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Skillet Apple Crisp (Cook's Illustrated)


Why this recipe works:Golden Delicious apples won our baking tests because of their ability to maintain their texture and shape. Moving our apple crisp recipe to the stovetop allowed us to stir the apples periodically so they would cook evenly. Plus, the stovetop’s heat drove away extra moisture and allowed the fruit and butter to caramelize and lend a sweet richness to the filling. Sugar, lemon juice, and apple cider gave our skillet apple crisp recipe depth and full-fledged apple flavor. For a topping that did our filling justice, we combined white and brown sugars, added cinnamon, salt, and chopped pecans, and replaced some of the flour with chewy rolled oats. After a few minutes in the oven, the “crisp” was just that.

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  • Topping:
  • 3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup pecans , chopped fine
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (see note)
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter , melted
  • Filling :
  • 3 pounds Golden Delicious apples (about 7 medium), peeled, cored, halved, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
  • 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


Adapted from


Step 1

If your skillet is not oven safe, prepare the recipe through step 3 and then transfer the filling to a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Top the filling as directed and bake for an additional 5 minutes. We like Golden Delicious apples for this recipe, but any sweet, crisp apple such as Honeycrisp or Braeburn can be substituted. Do not use Granny Smith apples in this recipe. While rolled oats are preferable in the topping, quick-cooking oats can be substituted. Serve the apple crisp warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

FOR THE TOPPING: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine flour, pecans, oats, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl. Stir in butter until mixture is thoroughly moistened and crumbly. Set aside while preparing fruit filling.

FOR THE FILLING: Toss apples, granulated sugar, and cinnamon (if using) together in large bowl; set aside. Bring cider to simmer in 12-inch ovensafe skillet over medium heat; cook until reduced to ½ cup, about 5 minutes. Transfer reduced cider to bowl or liquid measuring cup; stir in lemon juice and set aside.

Heat butter in now-empty skillet over medium heat. When foaming subsides, add apple mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until apples begin to soften and become translucent, 12 to 14 minutes. (Do not fully cook apples.) Remove pan from heat and gently stir in cider mixture until apples are coated.

Sprinkle topping evenly over fruit, breaking up any large chunks. Place skillet on baking sheet and bake until fruit is tender and topping is deep golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack until warm, at least 15 minutes, and serve.

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