Dessert Recipes




Apple Crisp vs. Apple Pie: The Hidden Mystery

Apple Crisp vs Apple Pie

Apple Crisp vs. Apple Pie: The Hidden Mystery

During the fall apple-based treats are on the top of the list. The main difference between apple crisp and apple pie is the crust or crumble. Both are made with delicious apples and warm spices. Apple pie has traditionally been made with a buttery, flaky crust encasing the apple filling. In contrast, apple crisps are coated with a crunchy, crumbly texture on top with nothing on the bottom.

While these desserts may seem similar, they have distinct differences that set them apart. In this article, we will dig into the history, ingredients, texture, flavor, and health benefits of apple crisp vs. apple pie to help you decide which one is the ultimate fall dessert. Whether you prefer a buttery and flaky crust or a crumbly and buttery topping, we hope this article will help you choose the perfect apple dessert for your next fall get-together.

Fresh hot homemade apple crisp or crumble with crunchy streusel topping topped with vanilla bean ice cream and Caramel Sauce. Selective focus with blurred background.
Apple crisp is the perfect dessert for a cozy autumn evening.

©Stephanie Frey/Shutterstock.com

The Origins of Apple Crisp

Apple crisp, also known as apple crumble in some parts of the world, is thought to have originated in the United Kingdom during World War II. Due to rationing, traditional pie crusts were hard to come by, so cooks began making a simple streusel topping to sprinkle over their apples instead. The dessert quickly gained popularity because it was easy to make and didn't require a lot of ingredients. Today, apple crisp is common in many households and is often served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It was Isabel Ely Lord's Everybody's Cook Book: A Comprehensive Manual of Home Cookery, published in 1924, that first published an apple crisp recipe.

Everybody's Cook Book: A Comprehensive Manual of Home Cookery
  • A comprehensive manual of home cookery 
  • Created by Isabel Ely Lord in 1924

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09/03/2023 11:36 am GMT

The Origins of Apple Pie

Apple pie has a long and rich history dating back to Medieval England. However, it wasn't until the 17th and 18th centuries that the dessert became popular in America. Early apple pies were often savory dishes made with ingredients like beef and lard. It wasn't until the 19th century when sugar became more readily available, that sweet apple pies became the norm. Today, apple pie is a beloved American dessert that is enjoyed all year round.

Homemade apple pie
The delicious combination of sweet apples, flaky pastry, and warm spices is a timeless favorite that never goes out of style.


Ingredients and Recipe Variations for Apple Crisp vs. Apple Pie

First, choose your apples wisely. For the best flavor, opt for tart apples such as Granny Smith, or Honeycrisp. Gala or Golden Delicious are great options if you prefer a sweeter taste. Avoid red apples, as they tend to turn powdery when baked.

The key ingredients for making apple crisp include flour, apples, sugar, butter, and oats. Cinnamon and nutmeg are also commonly used to add those delicious warm and spicy flavors. Some crisp recipes also call for nuts or dried fruit to add texture and sweetness. There are countless variations of apple pie, including Dutch apple pie, caramel apple pie, and even savory apple pies. Some popular recipe variations include adding a streusel topping, substituting brown sugar for white sugar, or using a lattice crust.

Apple pie consists of apples, flour, sugar, butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Some pie recipes also suggest adding lemon juice, cornstarch, or tapioca to thicken the filling. The pie crust can be made from scratch or purchased as a pre-made crust and comes in a variety of styles, including flaky, buttery, and graham crackers. Similar to apple pie, there are many variations of apple crisp that allow bakers to get creative in the kitchen. Some popular variations include adding caramel or maple syrup to the topping, using different types of nuts or dried fruit, or adding a layer of cream cheese or yogurt to the filling.

Is it Possible to Make a Gluten-Free Version of Both Desserts?

Vegans can use vegan butter instead of normal butter. For a gluten-free dish change from regular flour to gluten-free flour or leave out the flour and use double oats or gluten-free granola.

For a healthy apple crisp, try combining apples, pears, and cranberries in the base of the crisp. Layer the fruit into a baking dish and mix together 1 cup of oats, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and ¼ cup of maple syrup in a separate bowl. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit and bake in the oven at 375°F for 45 minutes.

Texture and Flavor: Differences Between Apple Crisp and Apple Pie

The texture of apple crisp is typically crumbly and crunchy on the top, with soft, juicy baked apples underneath. It has a rustic, homemade feel that is perfect for casual gatherings. In contrast, apple pie has a more refined texture with a tender, flaky crust and soft, cooked apples in the filling.

Both apple crisp and apple pie have warm, comforting flavors that are perfect for fall. However, apple crisp tends to have a stronger cinnamon and oat flavor, while apple pie has a more buttery taste. Additionally, the streusel topping on apple crisp adds a layer of sweetness that is vague in apple pie.

