Apple Brown Betty is another easy, sweet option to use up your fall apples! Sweet, tangy, and extra crunchy, this is the perfect fall dessert to give you that cozy, autumnal feel on a cold night.
Don’t forget to make your own Apple Pie Spice for this recipe and don’t forget try my Apple Scones and Baked Apples as well!
Table of Contents
Apple Brown Betty
Brown betty is the simpler cousin of the apple crisp or the apple crumble, and it is pretty much a requirement to make one at least every year once apple season starts to come to a close.
Make sure you pick up the right apples for this recipe – you don’t want to be eating red fuji apples in this, as it will end up super mealy!
Apple Brown Betty Ingredients
Make sure you look at the recipe card at the very bottom for the exact amounts.
• Tart apples
• Granulated sugar
• Apple pie spice
• Lemon juice
• Brown sugar
• Salted butter
How To Make Apple Brown Betty
• Grease a 9×13 baking pan
• Whisk together the sugar and apple pie spice in a small bowl
• Place the prepared apples in a medium bowl, and then toss with the sugar and apple pie spice
• Turn out onto the greased pan and sprinkle with lemon juice
• In a medium bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, and butter until crumbly
• Sprinkle over the top of the apples in an even layer
• Bake at 375 Fahrenheit for 35 minutes until the apples are soft enough to pierce with a fork
• Cool slightly and serve with vanilla ice cream
What Is The Difference Between a Brown Betty and an Apple Crisp?
Apple brown betty probably isn’t a particularly well-known dessert outside of North America, and the fact that it would seem so similar to another dish, apple crisp, probably doesn’t help.
However, there is a key difference between the two – an apple crisp is made from a butter, sugar, flour, and oat topping, creating a sort of craggily, crackly layer on top of the apple filling.
A brown betty, meanwhile, is made using only flour, butter, and sugar, (sometimes bread crumbs as well!) which makes for a finer, delicate topping that is still quite crunchy. This little difference might not seem like much, but it actually creates a substantial difference in both the texture, taste, and even cooking time of your brown betty.
Which one is better? Well, that’s up to you, and depends on how thick and intense you prefer the crusts on your baked dishes.
The Best Kind of Apples to Use
Everyone knows that you need to only use tart cooking apples for these kinds of dishes; however, why is that the case?
Regular eating apples, like Red Delicious or Fuji, are a lot sweeter, but their flesh is also a lot less rigid. This makes them great to bite into, but when cooked, they start to turn mealy and mushy way before the entire filling is properly cooked.
Cooking apples, meanwhile, have a tougher, more resilient texture that holds up better to longer cooking times. Plus, they tend to be a lot more acidic – the extra acidity in, say, a Granny Smith doesn’t make for a very tasty apple when eaten raw, but it helps to balance out the flavor and mouthfeel of the cooked apples after a little while in the oven.
Try and stick to the classics, like Granny Smith, Braeburn and Honey crisp, as these will have the best possible flavor and work best in a longer cooking time like apple brown betty needs to become really delicious.
Looking for more delicious Dessert recipes? Try these out:
• Cinnamon Spice Upside Down Apple Cake
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Apple Brown Betty
- Prep Time
- 20 minutes
- Cook Time
- 35 minutes
- Karlynn Johnston
- 6 cups tart apples peeled and sliced
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup salted butter
Bread Crumb Option
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs see notes for substituting
- Preheat your oven to 375 °F. Grease a 9×13 baking pan and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar and the apple pie spice.
- Place the prepared apples in a medium bowl then toss with the sugar and the apple pie spice. Turn out into the prepared pan, then sprinkle the lemon juice on top.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar and butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over top of the apples in an even layer, patting it down lightly.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until the apples are soft enough to pierce with a fork and the topping is crisp and golden brown.
- Remove and let sit for 10 minutes, then scoop into bowls and serve with vanilla ice cream.
- You can sub out 1/2 cup of the flour and replace with breadcrumbs for a different version of apple brown betty!
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.
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Not sure why you would post a recipe on someone’s food blog. Also insulting it by saying yours is more authentic. Wow.
Here is the Original Apple Crisp recipe, No. 20, from B. C. Tree Fruits Limited, Kelowna, B. C. — and this is the only way I’ve ever known apple crisp. The version with oats is, to me, American — and dreadful tasting — but this original version is no longer listed at B.C. Fruits on their webpage. I make a larger version of this original recipe, but I still have the pale blue tissue paper with the recipe on it, that was acquired by my grandmother nearly 100 years ago.
