Healthy Apple Crisp with a warm apple filling, crisp cinnamon oat topping served with a scoop of ice cream is the perfect fall dessert! It’s simple, sweet and delicious!
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Warm healthy apple crisp is cozy, comforting and everything you could want in a fall dessert. It’s like homemade apple pie but much easier!
It’s the best way to use fresh apples. Well, other than making healthy apple bread, that is!
This healthier crisp may be lightened up, but it still has all the classic taste of the original dessert with tender apples, a naturally sweetened maple filling, and crisp buttery cinnamon oat topping.
Right out of the oven it’s warm, gooey, and perfect with a scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream!
Why You Will Love This Recipe
Traditionally apple crisp recipes have tons of butter and sugar but not this one.
- Whole grains: Whole wheat flour gives the topping a nutritional boost.
- Naturally sweetened filling: I swapped refined white sugar for a maple syrup filling that is the perfect amount of sweetness.
- Versatile: Gluten free or dairy free concerns? This recipe can be made to fit your dietary preference.
Simple, wholesome, real food ingredients make this apple crisp delicious!
- Flour: I love whole wheat flour as it contains more fiber than refined white all purpose.
- Oats: Old fashioned oats (gluten free if needed) for your crunchy topping.
- Maple syrup: Just a small amount for a perfectly sweet filling.
- Apples: I used a mix of Granny Smith and Honeycrisp apples for a perfect balance of tart and sweet.
- Cold butter: This helps make your topping crumbly.
- Sugar: Cane or coconut sugar is best for the topping and using regular sugar gives it that brown toasty top.
- Cinnamon: The perfect warm spice to pair with apples.
- Vanilla extract: Pure vanilla extract for best taste.
How to Make Healthy Apple Crisp
Easy apple crisp couldn’t be simpler to make! Just follow these few steps.
Make crisp topping: Add flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder in a medium bowl and stir to mix. Cut in butter with a pastry blender, fork or hands until well combined.
Prep apples: Peel using a vegetable peeler or I love the Johnny apple peeler. Then core and slice them.
Season apples: In 8×8 square baking dish, combine apples, vanilla, maple syrup, cinnamon and stir to coat.
Add topping: Spread apple mixture into an even layer and sprinkle crumble topping on top.
Bake: For about 35 minutes or until golden brown and top is set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Topping with vanilla ice cream is a must for my family, it’s so good!
Substitutions and Variations
Apple crisp is very versatile! Here are some common substitutions.
- Gluten free apple crisp: Use gluten free all purpose flour in the topping.
- Dairy free: Coconut oil can be subbed for the butter.
- Apple crisp without oats: Skip the oats and add an extra 1/3 cup flour and 1/4 cup sugar (more like a crumble).
- Other fruit: Could be used or added in a combination. Think berries, sliced peaches or pears. Dried raisins or cranberries would be great, too!
- Nuts: Add some chopped walnuts or pecans to the topping for more crunch.
- Vanilla: Try a splash of bourbon instead, yum!
What’s the Difference Between a Crisp and a Crumble?
While similar in their fillings, the difference between a crisp and crumble lies in the topping.
A crisp always contain oats in its topping and sometimes nuts, to give it that crispy topping!
A crumble in comparison uses mainly butter (or coconut oil), flour, and sugar to give it a softer topping. I add applesauce to my topping in blueberry crumble bars for a softer topping.
What Are the Best Apples to Use?
I love to use a mix of Granny Smith apples and Honeycrisp. Both varieties hold up well in baking and have the perfect balance of crisp, tart, sweet textures and taste.
Other common apple varieties used in baking are Gala, Fuji, Braeburn or Golden Delicious. Use a mix of apples for a delicious depth of taste.
How to Make It Ahead of Time?
This is a great idea for meal prep or if you want to serve it warm out of the oven to guests at a dinner party!
Make the apple filling but add juice of 1/2 lemon. Lemon juice prevents apples from browning. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 day. Make the crisp topping and refrigerate in another container.
When ready to bake, combine in dish and cook as directed.
- Store: Refrigerate leftover apple crisp covered for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or oven until warmed through.
- Freeze: Cook and cool completely. Then cover with a double layer of aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge, then reheat in a 350 degrees F oven for 20-25 minutes or until warmed through.
There is nothing better IMHO then a scoop of vanilla ice cream with warm apple crisp! Vanilla bean, french vanilla, or dairy free, all are great. Whipping cream or even some vanilla Greek yogurt would be delicious.
Yes if you want to have that gooey, caramelized texture that makes a crisp so delicious. You can also keep the skin on as it will sort of soften during baking.
While I am sure technically you could, recipe has not been tested with quick oats and rolled oats will provide the best texture in the topping.
Yes! Gluten free all purpose flour would be your best choice. I have not used almond flour, oat flour, or coconut flour to test this apple dessert.
More Healthy Apple Recipes
Healthy Apple Crisp
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a medium bowl, add flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and stir to mix. Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender, fork or hands until well combined. Refrigerate while you prepare the apple filling.
- Peel, core and slice apples. I like to use Johnny apple peeler.
- In 8 x 8 square baking dish, add apples, vanilla, maple syrup, cinnamon and stir to coat. Spread apples into an even layer and sprinkle crumble topping on top evenly.
- Bake for about 35 minutes or until golden brown and top is set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
- Serve with vanilla ice cream.
- Store: Refrigerate leftovers covered for up to 3 days.
- Make ahead: Make the apple filling but add juice of 1/2 lemon. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 day. Make the crisp topping and refrigerate in another container.
- Freeze: Cook and cool completely the apple crisp. Then cover with a double layer of aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge, then reheat in a 350 degrees F oven for 20-25 minutes or until warmed through.
- Gluten free: Substitute gluten-free flour and oats.
- Apple crisp without oats: Skip the oats and add an extra 1/3 cup flour and 1/4 cup sugar.