Healthy Apple Crisp with Oatmeal Topping

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This healthy apple crisp is lightly sweetened with maple syrup and features a crunchy oatmeal topping. This recipe is sure to be a fall family favorite!

Riddle me this — what do you do when you have four big bags of fresh apples sitting in your kitchen after a fun day of apple picking?!

You make a homemade apple crisp!

The apples are baked to caramel-y perfection while the oatmeal topping gives the crisp a crunchy texture. I love the apples, but the oatmeal pecan topping is totally what makes the dish. Of course, you have to remember that this is coming from the girl who loves all things crunchy — crispy muffin tops, granola, the edges of bread… bring on that crunch!

Round dish with an apple crisp topped with three scoops of vanilla ice cream. Two serving spoons are in the crisp.

What Makes This Apple Crisp Healthy?

The great thing about this particular apple crisp is that it’s relatively healthy in comparison to traditional recipes…

  • I swapped traditional brown sugar for coconut sugar
  • I used coconut oil instead of butter
  • I used almond flour instead of traditional all-purpose flour
  • I used hearty rolled oats as the base of the crisp topping
Apple crisp topped with vanilla ice cream. Serving spoon is in the crisp.

Apple Crisp vs. Apple Crumble

Depending on where you live, apple crisp and apple crumble may mean the same thing! In the United States, they are slightly different dishes. Apple crisp is baked apples topped with a mixture of oats, nuts, sugar and spices. Apple crumble is also baked apples but is topped with more of a streusel mixture of flour, sugar and butter. No matter what you call it, they’re both delicious!

Ingredients measured out to make apple crisp: apples, maple syrup, oats, lemon, almond flour, coconut oil, nuts, coconut sugar, arrowroot powder, nutmeg, salt and cinnamon.

Here’s What You Need

  • apples – the star of the show here! I like using a combination of tart and sweet apples. Granny Smith, Honeycrisp and Pink Lady are all great options!
  • old-fashioned rolled oats – for the crisp topping! Oats are naturally gluten-free but are often cross-contaminated during processing, so if you need this crisp to be gluten-free, make sure you look for oats that say “gluten-free” on the package. I like using Bob’s Red Mill gluten free old fashioned rolled oats.
  • almond flour – we’re using almond flour to keep this recipe gluten-free. I haven’t tested this crisp with a different flour, but I have a feeling that all-purpose flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour will work just fine for the topping. If you try it, please let me know in the comments.
  • chopped nuts – I prefer using pecans or walnuts, but you can definitely sub in another nut like almonds. To make the topping nut-free swap the pecans with additional oats.
  • coconut sugar – brown sugar works as well! This is a part of the oat mixture.
  • arrowroot powder – helps thicken the apple mixture. Cornstarch works as well.
  • coconut oil – keep the coconut oil in solid form to help make the topping more crumb-like. You can also use vegan butter in place of the oil.
  • maple syrup – just a little bit of added natural sweetness for the apple mixture.
  • lemon juice – helps prevent the apples from browning and brings out the flavors in the dish!
  • seasonings and spices – cinnamon, nutmeg and sea salt.
tip! If you need this recipe to be nut-free just swap the nuts for additional oats! 
Collage of 6 photos showing the steps to make an apple crisp. From making the oatmeal toppings, to tossing apples with maple syrup and cinnamon, and topping it all with oatmeal topping.

What Variety of Apple is Best For Apple Crisp?

Not all apples are great for baking. When choosing apples for baking you want apples that are firm and keep their structure under heat and don’t turn into mush after baking. The crisp and firm Granny Smith and Honeycrisp varieties are the most popular when it comes to baking. Pink Lady, Golden Delicious, Braeburn, Fuji, Cortland and Jonagold are also great options. Feel free to use just one variety or use an assortment of varieties for an added depth of flavor. I like to use both sweet and tart apples in this crisp!

How to Serve Apple Crisp

Served warm, this apple crisp is absolutely delicious on its own, but if you really want the full experience I recommend serving it with some toppings. Here are some ideas:

  • ice cream – I love eating it with Halo Top Creamery vanilla ice cream, which is a low cal/low sugar ice cream that actually tastes pretty darn good!
  • yogurt – add creaminess and protein by adding yogurt as a topping! Pro tip: whip the yogurt in a food processor for a light and airy texture.
  • whipped cream – can’t go wrong with classic whipped cream!
  • coconut whip – looking for a dairy-free option? I love topping this apple crisp with coconut whipped cream!
  • caramel sauce – want more caramel-y flavor? Drizzle my date caramel sauce over top!
Bowl of apple crisp topped with vanilla ice cream. A spoon is in the bowl.

Can You Make This Crisp Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can totally make this crisp ahead of time, which is perfect if you’re serving it for Thanksgiving dessert and have a ton of other dishes to make. There are a couple of options that work really well.

OPTION 1: BAKE AND THEN REHEAT BEFORE SERVING

Prepare your crisp as the recipe suggests. Once baked, let it cool, cover the baking dish and place it in the fridge. You can do this 1-2 days in advance. When ready to serve, take your crisp out from the fridge, cover with foil and reheat in a 350°F oven for about 20 minutes.

