Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp Recipe

When you are craving something sweet and crunchy, this Apple Crisp recipe is the answer. It is easy to make – I always make two since it always gets devoured right out of the oven. 


Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp Recipe

When you think of “apple recipes” you usually think Fall, but this recipe is good all year round and is perfect as picnic or pot luck party fare because it:

  1. Can be made ahead of time
  2. Won’t melt in the heat
  3. Is easier to serve than good ‘ole American Apple Pie
  4. Way better than a last minute tray of Brownies

I have made this apple crisp so many times that I no longer need to look at the recipe. I always make it in a fluted white baking dish.

I like the look of white bakeware – it makes me feel all William Sonoma-y… like a real foodie. You can tell by all the white dishes and bowls I have in my recently made-over kitchen.

Do you know that feeling I am talking about?  That feeling you get when you enter a Williams Sonoma…and you are surrounded by so much culinary making goodness you start to feel a little bit sophisticated. It makes you feel like maybe if you used the gadgets or All-Clad pots, colorful dish towels, and celebrity authored cookbooks you see displayed, you just may even for a minute become a gourmet cook or maybe even begin to enjoy the process of cooking.

I have only bought a few items in the store, but do feel empowered walking out of the store with one of their classic white shopping bags with their dark green logo in hand – even if my purchase is as small as a box of paper cupcake liners.

I get this feeling every time I make this apple crisp recipe in my white fluted baking dish.

The recipe is not my own, but one that I have tweaked to my liking.  It is from Ina Garten’s  The Barefoot Contessas Parties cookbook.  The recipe is on page 226.

My Version of The Barefoot Contessa’s Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp Recipe

I have made this recipe with many variations… red apples, 6-9 apples, with butter, with margarine, no orange juice, canned orange juice, fresh orange juice, no lemon…less sugar. No matter what I do or don’t add to it – it still always tastes delish. I like the topping really crunchy and always add more oatmeal than the original recipe calls for.

  • A printable recipe card is at the end of this post.  Here is a quick look at the steps to make it.

Peel and core the apples. I use this handy apple corer/slicer.


The recipe calls for the zest of a one lemon and one orange.  I remember when Ina Garten was coming to the William Sonoma store near me.  I wanted to meet her and decided to go, but when I arrived at the store the line for her to sign my book was out the door. It would be a 2 -3 hour wait.

I didn’t have 2-3 hours, so I did the next best thing. I went into the store and got as close as I could to where she was sitting and pretended to shop.

She was set up near the cookbooks. I picked one up to make it look like I was totally engrossed in reading it when what I was really doing was watching and listening to Ina as she signed books.

No one stopped me since the store was still open for business. It made me smile when after about 10 minutes, a woman came up beside me. She grabbed and opened up a cookbook and joined me to stalk Ina from a close vantage point.

I don’t own a lot of kitchen gadgets, but do use two to make this recipe’s prep fast and easy. One is a Microplane zester/grater. When I heard Ina say it was one of her favorite kitchen gadgets, I had to have it.  :-)  It makes zesting – fun!  I walked out of the store that day with the signature white shopping bag in tow.


After the apples are sliced you mix them with the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, the juice of an orange and lemon along with the grated zests


Place the apple mix in the the bottom of your baking dish.

To make the topping:  Combine the dry ingredients and butter and mix it until it is crumbled together.


Pour it over the top of the apples, add some dabs of butter and bake.  While it is baking, your kitchen will smell delish.

Just out of the oven Old-Fashioned Apple CrispTips-for-slicing-apples-for-apple-crisp recipe

It bakes for an hour or until it looks lightly browned and bubbly. Let it cool…it is hard to wait.  My family eats it when it is still warm. It can be served with whipped cream or ice cream – Yum-O!


Printable Recipe

Perfect Picnic Dessert: Apple Crisp

Cook Time1 hour
Servings: 10



  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 x 14 x 2-inch round or oval baking dish.
  • Peel, core, and cut the apples into wedges or slice with a slicer. Combine the apples with the zests, juices, sugar, and spices. Pour into the dish.
  • To make the topping: Combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and cold butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. Scatter evenly over the apples.
  • Place the crisp on a sheet pan and bake for one hour until the top is brown and the apples are bubbly. Serve warm.

Do you have a tried and true recipe that you make to take to Summer picnics and BBQ’s?

Hope it turns out as delish as this apple crisp recipe always does for me.

*Disclosure: Some links in my posts are affiliate links where I will make a small percentage from a click or sale of a product. 

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  1. You say you can make this ahead of time. If I make it the night before, should I refrigerate it or leave it out covered and then reheat before serving?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Cara – I leave it out and only cover it at night with foil that is loose. If you cover it too tightly or place in the fridge as it may take some of the crunchiness away on the top. If you do put in the fridge, reheating will make it taste much better…even add some vanilla ice cream on the side. :-) Enjoy…Now that I am thinking about the crisp, I want to make it. :-)

  2. Hi, your recipe looks yummy and I am going to try it out at a picnic. One thing I noticed is the peelings are left on in the photos but you show them being peeled in the beginning. Do you leave them on some times?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Lori – The reason you see the peel on some of the apples is that the spiral peeler I use to remove the peel does not do a perfect job. I have always made it with a little peel still on some of the apples. It tastes good either way. :-)

  3. This recipe looks so tasty and easy to make! I’m going out to buy that adorable fluted dish, too. Did you hear the story about how a manufacturer of those white dishes had a hard time getting them to sell, until they started to call them ‘French White’, then they flew off the shelves! Thank you for all the in-depth, well-documented projects!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sue –
      I didn’t know that about the white dishes – that is a fun fact to know :-) Oooohhh…la…la…French White Sometimes marketing truly sells.

  4. Apple crisp . . . Yummm. I make another version of this for the winter holidays using canned whole berry cranberry sauce instead of apples. Never any leftovers.

  5. Perfect timing~ I just peeled and sliced up a bunch of apples yesterday and was thinking of trying my MIL’s flaky pie crust. This will be so much easier! Thanks!

  6. Apple crisp is one of my favorite desserts (warm chocolate cake and cheesecake round out the list), so thank you for sharing your recipe! I’ve been on the hunt for a good one, and it looks like you like your apple crisp the same way I like mine- crunchy on the top! Now, I just might have to get my sister to “gift” me one of her handmade stoneware baking dishes so I can bake it all fancy-like :)

  7. Can’t wait to try this recipe. It reminds me of my moms that she made all the time. There was never any leftover. I love it with ice cream topping, whipped cream or caramel sauce (it does not need any of these – just makes it more sinful).

  8. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    Okay, I am now going to dig out my Law Rome (only thing I have) and start to make your Apple Crisp. I am so very sad that I don’t have my favorite Granny Smith Apples……. they are the only ones I buy….. usually…. no money, these were a good buy and they a great, I just prefer a very crisp, more light, ………….. okay I like really green apples.

    Thank you ever so much for this great recipe….. Get some rest, I bet you are so tired now that you are back from your vacation and are faced with us adoring fans………. grin.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sheryll – I am a big fan of green apples, too – they are the only kind I like. Enjoy the holiday weekend.