Cranberry Pear Crisp

Scooping up the pear cranberry crisp in a bowl with ice cream.

If you love warm, fruity cobblers, crisps and crumbles, this Fresh Cranberry Pear Crisp with Herbs is sweet, tangy and luscious. This pear dessert is easy to make and is ready in about an hour. When you’re craving fall flavors, these baked pears with tart, zingy cranberries topped with brown sugar, spices and old-fashioned oats makes this pear crumble a winner every time. Delish with a scoop of vanilla.

Peeling and coring the pears.

I admit to sometimes being a lazy cook… Rather than fussing over intricate layer cakes, or batch after batch of cut out cookies, I’m much more apt to toss a bunch of fruit into a casserole dish and top it with a sweet, crunchy topping. It’s easy. That’s why this pear crumble is a winner. Quick and satisfying without a full on baking commitment.

For the filling:

  • Pears (D’Anjou or Bartlett work well)
  • Fresh Cranberries
  • Lemon (Zest & Juice)
  • Brown Sugar
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Thyme
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • Cornstarch Slurry

Herbs in Pear Crumble?

I know what you’re thinking. Why would you add herbs to baked pears? Herbs are savory and we’re making a pear dessert… Well, here’s my rationale… Rosemary has a kind of piney quality and fresh thyme is floral and lemony. Neither of these additions is overpowering, rather they just play a supporting role to the baked fruit and crumble topping. If you don’t have any herbs on hand… or if you want to skip them, you can. This pear crisp will still be amazing, but the herbs add a nuanced flavor that elevates this homestyle fall dessert.

What’s the Difference Between Pear Crisp and Pear Crumble?

The term “crumble” originated in England and it described a baked fruit dessert that had a crumbly topping of flour, butter and sugar, but no oatmeal. Crisps have oatmeal which would “crisp” as the dessert baked in the oven. Over the years the two words have become interchangeable.  This recipe does use oatmeal in the brown sugar topping, thus it’s technically a pear crisp… but a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, right?

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Topping Ingredients:

  • Flour
  • Brown Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Ground Ginger
  • Chopped Fresh Thyme
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Oatmeal

Tips For Blending Butter into Dry Ingredients

Make sure the butter is very cold (or even frozen) before mixing it into the dry ingredients. 

Cut the butter into small cubes and use a pastry cutter to cut it into the flour mixture until small pea-sized crumbs form. This is the standard way of blending butter with dry ingredients, but check out this other method {below} which makes quick work of the crumble topping.

METHOD 2: Working quickly, grate the frozen butter on the large holes of a box grater. Transfer it to the flour and brown sugar mixture and toss until evenly combined.

Assembling Baked Pear Dessert

  1. Spread the fresh cranberry and pear mixture evenly in a prepared baking dish.
  2. Top the fruit with crumble topping.
  3. Dot the top of the crisp with a little extra butter and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the pear crisp is golden and the filling is bubbly.
  4. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

The baked pears and fresh cranberries fill the house with such heavenly aromas and the oatmeal crisp topping is scented with fall spices and herbs. It’s an irresistible, tummy rumbler.

Baked pear and cranberry crisp.

What To Serve With Fresh Cranberry Pear Crisp

  • Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Butter Almond Ice Cream
  • Cinnamon Ice Cream
  • Southern Pecan Caramel Sauce
  • Whipped Cream
  • Flavored Whipped Cream – (add a tablespoon of maple syrup  and a dash of cinnamon to whipped cream and mix to blend.)
Spooning the cranberry crisp into a bowl.

More Pear Desserts:

More Crisps & Crumbles:

Adding a scoop of ice cream to the pear cranberry crisp.

More Fall Desserts:

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A bowl of pear crisp with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
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5 from 3 votes

Fresh Cranberry Pear Crisp with Herbs

This is a “not too sweet” dessert with the fruit taking center stage and the delicate herbs adding a floral back note. You need to try this one!
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cranberries, fall dessert, pears
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 10


For the Crisp Topping

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme chopped
  • ½ cup chilled (or even frozen) butter (1 stick) divided
  • ¾ cup rolled oatmeal

For Fruit Filling

  • 5 pears (D’Anjou or Bartlett work well) about 2 pounds; peeled, cored, diced
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • juice of one lemon
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme chopped
  • ½ teaspoon fresh rosemary chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 teaspoon water


  • Preheat the oven to 375°. Spray a 2 quart casserole dish with vegetable spray and set aside.
  • Peel the pears and cut them in half vertically. Use a melon baller to scoop out the seeds and discard. Cut pears into a 1/2″ dice and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Add lemon zest and lemon juice to the pears and toss to coat. Add the brown sugar, chopped thyme, rosemary and salt. Add the slurry and toss again to combine. Stir in the cranberries and set aside.


  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg & brown sugar and whisk together.
  • Make sure the butter is very cold or even frozen. Reserve 1 tablespoon of butter. Use the large holes on a box grater to quickly grate the remaining butter and add it to the flour mixture. Toss to combine. Stir in the oatmeal.
  • If you don’t have a box grater, slice the butter into small cubes and use a pastry cutter to cut it into the flour mixture.


  • Transfer the pear and cranberry mixture to the baking dish and spread evenly in the pan. Sprinkle handfuls of the crumble to the pear and spread in an even layer over the fruit. Cut the remaining butter into small pieces and dot them over the top of the crumble.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes or until fruit is tender and crisp is golden. Note, if the crisp is browning too quickly, rest a piece of aluminum foil over the top to stop the browning process.
  • Let the crisp rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Spoon into shallow bowls and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (optional)


From wikipedia: Arrowroot makes clear, shimmering fruit gels, is used in cooking to produce a clear, thickened sauce, such as a fruit sauce. It will not make the sauce go cloudy, like cornstarch, flour or other starchy thickening agents would.
However, if you don’t have arrowroot – you can substitute cornstarch.


Calories: 321kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 209mg | Potassium: 181mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 331IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 1mg

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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    This looks so great! I love the combination of pears and cranberries and I LOVE baking with fresh herbs, too! The addition of thyme and rosemary is so perfect!