Skillet Bacon Apple Crisp with Salted Bourbon Caramel

4 reviews

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This Skillet Bacon Apple Crisp is the ultimate apple crisp. Bacon and a salted bourbon caramel beautifully compliment the tart apples in the crisp. By cooking this apple crisp in a skillet, it comes out perfectly cooked with the serving dish built right in!

Skillet Bacon Apple Crisp served on a white plate, with a text overlay that reads, Skillet Bacon Apple Crisp.

Homemade Apple Crisp

This recipe rose to fame when I cooked it during the finale episode of Food Network’s show BBQ Brawl. I was a finalist and competing for the title of Master of ‘Cue. When the judges asked for a dessert to serve with our whole hog, I knew exactly what to make! While I didn’t win the episode, this homemade apple crisp with bacon stole the show. Michael Symon finished his entire bowl, and World Champion pitmaster Chris Lilly asked for seconds. It actually WON the dessert challenge, so I feel like you need to get it on your next BBQ menu, ASAP!

Apple crisp is a early fall staple in our house. The weather is absolutely perfect for grilling in the evenings, and this sweet apple dessert just makes everything feel and smell like autumn.

Tender, crisp apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg bubble away under a buttery crust laced with bacon and brown sugar. The whole thing is topped with a salted bourbon caramel that will knock your socks off. Serve with a side of vanilla ice cream, and this homemade apple crisp just can’t be beat. You can always bake this in your oven, if needed, but cooking on your grill with apple wood infuses the dessert with a layer of smoky flavor that really makes this apple crisp sing. If you’ve never baked dessert on your grill, this is apple crisp recipe is a great place to start!

Skillet Apple Crisp

I make this apple crisp in a 12 inch cast iron skillet . Cast iron is pretty important on a grill because it helps distribute the temperature evenly. Even still, make sure to turn your crisp halfway through cooking since you’ll have higher heat on one side. In addition to allowing the apple crisp to cook evenly, baking in a cast iron skillet allows you to serve straight from the pan.

If you are cooking on a propane or charcoal grill, you can really benefit from purchasing a small grill top smoker box and wood chips. These are fairly inexpensive and allow you to add real wood smoke flavor to your foods without worrying about tending a wood fire. If you don’t want to get a smoker box, you can get a similar effect with a foil pouch filled with wood chips and punctured all around to allow the smoke to escape.

Quick tip: I usually prep everything in the afternoon and then put the crisp on the hot grill while we are sitting down to dinner. The smell of it cooking is enough to get my kids to eat every single veggie on their plate so they can have a bowl full of dessert. This dessert is a family favorite, and we hope you love it as much as we do!

Arial view of Skillet Bacon Apple Crisp served on a white plate.

How to Make Apple Crisp

Making an apple crisp in a skillet is delicious and fairly easy. Simply follow these step-by-step directions, and you’re well on your way to eating the best apple crisp of your life!

  1. Heat your skillet and grill. Preheat a 12″ cast iron skillet on High heat. Preheat your grill to 375 degrees F. I used apple chips for this apple crisp.
  2. Cook the bacon. Place the bacon pieces in the skillet and cook them until they are crisp. Remove the bacon and drain the majority of the bacon fat, leaving approximately 1 Tablespoon of bacon fat still in the skillet.
  3. Mix the apple filling. In a large bowl, combine the apples, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest, and salt. Stir gently. Pour the apple filling into the skillet with the bacon fat.
  4. Make the apple crisp topping. In another bowl mix the ingredients for the topping (bacon pieces, oats, flour and sugars). Stir in cold butter pieces with a fork. Press on the butter and mix until the butter breaks down into small pieces. The crisp topping should look like coarse sand. Sprinkle the apple crisp topping over the apple filling.
  5. Cook the apple crisp. Place your skillet on the indirect side of the grill, close the lid, and cook for 40-45 minutes. Turn the skillet halfway through cooking. Cook until the apples are tender and the crisp is golden brown.
  6. Prep the salted bourbon caramel. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, simmer water and sugar for 15 minutes until it turns a warm amber color. Turn off the heat and add heavy cream, stirring frequently. Add in the bourbon and salt, and stir to combine. Set aside to cool.
  7. Assemble and enjoy. When the crisp has finished cooking, top it with the salted caramel, and serve with a side of vanilla ice cream.

More Cast Iron Skillet Recipes

Do you love cooking in your cast iron skillet? If so, check out more delicious recipes cooked in a 12″ cast iron skillet from Hey Grill Hey!

