This Apple Crisp Makes the Entire House Smell Dreamy

Apple crisp

There’s nothing quite like the scent of a freshly baked dessert filling up the whole house, don’t you think? For our month of easy desserts, we’re happy to share this apple crisp from Claire Tansey’s Uncomplicated. It’s made with FOUR ingredients (no pesky pie crusts here!). Here’s how to make it…

Four-Ingredient Apple Crisp
From Claire Tansey’s Uncomplicated

This is the easiest dessert I know. Happily, it’s also one of the best and well loved — and does it ever make the house smell good! The original recipe came from my grandma Ethel, whom I never really knew but whose handwriting is so familiar from recipe cards in my mom’s collection. Use any type of apple, such as Gala, Granny Smith or Honeycrisp, or a mix of what’s in the fridge.

Recipe: Four-Ingredient Apple Crisp
Makes one 9-inch round or 8-inch square crisp

You’ll need:

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/2 cup butter, cold and cubed
6 medium apples

Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease a 9-inch pie plate or 8-inch square baking dish with butter or non-stick cooking spray. To make the topping, stir the brown sugar with the flour and cinnamon (if using) in a large bowl. Add the butter and use your fingers to squish the butter into the flour mixture. You should end up with some pea-sized lumps of butter, as well as some lima-bean-sized lumps. Peel and slice the apples. Put the slices into a large bowl and add about 1/3 cup of the topping mixture. Stir well, then scrape the slices into the prepared baking dish, spreading them fairly evenly. Top with the rest of the topping and smooth it into an even layer. Place the dish on a baking sheet, then bake 35 to 45 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbly at the edges. Serve warm with ice cream, if desired.

Tip: To make the topping in the food processor, whirl the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon first, then pulse in the butter.

Thank you so much, Claire! We love your new, fuss-free cookbook.

P.S. More recipes, including six-ingredient pudding and apple crumb cake.

(Excerpted from Uncomplicated by Claire Tansey. Copyright © 2018 by Claire Tansey. Published by Penguin Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Reproduced by arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved. Thanks to Franny Eremin for helping with this series.)

  1. Zoe says...

    I booked marked this post when it came out and just opened it again today to make sure I have everything. I’m making it for Xmas as a second dessert since it’s so easy! Can not wait. All the comments make me want to make it NOW!

  2. Audra says...

    I don’t mean to sound daft…but there’s no crust right? I read it twice to be sure! Butter. Apples. Crumb topping. Bake. Yeah?

    • Joanna Goddard says...


  3. This looks super delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  4. Stef says...

    THIS WAS SO GOOD AND EASY!!!!!!!!!!!!! Definitely serve with vanilla ice cream.

  5. This one knocked our socks off! Well, all but one of us anyway. The 6 yr old begged to help make it and so very impatient as it cooked and only ate the ice cream when all was said and done. Everyone else can’t wait to have it again. And I subbed a simple gluten free flour for the wheat and there were no problems! Thank you!!

  6. KATHY L says...

    Delicious and totally worth nearly slicing the tip of my finger off (maybe that’s an exaggeration)!

  7. I love the simplicity of this recipe! I’m looking forward to trying it – after I recover from the Thanksgiving splurge.

  8. Katie says...

    I just made it with Miyokos vegan butter and it was perfect!

  9. Steph Gilman says...

    Made this tonight on a whim and oh my gosh it was amazing. And everyone loved it including my husband who rarely “m’mms” out loud over desserts! :) i did add a bit of extra flour and brown sugar to the topping mixture since it was more doughy than anticipated. I baked it with a few pecans on top and served it with vanilla ice cream and it’s by far the best apple crisp I’ve ever made. Thanks for posting this!!

  10. Yay, a Canadian cook and author on Cup of Jo! Plus, this recipe really is uncomplicated.😍

  11. OMG this looks absolutely amazing! Got to add this to my reading list. I can create this and spring it on my partner as he’s loves desserts like these.

  12. Amanda says...

    This recipe looks great! Perfect for when you want something sweet but don’t want to full-on bake something. I just bought her book :)

  13. asia says...

    Apple crisp is a family favorite. We like to add GF oats to the topping!

  14. Annie says...

    Any idea if this would work with vegan butter? I have a toddler with a dairy intolerance.
    Happy thanksgiving!

    • Erin says...

      I think it should work. Another option would be Spectrum Organics shortening, which is un-hydrogenated. I use it in place of butter in recipes, since I’m also dairy intolerant.

    • c says...

      We are vegan and only use vegan butter and it works exactly the same :) We use Myokos and have used Earth Balance in the past.

    • bippy says...

      well you can use margarine which is basically what vegan butter is, so I’d think it would work.

  15. Kim says...

    Okay, but there are five ingredients?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      cinnamon is optional! so 4-5, i guess :)

    • Kim says...

      Is it really, though? 😉

  16. Olivia says...

    Yes. Absolutely making this.