The perfect apple crumble. Each of us tends to carry within us—consciously or unconsciously—a terrifically precise notion of what it ought to be. Oats or just buttery floury sugary goodness. Spices permeating both the apples below and the crumble atop or just one or the other. Nuts or no nuts. Whatever apple crumble means to you, we get it. And we respect it. And we still think you ought to try this apple crumble recipe, which has captured the hearts of many, many who’ve tried it.Renee Schettler Rossi

A piece of apple crumble topped with vanilla ice cream in a white bowl.

Apple Crumble

5 / 6 votes
This apple crumble is made with apples tossed in sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger and covered with an oat and brown sugar top. An easy fall dessert.
David Leite
Servings8 to 12 servings
Calories419 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes


For the crumble topping

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/4 cups firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cut into small cubes

For the apple filling

  • 4 pounds apples, (9 to 12) assorted varieties, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (20 grams) or quick-cooking tapioca (20 grams)
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Vanilla ice cream, for embellishing (optional but really necessary)


Make the crumble topping

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (191°C) and adjust a rack to the middle of the oven.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and teaspoon salt. Add the butter and, working with your fingertips, a fork, or a pastry blender, combine the mixture until the crumbs are pea-size. You’ll have more than you need so you can stash half the mixture in a resealable bag and place it in the freezer for another crumble on another day.

Make the apple filling

  • Toss the apples in a large bowl. Add the granulated sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, flour or tapioca, and salt and gently toss to combine.

Bake the apple crumble

  • Spoon the filling into a baking dish, ideally one that’s 11 inches by 7 inches but a dish that’s 9 inches by 13 inches will also work as will a couple 9-inch square baking dishes. Spoon the remaining topping evenly over the fruit filling. Place the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil to catch any spills. Bake until the fruit is bubbling and the top is nicely browned, about 1 hour. If the top begins to brown too quickly, loosely cover it with a sheet of foil.
  • Let the apple crumble rest for maybe 15 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, if desired.


What You Need To Know About Which Apples Are Best For Baking

How do ya like them apples? Specifically, how do you like them apples in your apple crumble recipe? Here are some of the mixes of varieties our recipe testers tried and found to be terrific:
Granny Smith and Cortland Fuji, Gala, and Granny Smith Fuji, Gala, Ambrosia, and Granny Smith Calvin Blanc, Golden Russet, and Spitzenburg Golden Delicious and Red Delicious

Adapted From

The Pollan Family Table

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 419 kcalCarbohydrates: 99 gProtein: 5 gFat: 2 gSaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 2 mgSodium: 110 mgFiber: 8 gSugar: 65 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2014 The Pollan Family. Photo © 2014 John Kernick. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

We’ve made many apple crisp recipes over the years, but this one was unanimously my family’s all-time favorite. It’s really everything you want in a apple crisp—warm and comforting cinnamon- and ginger-spiced apples and a crisp, crunchy crumble.

I used a combination of Granny Smith, Gala, and Fuji apples, so the mixture wasn’t too tart. I used the spiralizer attachment from KitchenAid, and it cored, peeled, and sliced my 9 medium apples in less than 10 minutes. I was out of dark brown sugar, so I used light brown sugar. The recipe required a larger baking dish than a 9-inch pie plate but smaller than a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, so I found something in between sizes that worked great, approximately 10-1/2-by-5-1/2-by-2-1/2 inches, although I recommend just using whatever looks like it will hold the apples piled at least 2 inches high.

covered my crumble the last 15 minutes of baking, as the topping was starting to reach a deep brown color. I’ve made this recipe twice already, and the second time, I just used two medium-sized baking dishes and split the apples between the two dishes. I also tried using 1 cup ratios of flour, oats and brown sugar with 8 tablespoons butter, and there was still plenty of topping to sprinkle over and completely cover the apples in both baking dishes. I served the crumble with vanilla ice cream, and everyone enjoyed it.

One of my absolute favorite fall desserts is apple crumble or crisp. Featuring an inexpensive, readily available ingredient list and straightforward process, this recipe could easily take the place of my current favorite. A buttery, crisp topping over warm, spiced apples—this recipe takes the classic fall dish and delivers perfection!

