Warmly-spiced apple crumble makes the best fall treat! Granny Smith apples pair with simple ingredients for a balanced sweet-and-tart dessert, with a generous helping of crumb topping.
I seem to be set on making one new crisp or crumble per season (strawberry rhubarb crumble for spring, peach crisp for summer), and with one whole drawer in my refrigerator filled to the brim with apples, this season's addition was obvious.
Not a natural pie baker (it's the pastry), I gravitate big time towards crisps and crumbles. You get all of that warm fruit filling and crisp topping, just with a much simpler method. This apple crumble checks all those boxes and more!
P.S. I couldn't help but add two new fall fruit desserts this year. Maple syrup and ginger are cozy additions to pear crumble.
Reasons to Love This Recipe
- Apple crumble is easy! The most annoying part may be peeling the apples. Otherwise it has foolproof assembly and reliably straight-forward baking.
- Tart Granny Smith apples and a generous helping of crumb topping sweetened with brown sugar makes for a satisfying dessert flavor profile.
- This crumble has a great mix of textures: crisp crumbs on top, fork tender apples, and jammy thickened juices.
- Apples: Granny Smith apples are tart and most importantly firm, so the slices will hold their shape with a lengthy bake time. Five large apples are used in this apple crumble, which shakes out to about two and a half pounds.
- Brown sugar: Included in the apple coating and the topping, this warm sweetness plays against the tartness of the apples in a delicious way.
- Spices: Cinnamon is standard, with the nutmeg optional, giving it a more rounded out 'apple pie spice' feel.
- Cornstarch: Ever had a crumble that was too liquid-y? Cornstarch thickens the fruit juices for an extra soft and gooey texture.
- Lemon juice: This prevents against the apples browning due to oxidation. Extra liquid also gives the cornstarch something to thicken up.
- Crumble: A reader favorite, this simple crumb topping yields a generous amount for this apple crumble. I've scaled the linked recipe up 1.5x for this size pan.
- Peel, core, and slice apples to a quarter-inch thickness. Stir them up with brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, cinnamon, vanilla extract, nutmeg, and salt until evenly coated.
- Grease baking dish with butter, then fill it with the apples. Use a spoon or spatula to lightly press on them to arrange them in an even layer.
- Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, melted butter, and flour to form the crumb topping. You can see step-by-step photos of this process in the linked post.
- Scatter the crumble topping over the apples. A mix of bigger and smaller crumbs are good to get even coverage.
- Bake at 350°F for 45-55 minutes, or until bubbling and the topping is golden-brown and crisp. Let this apple crumble cool down for 20 or so minutes before scooping and serving warm.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Pan size: A 9-inch square pan works, as does a slightly smaller one with taller sides. The pan pictured in this post is 8-inch square but with a three-quart capacity, so it has tall sides. An 8-inch by 12-inch oval baking dish is also fine.
- Apple shape: I like to slice apples for apple crumble, but if you prefer apple chunks, feel free to cut them that way. Just try and get them all the same size so they bake up to equal tenderness.
- Prevent a mess: Apples aren't the juiciest fruit out there for making crumbles, but there will be some bubbling as it cooks. If your baking dish has fairly low sides, you may wish to put your dish on a sheet pan for baking. This way in case some of liquid bubbles over, it's contained on the pan.
While Granny Smith is a classic variety that's all the way on the tart side, other apple types can work, too. Go for an apple that's firm. Soft apples mush when cooked, which makes them better suited for things like Instant Pot applesauce. Other firm apples that would work here are Pink Lady and Honeycrisp. If you'd like to use up apples that are on the sweet side (Fuji, Gala - perfect for air fryer apples), you may consider slightly decreasing the amount of brown sugar used to coat the apples.
Heat oven to 350°F. Place leftover portion(s) in a baking dish and cover with foil. Bake 15-20 minutes or until sufficiently warmed, removing the foil towards the end if you'd like to crisp up the crumble a bit.
If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, I’d love for you to leave a star rating in the recipe card and/or a comment review below!
For the Fruit:
- 5 large Granny Smith apples (about 2 ½ pounds)
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 ¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
For the Topping:
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 6 Tablespoons (84g) unsalted butter melted
- 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons (140g) all-purpose flour
- Prep: Heat oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking dish with unsalted butter. See notes for additional pan sizes.
- Prepare the apples: Peel, core, and slice apples ¼-inch thick. Place them in a large mixing bowl and add the brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, cinnamon, vanilla extract, nutmeg, and salt. Stir/toss to combine to coat the apples evenly.
- Prepare the crumble: Add brown sugar and cinnamon to a bowl and whisk to combine. Melt the butter and pour it in, stirring until the mixture is evenly moist. Add the flour and stir as it thickens and forms crumbs. You should be able to press the topping with your hand and have it hold its shape, but still be able to break it apart into crumbs.
- Assemble: Pour out the apples into the prepared baking dish and arrange into an even layer. Evenly scatter the topping over the apples (big crumbs are okay).
- Bake: Bake in the preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, or until the juices are bubbling, the apples are fork-tender, and the crumble topping is crisp and golden to golden-brown.
- Serve: Let the apple crumble cool off some for 15-20 minutes before scooping and serving. Vanilla ice cream makes a great pairing.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.Food Safety and Nutrition Disclaimer