Easy Cherry Apple Crumble is made with fresh tart cherries and diced sweet apples topped with a simple one-bowl brown sugar crumble. This crowd-pleasing dessert is ready in just 45 minutes.
If you’re looking for a summer no-fuss, crowd-pleasing dessert, then say hello to cherry apple crumble. It’s made with ripe, juicy cherries and diced sweet apples topped with a buttery brown sugar crumble. Serve it à la mode for the perfect sweet treat.
Once summer hits, I love making seasonal fruit pies. But as a mom with a hectic schedule, I have found fruit crisps and crumbles to be time-saving desserts yet have all the same delicious flavors of a pie. Some family favorites include peach cherry crisp, rhubarb pear crisp, and strawberry peach crisp.
In just 45 minutes, you can enjoy a cherry apple crumble. Serve it for a weeknight dessert (or hello breakfast treat!) or take it to a summer BBQ get-together.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Easy prep. Cherry apple crumble only takes 15 minutes to prepare using two bowls (that means easy cleanup!).
- Crowd-friendly dessert. This apple cherry dessert is perfect for summer entertaining. You can double the recipe, bake it in a 9x13-inch pan, and spoon it into dishes for serving.
- Fool-proof. Apple cherry crisps and crumbles are fool-proof desserts. Whether you measure precisely or not, they are forgiving recipes and will still be delicious.
What's the Difference Between a Fruit Crumble and a Crisp?
I’m a huge fan of both fruit crumbles and crisps. They are equally easy to make and a favorite entertaining dessert. Both desserts begin with a fruit filling and are topped with a buttery mixture. The difference lies in the ingredients and texture of the toppings.
A crumble uses flour, sugar, baking powder, and melted butter, with the option of adding spices. This results in a golden brown topping with a crumbly texture. A crisp (like my strawberry apple crisp) uses flour, butter, sugar, and oats or nuts, creating a crispy and crunchy texture.
Ingredients You'll Need
- All-purpose flour. The key ingredient in the crumble topping. It helps hold everything together and creates the perfect crumble texture.
- Light brown sugar. Adds sweetness to the topping. Because of its higher moisture content than granulated sugar, brown sugar helps prevent the topping from drying out. The molasses in the brown sugar also helps with the browning of the crumble topping. If you prefer, you can use dark brown sugar.
- Baking powder. Adding to the topping will contribute to the crumble texture. It adds a slight lift to the topping, so it is not too dense.
- Cinnamon. Adds flavor to the crumble topping. Add more or less according to your preference.
- Salt. Add a bit of salt to enhance the flavor of the other ingredients in the topping.
- Butter. Adds moisture and a delicious rich flavor to the topping. When mixed with the rest of the ingredients, butter brings everything together. Use unsalted butter to control the amount of salt that goes into the topping.
- Cherries. Select your favorite cherries for this apple and cherry crumble. You can use tart or sweet cherries.
- Apples. Use your favorite baking apple. Use a combination of tart and sweet apples for a delicious flavor. Dice your apples into consistent sizes so that they bake evenly. The larger the dice, the more crunchy the apples will be.
- Granulated sugar. Adds sweetness to the fruit filling and helps to draw out the moisture from the cherries and apples for a delicious syrup-like consistency.
- Lemon zest and juice. Adds flavor to the fruit filling and balances out the sweetness.
- Cornstarch. Acts as a thickening agent for the fruit filling. I prefer cornstarch to flour because it produces a clear filling compared to flour, which can become cloudy. Ensure your filling is bubbling for the cornstarch to thicken it properly.
Note: You can pair tart apples with sweet cherries or tart cherries with sweet apples for this recipe. There are many options to choose from. Always taste your filling before adding it to the pan so you can adjust the amount of sugar added if needed.
The Best Apples for Baking
I often get asked what type of apple is best for crumbles. It all comes down to selecting an apple that holds its structure and doesn’t become mush for pies and crisps. Here’s a list of apples that work well for the cherry apple crumble and other baking recipes.
- Fuji. A juicy and crispy apple with a honey-sweet flavor.
