking to the spoon. Tastes delicious, though!

    1. Sounds like you may have mixed the topping too much. So sorry that happened, I know it’s frustrating! I have done the same.

  6. 5 stars
    Your prompts to adjust the recipe for X1 X2 X3 is GENIUS!! Why hasn’t someone did this years ago?? I’m 60 and this absolutely blows my mind “in a good way” 🙂 Now you make me want to sign up!! 🙂 The comments and the website has convinced me that I am making this on the weekend. 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    Thank you. I’m not much of a baker with exact measurements and all but this
    recipe came out great. My fiance loves when I bake and he was happy with my endeaver.

  8. 5 stars
    This dish is not out of the oven yet, but by the taste and the look of it, I have no doubt it will be my new and only applecrisp recipe! I have never made this without oats, I went to start the process, and I didn’t have enough oats, then I found this recipe, and I said well, I’d always wondered how it would be without the oats, and how the topping could be crispy without them oats, I can see already that the topping is becoming crispy, it smells delicious, I will be back with the outcome, thanks for sharing this!!

  9. 5 stars
    I made this tonight. I used 2 Granny Smith apples and 2 honey crisp apples and added pecans. It was buttery and crispy with the perfect blend of sugar and spices. This is my husbands new favorite dessert. Thank you for sharing your recipe!

  10. 5 stars
    Love this recipe,will always use your recipe instead of the one I been using for is full of flavor and I like the crunch of the crust.

  11. 5 stars
    Great recipe. I’ve been trying to find a good topping that doesn’t have oatmeal. I just made a couple of changes for me; I didn’t have corn starch so I added two tb of flour for each single tb of corn starch. Also I’m not a fan of nutmeg so I cut that and just made sure the apples were in consistent thin slices. The best apple crisp topping and filling ever. Great work. This will be my go to from now on.

  12. 5 stars
    Delicious ,I have made many apple crumbles and this one is now my favourite.Very yummy crumbs and melt in the mouth apples and just Devine.Thankyou so much

  13. 5 stars
    OMG!!! This has become my husband and I’s favorite apple dessert! I put a swirl of caramel sauce on the top and it knocked it out of this world!!!

  14. 5 stars
    WOW! I had leftover apples and wanted to make some comfort food to prepare for the Buffalo storm coming tomorrow 😨. I’m used to using oats in apple crisp, even tho it turns into a mushy mess. Luckily I didn’t have oats, so I tried this recipe. Oh me oh my!!! Absolutely fantastic. The topping is crispy as promised, the apples held up to perfection, the taste is enough to knock me off my chair!!! Absolutely fantastic recipe! No more mushy mess for me, this recipe is a keeper! Thank you for sharing!