Table of Contents
  1. Are crisps, cumbles and cobblers all the same?
  2. Do the apples need to be peeled?
  3. Watch how to make this easy apple crisp recipe
  4. Easy Apple Crisp Recipe

Any time there is a new season of fruit, crisp is the first thing I make. And why is that? Well, a crisp is really the best way to enjoy seasonal fruit quickly. So what makes it so quick to make? It’s all about the filling.

When you break it down, the filling of an apple crisp is nearly identical to that of an apple pie: sliced apples, sugar, spices, and some cornstarch to thicken it all. The difference between the two is that instead of rolling out a crust, the filling is poured into a baking dish and topped with a streusel topping.

I’ll admit: there are numerous ways to make a crisp, but in my book, a simple recipe is the best way to truly taste the apples.

Top down view of white baking dish filled with brown colored apple crisp sitting on white countertop with pecans and apples all around

Are crisps, cumbles and cobblers all the same?

Each of these fruit desserts is distinctively different. Let’s run through each of them:

  • Cobblers have a biscuit topping.
  • Crumbles can be similar to a crisp but should not contain oats.
  • Crisps will always have oats in the streusel topping and usually bake with a slightly crisper streusel.

This crisp has one variation with the addition of toasted pecans. And while it may seem like an optional step, the pecans need to be toasted first and then chopped. They provide a perfect texture and flavor to the topping while keeping the traditional oat lovers happy as well.

Top down view of streusel topping on top of apple crisp with golden brown color filling the entire picture
Now doesn’t that look like an appetizing topping to pair with the apples?

Do the apples need to be peeled?

I win some friends and lose some friends over the issue of peeling. I’m team “leave on the peel.” No matter what I’m cooking or roasting, if the texture of the peel does not impede on the dish, I leave it on.

Here’s the great thing: no matter what team you’re on, this crisp will be perfect whether you peel the apples or not. I know plenty of people who prefer no peels on their baked crisps and I completely understand. I opt to leave them on (less work for me!) and once baked hardly notice if that they’re even there.

The baking time on this is long. Like a pie, the crisp needs to be bubbling throughout to make sure that the added cornstarch is fully activated. In that baking time, the apples become soft along with the peels. Whether you peel or not, either choice is correct.

Fork holding bite of apple crisp with streusel topping on white plate with rest of crisp below

Watch how to make this easy apple crisp recipe

YouTube video
Top down view of white baking dish filled with brown colored apple crisp with three scoops of vanilla ice cream on top all sitting on white countertop with baking ingredients all around

Easy Apple Crisp

4.57 from 32 votes
While an apple crisp seems like it could be something time intensive, this recipe is quite the opposite. With simple ingredients and the best flavors of the season, this dessert comes together in less than thirty minutes. Bake it up and it's ready to go!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 12 servings


For the filling

  • 3 lb apples cut in quarters, core removed, and sliced into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 ½ tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp Calvados (apple brandy) (optional)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

For the streusel

  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • ¾ cup pecans toasted and chopped
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12 tbsp unsalted butter cut into ½-inch cubes


For the apple filling

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×9 baking dish and set it aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the prepared apples, lemon zest, lemon juice, cornstarch, salt, sugar, and Calvados. Stir to combine and dissolve cornstarch. Pour into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the cinnamon.
    3 lb apples, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tsp lemon zest, 1 ½ tbsp cornstarch, 1 tsp salt, ¼ cup white granulated sugar, 2 tbsp Calvados (apple brandy) (optional), 1 tsp cinnamon

For the streusel

  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. Stir to combine, then add in the pieces of butter. Coat the pieces with the dry mixture. Use thumb and forefinger to work the butter into the mixture until the pieces of butter are no bigger than the size of a pea and the consistency is like wet sand.
    ¾ cup flour, ¾ cup rolled oats, ¾ cup pecans, ½ cup brown sugar, 1 ½ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp allspice, 1 tsp salt, 12 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Sprinkle all of the streusel over the apple filling and bake in the preheated oven until the filling is bubbling throughout and the streusel is toasted, 55-75 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool to just warm before serving, 30-40 minutes.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 288kcalCarbohydrates: 32.8gProtein: 2.4gFat: 16.6gSaturated Fat: 7.7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6.1gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 30.5mgSodium: 392.6mgPotassium: 188.5mgFiber: 3.2gSugar: 19.1gVitamin A: 99.3IUVitamin C: 3.9mgCalcium: 29.3mgIron: 0.9mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Difficulty Intermediate
Method Baking

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I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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  1. Hi Kaleb,

