Cranberry Apple Crisp
This sweet-tart Cranberry Apple Crisp recipe features fresh apples and cranberries, plus a crispy, buttery oats topping (that actually stays crisp!). This dessert is perfect for fall and the holidays. Serve it warm on its own, or top with scoops of vanilla ice cream!
Easy Cranberry Apple Crisp Recipe
This Cranberry Apple Crisp recipe is a gorgeous, simple dessert that makes the most of fresh seasonal fruit. The juicy, warmly spiced filling is packed with tender baked apples and pops of tart cranberries, and topped with a brown sugar oat streusel that’s irresistibly crispy and buttery. It tastes absolutely divine with scoops of vanilla ice cream for dessert – and leftover crisp makes a delicious breakfast!
Why You’ll Love This Apple Cranberry Crisp
I love how this easy recipe combines my favorite apple crisp recipe with fresh, festive cranberries. This recipe is PERFECT for the holidays, and all winter long. Here’s why you’ll love it, too!
- Makes good use of seasonal produce. Fresh cranberries are available for such a short season, from fall through the holidays. So I like to use them whenever I can! I especially like this recipe where the cranberries and apples, another seasonal fall/winter fruit, are joined together.
- An easy yet elegant dessert. It’s easy to dress up or dress down a fruit crisp, and they’re simple to put together. Serve it warmed – with casual scoops of vanilla ice cream, or with dollops of fluffy whipped cream for a decadent finishing touch.
- Full of classic flavors. Apple crisp is a comforting, classic dessert. When you add another simple fall and holiday ingredient, in the form of cranberries, it feels special and new, yet still beautifully familiar.
- So festive. The bright pops of cranberries turn this apple crisp recipe into a festive treat. Serve it for Thanksgiving dessert, or any time during the holiday season!
What You’ll Need
Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll need for this recipe.
Scroll down to the printable recipe card at the end of this post for the exact ingredient amounts.
For the Filling
- Fresh cranberries – I’m using whole fresh cranberries but if you can’t find fresh berries, frozen cranberries will work too – no need to defrost them!
- Apples – Honeycrisp apples are a great baking apple if you can get them – they’re slightly sweet, a little tart, and have great texture.
- Granulated sugar – This sweetens the filling.
- Flour – This thickens the filling just a bit.
- Lemon juice – This brightens up the apples and cranberries, and keeps the apples from browning. Use freshly squeezed lemon juice for the best flavor.
- Spices – Cinnamon and nutmeg add a warm, spiced flavor to the crisp.
For the Topping
- Flour – This adds substance, to create a crumbly crisp.
- Rolled oats – Rolled oats (or old-fashioned oats) add great texture and subtle earthiness to the topping.
- Brown sugar – This adds warm sweet flavor to the crispy topping.
- Salt – A touch of salt contrasts beautifully with the brown sugar and butter.
- Baking powder – This helps the crisp puff up slightly, so it has more of a toothsome bite.
- Butter – Butter adds rich flavor and helps the topping become golden brown.
Fresh vs Frozen Cranberries
Fresh or frozen cranberries will both work in this recipe. However, frozen cranberries tend to release more liquid than fresh cranberries. So I would recommend using 2 tablespoons of cornstarch instead of the flour in the filling, as this will help thicken the sauce more.
How to Make Cranberry Apple Crisp
The method for this juicy crisp is simple, with a wonderful result. Here’s how to make this apple cranberry crisp recipe:
- Prep. Preheat the oven to 350° F and lightly spray a 9” pie pan or similar-sized baking dish with nonstick baking spray.
- Make the filling: In a large bowl, mix together all of the fruit filling ingredients until well combined.
- Make the topping. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder. Then work in the softened butter, using a fork or your hands, until the mixture is a coarse crumb.
- Layer into the baking dish. Add the fruit filling to the prepared baking dish, in an even layer. Then add the topping.
- Bake. Place the crisp in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the topping is browned and the filling is bubbly.
- Serve. I always aim to serve the crisp while it’s still a bit warm from the oven – with vanilla ice cream (I love when it gets melty from the warm crisp!), whipped cream, or a dusting of powdered sugar.
Tips for Success + Variations
Crisps are one of my favorite desserts to make because they’re so easy to throw together. And when you have a good recipe in hand, they’re impossible to mess up! Here are a few tips that will help you make this holiday apple cranberry crisp:
- Use a firm apple. Use firmer apple varieties that hold their shape when baked, like Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, or Haralson.
- Make thick apple slices. If you especially like toothsome bites of apple in your crisp, cut the apples into thicker slices, about 1/2″ thick. If you slice the apples super thin, you’ll end up with an “apple mush” under your topping once it’s baked.
