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apple crisp recipe

Healthy Apple Crisp Recipe (GF & Vegan)

  • Author: Elizabeth Rider
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 mins
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Mix, Bake
  • Cuisine: Gluten-free, Dairy-free


This recipe for apple crisp is one of my all-time favorites! It's easy to put together and everyone loves it. If you like, please leave a star rating in the comments below to help other people in our community.

Note: Use an 8x8 baking dish or equivalent.



For the apple layer:

  • 4 firm tart apples (about 1 1/2 pounds), such as McIntosh, Granny Smith or Pink Lady, peeled* and sliced thin
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest (optional but recommended)
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (zest the lemon first)
  • 2 tablespoons water (or bourbon or brandy for an adult twist)
  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot starch OR 1 tablespoon gluten-free flour mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (OR pumpkin pie spice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon high-quality vanilla extract
  • 1 big pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup (OR honey)

For the topping:

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup whole rolled oats (use certified gluten-free oats if gluten-free is desired)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup real maple syrup (OR honey)
  • 1/3 cup coconut crystals (a.k.a coconut sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted grass-fed butter OR vegan butter (such as Earth Balance), diced, OR 1/2 cup coconut oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease your baking dish with coconut oil on a paper towel, or a healthy olive oil cooking spray.
  2. Peel the apples if desired. (I usually peel about half and leave the skin on the other half). Slice the apples into thin (about 1/8-inch) slices. Place the apples in a large mixing bowl, add the rest of the ingredients for the filling, and toss to cover all of the apple slices. Pour into an 8x8 inch (or equivalent size) baking dish. Put the apples—uncovered—in the preheated oven for 15 minutes while you make the topping to allow them to start releasing their juices.
  3. Make the topping. Combine all ingredients except the coconut oil (or substitute) and mix well until the mixture is in large crumbles. Use your fingers or a knife to sprinkle chunks of the coconut oil (or substitute) into the mixture; it should still resemble large crumbles. Carefully remove the apples from the oven, then sprinkle the topping mixture evenly over the fruit, covering the fruit completely. Place the dish back in the oven.
  4. Bake for 40 more minutes to 1 hour, until the top is golden brown and the fruit is bubbly. Check the topping 30 minutes after putting it in the oven. The topping should be crispy and lightly golden. If the topping is getting too dark or crispy, cover with foil for the rest of the baking time. The apples will continue to release juice and soften, so bake no less than 50 minutes total for the best texture. Your apple crisp is not done until the fruit is bubbling around the edges of the dish. Serve warm with coconut whipped cream or vanilla ice cream of your choice.


Healthy Apple Crisp Recipe Tips & Notes:

  • Use tart apples—they make the best apple crisp. McIntosh, Granny Smith or Pink Lady apples are all tart. There are hundreds of varieties of apples, ask your local farmer for more varieties.
  • Apple Crisp is forgiving and flexible. I gave you a bunch of substitutions if needed, but I think it’s best as written above without the substitutions.
  • You can peel the apples or not. I like to peel half and leave the skin on the other half. The skin is full of fiber and adds nice texture.
  • I used maple here because maple goes so well with apples, but you can substitute the maple for honey one for one.
  • The orange zest is optional and adds great flavor. This is a trick that Ina Garten uses in her classic recipe.
  • The purpose of the arrowroot starch is to thicken the filling—it’s a great gluten-free replacement. You can use regular flour or a gluten-free flour blend if desired. However, nut flours or oat flour will not thicken the filling.
  • I use coconut oil to keep this dish vegan, but regular butter works if you tolerate dairy. Choose a grass-fed variety for better health and substitute for the coconut oil 1:1.
  • You can replace the 2 tablespoons of water with bourbon or brandy if serving adults for a gourmet, refined twist.
  • Some people skip the vanilla extract in apple crisp. I like it, but it’s optional. Use a high-quality Madagascar vanilla for the best flavor.
  • I serve coconut whipped cream with my healthy apple crips recipe, but vegan vanilla ice cream (or vanilla ice cream of your choice) work, too. (3-ingredient coconut whipped cream is on my blog).
  • This dessert is also delightful with 1/2 apples and 1/2 pears.
  • To make this recipe no-sugar-added, eliminate the maple syrup and coconut crystals. It will be different and not as sweet, but still delicious. The no-sugar-added version is great for diabetics.

Keywords: Apple Crisp Recipe, Healthy Apple Crisp Recipe, Healthy Dessert