An easy apple crisp recipe that uses lower sugar compared to the traditional recipe, making this fall classic a new healthy favorite. Use gluten free oats as needed! Nut-free and vegan-friendly.
Fall is in the air and we are celebrating the change of seasons with one of the most basic fall recipes ever…
Homemade apple crisp!
It’s apple season which means it’s time to hit up the grocery store sales and orchards for apple picking to use in this healthy apple crisp recipe.
Because who can really say no to such deliciousness?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: fruit dessert recipes often pleasantly surprise me. And I say that because I am a chocolate gal through and through. If I am at a restaurant and I have the choice between fruit and chocolate (or peanut butter) I am almost always going for the latter. But I also love a good apple dessert. Nothing beats warm apples paired with a crispy crumble topping. Top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and we are golden.
Why You’ll Love It
- Easy to make – just make the apple filling and oat crumble topping then bake!
- Lightened up but lots of flavor – we’re making a healthier version by using less sugar than traditional apple crisp. You truthfully don’t need a lot anyway, as long as you use sweeter apples.
- Dietary friendly – this recipe is easy to make gluten-free using certified gluten-free oats, and vegan friendly using plant based butter. It’s nut-free too!
- The perfect fall dessert that doubles as breakfast leftovers – I love enjoying this apple crisp with some yogurt the next morning.
Best Apples for Baked Apple Crisp
I like to use different types of apples for baking this crisp recipe. Here I opted for Granny Smith apples, which will add some tartness to the recipe, along with Honeycrisp apples, which as we all know are deliciously sweet and crunchy. Both varieties hold up well when baking apple recipes.
What You Need for this Recipe
Let’s break down what we need to make this healthy apple crisp
- fresh apples – Here I used a mix of Granny Smith and Honeycrisp, or you could try Jonagold or Cosmic Crisp.
- lemon juice – helps keep the apples from turning brown while you cut them and also cuts the sweetness a bit.
- brown sugar – or coconut sugar if looking for a refined sugar free option.
- tapioca flour – feel free to sub cornstarch, which will help thicken the juices that release as the apples bake. You can probably get away without it if you don’t have either of these. You’ll just end up with a much juicier filling.
- ground cinnamon – because what would an apple crisp be without the addition of cinnamon?!
- vanilla extract – for a hint of floral sweetness.
- rolled oats – using old-fashioned oats will give the oat topping the best texture (compared to quick oats). Note: this recipe does not work with steel cut oats.
- flour – this oat topping is fairly forgiving, meaning you can use a variety of whole grain flours to suit your needs. I used gluten-free 1:1 all-purpose baking flour, but you can also use whole wheat pastry flour, whole wheat white flour, or a mix of all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour.
- brown sugar – to add sweetness to the topping.
- cinnamon – adds warm and big burst of flavor. You can’t do apple crisp without it. If you really like spice, feel free to add in a pinch of ginger and all spice for a little special flavor.
- salt – enhances flavor
- butter – feel free to use a plant based / vegan butter or conventional. Coconut oil can be used in its place, but the topping won’t brown as much and also have a more distinct coconut flavor.
- glass mixing bowls
- measuring cups
- 9×9 casserole dish
Let’s go over the steps to make this easy apple crisp. The most time consuming part of this recipe is cutting the apples, but hopefully you have an extra set of hands to help! If not, enjoy the process and relish in the baked deliciousness once it’s done.
Step 1 – Prepare the apples
Cut the apples into about 3/4″ slices (or chunks!) and mix in a large bowl with lemon juice. Just make sure whichever way you prefer your apples cut, they’re as even as possible so they all bake the same.
Then toss the bowl of sliced apples with sugar, a hint of vanilla, some cinnamon and tapioca flour (or corn starch), which will help act as a thickener.
Lay the apple slices into a greased baking dish and set aside.
Step 2 – Make the oat topping
Next you’ll make the apple crisp topping which is just rolled oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon (+ spices, if using), salt and melted butter. Mix all the crumble ingredients together in a medium bowl until fully combined. Now layer on the oat crumble onto the apples in your baking dish.
Step 3 – Bake it!
Now all that’s left to do is bake until you get tender apples and a nice crispy topping – about 40 minutes at 350ºF.
I love serving homemade apple crisp with ice cream. Vanilla bean or salted caramel is my favorite.
Of course, feel free to use your favorite ice cream (dairy-free alternatives are great too!), or a whipped topping.
If enjoying the next morning, I love serving with a whole milk greek yogurt or skyr.
More Apple Recipes to Try
If you make this recipe, don’t forget to leave a rating and comment below! It helps others learn about the recipe too! Xx AshleyPrint
Healthy Apple Crisp
An easy apple crisp recipe that uses lower sugar and gluten free oats for the best healthy fall dessert. Gluten free and vegan friendly – just use a dairy-free butter and your favorite ice cream as you wish.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 8 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
- 2 lbs apples, about 5 medium apples or 4.5 cups, sliced – Granny Smith and Honeycrisp
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (gluten free as needed)
- 2/3 cup flour (I used 1:1 gluten-free baking flour; see notes)
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground ginger & all spice (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 375ºF and grease a 9×9 baking dish (or similar size such as a 2 quart baking dish); set aside.
- Prepare the apple filling: Add lemon juice to large bowl. Peel and core the apples, then slice the apples into about 1/4″ slices (or about 1/2″ dices) and place in bowl with lemon juice, tossing as you continue to add apples. Then toss apples with sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon and tapioca flour until combined. Transfer apples into greased baking dish, set aside.
- Prepare the oat topping: In a medium bowl combine oats, flour, sugar, spices and salt. Slowly pour in melted butter while stirring together until fully combined – use hands as necessary to make sure the dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Add the oat topping onto the apple slices in the baking dish (no need to press down).
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, until oat topping is slightly golden and mixture along edges is bubbling. Allow pan to rest and cool for 15 minutes before serving with your favorite ice cream or topping.
Flour: The oat topping is fairly forgiving, so you can use an all-purpose gluten free flour blend, whole wheat pastry flour, whole wheat white flour, or a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat. If looking for an alternative combination of flours, try my Strawberry Crisp topping.
To make vegan: use dairy-free or vegan butter. Coconut oil may offer similar results thought the oat topping won’t be as flavorful or crisp in texture.
*If not adding the additional spices in the oat topping, I would add an additional 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon.
- Serving Size: 8
- Calories: 274
- Sugar: 26
- Sodium: 94
- Fat: 10
- Saturated Fat: 6
- Unsaturated Fat: 4
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 47
- Fiber: 4
- Protein: 3
- Cholesterol: 23
Keywords: easy apple crisp, how to make gluten free apple crisp, fall baking with apples