Odds are you’ve had apple crisp before, but you wouldn’t believe what a difference it makes when you add caramel to the mix, which has so much more complexity than granulated sugar. This Caramel Apple Crisp is the best I’ve had, and it’s very easy to make.

Caramel Apple Crisp - with a Scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream and Caramel Drizzle

This Caramel Apple Crisp is one of my all-time favorite desserts for deliciousness, which is surprising since I’m not really a fan of apple pie. But apple crisp on the other hand? GIVE ME, GIVE ME, GIVE ME.

Apple crisp is usually sweetened with granulated white sugar or brown sugar, but neither of those can compare to the complexity of caramel. Caramel sauce adds the sweetness we need, PLUS a whole lot of flavor. Why not kill two birds with one stone? For the best flavor, I recommend using my recipe for Homemade Caramel Sauce. It tastes a thousand times better than jarred caramel sauce from the store, it lasts in the fridge or freezer for months, and no thermometer is needed!

Apple Crisp with Oats with a Scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream and Caramel Drizzle on Spoon

Tips for Best Results

Use tart apples – The sweeter apple varieties are great for eating, but when you have a really sweet dessert like this one, tartness makes for a great contrast. The best apples for apple crisp are Granny Smith and Golden Delicious, though I think Granny Smith apples have a better, distinct flavor to them that I love.

Try to find fresh apples – Did you know that most apples sold year round are 9-12 months old? They are treated with gas and stored (source: USDA). Nothing compares to the local, fresh apples that hit stores in the fall, so try to prioritize truly fresh apples in the fall, especially local ones.

Serve a la mode – This dessert isn’t truly complete without a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. I highly recommend serving this with a quality ice cream!

Step by Step Overview

The base of this crisp only has three ingredients: apples, caramel, and salt. Top it with a classic oat topping, and simply bake. Here’s a full step-by-step video on how to do it.

Baked Apple Crisp on a Sheet Pan

When the crisp comes out of the oven, it’s best to enjoy immediately, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a good drizzle of caramel sauce. In all seriousness though, this is a dessert best enjoyed a la mode. If you cannot have dairy, I’ve tried many of the coconut milk and nut milk vanilla ice creams and there are some great options.

Caramel Apple Crisp Dessert on a Sheet Pan with Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce

And again, if you don’t know how to make homemade caramel, it’s very doable, I promise. I’ve got a full post on Caramel Sauce and it covers all the tips and tricks for doing it. No thermometer necessary.

If you want to try a different fruit, I love this Blackberry Lavender Crumble.

For more apple, try this Caramel Apple Pound Cake and this Apple Pie Panini. Or Homemade Apple Sauce and Baked Apple Chips.

Recipe FAQ and Tips:

How do you store leftover Caramel Apple Crisp?

Cover and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

How do you reheat Apple Crisp?

For best results, reheat it in the oven (the microwave will make the topping soggy). Try 350F for 20-30 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the top is crisp again.

Can you freeze Apple Crisp?

Yes, for up to 3 months. Make sure it’s sealed in an airtight container, then re-bake it in a 350F oven for about 30 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbling and the top is golden.

Can you make Apple Crisp ahead of time?

Yes, you can assemble the entire recipe ahead of time, just up to the point of baking it. It will keep in the fridge for a maximum of 12 hours before you need to bake it. You may need to add an extra 5 minutes to bake time since you’re cooking it cold from the fridge.

What are the best varieties of apple to use?

My favorite is Granny Smith, because of its tart flavor and good texture for baking. Golden Delicious is another good option.

Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page. Or, follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest!

Caramel Apple Crisp with a Scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream and Caramel Drizzle

Caramel Apple Crisp

Odds are you’ve had an apple crisp before, but you wouldn’t believe what a difference it makes when you add caramel to the mix, which has so much more complexity than granulated sugar.
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Ingredients

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 6 tbsp cold unsalted butter cubed
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats

Filling:

For serving:

  • Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Extra caramel sauce for drizzling

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Start with the topping. Combine the flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl.
  • Add the butter cubes and break them down by using the tips of your fingers to rub the butter and dry ingredients together.
  • Stir in the oats, then put the entire bowl into the freezer or refrigerator while you work on the apples.
  • Peel, core, and cut the apples into small chunks.
  • Toss well with the caramel sauce and salt.
  • Split this mixture between four 6-oz ramekins, then sprinkle the oat topping evenly all over the top.
  • Bake for 40-50 minutes until the fruit is bubbling and the crisp is golden brown.
  • Serve with ice cream and extra caramel.

Notes

Storing leftovers: Cover and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Reheating: For best results, reheat it in the oven (the microwave will make the topping soggy). Try 350F for 20-30 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the top is crisp again.
Freezing: Store sealed in an airtight container for up to 3 months, then re-bake it in a 350F oven for about 30 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbling and the top is golden.
Make-ahead Instructions: You can assemble the entire recipe ahead of time, just up to the point of baking it. It will keep in the fridge for a maximum of 12 hours before you need to bake it. You may need to add an extra 5 minutes to bake time since you’re cooking it cold from the fridge.

Nutrition

Calories: 465kcal, Carbohydrates: 72g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 46mg, Sodium: 370mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 31g

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Post updated from the archives with new writing, photos, and video. Originally published September 2015.