Skillet Cornbread
Buffalo Chicken and Pierogy Skillet
Skillet Potatoes

Skillet Bacon Apple Crisp Recipe

Follow the recipe, and I’ll teach you the simple steps to making your own skillet apple crisp at home. Hey Grill Hey is dedicated to help you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero. You can find more of my smoking and grilling recipes and videos on YouTubeInstagram, or our Facebook Page.

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Skillet Bacon Apple Crisp

5 from 4 votes
This Skillet Bacon Apple Crisp is the ultimate apple crisp. Bacon and a salted bourbon caramel beautifully compliment the tart apples in the crisp. By cooking this apple crisp in a skillet, it comes out perfectly cooked with the serving dish built right in!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Servings8 people


Apple Filling

  • 4 lbs crisp apples peeled, cored, and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • pinch of salt

Apple Crisp Topping

  • 4 strips bacon cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup instant oats
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 8 Tablespoons cold salted butter cut into very small pieces

Salted Bourbon Caramel

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 Tablespoon bourbon
  • pinch of salt


  • Preheat a 12 inch cast iron skillet on High heat. Add the bacon pieces for the crisp topping to the skillet and cook until crisp. Remove the cooked bacon and drain most of the bacon fat from the pan, reserving about 1 Tablespoon in the pan.
  • Preheat your grill to 375 degrees F for two-zone cooking (this recipe will be using the indirect side of the heat), and fill your smoker box with apple chips. While your grill heats, start assembling ingredients for the crisp.
  • In a large bowl, combine the ingredients for the apple filling. Stir gently to combine and pour into the skillet with the bacon fat.
  • In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients for the apple crisp topping. Then stir in the cold butter pieces with a fork, pressing on the butter and mixing until the butter is in small pieces and the topping mixture resembles coarse sand. Sprinkle the mixture over the apples.
  • Place the skillet on the indirect side of the grill, close the lid and cook for 40-45 minutes (turning the skillet halfway through cooking) or until the apples are tender and the crisp topping is golden brown.
  • While your crisp bakes, prepare your salted bourbon caramel sauce. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, simmer the water and sugar together until it turns a warm amber color (about 15 minutes). Turn off the heat and stir in the heavy cream. The caramel with bubble up, so stir quickly. Pour in the bourbon and salt and stir to combine. Set aside to cool slightly until the crisp is done.
  • When the crisp is finished, serve with vanilla ice cream and the warm salted caramel.


Calories: 677kcal | Carbohydrates: 108g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 195mg | Potassium: 350mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 88g | Vitamin A: 910IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!

**This post was originally published September 2016. It has since been updated with more information and helpful tips. The recipe remains the same.



Susie is the BBQ Brain behind the Hey Grill Hey website. Her passion for smoked meats and developing fun, new recipes have landed her on the Food Network, cooking turkeys with Shaq, and on a couple of Guinness World Records. When she’s not grilling, she is hanging out with Todd and their three kids, preferably outdoors!

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Recipe Rating

Reader Reviews

8 Reviews

  1. Lisa Murphy says:

    I love any recipe from your site and new of you before pit masters! Anyways, I didn’t know of this dessert till I saw the last episode. I made it and oh my!! No wonder you won the dessert round! This was fantastic! The only thing I changed was just a tad more bourbon in the caramel after it cooled. I think next time, I might try doing candied bacon in the oven and chopping that up and leaving some bacon fat from that to add to the skillet for the apples. I’d give this 10 stars if I could!

  2. kathy says:

    hey i am disabled and cannot do a grill. could you please leave instructions for people like me whom must use an oven? disabled people are sorely neglected in every category but you could make a difference. i have enough experience to know how to bake but others may not. if you could pick up the disabled community and figure out how to help , i believe it would be a huge boast . i cannot due grills but many can. this is a huge missed opportunity for the BBQ community

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      Most of my recipes can be replicated in the oven exactly as they are written, you just won’t get the smoky flavor. After all, a smoker is just a big, outdoor, wood-fired oven!

  3. Heidi says:

    Oh man! Wish could show you my picture. THE BEST EVER!
    Loved it!

  4. Michele says:

    Hi there

    If I smile at 375 will I get enough smoke flavour??

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      With that high of a temperature you’ll get little to no smoke flavor unfortunately.

  5. Robert Pevehouse says:

    My mouth is watering just thinking about how delicious this must be! A recipe I will HAVE to try real soon!

  6. Lynn Dimick says:

    I made this for my daughters birthday and she and her three kids at the whole thing and were begging for more. It was amazing.

    I did use prune juice as a non-alcohol substitution for the bourbon.

    My mother in law said that it reminded her of minced meat.