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Welcome Fall with Spiced Apple Crisp!
There’s no seasonal dessert I love more than apple crisp. For as long as I can remember, my family has welcomed every autumn by picking the perfectly tart-sweet apples from the tree in my parents’ front yard & transforming them into a warm & bubbling baking dish of my mom’s classic apple crisp. Truly, there’s nothing better.
A few years ago, I felt inspired to give Mom’s traditional recipe a cozy masala chai-inspired twist. A warm & cozy masala chai – the creamy, dreamy spiced tea latte that we Americans typically just call chai – is one of my favorite fall drinks. That’s exactly how this chai spiced apple crisp recipe came to be!
Simply toss Granny Smith apples into an aromatic homemade chai spice blend, then top them off with an extra-generous amount of crumbly, buttery oatmeal crisp for loads of satisfying texture. This rustic dessert is a true celebration of all our favorite autumnal flavors – it’s quintessentially fall-flavored without being pumpkin-spiced or cloyingly sweet. Serve it up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream & it’s the ultimate cozy & seasonal treat!
*Quick Note On “Chai”
In Hindi, “chai” means tea, so your normal cup of black tea is “chai” in India. What Westerners have come to know as “chai tea” or “chai latte” is actually masala chai or “spiced tea,” a special drink with a history that dates back thousands of years. Learn more here!
Chai Apple Crisp Recipe Highlights
If you’ve been on the hunt for a homemade fall dessert that isn’t riddled with pumpkin spice, you’re in the right place! This chai apple crisp boasts…
- WARM MASALA CHAI-INSPIRED FLAVOR. Bump classic apple spice flavor up a couple of notches with a homemade chai spice blend made of cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, & allspice. Classic fall flavors, with a twist!
- TONS OF BUTTERY, CRUMBLY GOODNESS. With about 30% more crisp than a standard apple crisp recipe, each bite is complete with loads of buttery-crisp texture.
- COZY FALL FEELS. Ready in about 45 minutes & totally make ahead-friendly, chai spiced apple crisp is the perfect cozy fall dessert!
It honestly tastes like a hug in a bowl! ♡ Read on to learn more about this Chai Spiced Apple Crisp, or jump straight to the recipe & get baking!
Note: Full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.
Once you’ve whisked together a quick homemade chai spice blend, you need just 9 ingredients to make this spiced apple crisp recipe – & most of them are baking staples you probably already have in your pantry.
- Apples – I love baking with Granny Smith apples. They have perfect tart-sweet flavor & their sturdy texture stands up well to baking.
- Lemon – Just a little freshly squeezed lemon juice, for brightness.
- Brown sugar – A little brown sugar sweetens this crisp.
- Chai spices – You can’t have chai spiced apple crisp without chai spice! I make a big batch of homemade chai spice mix as soon as the weather begins to cool & for all of my fall & winter baking. More info below!
- Oatmeal crisp topping – Made with old fashioned oats, all-purpose flour, brown sugar & cold butter for a perfectly crumbly, golden-brown apple crisp topping. I love baking with Bob’s Red Mill Extra Thick Rolled Oats!
What Spices Are In Chai?
As with many beloved dishes, there are probably as many masala chai spice blends as there are people who enjoy them! As someone who loves spicy, cardamom-forward chai lattes, I whisk up a homemade blend using 6 staples from my spice rack: cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, allspice, cloves, & nutmeg.
Of course, taste & tweak to your preferences – if you like the sweetness of masala chai then amp up the cinnamon, if you like the spiciness then amp it up with another half teaspoon ground ginger or a little ground black pepper, etc.
Pro Tip! ⇢ Mix up a double or triple batch to keep on hand for all of your fall & winter baking! A jar of this homemade chai spice blend is also a great hostess gift or stocking stuffer!
How to Make Apple Crisp with Chai Spices
Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.
This homemade apple crisp recipe is a snap to put together! Here’s what you’ll do…
Prep. Mix up the chai spice blend (if you don’t already have it on your spice rack!) & wash, peel, & slice the apples. Tip! ⇢ I don’t typically advocate for single task gadgets, an apple peeler is a must this time of year! With an apple peeler on hand, you can bust out perfectly peeled apples in a fraction of the time!
Prepare the apple filling. Toss the peeled & sliced apples with lemon juice, brown sugar, chai spices, vanilla, & salt, mixing well to ensure every piece of apple gets all the flavoring love. Add the apple mixture to a prepared baking dish & set aside. Tip! ⇢ Work quickly to get the peeled apples in the lemon juice so they don’t oxidize & turn brown.
Prepare the chai spiced apple crumble topping. Mix oats & flour with a little more brown sugar, chai spice, & salt. Cut cold cubed butter into the dry mixture using either a pastry cutter, fork, or just use your hands (which is what I do). Why? ⇢ While you could simply pour in melted butter, in my experience, cold butter creates golden-brown crumbles with the best crunchy texture.
Bake & cool. Bake until browned, bubbly, & fork-tender. Cool for a few minutes before serving with a big scoop of vanilla or salted caramel ice cream or homemade whipped cream.
While this homemade apple crisp is delicious served warm in a bowl with nothing more than a spoon, there are plenty of opportunities to level it up with your choice of toppings – no matter how you serve it, it’s seriously good!:
- Make a quick homemade whipped cream (sweeten with a little pure maple syrup for extra cozy fall flavor!)
