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Caramel Apple Crisp

Get ready to fall in love with this irresistible caramel apple crisp! It’s warm, sweet, fruity, and topped with a heavenly layer of crunchy oats.

You’ll use tart apples to balance the dish, then add lashings of homemade caramel to make it impossibly indulgent. 

I’m telling you, this dessert is a total game-changer. Your friends and family will be fighting for seconds! 

Close up of Caramel Apple Crisp in a bowl with a scoop of ice cream
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Why You’ll Love This Caramel Apple Crisp

Old Fashioned Flavors: Caramel apple is as classic as it gets. And who doesn’t love a warm bowl of apple crisp? Together, they’re the perfect dessert for family gatherings and special occasions.

Kid-Approved: With its combination of fruity apples, warm spices, and rich caramel, this dessert will please any picky eaters at the table. 

Easily Feed a Crowd: Double or triple the recipe for a potluck dessert that will keep your guests coming back for more.

Caramel Apple Crisp with caramel sauce served in a plate.


This recipe has three key elements: the apples, the caramel, and the crisp topping.

Luckily, they’re all pretty easy to make and only need pantry staples. 

  • Tart Apples (like Granny Smith): You can use sweet apples, but the caramel will make this more than sweet enough. So, grab something tart to balance it out. 
  • Brown Sugar: For the apples, caramel, and crust! It’s sweet and offers lovely caramel notes. 
  • Ground Cinnamon & Nutmeg: Warm, aromatic spices that infuse the apples and crisp with cozy fall flavors.
  • Salt & Vanilla: A pinch of salt enhances all the flavors and keeps the sweetness in check. The vanilla brings an added layer of depth.
  • Butter: Cold butter is the key to a flaky, crumbly crisp topping and a perfectly smooth, glossy caramel.
  • Heavy Cream: Adds richness and a silky texture to the homemade caramel sauce.
  • Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats & Flour: Together, they create the best crisp crust ever! You’ll also add a bit of flour to help thicken the filling. 
  • Pecans (optional): You can make this nut-free, but a few chopped pecans on top make it extra fragrant and crunchy. 
Caramel syrup pouring over sliced apples coated with cinnamon sugar and spices in a white baking dish.
Apple crisp topping made with mixed oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt and butter mixed together to make a coarse crumbs as apple crisp toppings sitting on a white marble table.

How to Make Caramel Apple Crisp

Never made caramel before? With this recipe, it couldn’t be easier!

1. CARAMEL: Heat the cream, sugar, and butter until thick and smooth, then add the vanilla and salt. Set aside to cool.

2. APPLES: Mix the apples with the spices, sugar, and flour, then pour into the baking dish. 

3. CRISP: Mix the topping ingredients until crumbly.

4. ASSEMBLE: Drizzle some caramel over the apples, then top with the crisp topping. 

5. BAKE: Bake until the top is golden and the apples are tender. 

6. SERVE: Let the dessert cool for 15 minutes, then serve with the remaining caramel and ice cream. 

Serving of Caramel Apple Crisp in a white bowl garnished with vanilla ice cream drizzled with more caramel.

Tips For the Best Caramel Apple Crisp

Apple crisp is the kind of old-fashioned dessert anyone can make. And this version isn’t anything you can’t handle. 

Just follow the steps in the recipe card and read these tips before you start:

  • Slice evenly. Ensure the apple slices are uniform in thickness for even cooking. But don’t cut them too thin, or they’ll turn to mush. I go for about 1/2-inch thick.
  • Toss well. Thoroughly coat the apples in the sugar and spice mixture to distribute the flavors evenly.
  • Prevent burning. Keep a close eye on the caramel sauce while cooking, stirring constantly to avoid burning.
  • Room temperature ingredients. Use room-temperature butter and cream for a smooth, lump-free caramel sauce.
  • Tent if needed. If the topping browns too quickly, cover the dish with foil to prevent burning.
  • Let it cool. It needs about 15 minutes before serving to let the filling set and the flavors meld.
  • Variations. Try different apples, or add dried cranberries or raisins to the filling.
  • Caramel alternatives. If you’re short on time, use store-bought caramel sauce or make a quick caramel sauce using condensed milk.
  • Serve with extras. To enhance the experience, serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of caramel whipped cream.
Apple crisp in a baking dish drizzled with caramel sauce, top down view

How to Store

Whether you have leftovers or made the dish ahead, here’s how to store it:

To Store: Cover the cooled crisp tightly with plastic wrap or foil or transfer leftovers to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 5 days. 

To Freeze Ahead: Assemble the crisp in a freezer-safe baking dish, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, remove the plastic and top with fresh foil. Bake from frozen for 20 minutes at 350°F, remove the foil, and bake for another 20-30 minutes. 

To Freeze Leftovers: Wrap tightly in plastic and foil or transfer leftovers to an airtight container. Freeze for up to three months. Reheat from frozen, covered with foil, for 20 minutes at 350°F, remove the foil and bake for another 10-20 minutes. 

To Reheat: For best results, reheat refrigerated leftovers in a 350°F oven for 10-15 minutes until warm. You can also microwave individual portions for 30-60 seconds, but the topping won’t be as crisp.

Remember that the topping will absorb moisture and become soft the longer it sits. So eat the leftovers as soon as possible!

More Apple Desserts Your Family Will Love

Apple Pie Bars
Baked Apple Slices
Apple Cinnamon Muffins
Apple Crumble

Caramel Apple Crisp

Course: DessertCuisine: American


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Prep time


Cooking time





Get ready to fall in love with this irresistible caramel apple crisp! It’s warm, sweet, fruity, and topped with a heavenly layer of crunchy oats.


  • For the Caramel Sauce
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, room temperature

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed at room temperature

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 1/4-1 teaspoon salt, to taste (optional)

  • For the Apple Filling
  • 6 cups sliced tart apples, like Granny Smith (about 2 pounds)

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • For the Crisp Topping
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (195°C) and grease a 9×13-inch baking dish (or six 6-ounce ramekins).
  • Make the Caramel Sauce: Add the brown sugar, cream, and butter to a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Warm over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Increase the heat to medium and cook until the syrup thickens slightly (it will thicken more as it cools), about 5-8 minutes. Turn off the heat, carefully add the vanilla and salt (if using), and mix well. Let the caramel cool, then store it in an airtight container in the fridge (for up to 3 weeks) until needed.
  • Make the Apple Filling: Toss the sliced apples with the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Pour the mixture into the baking pan (or divide between the individual ramekins). Drizzle half of the caramel sauce over the apple filling.
  • Make the Topping: In a medium bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add the butter and blend it into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or your fingers. Stop when it looks like coarse crumbs, and sprinkle evenly over the apples and caramel. Add the pecans, if using.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes (35-45 minutes for individual portions) or until the top is golden and the apples are tender. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.
  • Serve warm with the extra caramel sauce drizzled over the top and a scoop of ice cream, if desired.


  • 4 tennis ball-sized apples weigh about a pound, so you’ll need about 8
  • Ensure the apple slices are uniform in thickness for even cooking. But don’t cut them too thin, or they’ll turn to mush. Aim for about 1/2-inch thick.

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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