Caramel Apple Crisp
With tender spiced apples, an irresistible brown sugar cinnamon topping, and a generous drizzle of caramel, this Caramel Apple Crisp recipe is going to be your go-to dessert for fall!
Apple crisp is good, but add gooey caramel to the mix and then you’ve really got a winner. This caramel apple crisp is the perfect way to celebrate the return of shorter days, sweater weather, and juicy, freshly picked apples. And as a bonus, it’s incredibly easy to make.
Unlike an apple pie, there’s no fussing with pastry crust when you’re making an apple crisp, which streamlines the baking process. Toss together the filling ingredients, make the buttery, cinnamon-spiced oat topping, then put it all together and pop it in the oven. The topping gets browned and crispy after baking—it’s almost impossible to stop yourself from picking little bits off of it while you wait for your caramel apple crisp to cool.
To keep things simple, I use a jar of store-bought caramel in the filling and to top this caramel apple crisp, although you can certainly use a homemade version if you’re feeling ambitious. Then, all it needs is a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top and you’re ready to dig in!
What You’ll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Apples – I recommend Granny Smith, Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Braeburn, or Pink Lady; you’ll want apples that are firm and not overly sweet.
- Caramel sauce – Choose a high-quality caramel that’s nice and thick, not a thin syrup.
- Old-fashioned rolled oats – Make sure you use certified gluten-free oats like Bob’s Red Mill if you want this caramel apple crisp to be gluten-free.
- All-purpose flour – Use a measure-for-measure all-purpose flour substitute for a gluten-free crisp.
- Brown sugar – Either dark or light will work; dark brown sugar has a stronger flavor.
- Unsalted butter – Cut the butter into pieces and keep it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
Is It Better to Thicken Fruit Filling With Flour or Cornstarch?
I use cornstarch in this recipe since it’s naturally gluten-free, and it creates a beautiful, shiny, nicely-gelled filling; you also need less cornstarch than if you were to use flour. If you don’t have cornstarch on hand, or you have a strong preference for flour, you can use that instead.
How to Make Caramel Apple Crisp
Once you’ve gathered up your ingredients, here’s what you’ll need to do to make this caramel apple crisp.
Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
Make the filling. Toss the apples, caramel sauce, cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg in the baking dish, ensuring that all of the apples are evenly coated.
Make the topping. In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and cubed cold butter. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry blender or your fingers until it’s sandy, with just a few pea-sized bits of butter. Squeeze the mixture together with your hands.
Assemble. Break the topping into clumps and sprinkle them over the apple filling.
Bake. Place the baking dish in the oven and bake the apple crisp for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is golden and the filling is bubbling up. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes, then serve as-is or with a scoop of ice cream and a drizzle of caramel.
Caramel Apple Crisp Variations
If you like pecans or walnuts in your apple pastries, you can add either to the filling before baking. Alternatively, you can garnish the finished caramel apple crisp with toasted or candied nuts when you’re serving it.
What Size Dish to Use
You can use any dish that is 2 to 2.5 quarts for this caramel apple crisp. All of these options will work:
- 8×8 inch pan
- 8 inch round pan
- 9×9 inch pan
- 9 inch round pan
- 7×11 inch pan
Tips for Success
These simple tips and hints will help you make a perfect caramel apple crisp.
- Use the best apples you can find. If an apple is mealy and flavorless when eaten out of hand, it won’t be any better when baked into an apple crisp! I love making this recipe with freshly picked apples from the apple orchard.
- Adjust the cooking time as needed. Check to see if the crisp is bubbling and if the topping is golden. If not, bake for 10-20 additional minutes. The bake time will depend on what size pan you use; I baked my crisp for 60 minutes in an oval 7×11 inch pan.
- Get a head start. You can assemble your apple crisp and keep it in the refrigerator for up to a day before baking. Let it sit on the counter while the oven preheats.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
You can either cover the caramel apple crisp in the baking dish or transfer leftovers to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.
I recommend reheating the crisp in a 350ºF oven until warmed through, although the microwave will work in a pinch—the topping just won’t be as crispy.
Can This Recipe Be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze this caramel apple crisp wrapped well or in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Let it thaw in the refrigerator, then reheat it according to the instructions above.
More Reader Favorite Apple Recipes
Caramel Apple Crisp
- 7 cups peeled & chopped apples, 6-7 large or 8-10 small apples, I recommend Granny Smith, Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Braeburn, or Pink Lady Cut the apples into 1 inch by 1/2 inch pieces
- ½ cup caramel sauce
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 stick, 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. In your baking dish (use can use a 8×8 inch pan, 8 inch round pan, 9×9 inch pan, 9 inch round pan, 7×11 inch pan, basically you can use any dish that is 2 to 2.5 quarts) combine the apples, caramel sauce, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss with a spoon or spatula to combine.
- In a mixing bowl combine the old fashioned rolled oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and cubed cold butter. Use your fingers or a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the mixture. Mix until its “sandy” in texture, it’s okay if there are pea sized clumps of butter! Use your hands to squeeze the mixture together.
- Use your fingers to break the topping into clumps and evenly distribute the topping all over the apples.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes. Check to see if the crisp is bubbling and if the topping is golden. If those two things have not occurred, bake for 10-20 additional minutes. The bake time will depend on what size of pan you used. I baked my crisp for 60 minutes in an oval 7×11 inch pan. Allow the the crisp to cool for 10-15 minutes. This allows the juices to thicken, then serve.