Right Now, the World Needs Apple Crisp

And this one’s a blushing delight!

You know it’s Autumn when you catch that first whiff of apples cooking, especially apple crisp, and right now, the whole world needs a nice big portion.


Who can resist the site, the smell, the texture of the crispy top, and spicy softened apples? In this version, I’ve added a couple of ripe pears that were asking to be used, and seasonal cranberries as well, which lend a lovely pink blush and special flavor to the basic crisp. If you don’t like cranberries, you can leave them out.

There are a few tricks and a few secret ingredients to a great apple crisp, and this recipe has them all. 

First, start with a variety of apples, or even toss in a pear!

Apple Crisp Rules

      Secret #1: Use several types of apples. Like making cider or applesauce, a little sweet, a little tart, firm, and soft, all combine to make a full and flavorful filling.

      Secret #2: Always add a pinch of salt to the filling as well as the topping. The salt enhances the sweet the same as it does for savory.

      Secret #3: Add a hefty portion of vanilla extract. Not typical in apple crisp, but essential in my book.

      Secret #4: Don’t “sprinkle” the topping over the apples as most recipes tell you. Rather, add clumps of it, sort of like strewing little bits of oatmeal cookie dough over the top. The clumps will crisp up much better than a scattered topping.

Blushing Apple Crisp

      Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and butter a large baking dish, your mother’s old Pyrex 8 X 13 is perfect. 

   In the prepared dish, place, and mix well:

  • 2 ½ lbs. peeled, cored, and sliced apples, variety
  • 2 pears, peeled, cored, sliced
  • 1 cup cranberries, rough chop
  • ½ cup or so organic white sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • A few grates of nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp. all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • The zest of one lemon
  • The juice of half a lemon, a couple of tablespoons
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract

If you have it on hand, a split vanilla bean is also a nice addition.

 In the bowl of a mixer, or by hand, combine just until it becomes a unified mass:

  • 1 cup of old-fashioned oats
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ½ cup white sugar 
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • A large pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • Few grates of nutmeg
  • 2 sticks butter or vegan butter

      Clump on top of the apples, trying to cover most of them, but you will have a few holes and cracks. Depending on the pan you use, you could have some left over. Bake for about an hour, check at 50 minutes, and turn in the oven halfway through.

      Let cool as long as you can stand it so the juices will firm up. Serve straight up, or with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on the side. 

Vermont Apple Crisp

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  1. capost2k says:

    “Let cool as long as you can stand it.” Gotta love that line! How soon before it will not burn my tongue!? 😀 love and prayers, c.a.

    1. Well, from oven to counter, a dip in the end section with a little spoon, and a lot of puffing, then, go for it!

  2. Crisps are my go-to dessert with any seasonal fruits. Your version looks so good!! I’m all for adding cranberries- love their unique tartness and bright color. 🙂

    1. Thank you Ronit! I love it that you just mix everything in the baking dish and dab the topping. So easy, and so delicious!

  3. Gail says:

    Apples, apples, everywhere. So many choices; so many recipes. 🍃🍎🍂🍏🌾

    1. I know! An apple a day, or at least an apple dish a day!

      1. Gail says:

        I’ve been eating them dipped in vanilla bean yogurt. 🍂😋

  4. Ahhh, looks good enough to it, and vanilla is such a nice touch!

    1. Thank you Dolly! I love it with the vanilla, my mom’s touch with just about anythig apple.

      1. My pleasure, dear Dorothy. With me, apples go with cinnamon, but now I will try vanilla.

      2. Or both! My mom used to make a little cake with apples on top and she used no spices, just some vamnilla. She said she wanted the flavor of the apples to be unhindered.

      3. Both sounds good. To me, apples and cinnamon is like Batman and Robin, but I want to try vanilla.

      4. I think you’ll love it!

  5. Bernadette says:

    Dorothy, this looks heaven sent and the addition of pears and cranberries takes it to the top.

    1. Thank you my friend. I really loved the pears in this, and the unexpected cranberries. So good!

  6. 🤤 thanks for the tips!

    1. You are welcome Azilde! Hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do.

      1. Thanks Dorothy!

  7. NativeNM says:

    Nothing says Fall like the aroma of apples and cinnamon baking! Apple Crisp is definitely one of my favorites this time of year!

    1. You’re so right about those spices. Cinnamon is so much the aroma of home to me!

  8. I do love a good apple crisp and this sounds wonderful!

    1. Thank you! The apples are the star, but the cranberries help give this dish a little something extra.

  9. CARAMEL says:

    This is just what I want to eat at this time of year. I am also very envious that you have an apple shaped dish. How gorgeous!

