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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
No, you cannot cook apple crisp in the microwave. The oat-free topping will not get crispy.
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.
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.
Typically, apple crumble is made without oats, and apple crisp has an oat topping.
Working the butter too much or too finely into the flour can cause the topping to be soft.
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.
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.
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!
Apple Crisp Without Oats
- 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
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.