Skip to main content

Just Add Ice Cream: Apple Crisp Makes a Grand Holiday Finale

hero apple crisp with text

Make your Thanksgiving cook-fest a breeze (well, at least a little easier) by forgoing the pie in favor of a scrumptious apple crisp. Simply slice your apples and toss them in a pan, sprinkle a quickie topping over the fruit, pop the pan in the oven, and voilà! You’ve got a delicious dessert chock full of fall flavor (full recipe below).

You can also use the same basic recipe throughout the year with other seasonal fruit: Try it with persimmons and pears in winter, strawberries and rhubarb in spring, and blueberries and peaches in summer. Whether it’s Turkey Day or any day, crisps are always an after-dinner winner.

ingredients for apple crisp

All you need is a handful of standard pantry ’n fridge items to throw together a simple crisp that tastes downright special. We like using Golden Delicious apples (pictured here) for their sweet, mild flavor, but if you’re the tangy type, tart apple varieties like Granny Smith or Newton Pippins are also a great choice. (You can also mix together multiple varieties.) No apple juice in the house? No worries: Water makes a fine substitute.

apple crisp in a pan

Mmmm…if you want to fill your house with holiday spirit, nothing beats the sweet-and-spice scent of an apple crisp baking! We recommend letting your crisp cool completely before you dig in so that the flavorful juices can set and the yummy crust can firm up.

Curious about the difference between crisps, crumbles, and cobblers? The fruit part stays the same, but a cobbler is typically topped with drop biscuits while a crumble topping is basically just like a crisp topping, only without the oats.

let's eat apple crisp boy helping girl serve

In our centers, we embrace family-style eating—encouraging children to serve themselves teaches them important social skills (like passing items, sharing, being patient, and saying “please” and “thank you”) as well as how to listen to their own hunger cues. Allowing them to get in on the serving action can also inspire them to try new foods—not that you’re likely to hear any complaints about apple crisp!

boy and girl at table apple crisp and whipped cream

Serve your apple crisp by itself or with favorite toppings that kiddos can add themselves. Sure, there will likely be some spills when children take the lead, but also lots of smiles. We love crisp with a drizzle of caramel sauce and/or a dollop of vanilla mascarpone, fresh whipped cream, ice cream, or maple Greek yogurt.

girl biting into apple crisp on fork milk bottle

To peel or not to peel? Leaving the apple skins on ups the fiber and vitamin content in your crisp and cuts back on your prep time, but will also yield a chewier texture and add a little more tartness. Whatever your preference, your crisp will have plenty of pint-size fans.


*Recipe based on Diana’s Apple Crisp from The New Laurel’s Kitchen, an updated version of the beloved ’70s cookbook where this tasty treat first appeared.

Yields: 10–12 servings

Total time: Approximately 45 minutes


For the apple base:

  • 6–8 apples, such as Golden Delicious (sweet) and/or Granny Smiths (tart)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup raisins
  • Apple juice (water also works)

For the topping:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup toasted wheat germ
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup cold butter, cut into pieces


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Slice apples until you have enough to almost fill a 9x13-inch baking dish. Peel the apples first if you prefer.
  3. Place the apples in a large bowl and add the lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, flour, and raisins. Mix all together.
  4. Grease your baking dish with butter and then pour the apple mixture into the dish. Add enough apple juice to just cover the bottom of the pan.
  5. Put all the topping ingredients in a bowl and mix them together—use two forks to cut into the butter until the mixture resembles a chunky crumble.
  6. Sprinkle the topping onto the apples and gently press down on the surface.
  7. Bake the crisp for 30–35 minutes, or until the apples are soft and the top is crisp and golden.
  8. Cool the crisp completely to allow the juices to set, or for at least 30 minutes. Serve at room temperature or warm, either by itself or with the toppings of your choice.
Find a KinderCare Center

Find a Center Nearby

Looking for a great learning center? We're here to help.
Get Started