This Cast Iron Apple Crisp features tender sweet apples in a warm cinnamon, brown sugar, and apple cider sauce and topped with a crispy oat topping then baked until golden brown and bubbly.
If you love apple season and easy apple desserts as much as I do, then you'll love this cast iron skillet apple crisp recipe.
Using brown sugar, cinnamon, and apple cider, we make an easy sauce packed with warm flavors to coat the apples. Then, old-fashioned rolled oats, flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon come together with softened butter to create the crispy chewy topping.
It's the perfect fall dessert and a great way to use up your bounty after apple picking at your local apple orchard!
Apples - The best apples for baked apple desserts are ones that have a firm texture and don't easily fall apart. I suggest using Pink Lady (what I used), Gala, or Honeycrisp apples. You could also use Granny Smith apples for a more tart crisp.
Lemon Juice - Helps to prevent the apples from turning brown.
Brown Sugar - Gives the crisp its sweetness. I suggest using brown sugar since it provides a richer flavor. However, white sugar will also work.
Cinnamon - Adds a spiced flavor to the apple filling and crisp topping. Cinnamon and apples are always happy to hang out together.
Corn Starch - Provides thickness to the sauce. Otherwise, it would become very runny and watery as it bakes.
Apple Cider - The brown sugar cornstarch mixture needs a liquid to make it "saucy" and using apple cider really helps to amp up the flavor.
Note: This recipe calls for apple cider, NOT apple cider vinegar.
Oats - Old-fashioned rolled oats give the crisp topping more texture. It's actually the key difference between a crisp and a crumble.
Salt - Using salt in desserts helps to elevate the other flavors. I always recommend using either kosher or sea salt rather than table salt.
Step By Step Instructions
Note: Full list of ingredients, their amounts, and instructions can be found in the recipe card below.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, toss the peeled diced apples with the lemon juice. Set aside.
In a bowl, whisk together the old-fashioned oats, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
Add the softened unsalted butter to the oat mixture and mix until it is all combined. Set aside.
Hint: I like to use my hands for this since not only is it the easiest way to do it but it also incorporates the butter better. However, you can also use a fork or pastry cutter.
In a 12-inch cast iron skillet, melt unsalted butter over medium heat.
Meanwhile, whisk together the brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt.
Add the brown sugar mixture to the melted butter. Cook for 1 minute stirring often.
Pour in the apple cider and simmer, stirring often, for 2 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
Remove the pan from the heat. Add the diced apples to the sauce and toss to coat.
Spread the apples in an even layer. Then, sprinkle the oat mixture over the top of the apples so that they are completely covered.
Transfer the cast-iron skillet to the preheated oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the apples are soft and the topping is golden brown and crispy and the edges are bubbling.
Allow the crisp to rest for 10 minutes then serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the perfect dessert!
Tips & Tricks
- Cut the apples into uniform bite-sized pieces so that they bake evenly
- The easiest way to work the butter into the oat mixture is with your hands. Simply press bits of the softened butter into the dry ingredients until it is evenly distributed
- For a more tart flavor, use tart apples like Granny Smith or Braeburn
Substitutions & Variations
- This recipe can easily be adapted for other fruits. Pears would be good for an apple-like swap. Peaches and berries would make a good summertime option
- To make the cast iron apple crisp extra special, serve it with Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce
- Don't have old-fashioned oats on hand? No problem! Simply leave them out for a delicious apple crumble
Storage & Reheating
Transfer the crisp to an airtight container for storage. It can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 days.
You can also keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days.
It can be reheated in the microwave in 15-second increments or in the oven at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes or until warmed through.
Fruit crisps also freeze really well.
Simply allow the crisp to cool completely then place it in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.
When you are ready to eat it, allow it to thaw, then bake it at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes or until warmed through.
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Cast Iron Apple Crisp
- ¾ cup old-fashioned oats
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup light brown sugar packed
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 8 cups Pink Lady apples peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¾ cup light brown sugar packed
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup apple cider NOT vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Toss the peeled and diced apples in the lemon juice and set aside.
Make the Crisp Topping
- In a bowl, mix together the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
- Mix in the softened butter until it is evenly distributed. Set the topping aside.
Make the Apple Filling
- Melt the butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt.
- Add the brown sugar mixture to the melted butter and cook for 1 minute, stirring often.
- Pour in the apple cider and simmer for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring often. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Add the diced apples to the sauce and toss to combine.
Assemble & Bake
- Smooth the apples out into an even layer. Then, cover with the crisp topping.
- Transfer the cast iron skillet to the preheated oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the apples are softened and cooked through.
- Allow the crisp to cool for about 10 minutes then serve warm.
- See the post for step-by-step photos
- Other good apple varieties would be Gala and Honeycrisp. Choose Granny Smith or Braeburn apples for a more tart crisp flavor
- Make sure you are using apple cider and NOT apple cider vinegar
- Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce would go great with this apple crisp
- Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container at room temp for 2 days and in the fridge for up to 5 days