    1. I found those little dishes Caramel at a flea market years ago for 25 cents each. I have about 8 of them, and I used them to serve baked apples at this time of day for the breakfst/brunch starter. Everyone loved them!

  10. nancyc says:

    Yum, this looks so good! Yes, it’s the perfect time for Apple Crisp! 🙂

    1. We’ve had warm days and chilly nights, and this was a perfect dessert last week for a gathering of friends for dinner. So good!

  11. CarolCooks2 says:

    This looks so good, Dorothy love the sound of adding the cranberries(which) I love and also vanilla not something I add to apples but will next time I make a crumble which is what we call a crisp 🙂

    1. Crisps/crumbles are such wonderful fruit dishes, and the vanilla in this really enhances the beautiful apples.

  12. Americaoncoffee says:

    One of my favorites!😍

    1. I’ve saved you a serving! 💕❤️

  13. Winner Girl says:

    As always, your recipes are delicious. Thanks for sharing your secrets.

    1. Thank you so much. This one is a treat indeed!

  14. In the UK its called a crumble, and I love em ! clumping the topping is a definite trick I use.

    1. There are so many wonderful baked fruit dishes, and crisps/crumbles are my favorite!

  15. With this recipe, I give you the rest of the week off. Put up your feet, grab a good book, and chow down. Wow, this looks delicious.

    1. Thank you Judy! It was indeed time for a little vacation, and I’ve a pot of apple cider mulling in the slow cooker!

      1. Ooh, I bet that smells yummy.

      2. It certainly draws them in!

  16. Judee says:

    Your tips are great. I love the idea of adding pear and a variety of apples. I always wondered why salt is added to a dessert- now I know. Your apple crisp looks fabulous and I can only imagine how goo it tastes- Time to make some..

    1. Thanks Judee! The variety of apple flavors and textures makes a difference in a good crisp, and the pinch of salt brings out those flavors more. Enjoy the making as well as the eating!

  17. jama says:

    Want some now!! Thanks for the recipe and tips. 🙂

    1. I’ll save you some Jama! Oops! It’s all gone!

  18. this sounds wonderful Dorothy, I wish I had some for breakfast!

    1. It would be womderful on a Sunday brunch!

  19. Yes please!!n:)

    1. I’ll save you some!

  20. My mother would have given the same tips

    1. Wise woman Anne Marie! I certainly learned them from mine!

  21. Lovely fall dessert.

    1. Thank you Jovian!

  22. Irresistibile indeed 😋😋 I’m not sure it can be let to cool though 😁

    1. It is challenging Ribana!

  23. Leah says:

    Next time I make apple crisps, I will try your recipe. I like the addition of pears and cranberries. So festive! And I agree, the world needs apple crisps most especially these days! 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for your kind words Leah! Enjoy your crisp and the turning of the seasons.

      1. Leah says:

        You are well, Dorothy. I can only imagine how cozy and gorgeous fall is where you live in Vermont! Have a cozy and enjoyable fall season. 🙂

      2. The leaves are beautiful, and the weather has finally turned to fall, so we are happy here. Thank you!

      3. Leah says:

        We do not have a real fall here in the Bay Area but it is still cozy. We can drive up North and see the leave turning. Have a lovely Sunday! 🙂

      4. You too my friend!

  24. This is great! I’d include the lemon zest in the list of ‘secrets’, as I’d say it’s essential. I would call this a crumble rather than a crisp. Is that a regional thing or is there a difference?

    1. Thank’s Stefan! My mom always tucked a little lemon in her fruit desserts, and I do so too.
      I think you are right that what you call it is a regional thing. In New England, this is definitely a crisp, but when I lived in the south it was often called a crumble. But whatever it is called, it’s Autumn apple season at its best!

  25. Yummy and I love that you added cranberries!

    1. Thank you Diane! The cranberries are like little gems.

  26. terrie gura says:

    MMMM…and with that big scoop of vanilla ice cream? I’ll bet I could devour that whole thing without even using silverware! 🙂

    1. The leftovers were on the counter the next day and two of my grandkids stopped by. When they left, the topping had shrunk!

      1. Terrie says:


  27. Wow sounds and looks super tasty !🤩

    1. Thank you! It’s always a hit!

  28. This looks very nice, Dorothy. I’m going to try this out.

    1. Enjoy! It’s a great dessert to savor.

  29. angelamara says:

    I love your tip about adding clumps of topping!

    1. If you want it to be crispy, that’s the way to go! It makes the best texture.

  30. Anonymous says:

    I love apple crisp and this looks delicious!

    1. Thank you! I don’t think I’ve met anyone who doesn’t want the apple crisp!

  31. Lillie says:

    This looks like exactly what I need right now. Thanks for posting the recipe.

    1. Your welcome Lillie! We all need a little treat right about now! Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

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