You’ve likely baked tons of apple crisps and apple crumbles. So many options, so little time. Switch up the apples. Add nuts to the topping. Tinker with the spices. Each has its merits, and we’ve all got our favorites.

But this little beauty goes a step further. It adds cranberries to the apples, and as the crisp bakes, the fruits burble and bubble under a snazzy oatmeal-cookie topping. That’s what makes it my new cool-weather obsession.

It’s a superb blend of sweet and tart, thanks to the mellow baked apples balanced by the bright pop of pucker-y cranberries. The crunchy topping is laced with cinnamon and ginger, making it an ideal autumn treat or a Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert.

david caricature

Why Our Testers Loved This

This not-too-sweet apple cranberry dessert was a huuuuge hit with our testers, particularly because it’s so easy to make. Susan Bingaman describes it as “perfection” and loves that “the topping tastes like the perfect oatmeal cookie and the cranberries temper the sweetness of the apples.”

What You’ll Need to Make This

Ingredients for apple cranberry crisp--oats, flour, brown sugar, cranberries, lemon, butter, sugar, cornstarch, and apples.
  • Apples–You can use any good baking apple for this cranberry apple crisp recipe, such as Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Gala, Braeburn, or Fuji.
  • Cranberries–Fresh or frozen cranberries work in this dish. If using frozen, there’s no need to thaw them before adding them to the fruit layer. As tempting as they are, dried cranberries don’t work well here.
  • Nuts, optional (not pictured)–If you’d like to add nuts to the crisp topping, use finely chopped walnuts or pecans, chopped a bit larger than the rolled oats.

How to Make This Recipe

Lemon zest and sugar in a bowl and a person mixing a bowl of cranberries and apples with lemon sugar.
  1. Combine the sugar and lemon zest, rubbing the zest into the sugar with your fingertips.
  2. Stir the apples, cranberries, and lemon sugar in a large bowl.
A person whisking flour, spices, and brown sugar together, then the same person working butter into the mixture.
  1. Whisk the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and nuts, if using, in a separate bowl.
  2. Work the butter into the topping mixture using a pastry blender or your fingertips.
Apples and cranberries in an oval baking dish, and the same dish topped with crumble topping.
  1. Spoon the fruit filling into a baking dish.
  2. Spread the crisp mixture evenly over the top. Bake until golden. Cool slightly before serving.
A whole apple cranberry crisp with a serving spoon resting inside.

Common Questions

can you freeze fruit crisps?

Sure. A fully-baked fruit crisp can be frozen and kept for up to 3 months. But I have a better idea for you:

Make an extra batch or two of this easy crisp topping and freeze it for up to several months. Whenever you have a glut of lush fruits just screaming to be baked, toss them in a dish, add some sugar, top with some of the crisp mix, and turn it all into a quick dessert.

In the summertime, swap in plums and blueberries or peaches and blackberries for the apples and cranberries. In the fall, think pears and quince. The combo are endless!

How should I serve this apple cranberry dessert?

This easy festive crisp can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature. Serve it topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a dollop of sweet ricotta cream, or a drizzle of heavy cream.

Why is my apple crisp soggy on top?

The culprit in soggy crisps is usually the butter. Use cold butter when mixing up the crisp topping, and get it into the oven right away, or refrigerate it until you are ready to bake. Don’t use more butter than the recipe calls for, as also this will lead to a not-so-crisp topping.

What’s the difference between crisps and crumbles?

Crisps usually contain oats and nuts in the streusel topping, while crumbles do not. These words are often used confusingly and interchangeably to describe desserts that have a fruit base with a sweet topping.

Helpful Tips

  • To make individual apple cranberry crisps, divvy the filling and topping between six 8-ounce ramekins and reduce the baking time to about 40 minutes.
  • Store the crisp, covered, at room temperature for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before reheating. Reheat in a 300°F oven until warmed through.
A plate with a serving of apple cranberry crisp, a scoop of vanilla ice cram, and a fork on the side.

More Superb Crisp Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

This is one of the “best apple crisps you’ve ever made,” according to my husband. I have to agree.

I used Honeycrisp apples and frozen cranberries, and they worked just fine. The cranberries contributed a lovely blush color and flavor to the crisp. I don’t think I’ll ever make a plain ole’ apple crisp again!

A plate with a serving of apple cranberry crisp, a scoop of vanilla ice cram, and a fork on the side.