OPTION 2: PREP AS MUCH AS YOU CAN WITHOUT BAKING

Simply prepare your crisp as the recipe suggests without baking it. Cover your dish with foil, place it in the fridge and then bake it as directed below before you’re ready to serve.

Apple crisp in a dish with a serving spoon and topped with ice cream. A bowl of apple crisp, ice cream and spoon is next to the large apple crisp.

How to Store Leftovers

After allowing it to cool, store in an airtight container. Leftovers will store well at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I don’t recommend freezing leftovers because I don’t think the crisp topping will hold up.

Looking For More Apple Recipes?

Healthy Apple Crisp

5 from 40 votes
This healthy apple crisp is lightly sweetened with maple syrup and features a crunchy oatmeal topping. This recipe is sure to be a fall family favorite!
Round dish with an apple crisp topped with three scoops of vanilla ice cream. Two serving spoons are in the crisp.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 cups apples, about 6 medium apples, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • teaspoon sea salt

Topping

  • 1 cup organic brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1 cup rolled old-fashioned oats, gluten-free, if needed
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • ½ cup coconut oil, not melted, or vegan butter

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Make the topping by mixing together sugar, rolled oats, almond flour and nuts. Add butter or coconut oil and combine until topping is crumb-like. Set aside.
  • Add apple slices to a large bowl with maple syrup, lemon juice, arrowroot powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Gently toss until all apple slices are coated.
  • Transfer apple mixture to greased 8×8 square baking dish or a 9-inch round pie pan.
  • Sprinkle crisp topping over apple mixture.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the apple filling is bubbly and the top is golden. Check the crisp around 30 minutes in. If the crisp seems to be browning too quickly, cover with foil for the remaining 15-20 minutes.
  • Cool on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes.
  • Serve warm with ice cream or whipped topping.
  • Store in an airtight container. Leftovers will store well at room temperature for 2-3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Video

Notes

  • Sugar: Recipe works with brown sugar or coconut sugar. If you’d like for the crisp to be less sweet, feel free to cut the sugar back to 1/2 -3/4 cup instead of 1 cup!
  • Nuts: Feel free to use your favorite nut in place of the walnuts or pecans. If you need this recipe to be nut-free just use more oats in place of the nuts. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving Calories: 264kcal Carbohydrates: 42g Protein: 2g Fat: 11g Saturated Fat: 2g Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g Monounsaturated Fat: 2g Sodium: 106mg Potassium: 82mg Fiber: 3g Sugar: 28g
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: healthy apple crisp, vegan apple crisp

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

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Recipe Rating




    83 comments
    1. Sarah J Rohrer
      September 4, 2021 AT 8:41 pm

      5 stars
      This was excellent! The only change I made was I halved the amount of coconut sugar I used! It was perfect.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        September 7, 2021 AT 1:49 pm

        Woo!! So pumped you enjoyed this recipe, Sarah! Thanks so much for the review and star rating. I so appreciate it!

    2. Jules
      August 29, 2021 AT 9:26 pm

      5 stars
      Hi Brittany! It’s Jules from the Conscious Cleanse! I made this for the family tonight with locally picked apples. It’s was a hit! “Best one yet” said one kid. Thought you and your readers might like to know that I successfully subbed cassava flour in place of the almond flour. It worked beautifully. Keep up the good work!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        August 30, 2021 AT 10:27 am

        Woo!! So pumped to hear this recipe was a hit! Thanks for letting me know about the cassava flour and thanks for the review, Jules! It means so much to me :).

    3. Christy
      August 17, 2021 AT 9:51 pm

      5 stars
      Made this recipe tonight. My husband had it doubts when I told him I was making a healthy apple crisp. But at the end this recipe is the best apple crisp I have ever had/ made. Kids and husband agreed. They were arguing who is going to get to eat the rest. I ended up making it with oat flour because I used the last of my almond flour making your chicken parmesan recipe for dinner tonight. (Which was also amazing) Then used walnuts because I didn’t have pecans. Thank you for this amazing recipe.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        August 18, 2021 AT 10:59 am

        Ah! This makes me so happy to hear, Christy! So pumped everyone loved this recipe so much! Thanks so much for the review and star rating. It means so much to me!

    4. Abbey
      March 31, 2021 AT 1:41 pm

      5 stars
      Made this and are the whole thing in two days with my husband – tastes amazing with ice cream!!!!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        March 31, 2021 AT 7:13 pm

        Woo! So glad it was a hit! Thanks for the review, Abbey. I so appreciate it!

    5. Christalynn Stultz
      February 3, 2021 AT 8:31 pm

      5 stars
      Awesome recipe! always in the habit of reading the comments on recipes I’m considering, I noticed no one had tried this yet with flour and posted the results so I thought I would give you some feedback. Turned out wonderfully I added some extra pecans because I love pecans and I used coconut oil, half coconut sugar and half brown sugar as I had seen a few other commenters had done. A new family favorite! Just so wonderfully crisp too. Thank you!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        February 4, 2021 AT 1:55 am

        Woo!! So glad this recipe is a hit with your family. Thanks for coming back to leave a review, I so appreciate it!

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