Easy Apple Crisp in a Cast-Iron Skillet

This Easy Apple Crisp in a Cast-Iron Skillet is a fantastic dessert idea when you have a lot of apples on hand! Personally, I think it's even easier than an Apple Pie and just as delicious.

The sturdy skillet makes it very transportable too, so it's the perfect dessert to bring to a potluck and reheat just before serving! Looking for a summertime crisp? Try my Plum Crumble or my Blackberry Crumble. Both are equally easy and delicious! 

a bowl of apple crisp with ice cream

The Benefits of Baking in Cast Iron

  • Cast-iron skillets provide even while baking and heat retention when serving oven to table
  • They are also great for potlucks because they are so heavy they are easy to transport
  • They develop a patina on them that creates a better pan as it ages!
  • My favorite cast-iron skillet is the Lodge 10" pre-seasoned skillet. (this link goes to Amazon where I am compensated on products sold at no cost to the consumer)

I use it all the time, especially for things like my Sweet Potato Biscuits, Overnight Cinnamon Buns, or my Homemade Pizza.

Tight Shot of Apple Crisp in a small bowl with Ice Cream

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What Apples are Best for Apple Crisp?

Personally, I think Gala apples are best for apple crisp because they are sweet and juicy! I use Galas for my French Apple Tart as well. They also cook up quicker than Granny Smiths, which I think are better reserved for apple pie.

gala apples on a cutting board

Apple Crisp is a Quicker Apple Dessert

  • An apple crisp doesn't take as long to bake as an apple pie. An apple crisp can take around 30 minutes in the oven whereas an apple pie can take almost an hour. So the Granny Smiths can really hold up to that kind of heat because they are so firm and are fine with the extra time.
  • But for an apple crisp, you'll want a softer apple that will become tender quicker, since the crumble on top only takes about 30 minutes and you'll want to make sure the apples below are well cooked and tender. 

Peeling granny smith apples

Granny Smith Apple's Better for Pie

I also prefer the Granny Smith apples for an apple pie because they don't release much juice when they bake. This is ideal for a pie because it prevents a runny soggy pie after it's baked.

Peeling a gala apple

Galas Apples are Better for Apple Crisp

But for an apple crisp, you want a nice syrupy filling and the Galas are sweet and juicy and release their juices and become tender in just 30 minutes. As a result, they are my apple of choice for an apple crisp.

serving apple crisp with a serving sppon

Step #1: Prep The Apples

Be sure to leave the apples a bit chunky, more like wedges. Don't cut them as thin as you would for an apple pie, this will give your crisp a better texture. Then you'll toss the apples together with some cornstarch, white sugar, lemon juice, and pumpkin pie spice.

Slicing apples into wedges on a cutting board

Can I Substitute Cinnamon for Pumpkin Pie Spice?

  • Sure, you could use cinnamon in place of pumpkin pie spice, just use the same quantity.
  • But this time of year, true to my American roots,  I love to reach for the pumpkin pie spice because it provides more depth of flavor than just the cinnamon.
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice is a spice blend that includes cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and ginger so it packs a lot of flavor into that one little teaspoon!
  • If you live outside the States and can't find it, it's actually really easy to make at home and you can try my recipe for Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice for a taste of America.

apple wedges covered with cornstarch and spices

Step #2: Simmer Apples in the Skillet

Next, you'll give your apples a head start in the cast-iron skillet. This is why I love this recipe so much. It's so easy to go from skillet to oven, knowing that your apples are getting a head start to being tender and syrupy!

The syrupy texture is really the hallmark of a great apple crisp if you ask me. Let's face it, apple crisp is really a topping for ice cream cream, so the more syrupy, the better!

Brown sugar and butter in a cast-iron skillet

When to Add the Apples

Once the butter has melted and the brown sugar is added, it will form a paste, that's when it's time to add the apples.

adding apples to a cast iron skillet from a large clear bowl

Preventing a Dry Crisp

Let the apples simmer away on medium-low while you prepare the apple crisp topping. I love recipes like this when you can multi-task! Just keep an eye on your apples to make sure they don't become too dry. If that starts to happen add some water in tablespoon increments until juicy.

apples simmering in skillet and crumble being made

Step #3: Make The Crisp Topping 

For me, it's all about the oats for a crunchy, crisp topping. You'll start by whisking together the dry ingredients, then stir in the melted butter. At this stage, you'll have a paste.

apple crisp ingredients in a small bowl

The Secret Ingredient to a Great Crisp Topping

Then stir in the oats, the pecans, and my secret ingredient...Heath toffee bits! The toffee bits add such a wonderful caramel flavor to the crisp once it's baked.

Easy Apple Crisp in a cast-iron skillet

You can usually find the toffee bits in the baking aisle, next to the chocolate chips. Or I also buy toffee bits in bulk online since I know I use them so often around the holidays. I also use them in my Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe too! 

topping apples in a skillet with crisp topping

Step #4: Add The Topping and Bake

Sprinkle the crisp topping over the simmering apples and place the skillet in the oven at 375F for 30-35 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the juices underneath are bubbling.

How Do You Store the Crisp After Baking?

Once baked allow your crisp to cool completely. Then cover your skillet with foil and refrigerate. As it sits overnight, the juices will thicken and congeal.

pouring water on an apple crisp

How To Reheat The Crisp

  • You can thin the juices out and get them bubbling again with this simple trick.
  • Sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of water all over the top of the crisp.
  • Then cover with foil and place in a 375F oven for 15 minutes.
  • Then remove the foil and continue baking for about 10 minutes more or until you see those juices bubbling up again

apple crisp bubbling in the oven

It should look like this! Crispy and saucy and ready to pour over some vanilla ice cream. The skillet is meant to go from oven to table, but just make sure you put a trivet down or a cutting board to protect your table!