Apple Cranberry Crisp

4.79 / 14 votes
Apple cranberry crisp is a warm, comforting, and cozy autumn dessert. Perfect for dinner guests and leftovers make a terrific breakfast the next morning.
David Leite
Servings8 servings
Calories397 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time1 hour 25 minutes


For the topping

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)

For the filling

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 pounds baking apples, such as Honeycrisp or Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries


Make the topping

  • Crank up the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Mix the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and salt together in a large bowl.
  • Add the butter and use a pastry blender or your fingers to mix the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the nuts, if using.

Make the filling

  • Dump the sugar into a large bowl. Add the lemon zest and use your fingertips to rub the lemon zest into the sugar until fragrant. Whisk in the cornstarch.
  • Add the apples and cranberries to the sugar and stir to coat well. Scrap the fruit into a 2 1/2-quart baking dish. Scatter the topping evenly over the fruit, making sure that all of the apples and cranberries are covered.
  • Bake until the apples are tender when poked and the topping is golden brown, 50 to 60 minutes. Let the crisp cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.


  1. Make individual crisps–To make individual apple cranberry crisps, divvy the filling and topping between six 8-ounce ramekins and reduce the baking time to about 40 minutes.
  2. Storage and reheating–Store the crisp, covered, at room temperature for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before reheating. Reheat in a 300°F oven until warmed through.


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 397 kcalCarbohydrates: 64 gProtein: 4 gFat: 16 gSaturated Fat: 8 gMonounsaturated Fat: 4 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 30 mgSodium: 81 mgFiber: 6 gSugar: 40 g

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

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2021 David Leite. Photos © 2023 Angie Zoobkoff. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

It’s not often that I make a recipe and don’t feel the need to make any changes. This recipe for apple cranberry crisp is perfection. The topping tastes like the perfect oatmeal cookie, and the cranberries temper the sweetness of the apples.

Speaking of apples, I thickly sliced a few Granny Smiths because they keep their shape nicely. I’ll throw in a few Honeycrisp apples when they’re around, but that’s the only thing I’d change.

I’m not a big fan of crisps, but I loved this apple crisp with cranberries. Maybe it’s just the right combination of sweet and tart.

I used Braeburn apples and frozen cranberries and weighed out all my ingredients. The topping was easy to mix with my hands, and everything came together in very little time. After 50 minutes of baking, my knife slid into the apples with no resistance.

As I scooped up the crisp to serve, I saw a very pretty red swirl from the cranberries mixed in with the clear juice from the apple. This would be even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I can’t wait to try this with other fruit combinations.

This apple cranberry crisp recipe is super easy—the hardest part is preparing the apples. I have an abundance of apples from my trees this year and used Harcourts. (They’re quite firm and bake up nicely.)

Honestly, I didn’t bother peeling the apples; I just cored them and cut them in eighths. The topping is very easy to mix up; I used my hands.

The finished crisp isn’t too sweet and has just the right amount of cinnamon for my taste. I really liked the addition of the cranberries—it adds a touch of tartness that is really good. This was fantastic for a warm dessert topped with frozen yogurt and was equally good the next morning for breakfast, topped with plain Greek yogurt.

Serves 10? Sure, it could! Ours served just 5, but there’s no reason to believe everyone would need the scale of serving and seconds we ate, though it’s a testament to the results of this recipe.

I pondered whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for a topping and went with whipped cream, though one of my tasters, without knowing this, wished aloud for the ice cream.

Because the crisp isn’t too sweet and the cranberries add an ongoing pop of tartness, the rich dairy is a lovely addition, though the crisp can stand on its own.

I used Granny Smiths and frozen cranberries. We discussed peaches and plums as other tantalizing possibilities.

I make a crisp or crumble at home with apples on almost a weekly basis. It’s sort of a “go-to” dessert. This version makes a nice variation with the addition of walnuts to the “crumb” mixture and the spark of tart cranberries in the filling.

I used a variety of apples that I had on hand, mostly Gala along with a couple of Granny Smiths. That gave the filling a varied texture between the soft and the still semi-crisp apples. Simple and delicious served with homemade rum ice cream.

A basic crisp recipe that’s so easy to make. You could put it together in no time, stuff it in the oven while having dinner, and sipping Prosecco, and voila! You have a dessert to die for.

I used three Granny Smith, three Royal Gala apples, and frozen cranberries. The tartness of the cranberries and apples are perfectly offset by the delicious and sweet topping, made especially crunchy with the addition of walnuts.

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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    1. Anne, the consensus here is no. Rolled oats are steamed and rolled for faster cooking. Steel-cut oats might make for a tougher, grainy, bite.

  1. 5 stars
    Thank you for the recipes you provide but also for the “Jump to the recipe” button. I really really really appreciate that button. More sites need to offer the option.