- Braeburn. A crunchy and juicy apple with a mix of tart and sweet flavors.
- Honeycrisp. A versatile apple and favorite for desserts. It has a sweet flavor with a hint of honey.
- Jonagold. This fall apple has the perfect combination of sweet and tart flavor with a crunchy texture.
- Granny Smith. A tart apple that pairs well with any of the above apples but is also delicious on its own.
Butter a 9x9-inch baking dish and preheat the oven to 350°F/177°C.
Make the topping. Whisk dry ingredients and add the butter. Mix until crumbly.
Mix filling. Combine cherries, apples, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and cornstarch.
Transfer to a baking dish. Spread filling in an even layer and sprinkle with crumble topping. Bake until golden brown, and the filling is bubbling.
Recipe Tips & Tricks
As a trained pastry chef I have baked my share of crisps and crumbles for my family over the years. I’ve learned that these essential tips set you up for success.
- Select seasonal fruit. Fresh, seasonal cherries yield the best flavor. Select ones that have shiny skins and are firm and plump.
- Do not overmix the topping. Gently combine the melted butter with the dry ingredients for a light and crumbly texture. Overmixing will create a dense topping.
- Taste the filling. Once the filling is mixed, taste for sweetness and adjust according to your preference. Depending on the time of season, the sweetness of cherries can vary and may need additional sugar.
- Evenly distribute the filling. Spread the cherry apple filling and crumble topping into even layers to promote even baking.
- Completely cool before storing. Allow the crumble to come to room temperature before covering it to prevent the brown sugar crumble topping from becoming soggy.
Fruit crumbles are not only easy desserts to make but also versatile. Unlike cookies or cakes where slight substitutions affect the outcome, you can easily make substitutions and still have the perfect crumble.
- Alternate fruit options. Substitute berries or another fruit for the cherries or apples. Peaches or strawberries (like my peach cherry crisp) would be delicious. You can also omit the cherries and replace them with an equal amount of apples.
- Make a crisp. Add oats to the topping, omit the baking powder, and use cold butter like in my strawberry apple crisp.
- Substitute flour. All-purpose flour also works as a thickener for the fruit filling. You can replace the cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of flour.
- Make it gluten-free. Substitute a good quality cup-for-cup gluten-free baking flour for the all-purpose flour.
Equipment You'll Need
Before baking, read the recipe from start to finish and take out the following baking equipment:
- Digital kitchen scale or measuring cups. Using a scale will give you the most accurate measurements.
- Measuring spoons.
- 9x9-inch baking dish. You can use a glass, metal, or ceramic baking dish to bake crumbles. If using glass, add extra baking time because it takes longer for the glass to heat up.
- Medium bowl.
- Large bowl.
- Rubber spatula.
My husband cannot resist digging into a fresh cherry apple crumble straight from the oven. And he’s right, a crumble is best enjoyed while the fruit is warm and the topping is crunchy (especially with a scoop of vanilla ice cream). But if you have leftovers, here’s how to store them:
- In the refrigerator. Store leftover crumble covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- In the freezer. Place the leftover cherry apple crisp into a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
- Make ahead. Make the crumble topping ahead of time. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or store in a freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Add the topping to the filling and bake without thawing.
Reheating: Re-warm apple and cherry crisp in a preheated 350°F/177°C oven to warm it evenly and ensure the topping is crunchy and not soggy. Bake until the filling is warmed through and bubbly.
You don’t have to peel the apples. I prefer them without skin, but it’s a personal preference.
Yes, you can use frozen cherries completely thawed and strained from excess liquid.
Staple baking ingredients transform into a delicious crumble. You only need flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and butter. I love adding cinnamon for added flavor.
It’s not necessary to cover the crumble. You can use aluminum foil to cover the topping if it browns too quickly.
You can use the apple and cherry crumble filling for a pie filling using your favorite pie crust.
Please leave a starred rating and comment below if you make this Easy Cherry Apple Crumble. I love reading your feedback! And if you’d like to make this recipe later, don’t forget to pin it on Pinterest! Happy Baking!Print