Nana’s Apple Crisp

Nana's apple crisp - ASimpleHomestead
Nana's apple crisp - ASimpleHomestead

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I can’t believe I haven’t shared this recipe yet! This was a much-loved favorite in our household growing up. So much so that if we didn’t monitor my sister, she would eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, elevenses, pre-bed snack … you get the picture!

What’s great about this is that 1) it is so simple to put together and 2) super-easy to adjust to the amount you want to make!

apple crisp peeled and sliced apples

The most time-consuming part (outside of baking) is to peel and slice the apples. This last time I used a corer / slicer and left them as-is. Normally, I would have sliced them thinner, but it seemed to work ok without the extra work!

Nana's apple crisp - ASimpleHomestead - sliced apples

If you do slice them, try and get them as even as possible so they all cook at the same rate.  We used to own a nice, heavy corer/slicer like the one below, but apparently, we got rid of it. It worked, but often if you tried using older, softer apples, they would break apart more than they would create nice slices.

The corer I used this time works just as well and takes up a lot less room!

The trick to a good apple crisp is to mound your apples!  You want your casserole or baking dish to be practically overflowing with apples.  Why?  Because the apples will bake down and shrink some – and then you’ll wonder why you didn’t add more apples! 🙂

Nana's apple crisp cinnamon sprinkle - ASimpleHomestead

The apples also need to be generously sprinkled with cinnamon.  How much?  Eh, that’s hard to say, but more is better.  I don’t think I’ve ever had too much cinnamon on the apple crisp, but I’ve had it where there is too little!  Just make sure all the apples are covered!

The dish I used this time was a 1.5-qt round baking dish.  As I mentioned, this recipe is easily modified for size – so go ahead and make it in a small casserole or square baking pan, a 9 x 13″ cake pan, or find a gigantic baking pan and fill that baby with apples (sis, did you see this pan?!).  The only caution I’ll mention is that you’ll want something with a bit of depth to it.  A 12 x 17″ jelly roll style pan won’t work as well because the ratio of apples to topping will be skewed – unless you like it sweet!

apple crisp streusel crumble - ASimpleHomestead

Speaking of ratios, here’s the basic recipe for the streusel topping:

  • 1 part oatmeal
  • 1 part all-purpose flour
  • 1 part brown sugar
  • 1/2 part butter

So in other words, you can use

  • 1 cup of oatmeal, flour, sugar, and 1/2 cup of butter
  • 2 cups oatmeal, flour, and sugar and 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup of oatmeal, flour, sugar and 1/4 cup of butter

and on and on…

Easy peasy to adjust!

For the 1.5-qt round baking dish, I used the 1 cup / half cup ratio that is in the recipe below.  If I were making a cake pan, I might increase that to 1 1/2 or 2 times the amount.  The goal is to end up with enough topping to give you approximately a 1/4″ layer on top.

apple crisp ready to bake - ASimpleHomestead

As you can see, I had to pat down the streusel to get it to stick to the mounded apples. I was a little concerned about messing up Papa’s oven with apple juices, so when I baked it, I placed a pan underneath. Turns out, it didn’t bubble up as much as I thought so I would have been safe.

apple crisp baked - ASimpleHomestead

As you can see, when it’s baked, the top is leveled off due to the shrinking of the apples. Then all you need is a fork and you can dig in! Well, unless you have a family to think about and share with!

apple crisp with ice cream - ASimpleHomestead

I’m posting this recipe because we are in the midst of the apple season in Wisconsin right now, but actually, this is a wonderful recipe year-round, even when you are stuck with softer storage apples later in the winter / early spring. Especially when served warm with ice cream – or whipped cream – or just by itself for all the meals and snacks mentioned above (ok, so I’m not much different than my sister LOL!).

Nana’s Apple Crisp

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour


  • 2 pounds of baking apples approximately 6 medium sized apples
  • 1-2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup oatmeal rolled – quick cooking or old fashioned
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup cold butter cut into small pieces


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Peel, core and slice enough apples to fill a 1.5-qt casserole dish or similar sized ovenproof baking dish so the apples are mounded slightly over the top edge.
  • Sprinkle the apples generously with the cinnamon.
  • Using a fork or pastry blender, mix the other ingredients together in a small bowl, “cutting” the butter and mixing until the topping is crumbly and there are no large pieces of butter left. Spread the topping over the apples, patting gently to hold in place.
  • Bake for 45 – 60 minutes, or until the apples are tender (use a fork; if there is no resistance, the apples are done).
  • Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream; refrigerate the leftovers.


Note: to make a larger (or smaller) sized apple crisp, use this ratio for the streusel to make enough to fully cover (1/4″) the apples:
1 part oatmeal
1 part flour
1 part brown sugar
1/2 part butter

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