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Moms Brown Sugar Apple Crisp

Mom’s Brown Sugar Apple Crisp has a tart, cinnamon spiced apple filling with a crispy, crunchy brown sugar oat topping! Serve warm with ice cream for an easy, comforting dessert!

Mom's Brown Sugar Apple Crisp | An easy, family recipe for the best apple crisp! Try it for dessert tonight!

There were two desserts that my mom made all the time for as long as I can remember. My favorite was this Brown Sugar Apple Crisp.

I think at some point she must have doubled the already generous crisp topping because the ratio of apples to topping is 50:50. Possibly more like 40:60!

She and I used to stand in the kitchen impatiently waiting for the crisp to cool enough to take our first bites straight from the dish. Then we would both smile and nod at each other in silent agreement that the crisp topping was the best part. No words necessary. It was all about the topping.

Mom's Brown Sugar Apple Crisp | An easy, family recipe for the best apple crisp! Try it for dessert tonight!

And the obligatory ice cream. This was not optional in my mom’s house. And it still isn’t in mine.

Mom's Brown Sugar Apple Crisp | An easy, family recipe for the best apple crisp! Try it for dessert tonight!

The differentiating ingredient in my mom’s crisp is the dark brown sugar…and lots of it. It makes for a crisp, crunchy and sweet topping that perfectly compliments the cinnamon spiced, tart apples. You must use tart apples or the crisp will be cloyingly sweet. I learned this the hard way in college.

This is one of those recipes that I make time and time again. I’ve called mom dozens of times over the past 15 years asking her to tell me the recipe just one more time and promising to write it down…and not lose it. {I told you I had a problem…}

Mom's Brown Sugar Apple Crisp | An easy, family recipe for the best apple crisp! Try it for dessert tonight!

I have added my touch to the filling by adding some lemon juice, fresh lemon zest, a grind of fresh nutmeg and a pinch of salt, but the crisp topping remains unadulterated. You don’t mess with perfection. And the brown sugar crisp topping is, in fact, perfection.

If you want a more “normal” ratio of filling to topping, then just halve the topping recipe as written. You will still have more than enough to cover an 8-inch square dish. If you aren’t sure, you can make it as written, sprinkle on as much topping as you want and then just save the remaining crisp topping in the refrigerator for individual crisps later in the week.

Mom's Brown Sugar Apple Crisp | An easy, family recipe for the best apple crisp! Try it for dessert tonight!

I usually use all granny smith apples in this recipe but the farmers market mislabeled “Cripps Pink” apples as Honeycrisps so I was stuck with a dozen tart apples that tasted nothing like the sweet, juicy Honeycrisps that I wanted.

Waste not, want not. I used half Granny Smiths and half Cripps Pink in this crisp and the result was delicious! I may buy them on purpose next time {wink}

Mom's Brown Sugar Apple Crisp | An easy, family recipe for the best apple crisp! Try it for dessert tonight!

If you are fan of crisp toppings or just brown sugar in general, then my Mom’s Apple Crisp is not to be missed! You will eat bite after bite marveling at the interplay between the sweet, crunchy topping and the tart, spiced apple filling.
Grab a spoon and dig in!

Mom's Brown Sugar Apple Crisp | An easy, family recipe for the best apple crisp! Try it for dessert tonight!

Moms Brown Sugar Apple Crisp

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 6 minutes

Yield: Serves 6

Moms Brown Sugar Apple Crisp

A tart, cinnamon spiced apple filling with a crisp brown sugar oat topping! Just like Mom used to make - with a twist! Serve warm with ice cream for an easy, comforting dessert!

Ingredients

    For the Filling:
  • 5 cups tart apples, pealed, sliced and cut into ¾ inch pieces {I used Granny Smiths and Cripps Pink}
  • 1 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Zest from ½ lemon (dark yellow part only!)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (if you don’t have fresh, you might want to just leave this out or use a tiny pinch of ground)
  • pinch kosher salt
  • For the Topping:
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup rolled oats {Not instant}
  • ½ cup butter, cold, cut into cubes

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the filling in a medium bowl, stirring to coat all the apples. Let sit for at least 1 ½ hours, covered in the refrigerator; stirring occasionally. Sometimes I get impatient (Imagine that!) and I don’t wait that long, and it’s still delicious. The flavors are better if you let the apples macerate, but just know that I understand if you bake it right away.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350° with the rack in the middle.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the sugar, flour and oats; add the butter cubes and toss to coat them with the flour mixture. Using your hands, work the butter into the flour mixture by grabbing a handful, squeezing and mashing it against your palm with your fingers. Repeat until your hand is exhausted and the mixture sticks together in chunks but there are only a few remaining lumps of butter. Work as quickly as possible so that the butter doesn’t actually melt.
  4. Give the apples one last stir and pour into an 8 inch square baking dish. Cover with the crisp topping using as much or as little as you wish. There is a lot! Press some down into the apples. {Trust me.}
  5. Bake in preheated for 45-50 minutes or until the top is brown and the filling is bubbling out the sides. If you want your apples very soft, like my husband, continue to bake an additional 10-15 minutes.
  6. Let cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Serve warm with ice cream.

