Cast iron skillet apple crisp is the perfect fall dessert! Apples are briefly caramelized on the stovetop and then topped with a brown sugar-cinnamon and oat topping. It is so easy to make that you will find yourself wanting it again and again!
Why You Will Love This Recipe
Whether you have just returned from the apple orchard, or you are simply in the mood for warm spices, this skillet apple crisp is a recipe you are sure to enjoy!
Caramelized Apple Flavor - The first time I made apple crisp in a cast-iron skillet I knew I had just leveled up in the apple crisp-making game! This method caramelizes the apples, giving them a depth of flavor without changing the sweetness.
Great Texture - Soft and tender apple slices are the perfect base for this sweet dessert. The cast iron retains heat well, which helps the topping to get perfectly crispy, just like apple crisp should be.
Lots of Crisp Topping - My favorite part of apple crisp is the topping! So I add lots of it!
Cast iron apple crisp is the perfect dessert for fall, whether you are enjoying a family game night or watching a football game. For a buffet of fall desserts add these comforting recipes:
See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the full list of ingredients, including measurements.
Apples - I love a mix of sweet and tart apples. Substitute a few cups of
Oats - Old-fashioned oats work best for this recipe! While you could use quick oats your crisp will have a mushier texture. Avoid steel-cut oats, as they are too firm and do not work well for apple crisp.
Butter - Either salted or unsalted butter can be used. If it is unsalted then you will want to add ¼ teaspoon of salt to the topping. Be sure to use cold butter, as that helps the topping from getting mushy.
Brown Sugar - Dark or light brown sugar will work. Dark brown sugar will give your topping a little more of a molasses flavor.
What are the best apples for a crisp?
For the perfect apple crisp, use a combination of apples. This adds an amazing dimension to the flavor of your crisp! A mix of Honeycrisp apples and Granny Smith apples are my preferred go-to. But pick any combination that suits you!
Some apple varietals that are great for baking include:
Honeycrisp - Crisp, juicy, and sweet, the Honey Crisp is one of my favorites for baking!
Graevenstein - This apple has a tart flavor with firm flesh that holds up well when cooked.
Granny Smith - Tart and crisp. Best when paired with a sweeter apple.
Jazz - Mildly sweet with a little bit of a spice flavor.
Jonagold - A honey-like flavor makes these Autumn apples delicious!
Pink Lady - A balance of sweet and tart, all in one apple!
York - This is a mellow-flavored apple that holds its shape in baking.
Step One: Mix Topping Ingredients
- Add oats, flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cinnamon into a medium-sized bowl and mix together well.
- Cut butter into small pieces and mix into the flour mixture. This can be done with a pastry cutter, but I'll be honest, I just use my hands! Work the butter into the other ingredients until it is well-incorporated and you have a whole bunch of coarse crumbs.
Step Two: Slice Apples
- I love to use my apple peeler, corer, slicer. It makes peeling, coring, and slicing apples so easy! If you do not have one then you can peel them by hand and then slice them about a quarter-inch thick.
- Place the apples in lemon-lime soda or a solution of one tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 cup of water if you want to keep them from turning brown as you work.
Step Three: Caramelize Apple Filling
- One of the things that makes this apple crisp so simple is that it only uses one bowl and one pan!
- Melt your butter over medium-low heat. Then add in your apples.
- Sprinkle all of the filling ingredients over the top of the apples. Then stir them around until they are pretty evenly coated.
- Cook the mixture for about 3 minutes. The apples will fully cook and get soft in the oven, but this little step adds a scrumptious flavor.
Step Four: Top and Bake
- Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the apples.
- Slide the skillet into a 350°F (177°C) oven and bake for about 30 minutes. The total bake time will depend on how thick you cut your apples. Bigger apple chunks take longer to cook.
- The crisp is ready when the top has started to brown, and the apples are soft. I pierce an apple with a table knife to test doneness. It should slide in with little resistance.
- Cool for 5 minutes before serving.
- I love to serve with a scoop of ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce.
Add Nuts - Nuts can be a delicious addition to apple crisp. Stir 1 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans into the oat mixture before sprinkling over the apples.
No Flour - For a gluten-free crisp you can substitute almond flour or 1:1 gluten-free flour. Another no-flour option is to simply double the oats! And if you aren't concerned about gluten but want something other than flour, try adding crushed graham crackers instead!
No Oats - If you do not have oats on hand, or for some other reason you do not wish to use oats in your apple crisp, you can certainly make this recipe without them! Simply increase the flour to 1 ⅓ cups, and follow the rest of the recipe as normal.
Mixed Fruit Crisp - There are limitless variations when making a crisp! Some of my favorites include blueberry-apple crisp, pear crisp, and peach crisp. Try your 6 cups of your favorite fruit mixture in place of the apples!
Apple crisp can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for 3 months. To serve apple crisp once frozen, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Then bake at 350°F (177°C) for 30 minutes.
There are a few factors that could result in a mushy apple crisp. The first is your apple selection. The apples listed above hold up well, but apples like Macintosh and Golden Delicious will turn mushy, so avoid using those.
The other ingredient that can contribute is your butter. The butter in your crisp topping should be cold. Melted butter will create a softer topping that may not crisp up.
This is a matter of personal preference. The peel does break down some during cooking, but I still find the texture too chewy for my preference. Because of this I always peel my apples. But if you like that texture then it is just fine to skip the peeling step.
If you do not have a cast iron skillet then use any oven-proof skillet. You could also bake it in a 3-quart baking dish. If you are cooking in a baking dish, toss the apples with melted butter and the remaining filling ingredients. Add the streusel filling and bake for 40-50 minutes.
Apple crisp can be reheated in the microwave, but it is even better reheated in the oven! In the oven, the topping will crisp back up nicely. To reheat in the oven, bake it at 350°F (177°C) for 15 minutes.
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Skillet Apple CrispRecipe by:
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats (80 grams)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (130 grams)
- ¾ cup brown sugar (157 grams)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 10 tablespoons cold salted butter (140 grams)
- 6 cups peeled, cored, and sliced apples (6-7 medium apples)
- 4 tablespoons salted butter If using unsalted butter, add ¼ teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ice cream, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
- In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon.Cut butter into pieces and mix into the oat mixture until the butter is evenly distributed throughout the oats and in pea-sized pieces. Set the crumb mixture aside.
- Peel and core apples. Slice into ¼-inch thin slices.
- Heat butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium-low heat.
- Add the apples to the butter. Sprinkle the remaining ingredients over the top of the apples, then toss to coat. Cook apples over medium heat for about 3 minutes to caramelize.
- Spoon the crumb topping over the apples. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the apples are soft and the top has started to brown.Let rest for 10 minutes, then serve with ice cream.
I recommend a mix of sweet and tart apples. See apple varietal recommendations in the post. Storage: Cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Baking without a cast iron skillet: Toss the filling ingredients together and place in a 3-quart baking dish. (You do not need to cook the apples first.) Top with the streusel topping and bake at 350°F (177°C) for 40-50 minutes. Variations: Use your favorite mix of fruit, like blueberry-apple or pear. A total of 6 cups of fruit is needed. Add up to 1 cup of chopped nuts to the streusel.
This apple crisp was originally published on November 3, 2020. It was updated on September 2, 2022, with new photos and enhanced information in the post. Here is one of the original images!