Fall into autumn with this delicious apple crisp with cake mix and granola. Drizzle with caramel sauce and serve with a scoop of ice cream for the ultimate fall dessert.
Others may go crazy for pumpkins, but to us, apples are the quintessential fall fruit. Apple pie filling should be a major food group during this season. But fall is also a busy season for most of us with the kids back in school, sports, shorter daylight hours, and the start of the holiday season. That’s where this easy dessert recipe comes in to save the day.
You don’t even need your mixer to make this easy apple crisp. Instead, you’ll spread the layers of apple pie filling, brown sugar, cake mix, butter, and granola in layers and let the oven do all the work.
Plus, it’s an easy recipe made with basic pantry ingredients, so the apple cake crisp is as frugal as it is mouthwatering.
Seriously, it’s the best apple dessert for holidays or anytime you’re craving that apple flavor.
This section includes ingredient notes and substitution options. Get all measurements, ingredients, and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
- Spice Cake Mix — The warm flavors of spice cake mix pair perfectly with apple pie filling for a scrumptious fall dessert. Gingerbread cake mix is a great alternative. Use gluten-free cake mix if you have gluten sensitivities.
- Apple Pie Filling — Use your favorite brand of canned apples or make homemade apple pie filling. It’s so easy!
- Dark Brown Sugar — Dark brown sugar has a deeper molasses flavor than light brown sugar. Either will work in this simple recipe, though.
- Oat and Honey Granola — Super crunchy and loaded with delicious honey flavor, this makes the perfect topping for an apple crisp. Try cinnamon granola if you can’t find this version.
- Butter — I prefer unsalted butter for most dessert recipes. Make sure the butter is melted so it pours evenly over the cake mix layer. The moisture from the butter and the apple filling make a delicious, buttery spice cake layer.
- Caramel Sauce — Ooey, gooey caramel makes this easy apple crisp taste even more decadent. I like to whip of a pot of this quick and easy 5-minute caramel sauce but you can use storebought as well.
Equipment You’ll Need
Grab the following kitchen tools to make this apple crisp dump cake:
- 9×13 baking dish
- measuring cups
- oven mitts
- non-stick cooking spray
- serving spoon
How to Make Apple Crisp With Apple Pie Filling
This section shows you how to make the recipe with step-by-step photos and instructions. For the full printable recipe, see the recipe card below.
Step 1: Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F. While it’s preheating, spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
Step 2: Dump the two cans of apple pie filling into your baking dish. Use a spatula or spoon to spread the apples evenly over the bottom of the pan.
Step 3: Sprinkle dark brown sugar evenly over the apple pie filling.
Step 4: Sprinkle the dry cake mix over the apples and brown sugar. Melt the butter in the microwave, heating in 15-20 second increments until melted. Then, pour melted butter over the top of the cake mix, spreading it as evenly as possible.
Step 5: Spread granola evenly over the top. Place the apple crisp cake in the oven uncovered for about 45 minutes. It is done when the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out without any cake mix on it. Note that you may find apple pie filling on the toothpick — this is okay as long as it’s clear of cake mix.
Step 6: Serve the cake fresh out of the oven while it’s still warm. Drizzle caramel sauce over the top, and add a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.
Serve this homemade apple crisp warm out of the oven or reheated in the microwave until warmed through. Drizzle caramel sauce on top, and add a dollop of whipped cream if you’d like. It’s also excellent with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Storage and Freezing
Store leftover cake mix apple crisp in an airtight container (or the baking dish covered with plastic wrap) in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Storing it for a longer period may result in soggy granola.
To freeze apple crisp dump cake, place individual servings in freezer-safe containers or freezer-safe bags for up to 3 months. Note that freezing may reduce the crispiness of the granola layer.
Apple Crisp Recipe Tips and Tricks
- If you don’t have any cooking spray, grease the baking dish with butter.
- Don’t worry about letting this easy dessert cool to slice it. It’s scoopable right out of the oven — that’s when it tastes best. Dig in with a spoon to dish out servings to your family.
- Make sure all of your layers are as even as possible for even cooking.
- Ensure that you have butter over the entire cake mix layer. Use your spatula to spread it around, if needed.
- The cake can be left at room temperature safely for about 24 hours. For any time beyond that, refrigerate or freeze it.
Additions and Variations
Swap the sugar. If you don’t have dark brown sugar, substitute light brown sugar instead. Light brown sugar is just lighter on the molasses flavor.
Use a different cake mix flavor. Gingerbread cake mix is a wonderful option for holiday baking! The spices are very similar to a spice cake mix, so it will work beautifully. Use yellow cake mix or white cake mix if you prefer it over the spice cake version.
Add vanilla. For depth of flavor and a little extra flavor, add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the apple pie filling.
Try a different granola flavor. Instead of oat and honey granola, swap it for cinnamon raisin granola or classic granola. Alternatively, you can sprinkle rolled oats over the top if you don’t have granola on hand.
Add crushed nuts. If your granola doesn’t include nuts, add some crushed pecans or walnuts. They pair perfectly with cake mix apple cobbler!
While it may vary from one recipe to the next, you should not cover this apple crisp for baking. Leaving it uncovered helps the top get crispier.
According to allrecipes.com, the difference is in the streusel topping. An apple crisp’s topping contains oats (or in our case, granola), while the apple crumble does not.
A dump cake is a super easy dessert that involves ‘dumping’ the ingredients into a baking dish instead of mixing the ingredients in a bowl first.
Of course! Just make sure you have the equivalent of two 21-ounce cans. Our homemade apple pie filling is equivalent to a can of apple pie filling, so just double the recipe.
More Apple Recipes You’ll Love
Craving more apple desserts? These no-fail recipes will tantalize your taste buds all season long.
- Apple Pie Cupcakes
- Apple Pie Crescent Rolls
- Cinnamon Roll Apple Upside Down Cake
- Apple Nachos
- Caramel Apple Crumb Cake
- 1 (15.2 ounce) box of spice cake mix, unprepared
- 2 (21 ounce) cans of apple pie filling
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar, loosely packed
- 2 cups oat and honey granola
- 2 sticks of butter, melted
- ½ cup caramel sauce
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Dump the apple pie filling into the baking dish, and spread evenly over the bottom.
- Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the apple pie filling.
- Spread dry spice cake mix over the apples and brown sugar. Pour melted butter over it, making sure to spread it as evenly as possible.
- Spread granola evenly over the top. Place the cake in the oven, uncovered, for about 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out without any cake mix on it. You may find apple pie filling on your toothpick, which is fine.
- Drizzle caramel sauce over the cake and serve warm, fresh from the oven. It's delicious served with whipped cream.
Store apple spice dump cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Longer storage times may cause the granola to get soggy.
Freezing this dump cake may reduce the crispness of the granola layer, but it can be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months, if needed.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 483
The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by a third party and intended to serve as an estimate only. The accuracy of nutritional information is not guaranteed.