Homemade Cranberry Apple Crisp {with Fresh Cranberries}

Cozy up this holiday season with this deliciously simple cranberry apple crisp recipe! The tart berries gel together with baked apples in the fruit filling, nestled beneath a buttery, crumbly oat topping. Don’t skip the ice cream – it takes this entire dessert over the top!

white plate with scoop of apple cranberry crisp and ice cream.

This October, I went to the Cranberry Festival in Grayland, Washington with my husband and parents to celebrate cranberry season. This little patch of land along the Pacific Coast grows millions of pounds of cranberries every year. We brought home a heap of fresh cranberries, and I set about preparing and preserving them in lots of different ways. 

Since we love fruit crisps around here, I adapted my old fashioned apple crisp recipe to work with these tart berries. It just might be my favorite version! The tart cranberries are a perfect pair for the brown sugar and buttery crumble topping. This just might be the perfect dessert…I highly recommend you give it a try!

large staub baking with dish cranberry apple crisp next to fresh cranberries and winesap apples.

What is Cranberry Apple Crisp?

This delicious dessert is an adaptation of regular apple crisp. It’s made by combining fresh apples with cranberries and tossing them with a little sugar, flour, and cinnamon to help them gel together in a delicious fruit base. This fruit mixture is topped with a sweet, crunchy, crumbly oat streusel topping that takes the whole thing over the edge!

Since cranberries are such a tart fruit, they are a match made in heaven with the sweet crumble and warm spices. It just needs a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of homemade whipped cream to take it over the edge!

What you’ll love about this cranberry apple crisp recipe:


  • PERFECTLY BALANCED: I’ve made a lot of fruit crisps! They’re such a simple dessert and we love making different combinations. This delicious cranberry apple crisp might take the cake. The tart flavor of the cranberries and their subtle bitterness really balance the buttery oat crumble so well. It’s the perfect holiday dessert!  
  • EASY TO MAKE: Crisps have been around for hundreds of years! They’re so easy to make because you usually don’t need any fancy equipment at all, just a paring knife, mixing bowl, and baking dish. They’re a humble, homey dessert, but you’ll get no complaints about this one!
  • SIMPLE INGREDIENTS: No need for a trip to the grocery store for this crisp! You’ll just need a little sugar, brown sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon, and salt in addition to the apples and cranberries. You probably have at least most of those on hand right now!
  • PERFECT FOR THE HOLIDAYS: Although we enjoy crisps year round, this easy apple cranberry crisp is absolutely perfect for your Thanksgiving feast! The tartness of the cranberries balances the sweet apples and oat topping so well. 

Equipment

The best apple cranberry crisp is simple. You don’t need any fancy equipment or gadgets at all (unless you count an oven).

ingredients for cranberry apple crisp on a white wooden background.

Ingredients

Apple Cranberry Filling

  • Fresh cranberries: Give your fresh berries a good rinse to remove any dust, leaves, or stems. Feel free to use frozen berries instead!
  • Apples: Choose a good baking apple. Granny Smith apples are a classic choice. Pink Lady or Honeycrisp apples are wonderfully tart and firm, too. I used Winesap apples.
  • Flour: Since cranberries and apples are so high in pectin, you don’t need much flour to help them gel together. You can also use a teaspoon of cornstarch instead.
  • White sugar: This gives the fruit mixture a little sweetness, but it’s pretty tart without the topping!
  • Cinnamon: Since this is a holiday dessert, I like to add warm spices to both the filling and the topping.

Oat Crisp Topping

  • Rolled oats: The main difference between a cranberry apple crisp and a cranberry apple crumble is oats. Crisp have them; crumbles historically do not, but these two terms are often used interchangeably now. Use traditional or rolled oats, not quick oats.
  • All purpose flour: This will help absorb the butter to give you a really crispy topping.
  • Brown sugar: Brown sugar has so much more flavor than white sugar and adds a slight chewiness. All out? Make your own brown sugar!
  • White sugar
  • Cold butter: This is the most important part. Use very cold butter. If it is too warm, it will melt as soon as you put it in the oven instead of creating crunchy clumps of flavor!
  • Cinnamon

How to Make Cranberry Apple Crisp from Scratch

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Add your cranberries, peeled and chopped apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and pinch of salt to your baking dish.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the crumble topping ingredients. Use a fork, pastry cutter, or your fingers to crumble the ingredients together until the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. 
  4. Pour the crumble topping over the fruit mixture.
  5. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the crumble topping is golden brown and the fruit filling is bubbling along the edges of the pan. Remove from the oven.
  6. For best results, let this sweet crisp cool for 25-30 minutes to allow the filling to finish setting.
  7. Serve with a scoop of ice cream or homemade whipped cream.

Storing

Let the crisp cool to room temperature (max 2 hours), then store the leftovers in the fridge. To keep it fresh, transfer the extras to an airtight container or wrap it in a plastic wrap alternative. The crisp will stay fresh for approximately 3-4 days.

For longer storage, freeze leftovers in a freezer-safe container for 2-3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before either microwaving or baking your crisp to warm it up. Because this crisp is so easy to make, we typically just enjoy it fresh and share any leftovers with friends or family.

white plate with cranberry apple crisp and ice cream.

