gravenstein apple crisp

My Husband’s Special Wedding Day Apple Crisp Recipe

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My husband and I got married August 10th, 2019.

Since my husband went through a culinary program and I used to manage a farmers market, I knew we would cater our wedding on a budget and have delicious food. We brined, smoked, and slow-cooked pork as a main dish and prepared a hearty salad station featuring fresh, local greens. We also asked our generous family members to contribute some of our favorite dishes: potato salad, macaroni salad, watermelon, etc. Honestly, the menu was short, but the food was delicious! Yes, it was basically a giant barbecue, but every bite was just right. When I remember that day, I still think about how perfect the food was!

When we started thinking about the wedding dessert, obviously, we thought about cake. I love cake, but I’m not sure if I could decorate a really nice wedding cake and I didn’t want to spend hundreds to hire it out. Something about cake didn’t sound right. We wanted something we could make in a large quantity that would make people feel warm and at home. Naturally, we started thinking about crisps.

Which reminds me of another story…

Years ago when my husband and I first started dating, my extended family flew in from Wisconsin for my dad’s retirement from the Navy. He served 33 years. THIRTY THREE YEARS. That was definitely a reason to bring everyone out!

My mom mentioned needing a dessert for a quick dinner one night before the retirement ceremony, and I asked my now husband what we could make quickly. I told him about the, oh, 20 lb box of peaches I had at home from the market, and he said we should make peach crisp.

He made the crisp, and I thought it was pretty good. However, it hit some old flavor memory for my uncle and he started getting really excited about crisp. He actually asked my husband if he could pay him to bake him an apple crisp!

apple crisp

We proposed a visit to a local farm town known for heirloom apples and purchased a couple varieties the farm stand owner recommended for baking.

My husband baked the apple crisp that night and served it warm with ice cream. We all know that apple crisp is good, but this one was heavenly. The apples had just enough bite and tang and that buttery, cinnamony oat crumble on top crunched on top of the ice cream. It was just perfect for an early fall night.

Naturally, when we thought about baking crisp for the wedding, it totally fit with our story! We knew it would be a sweet way to tie these memories together while serving a crowd.

We decided to serve two types: apple crisp and marionberry crisp! Both were delicious, but the apple crisp is the one I remember the most.

Wait, no cake at your wedding?

Actually, we DID end up having cake, too! We asked a mutual friend of ours who used to work as a pastry chef to bake us the darkest, richest, chocolate-ist mini cake she could. It was glorious, especially served on my milk glass serving tray! (You can see the milk glass love is real.)

We didn’t share this with anyone and I totally dropped chocolate cake ON my husband’s white shirt. It was perfect. But we still had crisp, too. 🙂

A Note on Apple Varieties

Honestly, I’m a big believer in baking with what you can. There is so much variation in apples and how they stand up to cooking, but ultimately, I don’t let that hold me back. I recommend baking this recipe with whatever apples you have, but if I offer one tip? If you’re using a sweeter apple, like a Fuji, try to incorporate something a little more tart too, like Pink Lady or Granny Smith. Mixing types of apples often leads to the best pies, crumbles, and crisps!

For this recipe, I knew exactly what type of apple I wanted to use: Gravenstein. It’s one of the earliest apples to ripen and is beloved by the canning crowd for its flavor, especially when cooked. It’s definitely a favorite for making homemade apple sauce. Since our wedding was in August, a little early in the apple season, I knew Gravensteins would be a perfect way to incorporate fresh apples! I just asked my local apple guy for 2 cases and picked them up the week before the wedding.

I just saw my local fruit stand post that the first of the season Gravensteins were in, which made me realize we needed to make this apple crisp again for our anniversary. It’s definitely going to be a tradition we keep each year.

Although we ended up making enough crisp to serve about 100 people…we downsized the recipe for just one 9 x 13 baking dish. You’re welcome.

I love that this recipe relies mostly on items I already keep in my pantry! I just needed some apples and I was ready to start baking.

