This fruit crisp topping recipe has been a looong time in the making! I’ve been tweaking it for years every time I make it, and it’s finally ready to share. Here’s what I love about it– it’s browned and buttery, wonderfully sweet, and not crumbly like plain granola. I want a fruit crisp topping that holds together and eats more like a cookie than just a handful of oats.
I’ve made a mixed berry fruit crisp here, but this fruit crisp topping recipe can be used with ANY FRUIT FILLING or PIE FILLING you like! Use it for apple, pear, cherry, blueberry, peach, or anything in between!
WATCH THE VIDEO TUTORIAL FOR HOW TO MAKE CRISP TOPPING & MIXED BERRY CRISP FROM FROZEN FRUIT HERE!
Fruit Crisp: One of the Best Desserts!
You can’t beat a sweet and fruity filling with a cookie crumble topping and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I tend to do apple crisp during the colder months and mixed berry crisp during the warmer months. There’s a lot of great options for fruits, but I always come back to these two classics. I almost always make my mixed berry crisp with frozen berries, because that’s what we have. We grow our own or pick them locally, and stash away lots of berries in the freezer every year!
Making a Fruit Crisp with Frozen Berries
Using frozen fruit to make a fruit crisp isn’t hard, but there is a trick to it. If you let the berries thaw and then try to turn them into a filling, they release a lot of liquid that is difficult to deal with. If you try to make a fruit crisp filling with frozen berries, the flour and sugar don’t incorporate well and you end up with a runny filling.
The solution? Precook and thicken the filling on the stove-top first! Because berries are so delicate, you have to be gentle, but this is the absolute best way to turn frozen berries like strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries into a delicious pie or crisp filling that holds its shape and isn’t runny.
Making a Fruit Crisp with Fresh Fruit (and No Recipe!)
I love using fresh fruit for crisps when we have it, mostly because it’s incredibly fast and easy to throw together, and I never ever use a recipe! You don’t need one either, promise.
Here’s how to do it: Use enough fresh fruit to fill your baking pan. I usually use an 8-inch square or 10- by 7-inch glass or ceramic pan. For fruit with a skin like apples or pears, peel them first. Large fruit should be cut into bite size pieces. Fill the baking pan and then pour the fruit into a mixing bowl. Now all it needs is a little sweetener and thickener.
Add a couple heaping spoonfuls of flour or cornstarch. I typically use flour for apple or pear filling, and cornstarch for colorful berries because it makes a clearer gel. Add a couple spoonfuls of sugar. If the fruit is tart like berries or rhubarb, add up to 1/2 cup of sugar. If you like really sweet desserts, add a bit more! Then add a pinch of salt.
Consider adding a little more flavor if you like– cinnamon with apples, vanilla bean with pears, orange zest with cherries, lemon zest with blueberries. And a squeeze of fresh lemon juice brightens every fruit!
Toss the fruit with the sugar, thickener, and flavorings, then pour it into a baking dish. Then use the same bowl to make the crisp topping recipe below. Just a few minutes of work and you’ve got a delicious dessert!
Any Fruit Crisp Topping Recipe
- 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- Pinch sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 tablespoons melted butter
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
- Combine the oats, flour, sugars, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
- Stir the vanilla into the melted butter, and then pour the butter into the dry ingredients. Mix until well-combined and no streaks of dry flour are left.
- Crumble and drop the mixture in nickel and quarter size pieces on top of your prepared fruit. If making a berry crisp, form the topping into flat shingles to place on top of the filling, which helps them not sink down into the center.
- Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the fruit filling is bubbly.
Mixed Berry Fruit Crisp Filling from Frozen Berries
- 3 cups frozen strawberries, small to medium size; cut in half if large
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 cups frozen blueberries
- 2 cups frozen raspberries
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a large pot over low heat, combine the strawberries and lemon juice. Cook, stirring gently and occasionally with a silicon spatula until half thawed, about 4 minutes.
- Stir in the blueberries and raspberries and continue cooking, stirring gently and occasionally until the berries are completely thawed and have released a lot of juice, about 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, corn starch, and salt. When the berries just start to simmer, stir in the sugar mixture and vanilla extract. Use a silicone spatula to fold the berries, stirring continuously, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the pot. When the berries have turned glassy and thickened, about 2 minutes, turn off the heat.
- Pour the fruit into an 8×8, 7×10, or similar ceramic or glass baking dish. Allow the fruit to cool to room temperature before putting on the crisp topping, about 1 hour.
- See crisp topping recipe (above) for baking instructions.