Caramel Apple Crisp
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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
Cover and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Caramel Apple Crisp
- 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
- 2 lbs Granny Smith Apples
- 1/4 cup caramel sauce
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Vanilla Ice Cream
- Extra caramel sauce for drizzling
- 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.
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.
25 Comments on “Caramel Apple Crisp”
Wonderful recipe. I committed the salt in the caramel and the apple crisp and served on a salt block. Made for a fun and dramatic presentation.
Instead of making caramel sauce I drizzled honey over the apples. Delicious! I also like the individual ramekin idea. Thanks for recipe!
Instead of making carmel sauce I just drizzled honey over apples. Absolutely delicious! Thanks for recipe!
Sounds delicious and seems to be extremely easy to make! I am going to make this with a gingersnap crumble…
Would gluten free flour work?
My guess is it would work.
if I wanted to make this ahead of time, would I bake it before freezing and then reheat or freeze pre-baked?
Can I use a pie dish instead Round corning ware
Looks delicious, would love to make for thanksgiving. I can only find 5 oz shallow round ramekins on amazon, will these be too small?
Hi Cindy, you can really do any size ramekin you’d like. You just may need to keep your eye on it, as bake time will vary.
Don’t let you readers miss out on an amazing way to use those cores and peels. Add the ‘waste’ cores, peels bits you don’t want in crisp and cover with water in a crockpot. Put on low and add a papertowel under the lid to absorb the steam. Add spices if you like and let it roll. The longer it cooks the better for homemade apple butter. I add 1 total cup of brown sugar for extra color and a caramel after taste. Its also an amazing potpourri too.
Thank you for sharing!
How would you change this up to bake in a 9×13 pan?
Hi Sue, I would double the recipe first off, since that’s a significantly bigger pan. You should still be good with a baking time of 60 minutes, but you’re more watching for bubbling apples and a golden crisp on top. Let me know if you have more questions.
I made this with granny smith apples and absolutely loved it. The caramel is a nice touch. Thank you!
Hi Joanne! I recently shared an Apple Crisp recipe on my blog, but I think I like yours even more! lol 🙂 That caramel sauce looks divine. I am definitely going to have to try this sometime! 🙂
Sounds very good and I just bought Pippin Apples. I usually mix my apples so maybe Cortland also,. I also think Apple Crisp is just as good as pie and much easier. Plan to make the Caramel Sauce also. Thanks for all the good recipes.
Have you ever tried baking this recipe in one larger pan rather than splitting it between 4 ramikens? If so which size pan would you recommend?
Hi Jamie, yes, an 8×8 dish is perfect. I will add that to the recipe notes. Thanks! You may need to bake for a full hour. Keep your eye on it, you want the fruit to be bubbling on the sides and a golden crisp top.
WHY have I never added caramel to an apple crumble before?! Utter genius, must try this.