Apple Crumble

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This Apple Crumble is 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 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

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 ado: 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 dice 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. 

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 Apple Crumble in picture form, and below is a description of what’s happening in each of the numbered photos.

  • Pictures 1-4: making the filling
  • 1: Use two 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 9×9-inch pan.
  • Pictures 5-8: (below) making the crumble topping
  • 5: Combine 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 fingers to finish incorporating the butter into the other ingredients. Promptly place the crumble in the fridge so the butter can firm up again!

Process shot--  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.

Process shot-- image of crumble topping being added on 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 the crumble topping separately. Refrigerate each in airtight containers, for up to one day. When ready to bake, sprinkle the crumble on top of the apples, and bake as directed in the recipe below.

Overhead image of Apple Crumble, fresh out of the oven, with ice cream on top.

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Apple Crumble

5 from 4 votes
This Apple Crumble is warm and tender cinnamon-spiced apples topped with a crisp brown sugar and oat-crumble topping.
Print Recipe

Apple Crumble

5 from 4 votes
This Apple Crumble is warm and tender cinnamon-spiced apples topped with a crisp brown sugar and oat-crumble topping.
Course Dessert, Snack
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 825kcal
Cost $4.21

Ingredients

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

Filling

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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 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 resembling crumbs. Refrigerate 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 in an even layer. Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the apples but do not press it down. Refrigerate 20 minutes and then set the baking dish in the center of the lined 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.

Video

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 table knife for an accurate measurement.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 825kcal | Carbohydrates: 140g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 407mg | Potassium: 406mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 74g | Vitamin A: 821IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 4mg

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20 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made this today and it was delicious! I think I liked it better than my old favorite I’ve been making for years. The only thing I did different was add more apples and put into a 9”x13” 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 🙂 And I’m jealous you have homegrown Honeycrisp apples 😉 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! ? I’even had requests to add it to our list of Thanksgiving desserts!

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

  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 🙂 I usually cut the recipe in half because there are only two of us! Delish!!!! Thanks Chelsea!

  5. I have made crisps and crumbles by cutting in the butter and by melting the butter, and can’t tell a huge difference. It’s so much easier to just melt the butter. Did you try it like this and can you see or explain the difference? Since you experimented so many times I figured you may know!

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