Easy Apple Crisp in a small bol with vanilla ice cream

And let everyone dive in! I like to serve apple crisp in small bowls because it keeps the crisp extra hot and prevents the ice cream from melting too fast. 

More Great Thanksgiving Recipes:

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Apple Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream in a bowl with a gold spoon

Easy Apple Crisp Recipe in a Cast-Iron Skillet

Yield: Serves 6-8
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

This Easy Apple Crisp in a Cast-Iron Skillet is a fantastic Thanksgiving dessert idea! Personally, I think it's way easier than an Apple Pie and just as delicious. It's also easy to make the day before and reheat, see my tips below for how best to do this. The sturdy skillet also makes it really easy to transport as well in case you are heading to a potluck for Thanksgiving. 


  • 7 cups (1050g) Gala Apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
  • 2 tablespoon (30ml) fresh lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup (65g) white sugar
  • 2 tablespoon (15g) cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon (Click here http://bit.ly/2zPINCN to learn how to make Pumpkin Pie Spice at Home)
  • 3 tablespoon (45g) butter
  • ⅓ cup (60g) brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (60ml) water

Crisp Topping:

  • ¾ cup (90g) flour
  • 2 tablespoon (23g) brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon (25g) white sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon (3.75ml) baking powder
  • large pinch salt
  • ¼ teaspoon (1.25ml) cinnamon
  • 8 tablespoon (120ml) melted butter
  • ¾ cup (65g) old fashioned oats
  • ½ cup (75g) pecans, chopped
  • ½ cup (75g) Heath toffee bits


  1. Preheat oven to 375F (190C).
  2. In a large bowl toss the apples with lemon juice, white sugar, cornstarch, and pumpkin pie spice. Toss with hands until everything is well coated and combined. Set aside.
  3. In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, melt 3 tablespoon (45g) of butter, add brown sugar and whisk to combine. Transfer apple mixture to the skillet and allow apples to simmer on medium-low while you prepare the crisp topping.
  4. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the flour, brown sugar, white sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Then add the melted butter. Stir to combine, then add the oats, pecans, and toffee bits. Set aside.
  5. At this stage check the apples, stirring occasionally, the liquid in the bottom should start the thicken as it heats and the cornstarch is activated. At this point pour ¼ cup of water over the apples. This will create more of a sauce for the apples to cook in while the crisp bakes, resulting in a nice syrupy mixture once it’s done.
  6. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the crisp topping, sprinkling it evenly over the top.
  7. Then place the skillet in the oven and bake for 30-35mins. The crisp will be golden brown and the juices will be bubbling underneath. Serve right away or, allow to cool completely, cover with foil and refrigerate.
  8. Then 25 minutes before serving, remove the foil and add drizzle 3 tablespoons of water all over the top of the crisp (this will loosen the syrup that has congealed due to the refrigeration) cover with the foil and bake at 375F for 15 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes uncovered until topping is crisp and the juices underneath are bubbling.
  9. Serve in small bowls with vanilla ice cream.


This recipe works well with any fruit! Try stone fruit in the summer like peaches, nectarines, or plums. Or apricots in the spring, or pears and cranberries in the winter.

How To Reheat The Crisp

  • Make the day ahead and refrigerate overnight. The juices will congeal.
  • You can thin the juices out and get them bubbling again with this simple trick.
  • Sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of water all over the top of the crisp.
  • Then cover with foil and place in a 375F oven for 15 minutes.
  • Then remove the foil and continue baking for about 10 minutes more or until you see those juices bubbling up again

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 270Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 161mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 5gSugar: 22gProtein: 2g

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    1. Yes of course I do that too :). Here's how you would reheat it (also in the NOTES SECTION of the recipe card)
      Make the day ahead and refrigerate overnight. The juices will congeal.
      You can thin the juices out and get them bubbling again with this simple trick.
      Sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of water all over the top of the crisp.
      Then cover with foil and place in a 375F oven for 15 minutes.
      Then remove the foil and continue baking for about 10 minutes more or until you see those juices bubbling up again

      1. Beth, thank you so much for answering me. I wasn't clear with my question: can I put it together on Wednesday and take out of fridge on T-day to get to room temperature and bake it on Thanksgiving?

        1. Ah OK gotcha. I would actually bake it first and reheat on TDAY. That's what I do 🙂 Otherwise, the apples will start to release their juices overnight and could get a bit mushy which could also prevent the crumble from crisping up. Better to just bake right away and then cool down and refrigerate and then reheat. I show you how to do this in the video in the blog post 🙂 It will turn out better this way. Hope you enjoy!

    1. hmmm I'm not sure it would freeze well. I think the soonest you could make it/then bake it to reheat later would be 2 days ahead. The flavor and texture will be the best that way! 🙂

  1. Made this with some old gala apples I needed to use and it was amazing! Totally fool proof recipe. Even if you are a little off on measurements, not enough apples ( me) or worried your apples were too old and bruised to work, this recipe still comes out beautifully! Super easy, I’d highly recommend you make this!

    1. I would add 1-2 tablespoons more of water to the apples to create a bit more sauce. But other than that it .5 inches would make that much difference 🙂 My skillet is 10.5 inches hope you enjoy it!

    1. Oh sure you could just use another type of nut, such as wlanuts. So 2 pecan and walnuts would make the crisp topping yummy and interesting. It will still be great! 🙂 Hope you enjoy!