Notes:

This recipe as written makes a lot of topping! If you want a more “normal” ratio of filling to topping, then just halve the topping recipe as written. You will still have more than enough to cover an 8-inch square dish. If you aren’t sure, you can make it as written, sprinkle on as much topping as you want and then just save the remaining crisp topping in the refrigerator for individual crisps later in the week.

https://cheflindseyfarr.com/2014/10/moms-brown-sugar-apple-crisp/

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This recipe is linked to: Inspiration Monday, Merry Monday, Munching Monday, Monday Funday, Two Cup Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Party Time, Moonlight & Mason Jars, Gluten Free Wednesday, What’s Cookin’ Wednesday, Gluten Free Friday, Foodie Friday, Food on Friday, Flashback Friday, Saturday Night Fever

49 Comments

  • Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice
    October 30, 2014 at 8:27 am

    Apple crisp is just about the perfect fall dessert in my eyes! This version sounds fantastic, Lindsey! I love the brown sugar flavor in here, too. I could totally eat this for breakfast right now, with some ice cream on the side! 🙂

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      November 4, 2014 at 8:53 pm

      For serious, Gayle! Brown sugar wins at life. Seriously awesome.

      Reply
  • Kristine @ Kristine's Kitchen
    October 30, 2014 at 8:46 am

    How special that this is your mom’s recipe and I loved reading your sweet memories about taking that first bite together. I agree, the crisp topping is totally the best part!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      November 4, 2014 at 8:52 pm

      😀 The best.

      Reply
  • Kristi @ Inspiration Kitchen
    October 30, 2014 at 9:24 am

    We love a good Apple Crisp, and goodness knows that we have plenty of tart apples around here! I love the filling, topping ratio! I think it should always have more topping! But, maybe that’s just me! xoxo

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      November 4, 2014 at 8:38 pm

      Oh, no, it isn’t just you! You know we are in the same boat here…no shock! xox

      Reply
  • Allison @ Celebrating Sweets
    October 30, 2014 at 9:31 am

    This looks like comfort food at it’s best. I couldn’t agree more, it is all about the topping. 🙂 Beautiful pictures!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      November 4, 2014 at 8:37 pm

      Thanks, Allison! Bring on the brown sugar!

      Reply
  • Manali @ CookWithManali
    October 30, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Wow that looks incredible Lindsey! This would taste so awesome with a big scoop of ice cream *drooling*. Thanks for sharing your mom’s recipe with us 🙂 Pinned!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      November 4, 2014 at 8:37 pm

      And the truth has been spoken! Ice cream!

      Reply
  • Kelly - Life Made Sweeter
    October 30, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Apple crisp is my favorite fall dessert. Yours looks absolutely incredible, Lindsey! Loved that you and your mom used to make this together and wait for that first bite 🙂 The brown sugar crisp topping sounds just perfect!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      October 30, 2014 at 5:56 pm

      Thanks, Kelly! It is definitely one of mine too! We didn’t usually wait very long!

      Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      November 4, 2014 at 8:37 pm

      Mine too, Kelly! Mmmm brown sugar!

      Reply
  • Karen @ On the Banks of Salt Creek
    October 30, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    Apple crisp is my all time favorite dessert. We make it often. Now that we live on a farm that has an orchard I’m hoping to get those trees in shape for all the apple crisp we could ever want.
    My husband would LOVE the ratio of topping to apples. I usually double the topping but keep the sugar the same.It makes me feel better when I eat it the next morning for breakfast. Oh, and I make it in the biggest dish I have. I would probably be shot if I pulled an 8×8 pan of crisp our of the oven. I’m going to have to try those mini apple pecan crumble pies.

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      October 30, 2014 at 5:28 pm

      LOL! Your comment cracked me up, Karen! I try to only think about the apples when I eat it for breakfast! I am obviously a huge fan of the 50:50 ratio but my husband thought it a but excessive. {crazy} I would be in heaven on a farm with an apple orchard! I hope you do whip them into shape soon so that you can eat apple crisp to your heart’s content! You should definitely try this crisp and those mini apple crumble pies! Both are to die for! My husband ate the apple pies faster than I could download the photos onto my laptop!

      Reply
  • Arpita@ The Gastronomic Bong
    October 30, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    Apple sounds wonderful Lindsey! love everything about this recipe!! Perfect Fall recipe!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      November 4, 2014 at 8:35 pm

      Thanks, Arpita!

      Reply
  • Jessica @ Sweet Menu
    October 30, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    Aren’t mums the best? Love this gorgeous apple recipe! YUM!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      November 4, 2014 at 8:34 pm

      THE best!