How to Serve Apple Cranberry Crumble with Oats

This classic apple cranberry crisp tastes best slightly warmed and with either a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a little whipped cream on top. It adds a creamy flavor that is just heavenly, and the extra sweetness tastes amazing alongside the tart filling. It’s a lovely Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert!

Tips & Variations

  • Use any type of apples. Firm, juicy apples are best, but use what you’ve got!
  • Use dried cranberries. Although fresh and frozen cranberries are interchangeable, dried cranberries require a few adjustments. Add 1.5 cups of  dried cranberries instead of the 2 cups of fresh and skip the sugar in the fruit filling completely.
  • Add orange zest. Cranberry and orange are a classic combination! Add the zest of one orange and up to a tablespoon of orange juice to the fruit filling.
  • Add bourbon. For a special holiday treat, add up to a tablespoon of bourbon to the fruit. The alcohol will cook off, leaving a rich flavor.
  • Make your own whipped cream. Combine 1/2 cup of heavy cream in the bowl of your stand mixer. Add a tablespoon or so of powdered sugar and a splash of vanilla extract. Whip until firm peaks form (the peaks should stand straight up when you remove the mixer without collapsing). This should make approximately 2 cups of whipped cream. Adjust the sweetness and flavor however you’d like!
  • Mini cran-apple crisps. Feel free to add the filling to ramekins instead of a baking dish! Sprinkle with the oat topping then bake. These will take between 20-25 minutes in the oven.

FAQs

How do you make cranberry apple crisp with fresh cranberries?

It’s very easy – just rinse and dry off the cranberries and add them to the chopped sweet apples! They’ll cook down in the oven and take on a tender texture with a tart flavor. There’s no need to do anything else to the cranberries at all, like slicing them, etc.

Can you use frozen cranberries to make fruit crisp?

Yes! Since cranberries have such a short season, it’s a great idea to freeze them for later. The best part is that you can even bake with them while they’re still frozen! They don’t need to thaw your frozen cranberries at all. You may need to add an extra 3- 5 minutes to your baking time to make sure they soften up properly.

Can you substitute dried cranberries for fresh cranberries?

Yes! Dried cranberries are a great substitute for fresh cranberries in most preparations, although results may vary depending on the original recipe.

You’ll need slightly less dried cranberries than fresh. Ocean Spray and US Cranberries recommend 3/4 cup dried cranberries per 1 cup of fresh. To make it easy to remember, just add 1/4 cup less dried berries than fresh.

Since craisins are sweetened, it’s best to adjust the sugar in your recipe as well. For example, if you use dried cranberries to make this cranberry apple crisp recipe, skip the extra 1/4 cup sugar in the fruit filling. 

Related Recipes

white baking dish with apple cranberry crumble with rolled oats.
white baking dish with cranberry apple crisp and ice cream next to fresh cranberries.

Cranberry Apple Crisp {Frozen or Fresh Cranberries}

Cozy up this holiday season with this deliciously simple cranberry apple crisp recipe! The tart berries gel together with baked apples in the fruit filling, nestled beneath a buttery, crumbly oat topping. Don't skip the ice cream – it takes this entire dessert over the top!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Cooling Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Baking, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings
Calories 339 kcal

Equipment

  • 9 x 13 baking dish
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Pastry blender or fork
  • small mixing bowl

Ingredients
  

Fruit Filling

  • 2 cups fresh cranberries, washed and dried
  • 4-5 apples, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch kosher salt

Oat Crumble Topping

  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cold; diced into 1 cm cubes
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch kosher salt

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Add the fruit filling ingredients to the baking dish and stir to combine. Press gently to remove any air pockets for an even layer.
  • Add the crumble topping ingredients to a small bowl. Use either your hands, a fork, or a pastry blender to mix everything together. The crumble should have a sandy texture and hold together when you squeeze it.
  • Pour the crumble topping over the fruit filling and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling in the corners of the pan.
  • Remove from the oven and cool the cranberry apple crisp rest for 25-30 minutes before serving. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Notes

  • Use any type of apple. Firm, juicy apples are best, but use what you’ve got!
  • Use dried cranberries. Although fresh and frozen cranberries are interchangeable, dried cranberries require a few adjustments. Add 1.5 cups of dried cranberries instead of the 2 cups of fresh and skip the sugar in the fruit filling completely.
  • Add orange zest. Cranberry and orange are a classic combination! Add the zest of one orange and up to a tablespoon of orange juice to the fruit filling.
  • Add bourbon. For a special holiday treat, add up to a tablespoon of bourbon to the fruit. The alcohol will cook off, leaving a rich flavor.
  • Make your own whipped cream. Combine 1/2 cup of heavy cream in the bowl of your stand mixer. Add a tablespoon or so of powdered sugar and a splash of vanilla extract. Whip until firm peaks form (the peaks should stand straight up when you remove the mixer without collapsing). This should make approximately 2 cups of whipped cream. Adjust the sweetness and flavor however you’d like!
  • Mini cran-apple crisps. Feel free to add the filling to ramekins instead of a baking dish! Sprinkle with the oat topping, then bake. These will take between 20-25 minutes in the oven.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 339kcalCarbohydrates: 49gProtein: 2gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 15mgPotassium: 152mgFiber: 3gSugar: 33gVitamin A: 514IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 34mgIron: 1mg
Keyword apple cranberry crisp, apple cranberry crumble with oats, cranberry apple crisp
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