    I just printed off your Easy Apple Crisp recipe and noticed you forgot to list the lemon peel in the instruction paragraph. (So not a big deal) It’s listed in the ingredients but not listed again to add in to the filling instructions. Just thought you may want to edit that recipe when you get a chance. I so enjoy watching you. When you’re not on, my day is just okay. Wishing you enjoy all the work you put into allowing your followers to have a happy day. Would luv to meet your Mom someday. I have three boys (27-32) and have a wonderful relationship with them like your Mom does with you. Not every family has that gift. Hope your speaking engagement goes well tonight and you enjoy a trip down memory lane. Take care and thank you for sharing your time and talents with your followers. 😋

  2. 5 stars
    I love your recipes! I enjoy making your dishes! This week alone I have made the black bean and squash chili, the easy apple crisp and the squash and apple pork dish! They were all awesome! Thank you for helping me try new things! It’s the first time I have ever cooked with squash!

  3. I didn’t have nuts for my apple crisp. Gave hubby a choice, either walnuts or pecans. He came home with macadamia nuts. Honestly he’s dense sometimes. So I dug around and found coconut Ina pouch. I toasted it. Will my streusel taste like crap? Or should I have chopped and toasted the macadamia nuts. It sure looks delish. 6 big apples was almost too many..honey crisp qpples…omg I’m drooling thinkin about dessert tonight.

  4. Kaleb – just made this recipe. The toasted pecans really add to the overall flavor of the crisp! Love this one!

  5. 5 stars
    I have a family member that is allergic to nuts. Can you recommend another ingredients to replace the pecan in your apple crisp. Also, I love your videos. You make everything so interesting and really brighten up my day.

  6. 3 stars
    Overall the end product was good. I felt that the lemon juice or rind was over powering. The 55 minutes was not enough so, I added another 15 minutes which was to much. I would definitely make this apple crisp again next time, I will uses 1/2 lemon, less lemon zest and reduce the baking time to 65 minutes.Thank you Kaleb!

  7. 5 stars
    After preparing a multitude of apple recipes this season I decided to make this apple crisp with my last remaining apples. Had I made this first this would have been the “only” apple recipe I would have baked. It’s that good!

  8. Your cooking videos are fun to watch n your fun personality makes it great n happy n funny and my favorite videos are when you teach us gardening. Thanks for sharing ⭐️

  9. 5 stars
    I am pretty old–72–and I have made a lot of apple crisps, but this, to me, is the best. The back notes of lemon and Calvados, in addition to the allspice in the topping, make for a delightful crisp. My only complaint is that I can’t stop eating it. Thank you for sharing your recipes! I hope Kip is doing better!!

  10. 5 stars
    Another winner! I’ve tried several of your recipes and they have all been delicious!
    This crisp is wonderful! I love the addition of the lemon and the toasted pecans. I used apple cider instead of the brandy. I used a combination of Granny Smiths, Yellow Delicious & Honey Crisp. I put it all in a 7 x 11 baking dish. The crunchy topping is yummy. Just a perfect recipe.
    Thanks again, Kaleb.

  11. 5 stars
    I have made this recipe many times, as written and it is delicious! Today, I was out of lemons, and so I used orange peel and fresh orange juice. I loved it equally as well as I did with the lemons!

  12. 5 stars
    Taste was delicious! I recently discovered you and love the spin you give on everthing. I’m 72 years and had 6 kids so I’m a very exlerieced cook. I like my own cooking but now not catering to everyone elses tastes Im enjoying some new things thanks to you.

    I had a problem but I think it was the apples. I used organic honey crisp and they rendered no juices
    I made one change by not adding cornstarch because I ran out. i notmally don’t make changes but I’ve made crisps before without any. My guess it was the apples.What do you think?

    Two other flavor crisps you may want to try. One had walnuts and freah ginger that I had at little diner in Iowa. The other I was in Hong Kong with honey and sesame seeds. It was like a fried batter then honey coated with a few white seeds. Too sweet and I like to make a little healthier.

  13. Kaleb, you are such a cool guy! I love watching and learning so much from you the last couple of years. I’m so glad I found you! I share you ideas and recipes. Thank you so much for allowing me to have a fun, creative space to hang out!

  14. 5 stars
    Thank you for sharing your creativity your kindness and your hospitality. You are talented as well as warm and welcoming.

  15. Though retired (I know I am one of the lucky ones : ) you continue to inspire me. There is nothing you can’t seem to do – your open-mindedness and laid-back approach in what seems everyday tasks is so refreshing no matter. We won’t even mention how you always make me laugh, but okay I HAD to say it – thank you!

  16. 5 stars
    I’ve made this once for guests and it was delicious. Currently making this amazing Apple Crisp again to take to friend’s for their dessert tomorrow!