What better way to celebrate the autumnal season than by cozying up to a delicious apple crumble? This classic dessert is a crowd-pleaser that marries the sweetness and tartness of baked apples of different varieties with the crunch of a buttery topping.


While there are many different types of crisp and crumble desserts, apple crumble is undoubtedly a great choice for fall. The warmth of cinnamon and nutmeg evokes the flavors of the season. Whether enjoyed as is or topped with vanilla ice cream, apple crumble is a fall dessert that is sure to warm the heart and soul.


Not only is this dessert easy to make, but it also fills the air with the warm and inviting aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg. Whether one is hosting a gathering or simply craving a sweet treat on a chilly evening, apple crumble is the perfect indulgent dessert.


Best Types of Apples for Apple Crumble


The choice of apples is crucial to achieving the best balance of sweetness and tartness in a crumble dessert. While most any type of apple will work in this dessert, some varieties are better for baking than others. A mixture of apple varieties works very well.


• Granny Smith apples are a popular choice for apple crisp due to their tartness and firm texture, which holds up well during baking. They also pair well with the warm spices used in the topping.


• Honeycrisp apples are known for their crisp and juicy texture, as well as their natural sweetness. They are a bit sweeter than Granny Smith apples, so using them in combination with tart apples such as Granny Smith creates a wonderful balance of flavors.


• Other options include Braeburn and Gala apples which boast a firm texture and a good balance of sweetness and tartness.


Best Knives for Chopping Apples


When it comes to chopping apples, using the right knife can make all the difference. Different professional and home chefs have varying preferences when it comes to choosing knives for fruit.


• A chef’s knife is a great all-purpose option for chopping apples since it has a sharp, tapered blade, making it easy to glide through the flesh of fruit.


• A paring knife is another good option, especially for smaller apples. The bird’s beak paring knife is a popular choice because it handles the curves of the apples well with its concave blade.


• Some people opt to use a serrated knife for apples, as the teeth of the blade grip the skin and make it easier to slice through the fruit.


• A fruit-and-vegetable peeler is preferred by some for peeling the skin of the apples. However, a paring knife can easily take the skin off apples, as well.


In the end, the best knife for apples is one that is comfortable in the hand and has a sturdy handle.


A Proper Chop


When preparing apples for apple crisp, it is important to cut the fruit into consistent, small squares to ensure even baking and a uniform texture.


Start by washing and peeling the apples. Afterward, core them and slice them into thin wedges. Next, stack the wedges and cut them into small, bite-sized cubes. Make sure all the apple pieces are roughly the same size to prevent some from becoming mushy while others remain hard and undercooked.


If you are cutting the apples ahead of time, be sure to toss them with some lemon juice to prevent browning before proceeding.


The Perfect Build


Apple crumbles can be prepared in varying types of baking pans with varying depths. Layering a thin apple filling ensures the apples cook evenly and the crumble topping does not become too brown or burnt from overbaking. Layering apples in a thin, even layer also allows the heat to penetrate the fruit more effectively, resulting in a perfectly baked filling that is tender and juicy.


Another benefit of layering a thin apple filling is it provides better control of the mix of apples in each area of the pan, which helps balance the tartness and sweetness. This is especially important when using different types of apples, since some varieties are naturally sweeter or more tart than others. By layering the apples in a thin layer, you can ensure that each serving includes a blend of the different apples and spices.


Apple Crumble Topping


The crumb topping is just as important as the filling. Oats are a popular ingredient to use when making crumble topping, but that is not the only option. For those who prefer a topping without oats, a simple crumble made with flour, sugar and butter can be just as delicious.


After following the steps for the crumble mixture, evenly top the apple filling with the coarse crumbs and bake until golden brown and bubbly. This type of crumble topping is ideal for those who prefer a more buttery and crunchy texture. A bonus is this type of crumb topping pairs well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.



Apple filling

4-5 medium to large apples

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 tablespoons cornstarch

¼ cup white sugar

¼ teaspoon salt


Crumble topping

1½ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ cup white sugar

½ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted



• Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.


• Core the apples; peel all but two.


• Dice all the apples into ½ inch size pieces, enough to yield 2½ cups.


• Coat a baking dish 8×8 or larger with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer the diced apples to the bottom of the dish and sprinkle with lemon juice, cornstarch, ¼ cup sugar and salt. Toss to coat. Allow filling to set while making the topping.


• Mix flour, baking powder, remaining ¼ cup sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl.


• Add melted butter to the bowl. Stir to combine until the mixture is crumbly in consistency. There should be some large and some small clumps. Do not overwork the mixture.


• Sprinkle the crumble topping evening over the apple mixture. If the mixture levels near the top of the baking dish, place the baking dish on a sheet pan to prevent an oven mess in case the mixture bubbles over the sides while baking.   


Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until the crumble topping is slightly browned and the apple mixture shows some bubbling activity around the edges of the dish.


• Allow to cool slightly before serving. Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream.


Crisp Tips

To allow for a bit of color in the apple filling, opt to leave some apples with peels on so that a bit of red and green can peek through.


• Mix flour, baking powder, sugar and spices before adding the melted butter to ensure the dry ingredients are evenly distributed and prevent clumping.


• Be sure to mix the topping thoroughly with hands or a fork until it forms clumps, then sprinkle it evenly over the fruit before baking.


• To reheat the apple crumble, use the oven rather than the microwave. The microwave will yield a soft crumble topping. Pop the dish back into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove the pan when the crumble appears warm, being careful not to overbake so as not to dry out the apple mixture.


YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Recipe: Grilled Ham and Brie Panini with Green Apple