I used a combination of Granny Smith and Cortland apples, which gave a perfect sweet-tart balance and nice baked apple texture. I used all-purpose flour to toss in with the apple mixture.

For the crumble topping, I found that a pastry cutter worked best to get pea-sized crumbs. I didn’t have a dish the size the recipe called for, so I used my 13-by-9-inch glass baking dish with fantastic results. The crumb topping was plenty thick over the apples, and I didn’t have any filling bubble over, which made for an easier cleanup. I kept the dish in the oven for exactly 1 hour, which resulted in a perfectly crisp, browned topping and tender apples. I didn’t need to cover it with foil to prevent over-browning.

I let the dish rest for 15 minutes before serving—torture! I served it with a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream. Heavenly!

The flavor of this apple crumble is really good and the apples baked up well.

I put the apples in a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish because I donʻt have an 11-inch oval baking dish. I couldn’t tell whether it was done by seeing it bubble, so I stuck a sharp knife in to see if the apples were tender. If I make it again, I might halve the recipe and try it in a 9-inch baking dish.

I’ve always preferred a traditional crust cobbler over a crisp topping, but this recipe changed my mind. The flavor wasn’t overly sweet, and the directions were easy to follow. Everyone loved this dish and it will be on our holiday menus this year.

I love to use a variety of apples when I cook because each variety cooks down differently. (I used 2 Fuji, 2 Gala, 2 Ambrosia, and 1 Granny Smith.) All those different textures in the crumble were nice. I think you could mix the crumb topping in the same bowl the apples were in instead of dirtying another bowl.

My only problem was pan size. I tried a 9-inch round dish and an 11-inch oval dish, and the apples didn’t fit, much less the crumb mixture on top. I finally used a 9-inch square dish. It worked but the topping was piled high and some fell off because it just didn’t want to stay put.

We love traditional apple crumble at my house. This was a bit different than I have made in the past. The addition of the freshly grated ginger and nutmeg added a depth and warmth only they can offer. What an excellent idea!

I used a mix of Golden and Red Delicious apples. The Goldens were rather large (and my favorite), so I used 4, and the Reds were quite small, so I needed 5 to equal the suggested 4 pounds. The addition of the freshly grated nutmeg and ginger added a punch I wasn’t expecting. I used Vietnamese cinnamon, which I absolutely love. I used all-purpose flour, not tapioca. My time for nicely brown was about 1 hour and 10 minutes. It was bubbly in spots and smelled great. It did not need covering while in the oven.

A great, easy-to-prepare, not-too-sweet apple crumble that’s perfect for fall. This recipe worked extremely well. I loved the hint of ginger. And I really liked the mix of apples, the spices, and the crunchy topping.

I only made half the recipe and had no problems at all. I had 4 apples, not sure about the types, probably Calvin Blanc, Golden Russet, and Spitzenburg for a total of 2 pounds. I served the apple crumble with vanilla ice cream. Definitely a keeper. I’d suggest letting the crumble cool for about 20 minutes and serving it with ice cream and/or whipped cream.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I loved this recipe. It’s now in my top 3 dessert recipes. I used Granny Smith apples for this recipe, added all of the ingredients listed in the recipe, and followed the directions very closely. The dessert turned out to be very tasty, sweet but with a hint of sourness. Thank you so much for the recipe and very detailed instructions!

  2. 5 stars
    I made this yesterday, but couldn’t resist making a couple modifications to make it slightly more like the apple crumble I grew up with and while I can’t say if my version was an improvement over the original, it was, however, very, very good.

    And if anyone is wondering what I changed, I zested the lemon and added it to the sliced apples along with the spices and such. I also used all the apple crumble instead of saving and freezing half of it. I put half on the bottom of a 9×13 pan, added all the apples, then put the other half of the crumble on top. It was delicious.

  3. 5 stars
    This is a wonderful recipe, but it’s pretty strange that the directions have you make twice the topping that you need.

    1. I can see why you’d think that, Martin, although as a recipe developer I can understand when you get just the right proportions of ingredients and it’s not easy to halve the amounts by common measurements. You don’t want to compromise the quality of the recipe and so you have the home cook set half aside for another day. There are worse things! Crumble topping actually keeps wonderfully in a resealable plastic bag in the freezer and cuts down on the prep time next time you have a crumble craving.