      Reply
  • Alessandra // the foodie teen
    October 31, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Love the addition of lemon! This looks absolutely fabulous – brown sugar, cinnamon and apples is such a fantastic flavour combination! Yum! Your photography is droolworthy too!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      November 4, 2014 at 8:29 pm

      Thanks, Alessandra!

      Reply
  • marcie
    October 31, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    I’d love to sit down to a plate of this, Lindsey, it looks amazing! I haven’t had close to my fill of apple desserts and this is calling my name!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      November 4, 2014 at 8:29 pm

      Me neither! Bring on the apple!

      Reply
  • Kathleen @ Yummy Crumble
    November 1, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    First off…who on earth would want a “normal” ratio of crisp!!! Crazies! That’s who! This looks utterly delicious and I love how you caught the ice cream melting in the photos. I’m trying this for the holidays for sure 🙂

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      November 4, 2014 at 8:21 pm

      I know, right? I hope you do try it Kathleen!

      Reply
  • Miss Kim @ behgopa
    November 2, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Looks so inviting. You are so right about the ice cream. I can’t imagine who or why anyone would eat it without the ice cream. Well, unless they are lactose intolerant or something. Otherwise, that’s just crazy. I love dishes that bring about fond memories. They’re so full of warmth and comfort.

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      November 4, 2014 at 8:14 pm

      For serious. I could eat this every week, but then I wouldn’t be a very good food blogger!

      Reply
  • Shashi @ RunninSrilankan
    November 2, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    I am horrible at writing things down at times too – I love your take on the filling of this, Lindsey. The lemon juice, fresh lemon zest, and fresh nutmeg sound like a wonderful addition to crisp perfection!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      November 4, 2014 at 8:13 pm

      Thanks, Shashi! I like at add a little extra acid to counterbalance all that brown sugar!

      Reply
  • Rachel
    November 4, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    OMG! This looks so delicious. I could see myself eating it without ice cream…only because I couldn’t wait that long to scoop it out.

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      November 5, 2014 at 12:44 am

      Thanks! I see no reason to wait longer than 10 minutes before adding the ice cream! Impatient! The only thing that keeps me from diving in immediately, it knowing that I’ll burn my tongue if I do!

      Reply
  • Lail | With A Spin
    November 5, 2014 at 2:13 am

    Love all the flavors going on here – the lemon juice, fresh lemon zest, fresh nutmeg. Sound wonderful!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      November 6, 2014 at 10:32 am

      Thanks, Lail!

      Reply
  • Julianne @ Beyond Frosting
    November 5, 2014 at 2:18 am

    This sounds insane!! And your photos are making me drool!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      November 6, 2014 at 10:32 am

      Thanks, Julianne!

      Reply
  • Sarah@WholeandHeavenlyOven
    November 5, 2014 at 8:26 am

    Oh, boy…this definitely looks like the ultimate apple crisp!! Suddenly I’m feeling the need to break out the ice cream. 😀

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      November 6, 2014 at 10:32 am

      Thanks, Sarah! Any time is a good time for ice cream!

      Reply
  • Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust
    November 6, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Is there any other ratio? I mean, more crisp > less crisp!!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      November 7, 2014 at 10:48 pm

      Nope. I like to pretend that there is, but I’m lying.

      Reply
  • Christin@SpicySouthernKitchen
    November 7, 2014 at 9:44 am

    This is just how I like my crisps! With tons of topping! Your mom’s recipe sounds amazing Lindsey. Can’t wait to try it. 🙂

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      November 7, 2014 at 10:45 pm

      No fighting over the topping here…plenty for all!

      Reply
  • Liz
    November 7, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    I’m ALL for more topping!!! And I love, love apple crisp! Yours looks divine!!

    Reply
    • AmericanCooking22
      November 7, 2014 at 10:43 pm

      More is more.

      Reply
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    Reply
  • Clare
    March 28, 2016 at 7:37 am

    I made this apple crisp for Easter brunch and it was delicious!! I didn’t add any lemon zest (ran out!), and I doubled the filling with an extra teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1.5x the topping with some roughly chopped pecans. It was SO delicious!! Thanks for this great recipe!
    I also love how easy crisp is to make gluten free, so it’s suitable for everyone!

    Reply
  • Frames Blog
    December 18, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Feel The Crisp Bite

    […] st save the remaining crisp topping in the refrigerator for individual crisps la […]

    Reply
  • Nate
    December 3, 2017 at 10:32 am

    I had seen brown sugar apples on TV and looked into it and WOW! I found your recipe for Mom’s Brown Sugar Crisp and thought I’ll give my family a big surprise and make them some….

    Reply
    • Lindsey
      December 26, 2017 at 11:01 pm

      I hope they loved it Nate!

      Reply
  • Michael
    November 16, 2019 at 12:09 am

    You just took apple crisp to a whole new level…I LOVE it! This looks amazing. I just want to dive right into this for breakfast. Peanut butter is the perfect addition and you really nailed this! I always think about eating crisps for breakfast when I have them in the house! This looks fantastic! Love the peanut butter!

    Reply

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