- Finish with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream (try salted caramel ice cream for an extra delicious twist!)
- Generously drizzle with salted caramel sauce (this is my fave!)
- Or, opt for a simple sprinkle of ground cinnamon.
Tips, Tricks, & Other FAQs
You can definitely prepare this chai apple crisp recipe ahead of time. Assemble up to the point of baking, then cover & refrigerate for up to 24 hours. If needed, add an extra 5-10 minutes of baking time to ensure the apples become fork-tender & bubbly.
Storage & Reheating
If you plan on enjoying within a day of baking, store your apple crisp covered at room temperature. If you’d like to stretch leftovers out any longer, store the apple crisp in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave or an 250° F oven until heated through.
Refer to the Recipe Notes, below, for more guidance!
Gluten Free Apple Crisp
You can easily make this spiced chai apple crisp recipe gluten free by swapping in your favorite cup-for-cup all-purpose flour blend. & don’t forget – be sure to reach for certified gluten-free oats! While oats are naturally a gluten-free food, they’re sometimes processed in a facility that also processes gluten.
This time of year, apple-themed desserts are abundant. While most feature fresh fruit baked with some kind of pastry topping & a charmingly rustic appearance, they are not created equally. So, what’s the difference between apple crisp, apple crumble, & apple cobbler?
⇢ Fruit crisps typically feature an oatmeal topping.
⇢ Fruit crumbles have a flour-based streusel topping.
⇢ Cobblers are topped with mounds of biscuit dough, reminiscent of a cobbled road.
I love to use tart Granny Smith apples in for an apple crisp dessert, but use your favorites! Any firm, not-overly-sweet variety will work wonderfully.
You’ll find a jar of homemade chai spice mix on my spice rack this time of year! It’s a simple, 6-ingredient DIY chai spice mix I created a few years back after a few of the other online recipes fell a little flat for me – someone who loooves a super spicy & cardamom-forward chai.
You’ll need: ground cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, & allspice!
I can’t wait for you to try this Chai Spiced Apple Crisp recipe. It’s a total fall fave at the PWWB House & I know you’ll love it too!
If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations! ♡ Happy baking!
Obsessed with fall flavors? Us too!
More Easy Fall Dessert Recipes:
There’s no seasonal dessert I love more than apple crisp. A few years ago, I felt inspired to give my mom’s classic apple crisp recipe a cozy masala chai-inspired twist. Masala chai – the creamy, dreamy spiced tea latte that we Americans typically just call chai – is one of my favorite drinks & I love infusing its warm flavors into all kinds of treats. That’s exactly how this chai spiced apple crisp recipe came to be. (And if masala chai is new-to-you, be sure to check out the blog post, above, to learn more!)
Simply toss Granny Smith apples into a homemade chai spice blend of ground cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, & allspice. Top it off with an extra-generous amount of crumbly, buttery oatmeal crisp for loads of satisfying texture, & bake until bubbling & golden. So good!
I love to serve spiced apple crisp warm with a scoop of vanilla or salted caramel ice cream. It’s the perfect sweet treat to celebrate all things autumn!
- nonstick cooking spray
- chai spice blend (below)
- chai spice crumble topping (below)
- 3 pounds granny smith apples (approx. 8-10), peeled & cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon chai spice blend (below)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
for the chai spice crumble topping:
- 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar, divided
- 2 tablespoons chai spice blend (below)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup cold unsalted butter (12 tablespoons), diced
for the homemade chai spice blend:
- 1 heaping tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, ensuring a rack is positioned in the center of the oven. Lightly spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray & set aside. Mix the chai spice blend by combining all listed ingredients in a small bowl or jar. Stir to combine & set aside. Peel & slice apples according to the Ingredients List, above.
- Prepare the apple filling: In a large bowl, combine the sliced apples, lemon juice, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of the chai spice blend, vanilla, & kosher salt. Toss to combine, ensuring the apples are evenly coated with brown sugar & chai spice. Transfer apples to the prepared 9×13 baking pan, spreading them out into an even layer across the bottom. Set aside.
- Prepare the chai spice crumble: In a medium bowl, combine the old fashioned oats, flour, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of the chai spice blend, & kosher salt. Whisk to combine. Add in the cold, cubed butter. Cut the butter into the oat mixture – you can use a pastry cutter or fork, though I typically just use my hands to press the butter into the oats – until the mixture is super crumbly & begins to stick together when pressed gently. This takes a few minutes – have patience! Sprinkle the crumble overtop the apples, pressing down slightly to create a nice layer of crumbly topping over the apples.
- Bake the chai spiced apple crisp: Place the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet. Transfer to the oven & bake for 45-50 minutes, until the apples are tender, the filling juices are bubbling around the edges, & the crisp is golden. Remove from the oven & allow to cool slightly before serving.
- Serving: Serve however you like it best – at our house, we enjoy it while it’s still warm, topped with a generous scoop of vanilla or salted caramel ice cream. Enjoy!
- Storage & Reheating: Cool any leftover chai apple crisp completely before covering & storing in the fridge. Leftover apple crisp will keep for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave as desired.
Keywords: apple crisp, chai spiced apple crisp, fall desserts, apple desserts, apple crisp dessert, chai spice,
Recipe and Food Styling by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Rachel Cook, Half Acre House.