- Cut in the butter evenly – and leave some bigger chunks! Make sure that the butter is evenly distributed throughout the topping, with no dry patches of flour. This will result in perfectly buttery, crumbly topping in each bite. I also make sure to leave some larger chunks – I adore those noticeable bites of buttery, crispy topping!
- Don’t bake the crisp too long. You’ll know the crisp is done when the filling is bubbling and the topping is lightly browned. Set a timer to check the crisp after 30 minutes, and then every 5 minutes. If the topping is browning quicker than you like, lay a piece of foil loosely over the top of the crisp to hold back further browning.
- Let it rest. I like to let the crisp rest for at least 10 minutes before I serve it. This helps the filling to set up a bit before serving. I definitely recommend serving this apple crisp with cranberries warm, or at least at room temperature.
- Add nuts to the topping. For a bit more crunch and another layer of flavor, mix in some chopped, toasted pecans or walnuts to the oat topping in Step 3.
- Make the filling thicker. If you are using especially juicy apples, or just like a thicker filling, consider adding a bit of cornstarch to the filling mixture in Step 2. I’d suggest about 1/2 teaspoon.
- Enjoy while still warm – Serve warm and freshly baked for optimum flavor and texture. Ice cream is always a wonderful bonus too!
How to Serve Apple Cranberry Crisp
Apple cranberry crisp is so good with its blend of sweet-tart flavors that you can absolutely serve it all on its own. However, I personally love to add an element of creaminess. Here are my favorite serving options:
- With ice cream. Serve apple cranberry crisp a la mode with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. Cinnamon ice cream is also delicious. Or try scoops of pumpkin ice cream!
- Add whipped cream. A big dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream is another great idea when it comes to serving apple crisp. You can use homemade whipped cream (always my preference!) or choose store-bought whipped cream to keep things simple.
- Make it a parfait. Layer the cranberry apple crisp and vanilla yogurt into parfait glasses. Call it dessert or call it breakfast, it’s all good by me!
- Say cheese. Cheese lovers like to top individual portions of apple pie and apple crisp with a slice of melty cheddar. One of my high school teachers used to say, “Apple pie without the cheese is like a kiss without the squeeze” – ha!
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
To better preserve the crispness of the topping, I recommend storing the crisp uncovered on the counter for up to 1 day. After that, store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To reheat the pan of crisp, when serving this to company, I like to turn the oven on low, about 250° F, and heat the crisp back up again. If the topping has softened too much, I’ll also place the pan under the broiler just a bit to crisp it up.
To reheat leftovers in individual portions, place desired amount of crisp in a bowl and heat it in the microwave for 30-60 seconds. Or, you can place the crisp in an oven-safe dish and reheat it in the oven on low heat until warm.
Can I Freeze This?
In complete honesty, I do not recommend freezing already-baked or not-yet-baked apple crisp. I absolutely want a crispy topping with apple crisp, and with the juiciness of the filling and the crumbly buttery topping, I just don’t like the results I get with freezing. If you are set on freezing, here’s what I’d suggest:
- Prepare the filling and topping separately + freeze separately. If you have fresh apples and cranberries at the ready, and want to prep this for an easy dessert in the future, this is what I’d do. Follow the instructions to prepare the filling, then place it in a freezer-safe container. Then prepare the topping and place it in a freezer-safe container. Freeze both containers for up to 3 months. To bake, let both containers thaw in the fridge overnight. Then assemble the crisp and bake per the recipe card.
For the Filling
- 2 cups whole fresh cranberries
- 4 cups diced Honeycrisp apples (about 2 large apples)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the Topping
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup rolled oats (not quick oats)
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon Morton kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened (but not melty)
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 350° F and lightly spray a 9” pie pan (or 8"x8" pan, or similar-sized baking dish) with nonstick baking spray.
- For the filling: In a large bowl, mix together all of the filling ingredients until well combined. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
- For the topping: In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder until combined.
- Add the softened butter and use a fork or your hands to work in the butter until the mixture is a coarse crumb.
- Bake: Sprinkle the topping over the filling and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the topping is browned and the filling is bubbly.
Fresh vs. frozen cranberries: Frozen cranberries tend to release more liquid than fresh cranberries – either one will work in this recipe. However, if you plan to use frozen cranberries I recommend using cornstarch instead of flour – it will help thicken the sauce so you don’t end up with a watery crisp. No need to defrost the cranberries.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 270Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 153mgCarbohydrates: 64gFiber: 4gSugar: 43gProtein: 3g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.