6 medium size B.C. apples
1/3 granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
Peel the apples and slice into a buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with the granulated sugar and cinnamon. Combine the butter, flour and brown sugar, and spread mixture on top of the apples. Bake about 30 minutes in a moderate oven (350 deg. F.) until apples are soft and top is a golden brown. Serves 6.
The version I make has more of everything, but no difference in the ingredients. And, certainly no oats!
Don’t seem to be able to edit my own input, so will add a “reply” to myself instead. As you can see from the old B. C. Tree Fruits Limited recipe, this “Brown Betty” is an apple crisp of olden years.
First, a correction: should read 1/3 cup granulated sugar. The word “cup” went missing.
Second, a comment on the apples. Yes, a tart apple is better, for sure. When I cook with apples, I use exclusively MacIntosh (or, McIntosh, or Mackintosh — I’ve seen all those spellings over the decades). I use them precisely because they are tart and also soften to a mushy state when cooked. If there is one thing I do not like, it is crunchy apples in a cooked dish — and I also cut smaller than shown above, to aid in the softening process while cooking. I note someone else has commented similarly below about under-cooked apples in pies — something of a pet peeve of mine, too.
Unfortunately MacIntosh are becoming very, very hard to get, as farmers are stopping production of them saying nobody wants them any more. Seems to be a self-fulfilling end result, if they don’t provide them, we can’t buy them.
Third, a comment on what I actually do. Adding some flour (instant blending flour is useful in this case, just a sprinkle tossed onto the apples) along with the sugar will help make a more syrupy consistency. I also add some brown sugar to the apples directly, not all white granulated sugar. I bake it until it bubbles up over the sugar/flour/butter topping at the edges, as well, meaning it is really well cooked and soft. I start it at 400 degrees, then lower it to 350 after about 12 minutes. I also put butter dotted in with the apples, and use some brown sugar. And, I press the topping in tightly, not loosely resting on the apples, especially at the edges where it meets the baking pan.
As my original posting noted, I make a much bigger quantity as well. It is important to “grease” the dish, which is mentioned in Ms. Johnston’s recipe, and for that I also use only butter. And, I do not use a 9 x 13 pan as mentioned, simply because it is way too shallow — most are only 2 1/2 inches deep. I use at a minimum a loaf pan (takes a good 8-10 apples), and sometimes a square Corning-ware dish that is at least four or five inches deep, and fill it almost full with apples before pressing on the topping.
It is just my way, of course, but it is a variation that works well, and makes lovely thick dish. It is, essentially, the same recipe as Ms. Johnston’s, which is quite similar to the B. C. Tree one, but tweaked to make a thicker, dish, with more apples in ratio to the topping, and using apples that will not remain in hard chunks.
The biggest problem with this recipe is it seems that the bottom of the pan is very liquidy; shouldn’t the apples cook until they are nice and soft, thus making a thick syrup rather than a watery one? I bought an apple pie from Costco one year, and when I got it home, it was basically still raw; it was a baked pie, but the apples were really not baked; I like my apples to be really well cooked, I mean, if I want a raw apple I will just eat one.
Judy L says
I’m enjoying trying out your recipes. I have a recipe for Apple Brown Betty that’s probably more authentic than this one. I found this recipe in a 30-page pamphlet from the food editor of the Detroit Free Press over 50 years ago. It came in a Welcome Wagon basket delivered to my front door when we moved into a new neighborhood in Detroit.
I’ll bet I haven’t made this recipe since we moved to Houston in the early 70’s. I marked it with a star and the page has plenty of cooking stains on it, so I must have made it often!
Apple Brown Betty
1/3 c melted butter or margarine
2 c fresh bread crumbs
6 c sliced, pared cooking apples
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 t nutmeg
1/4 t cinnamon
1 T grated lemon rind
2 T lemon juice
1/4 c water
1- Toss melted butter with bread crumbs; arrange one-third in a greased one and one-half quart casserole; cover with half the apples and half the combined sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and lemon rind.
2- Add another one-third of the crumbs, the remaining apples and remaining sugar mixture; spoon on combined lemon juice and water and top with remaining crumbs.
3-Cover and bake in a 375-degree oven 30 minutes; uncover and bake 30 minutes longer or until the apples are done; serve warm with cream, whipped cream, cream cheese softened with a little milk or ice cream.
Exactly as written! I think I’ll make it again tonight, it’s been a long time. I hope you’ll try it, too.