Brimming with a syrupy, juicy fruit filling this Peach Crisp has the perfect crumbly, chewy, old-fashioned oat topping that makes it all profoundly irresistible.
A Really Good Peach Crisp Recipe
Peak summer fruit is best prepared simply, especially in warm desserts like this peach crisp. In this recipe, sweet juicy peaches need only the tiniest amount of sugar to get the juices flowing. A very small amount of cornstarch turns the juices supple and silky, without muddying the flavours.
The topping here consists of a simple combination of oats, butter, brown sugar, and flour which in my opinion, is the best pairing for any summer fruit. Generous fistfuls of the crumbly dough go all over the fruit while ensuring not to go overboard. After all, we want the peaches to be the prize of this crisp. Then, the crisp bakes long enough so that the topping gets nice and crispy and the fruit filling bubbles through at the edges of the pan.
With juicy, tender fruit on the bottom, and a chewy, crumbly topping, this crisp is not too sweet, not too tart, and superbly simple to make. Add a crown of vanilla ice cream for a perfect diner-style à la mode effect and I think you’ll agree, few baking projects are as easy and rewarding as this peach crisp.
Ingredients & Notes
I have made this peach crisp dozens of different ways. Ultimately, I always go back to this recipe which is the simplest and requires very few ingredients. I mean, check out that short ingredient list. If you have fruit, you can make a crisp. That said, I though I’d mention a few ingredient variations and substitutes in the section below that are very worth trying if you’re feeling a little adventurous.
- Peaches – It is a glorious time of year when large sweet peaches are at their peak. Here, they are definitely the star of this show and this crisp does not skimp on the amount of fruit. You will need 6 large, unpeeled peaches, or 6 cups once sliced. To make an off-season crisp, go ahead and use frozen peaches, or any other frozen fruit — just make sure the fruit is thawed before baking. More variations listed below.
- Sugar – I use a little bit of cane sugar for the peaches and light brown sugar for the topping. I find cane sugar and brown sugar add a little more caramely flavour to the crisp but white sugar will work. If you like your crisp toppings on the sweeter side, or if your peaches aren’t quite that sweet, go ahead and increase the amount of sugar by a few tablespoons.
- Cornstarch – Just a bit to thicken the fruit filling. You can use arrowroot, or tapioca flour if you prefer.
- Flour – This crisp topping has 1 cup of flour. I use 3/4 cup all-purpose, and 1/4 cup rye. Find more flour variations below.
- Rolled Oats – To give the crisp topping a more rustic and nubby texture.
- Butter – Soft butter adds a ton of flavour and brings the dry topping ingredients together into perfect clumps.
- Cinnamon – We enjoy this peach crisp with just a hint of cinnamon in filling and in the topping. Feel free to leave it out, or use a little more if you wish.
- Kosher salt – For the fruit and the topping because if there is sugar, there should always be a little salt.
Variations and Substitutes
If peaches aren’t in season and you are craving a crisp, use the exact formula of this recipe with other fruit such as:
- any nectarine
- a mix of any of the above
Crisp toppings will work with just about any flour, or combination of flours, so feel free to experiment. For a gluten-free version, you should give this delicious topping a try.
For a more rustic topping, with delicious nutty flavour, you can use all rye flour. That said, I sometimes find the bright sharp flavours of rye might be a little overpowering for the delicate peach filling. Try a half and half flour mix, or like I did here; 3/4 regular flour to 1/4 rye.
Depending on the fruit you use, you may need to add a little more, or a little less sugar. Same goes for the cornstarch.
If you prefer to use less refined sugars, you can sweeten the filling with maple syrup or honey, and the topping with coconut sugar.
Aside from Cinnamon, many peach crisp recipes call for a dash of nutmeg which offers a slight bitterness against the sweetness of the fruit. Go for it if you love nutmeg, but here I prefer it without. If you like cardamom, the warm, musky spice has a nice citrusy-floral flavour that pairs beautifully with the peaches. You can add it to the peach filling, or the topping. It can be quite strong so be sure to use only a teaspoon or less.
