This Gluten-Free Apple Crisp Recipe is so good, you might forget it is healthy, too. This delicious dessert is full of tender baked apples and sprinkled with an old-fashioned oatmeal crisp topping. Learn how to bake a simple and tasty treat that can also easily be made vegan!
Best Apple Crisp Recipe
Do apples remind you of back-to-school events and that Fall is just around the corner?
Nothing is more reminiscent of the cooler Fall months than a freshly baked gluten-free apple crisp.
The aroma of apples baking in the oven with hints of cinnamon and spice alert anyone who enters your home that they are in for a special treat.
And not to mention the beautiful golden color of the caramelized apples and crisp apple crumb topping.
While claiming that this is the best apple crisp recipe can be risky since I might set your hopes too high…
… I believe this one rises to the occasion.
Not only is this easy apple crisp with oats a perfect balance of crunchy, sweet, and spice, but it is secretly made gluten-free and healthy by using refined sugar-free coconut sugar and a gluten-free flour blend.
And bonus, you can even make it vegan if you have some non-meat eaters coming over.
It’s delicious with just about any of the different apple varieties you can find during peak season, and the warm spices in this great recipe just might make it your favorite dessert.
The simple ingredients you need to make this easy apple crisp include:
- Apples. Well, duh! Generally, you want fresh apples that are on the sweeter side and not overly juicy. Gala were used in the testing of this recipe and can easily be found in your grocery store. Fuji were also tested in a different batch. You can also go for Honeycrisp apples, Golden Delicious, or Braeburn for the apple filling. You can use Granny Smith apples, but they aren’t as sweet. (Here’s more on all the Types of Apples.)
- Butter. A vegan butter substitute or coconut oil can be used in place of butter if you need this recipe to be dairy-free.
- Sugar. Coconut sugar is used in this recipe to make it refined sugar-free. However, feel free to use regular white sugar or brown sugar instead.
- Lemon Juice. Just a hint of acidity helps to balance the sweetness of the apples.
- Apple Pie Spice. This spice mix tastes best when made at home. It can also be found in your spice aisle and is a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
- Crisp Topping. Just like any fruit crisp, a simple blend of butter, sugar, flour, oats, pecans, and cinnamon is mixed together to make a flavorful topping that adds the perfect texture. (Be sure to choose gluten-free flour and certified gluten-free oats if needed.)
How to Make a Gluten-Free Apple Crisp
Below you will find the steps for the preparation and assembly of this simple gluten-free apple crisp at home:
Make the Topping
An apple crisp or crumb topping is normally made from a combination of butter, flour, and sugar. Sometimes, like in this recipe, nuts or oats are also used.
Combine softened butter and sugar in a medium-sized or large bowl and mix together with a fork or pastry blender or cutter. Do not use melted butter for the best results.
Add flour, old-fashioned oats, coarsely chopped pecans, and cinnamon.
Cut the mixture until all of the dry ingredients are well incorporated with the butter and sugar and a coarse crumb forms.
Peel and Slice the Apples
Now that you have your apples selected, it’s time to peel, core, and slice them for this crisp recipe.
You’ll first want to use either a potato peeler or a really sharp knife to peel and remove the skins.
Next, cut the flesh of the apple off, leaving the core intact. Discard the apple core.
Cook’s Tip: Cutting the apples too thin will result in an overly mushy texture while cutting them too thick will give you undercooked apples.
Prep the Filling
First, preheat the oven to 350℉.
Add butter to a large skillet over medium heat with apples, sugar, apple pie spice, and salt. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the filling become slightly tender. Turn off the heat and stir in lemon juice.
Spray a 9×13-inch pan with cooking spray and pour apples into the greased baking dish.
Top and Bake the Crisp
Sprinkle crumble topping all over the top of the apple mixture.
Bake in the preheated 350℉ oven for 30-35 minutes or until the crispy oat topping is lightly golden brown and crunchy and the baked apple filling is tender.
The best way to serve apple crisp is with a scoop of ice cream or with a dollop of coconut whipped cream. For a real treat, try it with a drizzle of caramel sauce.
Meal Prep and Storage
- How to prep ahead: You can prepare this recipe up to 24 hours in advance. It is better to wait until the day of serving to bake it in the oven for the best taste and texture.
- How to store: Any leftovers will keep well in the refrigerator covered in plastic wrap or aluminum foil for up to 2 to 3 days. However, the texture will get slightly mushier and not quite as crisp the longer it is refrigerated.
- How to freeze: Apple crisp is best frozen BEFORE baking. But you can freeze a baked crisp, as well. Be sure to tightly wrap the crisp and freeze for up to 3 to 4 months.
- How to reheat: Warm this crisp back up in the oven to restore a crispy texture. Or, you can use the microwave.
The recipe you’ll find below is already gluten-free and vegetarian as written. Here are some adjustments and substitutions you can make to help it fit your other dietary requirements:
- Dairy-free: Use a dairy-free butter alternative or coconut oil.
- Vegan: Opt for vegan buttery sticks.
- Nut-free: Leave out the pecans.
What’s the difference between apple crumble and apple crisp?
In general, both a crisp and a crumble contain butter, flour, and sugar in the topping, but the main difference is a crisp also has oats and nuts. A crumble is also usually more clumpy than a crisp.
What kind of apples are used for apple crisp?
The best apples for an apple crisp are ones that are sweeter, firmer, and not super juicy. This will yield a flavorful crisp that also has a great texture. Get all the details on the different types of apples.
What is apple crisp topping made of?
An apple crisp topping is a mix of butter, flour, sugar, oats, nuts, and spices. You can customize it to your preferences and dietary needs by using a gluten-free flour or substituting vegan buttery sticks for butter.
Expert Tips and Tricks
- Change it up. You can use different types or even a combination of apples for a great apple crisp.
- DIY. It might surprise you how easy it is to make your own spice mix.
- Just soft enough. Be sure the butter isn’t melted in the crisp topping.
- Make it work. It’s easy to substitute ingredients, like coconut sugar, gluten-free flour and oats, or vegan butter, to make it work for your dietary needs.
- Top it off. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream when enjoying this easy apple crisp recipe.
Other Healthy Dessert Recipes
You don’t have to feel guilty about enjoying dessert when you make any of these healthy recipes.
More Apple Recipes
Want a few other healthy apple recipes?
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- 3 lbs. apples peeled, cored, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 2 Tbsp. butter or vegan butter substitute
- ½ cup coconut sugar or white sugar
- 1 tsp. apple pie spice
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Apple Crisp Topping:
- 6 Tbsp. butter softened, or vegan butter substitute
- ⅓ cup coconut sugar or white sugar
- ⅔ cup flour gluten-free 1-to-1
- ½ cup oats old-fashioned, gluten-free
- ½ cup pecans coarsely chopped
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Add butter to a large skillet over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add sliced, peeled, and cored apples, coconut sugar, apple pie spice, and salt. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until apples become slightly tender.
- Turn off heat and stir in lemon juice.
- While apples are cooking, add coconut sugar and softened butter to a medium-sized bowl. Using a fork or a pastry cutter mix the ingredients together. Add oats, flour, pecans, and cinnamon and continue cutting them together until the mixture forms coarse crumbs.
- Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and pour apples into the pan. Sprinkle crumb topping all over the apples.
- Bake apple crisp in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until topping is lightly browned and crunchy.
- Serve apple crisp with vanilla ice cream or coconut whipped cream and enjoy!
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.