Apple Crumble

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This apple crumble is made up of warm and tender cinnamon-spiced apples with a crisp brown sugar and oat crumble topping.

This show stopping dessert is simple to make, transports nicely, and the crumble can be made ahead of time.

Overhead image of the apple crumble in a bowl ready to eat with ice cream on top, fresh mint, and a fork on the side

The “secret” to the perfect apple crumble

This apple crumble has been over a year in the making! I came close to posting it last year, but it wasn’t *quite* perfect. A few more tweaks this summer and I can confidently say it’s the best apple crisp I’ve ever eaten. But of course, you’re here for the “secret” so without further adieu: the “secret” is in cutting the apples. I’ve consistently struggled with getting sliced apples perfectly and evenly tender throughout (without burning the crumble topping). So after trying a crumble with cubed apples instead (thanks for the tip A Beautiful Plate!) I’ve never turned back.

Cutting the apples into 1/2 inch pieces changes everything! They’re perfectly tender (without being soggy), better flavored (the spices can coat more of the apple) and overall the crumble is easier to eat. Give it a try — cube the apples instead of slicing them and be forever changed ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

Process shot-- image of the apple filling being made with fresh apples

How to make apple crumble

Throughout this post I’ve broken down the steps for making this crumble in picture form, and below is a description of whatโ€™s happening in each of the numbered photos.

  • Pictures 1-4: the making of the filling
  • 1: Grab 2 types of apples for the best flavor. The two flavors I recommend: Granny Smith and Honeycrisp
  • 2: Peel and dice the apples; we’re looking for 1/2 inch pieces. It’s important to cut all the apples *roughly* the same size so they cook evenly.
  • 3: Add those apples with the rest of the filling ingredients: sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, cinnamon, and vanilla. Toss gently while ensuring the apples get an even mix.
  • 4: Pour the apples in an even layer in a 9 x 9-inch pan.
  • Pictures 5-8: (below) the making of the crumble topping
  • 5: Combine the the brown sugar, cinnamon, oats, flour, and salt. 
  • 6: Mix everything together
  • 7: Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the ingredients until the size of peas
  • 8: Use your hands to finish incorporating the butter into the other ingredients. Promptly place the crumble into the fridge so the butter can firm up again!

Process shot-- image of the crumble being made showing the ingredients all being put in a bowl and the butter being cut in

How to make apple crumble cont.

  • Pictures 9-12: assembly and baking
  • 9: Finished crumble topping
  • 10: Add the crumble topping to the apples
  • 11: The crumble is added evenly on top. Tip: never press down the crumble! Chill the crumble before baking.
  • 12: And it’s baked, amazing, and ready for some vanilla bean ice cream on top ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Process shot-- image of the crumble being added on top of the filling and baked

Apple crumble FAQs

How to make apple crumble ahead of time

Make the apple filling (add 1 additional tablespoon of lemon juice to keep the apples from browning too much) and then store the filling in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to one day. Make the crumble topping and store in a bag or airtight container and keep in the fridge. When ready to bake, remove everything from the fridge, sprinkle the crumble on top of the apples, and bake as directed in the recipe below.

Overhead image of the dessert fresh out of the oven in the pan still with ice cream on top

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Apple Crumble

5 from 4 votes
This apple crumble is made up of warm and tender cinnamon-spiced apples with a crisp brown sugar and oat crumble topping.
Print Recipe

Apple Crumble

5 from 4 votes
This apple crumble is made up of warm and tender cinnamon-spiced apples with a crisp brown sugar and oat crumble topping.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword apple crumble
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Chilling Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 6 -8 servings
Calories 388kcal
Cost $4.21


Crumble -- Note 1

  • 1 cup (125g) white, all-purpose flour (spoon and leveled -- Note 2)
  • 1 cup (95g) old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup (223g) light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup (169.5g) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and cold


  • 2 pounds apples (I recommend an equal mix of Granny Smith and Honeycrisp), measured before peeling; peel and then cube into 1/2 inch pieces (~7 apples)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup (96g) white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • PREP: Line a sheet pan with a silpat liner or parchment paper (just in case anything bubbles over) and lightly grease a 9 x 9 inch baking pan (or 2 quart size pan). Set aside.
  • TOPPING: In a large bowl, toss together the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Stir until combined. Cube the butter and add it to the dry ingredients. Toss to coat the butter and use a pastry cutter to work it in. Finish by using your fingertips to work and press the butter into the dry ingredients until well dispersed and it resembles crumbs. Place in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.
  • FILLING: Peel the apples and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Add to a large bowl and toss with the remaining filling ingredients: the lemon juice, white sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch, and vanilla. Toss gently until well combined and apples are evenly coated.
  • ASSEMBLY: Pour the the apple filling (and any accumulated juices) to the prepared 9 x 9 inch pan. Spread apples into an even layer. Sprinkle the crisp topping evenly over the apples but do not press it down. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes. Then set the baking dish in the center of a large pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • BAKE: Bake for 40 to 50 minutes (45 minutes is the sweet spot for me!), or until the crisp topping is golden brown, the apples are fork tender, and the filling is very slightly bubbling around the edges. (If the topping is browning too much, lightly cover the top with foil)
  • SERVE: Let the crumble cool on a rack for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Serve warm and top with vanilla bean ice cream or fresh whipped cream


Recipe Notes

Note 1: we like a lot of crumble topping. If you're wanting more of an even mix of apples to crumble, you may want to reduce the amount of crumble.
Note 2: spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level with the back of a butter knife for an accurate measurement

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 388kcal


I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.

Nutrition facts in apple crumble



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  1. 5 stars
    Made this today and it was delicious! I think I liked it better than my old favorite Iโ€™ve been making for years. The only thing I did different was add more apples and put into a 9โ€x13โ€ pan. I only had Honeycrisp apples from my tree so I used all Honeycrisp. It was so good warm out of the oven. Thank you for this delicious recipe.

    1. Yay!! So thrilled this apple crumble was a hit ๐Ÿ™‚ And I’m jealous you have homegrown Honeycrisp apples ๐Ÿ˜‰ Sounds delicious!

  2. 5 stars
    I love to cook but have had less than stellar results when baking, so when I say that this recipe was easy to follow and a total HIT, trust me it was! ? Iโ€™even had requests to add it to our list of Thanksgiving desserts!

    1. Yay!! I’m so thrilled to hear it ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks so much for the comment and review; I’m honored it makes it to your Thanksgiving dessert menu ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. We just got back from a Colorado vacation and the temperatures in Missouri are still in the 90’s. But, I’m so ready for comfort food and will be making this soon even if it doesn’t cool down outside! Thanks for the tip about chopping up the apples!

  4. 5 stars
    This was SO delicious! The friends and family have loved it so far, honestly may have to make a second batch!! Only thing I did differently was use an 8×8 pan, and used cortland apples! ? Thanks for the recipe Chelsea!

      1. Well, I’ve got too many apples for one crust, and not quite enough for two of them. Maybe it would be nice to try making some kind of a mincemeat pie? Thank you for the wonderful recipe.

      1. Yes, Vivian, do try this Blueberry Crisp recipe! It’s our go-to recipe any time we have extra blueberries and don’t want them to go to waste ๐Ÿ™‚ I usually cut the recipe in half because there are only two of us! Delish!!!! Thanks Chelsea!

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