Peach Crisp How-To
Higher in fibre, and infinitely easier than making a pie, crisps are one of my favourite desserts to to make with ripe, juicy summer fruits. Once you get the hang of the basic technique of making a crisp, you can throw it together with your eyes closed. No joke.
Here is the step-by-step:
Heat oven to 350ºF. Lightly butter a 9-inch or 10-inch round baking dish. In a large mixing bowl, gently toss together the sliced peaches, sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a separate large mixing bowl stir together the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add the soft butter and using your hands, or a pastry cutter, work the butter in until mixture is completely hydrated and crumbly.
Transfer the fruit to the prepared baking dish and spread it out evenly across the bottom of the dish. Evenly scatter the crumble mixture over the fruit.
Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbling through around the edges. Let cool briefly, then enjoy your juicy, divinely delicious peach crisp served with vanilla ice cream on top!
Tips to Make the Best Crisps
- Use soft butter. Some recipes will call for cold cubed butter to be worked into the dry ingredients. However, I find the cold butter does not hydrate the flour enough. Melted butter works better, but makes the topping a little less crumbled. Soft butter, for me, hits the perfect spot.
- Don’t use too much cornstarch. The amount of cornstarch you add to the filling is pretty important. If you are using fruit that is not juicy at all, you can likely get away without it. However, if your fruit is juicy, cornstarch will help thicken the juices and turn them into an almost velvety, delicious sauce. Too much cornstarch, however, can make the filling become gloopy and slimy and muddy the flavours of the fruit. This recipe calls for 1 tablespoon and I would say my peaches were fairly juicy. Use more, or less, accordingly.
- Once baked, let the crisp cool slightly. Though I go bananas over a warm crisp, it shouldn’t be served piping hot from the oven. It is best to allow it to cool slightly so the filling sets and the juices don’t spill out everywhere.
- Use less topping. You need a mound of fruit for the amount of topping this recipe calls for. If working with less fruit, make sure to use less topping. Any leftover topping can be frozen for later use.
- A note on salt. I only use Diamond Crystal Kosher salt for all my cooking and baking. Other brands, or tables salt, might be saltier so err on the side of caution and use a little less.
Make Ahead Peach Crisp
Crisps are so quick to make, you barely need to set aside much time to quickly assemble one together. But if you like to plan ahead, you can make the crisp topping a few days in advance and store it in the fridge for 2 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Though best eaten on the day you bake it, the whole crisp can also be made in advance then reheated gently just before serving. And I guarantee absolutely no one will turn it down the next day, either.
You can serve this peach crisp as is and no one will send it back. But crown it with a spoonful of whipped cream or ice cream and this peach crisp dessert will truly be as good as it gets.
Other Summer Desserts To Try:
For The Filling
- 6 to 8 (about 2 lbs) ripe peaches thinly sliced into 1/4-inch wedges
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (I use cane)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch (use a little more if your fruit is very juicy)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For The Topping
- 1 cup (85g) rolled oats
- 1 cup (120g) all purpose flour (or swap 1/4 cup for rye or whole wheat)
- 1/3 cup (70g) light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch fine salt
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter cubed and softened
- Vanilla ice cream optional, for serving
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly butter a 9-inch, or 10-inch, round baking dish.
- In a large mixing bowl, gently toss together the sliced peaches, sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a separate large mixing bowl stir together the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.
- Add the soft butter and using your hands, or a pastry cutter, work the butter in until mixture is completely hydrated and crumbly.
- Transfer the fruit to the prepared baking dish and spread it out evenly across the bottom of the dish. Evenly scatter the crumble mixture over the fruit.
- Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbling through around the edges. Let cool briefly, then serve topped with vanilla ice cream, if desired.
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