Quick note on baking and apple size:

We baked this crisp for about 45 minutes with 1-inch apple pieces. Since Gravenstein apples in particular cook down so well, we recommend cutting them a little thicker (1.5 – 2 inch pieces) OR dropping the baking time to 40 minutes instead of 45. Of course, everyone’s oven is different. If the apples are bubbling away and the crisp is golden, you’re probably good around the 35-45 minute timeline!

Also, apple crisp is WAY BETTER THE NEXT DAY. We ate this while it was still warm from the oven and I told my husband it wasn’t as good as the wedding! The apples tasted too tart and mushy. I was disappointed and I told my husband it was a dud. We had to make it again. I think I hurt his feelings a little bit, but he agreed we could try it again.

The next day, we had some warmed up slightly from the fridge, and served it with homemade whipped cream.

OH, MY. I told my husband, “Nevermind! I take it all back. This is just as good as the wedding crisp.” I’m not telling you not to eat your crisp right away, but just know that the flavors really balance out after a few hours! It might save your marriage…or maybe just mine.

apple crisp recipe
Love that beautiful tea towel? It’s from Kei and Molly!

Wedding Day Apple Crisp with Oats

This is a pretty classic recipe that works best with fresh apples. It’s a homey, cozy combination of cinnamon, brown sugar, oats, butter, and apples. It’ll make you want to sit on the porch step and watch for fireflies (or lightning bugs). If only we had those here in Washington!

This is an excellent recipe to make from your pantry! The only extras I bought were the apples. Everything else was on hand.

The main tools you’ll need are a good peeler and your favorite chef knife!

easy apple crisp recipe
gravenstein apple crisp

My Husband’s Special Wedding Day Apple Crisp

My husband's been making versions of this crisp for years and with different fruit, but it was sealed in fame as our wedding day dessert! It's a classic recipe that will make you feel at home right away.
5 from 12 votes
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8


  • 9 x 13 baking dish
  • Mixing bowl


Apple Base

  • 3 pounds apples, ideally Gravenstein 9-10 apples; peel and chop in 1.5-2 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tbs flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Crisp Topping

  • 1 1/2 cup oats We used quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 sticks butter chilled; diced into 1-cm cubes
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 pinch salt


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Peel and dice apples in 1-inch chunks. Place into 9 x 13 baking dish.
  • Sprinkle the apples with remaining apple base ingredients (flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt). Mix toppings into the apple mix with hands. Let the mixture set while you prepare the crisp topping.
  • In a separate bowl, prepare the crisp topping by mixing in all of the dry ingredients.
  • Add the diced butter cubes into the dry crisp mixture. Using your fingertips or a pastry cutter, press the butter into the dry mixture until it starts to seem sandy. My husband recommends keeping the chunks pretty large in general for a really chunky crisp topping.
  • Place the crisp into a preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes. Your crisp should look golden and you should be able to see that the apples cooked down and created their own sauce.
  • Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.


Feel free to exclude the ginger or increase it to 1/2 or 1 tsp. This would be great with roughly chopped pecans, too!
Apple crisp tastes best the next day after all the flavors mesh together! Definitely serve reheated with ice cream or homemade whipped cream!
Keyword apple, apple crisp, farmhouse

Linking to:

Weekend Potluck at The Country Cook
Friday at the Fire Stations at A Fireman’s Wife
Silver Pennies Sundays at Finding Silver Pennies
Hearth and Soul Linky Party at April J Harris
All About Home at Follow the Yellow Brick Home
Pin Junkie Link Party at The Pin Junkie
Create, Bake, Grow, Gather at The Shabby Art Boutique
Over the Moon at Marilyn’s Treats
Centerpiece Wednesday at Karin’s Kottage

We love to share with other bloggers! This post was shared at one of these great linky parties!


Rachael is a schoolteacher who loves to grow her own produce in her backyard garden, cook from scratch, and update vintage furniture for her farmhouse look. She lives in Western Washington with her husband and her cat.

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26 days ago

5 stars
Apple crisp is our favourite! We love this comforting dessert. Wishing you a very happy upcoming anniversary!