Nutritional Value

Apples are nutritious fruit that is high in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants. They have been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. While both apple crisp and apple pie are made with apples, they differ in terms of their health benefits. Apple crisp typically has a higher calorie and sugar content due to the addition of butter, sugar, and flour in the topping. However, if made with healthy substitutions such as whole wheat flour and coconut oil, it can still be a nutritious option. Apple pie, on the other hand, has a lower calorie and sugar content in the crust but can be high in saturated fat if made with butter or shortening. Overall, both apple crisp and apple pie can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy diet.

Apple Crisp vs Apple Pie Nutritional Facts


The Best Ways to Serve and Present Apple Crisp and Apple Pie

Apple crisp is best served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a drizzle of caramel sauce. It can also be topped with chopped nuts or a sprinkle of cinnamon for added crunch and flavor. Make sure the topping is golden brown and crispy when presenting apple crisp.

Apple pie is traditionally served warm with a dollop of whipped cream and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It can also be topped with caramel sauce or a sprinkle of cinnamon for added flavor. When presenting apple pie, it's important to make sure the crust is a beautiful golden brown and the filling is fully cooked. For a fancy look sure to impress your guests serve either in a martini glass.

Conclusion: Which One is the Winner – Apple Crisp or Apple Pie?

Infographic comparing apple crisp and apple pie.
Both of these desserts are delicious, but best enjoyed in moderation.
  • Apple crisp has a crumbly and crisp exterior, differing from the tender and flaky crust of an apple pie. A Dutch apple pie fuses these two desserts together; if you love both of these apple delicacies and can't pick between the two, a Dutch apple pie is the answer.
  • An apple pie tends to have a buttery, mildly sweet flavor, while apple crisp has strong notes of cinnamon and oats. Both make for excellent fall and early winter desserts.
  • Apple crisp is higher in calories and sugar compared to apple pie, making it a better choice for some. Apple pie can, however, be high in saturated fat depending on how it's made. Both of these desserts are best enjoyed in moderation.

Both apple crisp and apple pie are delicious desserts that showcase the sweet and tangy flavor of apples. While apple pie may have a more classic and refined taste, apple crisp offers a crunchy and comforting texture. Ultimately, the winner depends on personal preference and which dessert satisfies the craving for a warm and cozy treat. In conclusion, whether you prefer the comforting texture of warm apple pie or the crunchy sweetness of apple crisp, both desserts are delicious and perfect for fall. With a variety of ways to serve and present these desserts, you can't go wrong with either choice. So go ahead and embrace the flavors of fall and enjoy a slice of apple pie or a scoop of apple crisp – or both!


What is the difference between apple crisp and apple pie?

Apple crisp is a dessert made with sliced apples baked with a crumbly topping consisting of flour, oats, butter, sugar, and spices. Apple pie is a dessert consisting of a pastry crust filled with sliced apples, sugar, and spices.

Which one is healthier – apple crisp or apple pie?

Both desserts contain apples, a good fiber source, vitamins, and minerals. However, apple crisp typically has more added sugar and butter than apple pie, making it slightly less healthy.

Can apple crisp be made without oats?

Yes, apple crisp can be made without oats. Instead, you can use flour, brown sugar, and butter to make a crumbly topping.

What is the best way to serve apple crisp and apple pie?

Apple crisp and apple pie can be served warm or at room temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top. You can also drizzle caramel or sprinkle cinnamon on top for added flavor.

Can I freeze apple crisp and apple pie?

In the event that you baked a pie and you still have leftovers, you can freeze them as well. The first step is to place it in the freezer uncovered. Once the pie is solidly frozen, wrap it in plastic wrap and return it to the freezer. If you freeze it, it will last for 3-4 months.

Apple Crisp and Apple Pie Recipes

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apple pie Image: Steven Bridges http://stevenbridges.com for Dollywood

All-American Apple Pie

  • Author: Moms Who Think



2 cups white flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening
5 Tablespoons ice-cold water
8 apples, pared and cored
2 Tablespoons white flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons butter


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix together the flour, salt, and shortening until crumbly. Add the water and mix well.

Thinly slice the apples.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and cinnamon; add the apple slices and mix well.

Take 1/2 of the pastry and roll flat; place pastry in a 9″ pie plate. Fill with the apple mixture and dot with butter.

Take the remaining pastry dough and roll flat. Place pastry on top of pie; crimp along the edges to seal.

Take a knife and cut slits into top of pastry to allow steam to escape.

Bake for about 50 minutes or until crust is golden.

Let cool and serve pie with whipped cream or ice cream.

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