The Best Apple Crisp Recipe

A crumbly, buttery topping full of contrasting flavors and textures, soft fruit, notes of lemon and nutmeg and caramel—this is an apple crisp that just might be better than a pie.

Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • Toasted pecans, raw sugar, lemon zest, and grated nutmeg combine to form an easy crisp topping full of contrasting textures and flavors.
  • A mix of firm, tart apples and softer baking apples yields a balance of flavor and texture.
  • A small amount of whiskey (Scotch, bourbon, or rye) added to the fruit lends complexity to sweet apples.

Easier than pie and just as delicious, if not more so, crisp is the shortest route to fruit-dessert happiness. While this recipe calls for apples, the buttery topping scented with lemon and nutmeg (loosely adapted from a recipe by Chef Suzanne Drexhage of Berkeley, California's Bartavelle) is equally at home on berries, peaches, or any other crisp-bound fruit.

Recipe Facts



Active: 20 mins
Total: 60 mins
Serves: 6 to 8 servings

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For the Crisp Topping:

  • 100g all-purpose flour (3 3/4 ounces; about 3/4 cup)

  • 165g raw sugar, such as turbinado (5 3/4 ounces; about 3/4 cup)

  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated zest from 1 lemon

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg (see note)

  • 1 teaspoon (4g) kosher salt

  • 100g toasted pecans (3 3/4 ounces; about 1 cup)

  • 145g unsalted butter (5 ounces; 10 tablespoons), cut into small cubes and chilled

For the Apple Base:

  • 4 apples (preferably a mix of firm, tart Fuji and Jonagold as well as softer Golden Delicious), skin on, cored and diced

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 1/2 teaspoon (2g) kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) bourbon, rye, or Scotch


  1. For the Topping: Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). In a food processor, pulse flour, raw sugar, lemon zest, nutmeg, and salt until well combined.

  2. Add pecans and pulse just until pecans start to break apart, 2 to 3 pulses. Some whole pecans should still be visible.

  3. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal, with pea-sized chunks. Transfer to a bowl and chill in refrigerator or freezer until ready to bake.

  4. To Assemble and Bake: Toss apples, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and whiskey in a large mixing bowl until evenly combined. Transfer to a 2-quart baking dish and cover with crisp topping, spreading it into an even layer across the dish. Do not pack topping down with your hands. Bake until topping is darker in color, sandy, dry, and firm to the touch, about 45 minutes. Let crisp cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Special equipment

2-quart baking dish, food processor


You can substitute 1 teaspoon (4 blades) mace in place of the nutmeg for a more complex flavor.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
410 Calories
24g Fat
47g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 410
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 31%
Saturated Fat 10g 50%
Cholesterol 39mg 13%
Sodium 295mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 47g 17%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 32g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 5mg 27%
Calcium 25mg 2%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 175mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)