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Fresh Cherry Crisp

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Fresh Cherry Crisp is an easy dessert made from fresh cherries and a crunchy oat topping. It’s a simple dessert that will be on the menu all Summer long!

Fresh fruit desserts are some our favorites! We love all the crisps, crumbles, tarts, and galettes made with fresh seasonal fruits, and this cherry crisp in no exception. Some of our other go-to fresh desserts are apple pie and rhubarb crisp (technically a vegetable but still dessert!).

Close up view of cherry crisp on a plate.

Cherry Crisp Recipe:

I’ve been a fan of cherry crisp going all the way to elementary school. It was one of the 2-3 things I actually liked eating from the cafeteria. As I got older, cherry crisp was one of those desserts that was so simple to make, and I preferred it over pies, cakes, and cobblers. It’s full a flavor, texture, and has all the fruit you can handle.

The oat topping is crunchy, sweet, and tastes lightly of cinnamon. Over the years, I’ve worked to get this topping just right. John has asked me to make just the topping, because it’s that good! Look for a separate recipe coming up for it soon. I have a few different variations for it, too, so you don’t want to miss it.

Your family is going to love this crisp recipe! The cherries are perfectly cooked and the topping is crunchy and light. The cherries are just sweet enough, but still have a touch of tartness. It’s the perfect balance all the way around.

How to Make Cherry Crisp:

  1. Wash and remove the pits from the cherries. Be very careful that you move all the pits. To make this easy, I like to use a cherry pitter and double check them as I go.
  2. Add the flour, oats, butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, and cinnamon to a medium bowl.
  3. Use a pastry cutter to combine the ingredients until butter is completely distributed and no dry, sandy patches remain. Set aside.
  4. In a separate large bowl, combine the cherries, granulated sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Increase the cornstarch slightly if you like a really thick crisp filling.
  5. Pour the cherry mixture into a prepared 2.5 quart baking dish.
  6. Sprinkle the oat topping in an even layer over the cherries.
  7. Bake on 350°F for 30 to 35 minutes.
Collage showing how to make a cherry crisp.

Tips and Variations:

  • Cherries: I used a 2-pound bag of sweet cherries for this recipe. After the pits were removed, they weighed about 1.5 pounds. Any type of fresh cherries will work great. Rainier would taste great, too, and would be beautiful with their lighter color. Frozen cherries will work in place of fresh. Be sure to thaw them out first, and pat them dry before adding the other ingredients.
  • Oat Topping: I used dark brown sugar in these photos, because it’s what I happened to have in the pantry. However, light brown is what I’d normally use if I had it on hand. Either will work. For the oats, I love rolled oats (old-fashioned oats) for the topping. Quick oats will work in a pinch, but they aren’t going to provide the same hearty texture, and they tend to soak up liquid easier making them much softer than rolled oats. Go for rolled oats whenever possible. Don’t use steel cut or instant oats. Neither of those will work.
  • Use Your Hands: I’ve listed a pastry cutter as a way to incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients for the oat topping. My favorite way to get the butter completely mixed is to use my hands. It’s the BEST way to ensure the butter is evenly mixed and all the ingredients are well distributed. There should be no sandy parts to this oat topping and no large butter clumps. It should be very well mixed, so that the topping feels like damp sand that holds together when pressed. I’ve found that the very best way to achieve this result is by using your hands.
  • Spice: If you don’t like cinnamon or can’t eat it, leave it out. Nutmeg is another spice that I’ll toss in sometimes, and it tastes absolutely wonderful. It only takes a pinch; otherwise, it can get overwhelming.
  • Nuts: Add some finely chopped nuts to the topping. Walnuts, pecans, or almonds are great options.
Top down view of a baking dish filled with cherry crisp.

Storage Recommendations:

Room Temperature: This cherry crisp is best served warm or at room temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. We do not recommend storing the crisp at room temperature.

Refrigerator: The crisp should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Any leftovers should be discarded after 4 days.

Freezer: The crisp can be frozen before it’s baked or after it’s baked. Here’s how:

  • Frozen before baking: Assemble the crisp as written in the directions. Wrap in a layer of plastic wrap, then in a layer of aluminum foil. It will stay good in the freezer for about 2 months. To unthaw, place the crisp in the refrigerator overnight, then let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking. Bake as directed.
  • Freeze after baking: Follow the recipe as written, and allow the crisp to cool completely. Wrap the entire crisp in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. It can also be divided into individual servings and wrapped. The crisp will stay good in the freezer for about 2 months. Unthaw by placing the crisp in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat by setting the crisp at room temperature for 30 minutes then baking on 250°F until the crisp is warm all the way through. It can also be microwaved for 30 to 45 seconds depending on the serving size. Reheating in the microwave can cause the topping to soften slightly and lose some of it’s crunchy texture.
Cherry crisp with oat topping on a plate.

Fresh Cherry Crisp

Yield: About 8 Cups
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Fresh Cherry Crisp is an easy dessert made from fresh cherries and a crunchy oat topping. It's a simple dessert that will be on the menu all Summer long!

Ingredients

Crisp Topping

  • 1 Cup Rolled Oats
  • 8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, cubed
  • ½ Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ Cup Brown Sugar
  • ¼ Cup Granulated Sugar
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Cinnamon

Filling

  • 32 Ounces Fresh Cherries, pitted
  • ½ Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • ½ Teaspoon Cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F, and grease a 2.5 quart baking dish.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine oats, butter, flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, and cinnamon. The consistency should resemble damp sand, and there should be no dry patches. Set aside.
  3. In a separate large bowl, combine the pitted cherries, granulated sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and cinnamon.
  4. Transfer the cherries to the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle the oat topping over the cherries in an even layer.
  5. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbly around the edges.
  6. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. See post for storage recommendations.

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1 cup of crisp. Actual calories will vary.

*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 Cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 365Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 139mgCarbohydrates: 63gFiber: 4gSugar: 44gProtein: 4g

*The calories are an estimate and are based on the ingredients and serving size listed. The calories can vary depending on the brand of product purchased.

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