Emily Flint
26 days ago

5 stars
Apple crisps make me think of camping at the end of summer. This recipe is easy and delicious!

26 days ago

5 stars
Apple Crisp is one of my favorites and I completely agree with you, it works best when you mix up your types of apples. I always use at least 2 different varieties 🙂

25 days ago

5 stars
Looks absolutely delicious and love that this is your wedding day dessert. What lovely memories everytime you eat it!

Chef Dennis
25 days ago

5 stars
Your husband’s Wedding Day Apple Crisp is making me drool!

Julie Murphree
25 days ago

Rachal – this looks delicious, and I just added it to my meal plan for this week! Also – Happy Anniversary a few days early. August 10 is also my birthday!

25 days ago

5 stars
Fantastic recipe for apple crisp, your wedding day sounds magical. Congratulations

25 days ago

5 stars
What a beautiful story! Your apple crisp looks amazing!

Mama Maggie's Kitchen
Mama Maggie's Kitchen
24 days ago

5 stars
This looks insanely, incredibly good. Yummmmmmy!

24 days ago

Recipe sounds delicious. Is it ok to use the quick cooking oats?


[…] crisps, tarts, and crumbles (just be sure to THAW your berries before baking or your dish will be too […]

22 days ago

I am right there with you. I had a pig roast for my college graduation party, and it was sublime. Sounds like a wonderful wedding reception!

I’m definitely going to give this a try! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

21 days ago

Rachel, the Apple base lists 1.5 cup flour where down in the instruction it says 1 1/2 TB flour. I’m presuming you mean TBSP not cups. Thank you! I will enjoy making this. Hoping I can find Gravenstein apples. All the best.

Linda Ann McCallister
Linda Ann McCallister
21 days ago

The recipe states 1.5 cups of flour in the ingredients for the apple mixture, but to add 1 1/2 Tbsp to the apples in the directions. What do you do with the rest of the flour? Is it suppose to be added to the topping mixture? It doesn’t mention adding any flour to that just sugars, oats, butter…

April J Harris
20 days ago

5 stars
What a gorgeous apple crisp, Rachael! I so enjoyed reading this post. Well done to your Dad for 33 years of service – wow! It’s lovely how your wedding dinner evolved, and the story behind your very lovely dessert. Thank you for sharing the recipe and the story behind it and for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party Community. I’m featuring this post at the party this week. Hope to ‘see’ you there! Take care, stay well, and I wish you a wonderful week!


[…] baking our wedding day apple crisp recipe, I started thinking about all of my favorite flavors. Then I started thinking about my family […]


[…] one of the recipes I created, I actually made something like the topping on my apple crisp. I was sure that would be the best crust, but it wasn’t! After making FOUR crusts for this […]


[…] A 20 lb box of Gravenstein apples we used for our wedding day apple crisp! […]

10 days ago

sitting here at my computer I’m thinking how perfect a plate of that crisp would be with my morning coffee. So, of course I am printing it right up and will be making it soon!!

Jean | Delightful Repast

Rachael, your wedding sounds lovely. I like that you had apple crisp instead of wedding cake! So there is NO flour in the crisp topping? I’ve always used flour as well as oats. So I thought I better check with you about that.

Miz Helen
7 days ago

5 stars
What a very special wedding day feast, this is the best kind! I know your crisp had to be a big hit it looks delicious! Thanks so much for sharing your talent with us at Full Plate Thursday and please come back soon!
Miz Helen

Rebecca - Glutarama
5 days ago

5 stars
I love how recipes hold memories for people. We love apple crumbles in our family but it’s always nice to have a change so will be giving this recipe a go now.

Miz Helen
2 hours ago

5 stars
Congratulations! Your awesome post is featured on our Top Ten at Full Plate Thursday, 499! Thanks so much for sharing with us and hope you come back soon!
Miz Helen

41 minutes ago

What a wonderful story and classic recipe. Thank you for sharing on Fiesta Friday.