With a nip in the air that can go straight to your bones, fall is the season to fill your home with comfort foods that warm up your body and spirit. Cranberry apple casserole does just that.
Apples and cranberries are sweetened with brown sugar and cinnamon and then baked with a hearty oaty crumble. A dish that feeds a crowd, you can make this simple and quick casserole to add to your spread the next time you have people over for brunch.
The soft jammy fruit and crunchy topping of this breakfast casserole create layers of textures and flavors that are bright, fresh, and perfect for the autumn season. Try pairing it with a steamy cup of hot apple cider or wassail for a meal that will fill your senses with fall.
I also like to add a dollop of Greek yogurt on top. Dairy cuts through the interplay of tartness and sweetness in this dish, so you could also try whipped cream, whipped mascarpone, or just leave it on its own.
When you make this dish, you should make sure that you stir the cranberry and apple well to ensure that the fruit is fully coated in sugar, spices, and flour. This will help ensure that the casserole bakes properly and that you aren’t left with any clumps of flour in your dish.
What You Need to Make Cranberry Apple Casserole
Cranberry apple casserole requires a few things, but most that you likely already have. You will need cranberries, apples, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, oats, salt, baking powder, butter, and flour.
You can use any kind of apple you like in this dish. I use Granny Smiths because I like their firmer texture and tarter flavor, but you can experiment with other apples you like to bake with.
You can also use frozen cranberries. If you use frozen and bake in a ceramic dish, I recommend letting the baking dish warm up before you put it in the oven. The frozen berries will make it very cold and you could risk shocking your dish.
- Cranberries, fresh or frozen
- Granny smith apple
- Rolled oats
- Brown sugar
- Baking powder
This recipe requires a peeler, a knife and cutting board, a bowl, and a 6 x 9-inch casserole dish. You may want to use a decorative casserole dish because you will serve it straight from the dish. Or, think about using a neutral color that sets off the bright red cranberries for an eye-popping treat that will invite guests to dig into it.
Although the casserole bakes for 45-50 minutes, you do not need a lot of time to prepare this recipe. Sometimes it even tastes better the next day, so you may want to make it a day ahead.
How To Make Cranberry Apple Casserole
Peel the apples. Cut them into small cubes, around a ½ inch.
Add cranberries, chopped apple, cinnamon, brown sugar, flour, and salt to a bowl and mix.
Put the oats, remaining flour, baking powder, brown sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add cubed and softened butter and, using your fingers, blend the butter into the oats. Blend with your figures until the butter breaks down into small pea-sized pieces. You can also use a pastry cutter or fork if you prefer.
Preheat your oven to 375ºF. Grease your pan lightly and add the fruit mixture and its juices. Add an even layer of the topping. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the juices inside the crumble are bubbling. Remove and allow to cool before serving.
What else can I put in this cranberry apple casserole?
You can customize this breakfast casserole to the flavors and textures that you like. You could add ginger, nutmeg, or cardamom to the fruit, and add in pecans, walnuts, or almonds to the topping for a little more crunch and richer, earthier flavor. You can also use sweeter apples like gala for a sweeter taste, or honey crisp for an apple that still has tartness.
What if my casserole is runny?
You want the casserole to have some liquid in it when it comes out of the oven, but you also don’t want the fruit to be swimming in liquid. The pectin in cranberries and apples usually means that the casserole will set as it cools (think about homemade cranberry sauce), so there should be some liquid bubbling when you take it out.
If it looks like your casserole has a lot of extra liquid or is runny, you have a few options. First, try baking it more. If the top has browned, cover the dish very loosely with aluminum foil and continue to bake. You can also add a little extra flour, or cornstarch if you have it, to your fruit before you bake it.
Cranberry Apple Casserole
- 4 cups cranberries fresh or frozen
- 1 to 2 medium to large granny smith apples
- 1 ½ cups dark brown sugar
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 6 tbsp tbsp softened butter
- 3 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking powder
- Preheat your oven to 375ºF.
- Grease a 6 x 9-inch casserole dish.
- Peel and finely chop 1-2 granny smith apples. Cut apples to roughly ½ inch in size.
- In a bowl, toss together 4 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen, chopped apples, ¾ cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Pour into the casserole dish.
- In a bowl, put 1 cup rolled oats, 6 tablespoons softened butter cut into cubes, ¾ cup brown sugar, 1 cup flour, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon salt. With your hands, blend the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is in small, pea-sized pieces.
- Sprinkle the oat topping over the fruit.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling, the topping is golden brown, and the mixture has reduced.
- Allow the casserole to cool before serving.
- Serve with whipped cream, yogurt, whipped mascarpone, or on its own.
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Arielle is a food and drink photographer based in Washington, D.C. She was previously a social science researcher before she fell in love with photography.