Healthy Apple Crisp

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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, IMO!

A healthy apple crisp topped with three scoops of ice cream.

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
Two servings of apple crisp with forks.

What is The Different Between Apple Crisp and 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 for the filling of Healthy Apple Crisp: apples, maple syrup, cinnamon, arrowroot powder, sea salt, lemon juice and nutmeg.

Ingredients Needed

Filling

  • apples – the star of the show here! I like using a combination of tart and sweet apples. My favorite varieties are Pink Lady and Honeycrisp apples!
  • arrowroot powder – helps thicken the apple mixture. Cornstarch works as well.
  • 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.
Ingredients measured to make topping for Healthy Apple Crisp: coconut sugar, coconut oil, almond flour, walnuts and oats.

Crumble Topping

  • coconut sugar – brown sugar works as well!
  • old-fashioned rolled oats – 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.
  • 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 oil – keep the coconut oil in solid form to help make the topping more crumb-like.
Collage of 6 photos showing the steps to make Healthy Apple Crisp: tossing apples with spices and then topped with crumble in a dish and baked.

How to Make

Make topping: In a medium bowl combine the sugar, rolled oats, almond flour and nuts. Add butter or coconut oil and combine until topping is crumb-like. Set aside.

Make filling: 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.

Top: Transfer apple mixture to greased 8×8 square baking pan or a 9-inch round pie pan. Sprinkle crisp topping over apple mixture.

Bake: Place baking dish in preheated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the apple filling is bubbly and the top is golden brown. 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 and serve: Cool for 5-10 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped topping.

A serving of healthy apple crisp.

Substitutions & Notes

  • Almond flour: I haven’t tested this crisp with a different flour, but I have a feeling that oat flour, 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.
  • Rolled oats: You can’t substitute the rolled oats for steel cut oats, but quick oats should work.
  • Arrowroot powder: Cornstarch will work as a substitute.
  • Nuts: Feel free to use your favorite nut in place of the walnuts or pecans. Almonds would be a nice option.
  • Oil: You can swap the coconut oil with vegan butter or regular butter if you don’t need this recipe to be vegan.
  • Maple syrup: Any liquid sweetener like honey or agave will work as a substitute.
  • Coconut sugar: Feel free to use brown sugar instead if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Nut-free: If you need this recipe to be nut-free just swap the nuts for additional oats and the almond flour for all-purpose flour or oat flour.
  • Low-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!
  • Other fruit: If you’d like to swap the apples with another fruit pears would be a good substitute. You could also make this peach crisp or blueberry crumble instead!
Apple slices coated in spices.

What Are The Best Apples to Use 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!

A serving of apple crisp topped with ice cream.

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!
Healthy apple crisp in a baking dish with a serving spoon.

Can You Make This Crisp Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can totally make this apple crisp recipe 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.

Healthy apple crisp in a baking dish.

How to Store Leftovers

At room temperature: Leftovers will store well at room temperature for about 2 days.

In the fridge: For longer storage, store this apple crisp in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

In the freezer: I don’t recommend freezing leftovers because I don’t think the crisp topping will hold up.

Reheating: This crisp is delicious warm, at room temperature or cold straight from the fridge, but if you want to reheat leftovers I recommend reheating it in the oven or a toaster oven for the best results. The microwave will work for reheating, but it will, but it will make the crumble topping soggy and not as crisp!

Apple Crisp FAQ’s

Do I have to peel the apples?

No! This is totally a personal preference. I’ve made this crisp with both peeled and unpeeled apples and both are delicious! If the skin doesn’t bother you then you can totally skip peeling the apples, which will save time! Once the apples are cooked the skin will soften so it’s hardly noticeable.

Can I double this recipe and make it in a 9×13 pan?

I haven’t tried it, but it should work just fine. When it comes to the bake time the crisp might need a few more minutes, but I’d just keep an eye on it.

My topping is browning too quickly in the oven. What should I do?

If you notice that your topping is browning too quickly you can cover it with tin foil to prevent it from burning!

Looking For More Apple Recipes?

Be sure to check out all of my apple recipes as well as the full collection of dessert recipes here on EBF!

4.74 from 106 votes

Healthy Apple Crisp

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!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients  

  • 6 cups apples, about 6 medium apples, peeled (or unpeeled) 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

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.
    Oatmeal topping mixture in a bowl.
  • 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.
    Apple slices in a bowl mixed with spices and sugar.
  • Transfer apple mixture to greased 8×8 square baking dish or a 9-inch round pie pan.
    Apple slices arranged in a baking dish.
  • Sprinkle crisp topping over apple mixture.
    Apple slices topped with oatmeal mixture in baking dish.
  • 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.
    Healthy apple crisp in a baking dish.
  • 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

    • Almond flour: I haven’t tested this crisp with a different flour, but I have a feeling that oat flour, 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.
    • Rolled oats: You can’t substitute the rolled oats for steel cut oats, but quick oats should work.
    • Nuts: Feel free to use your favorite nut in place of the walnuts or pecans. Almonds would be a nice option.
    • Oil: You can swap the coconut oil with vegan butter or regular butter if you don’t need this recipe to be vegan.
    • Maple syrup: Any liquid sweetener like honey or agave will work as a substitute.
    • Coconut sugar: Feel free to use brown sugar instead if that’s what you have on hand.
    • Nut-free: If you need this recipe to be nut-free just swap the nuts for additional oats and the almond flour for all-purpose flour or oat flour.
    • Low-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!

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

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: healthy apple crisp
Did you make this recipe?Mention @eatingbirdfood and tag #eatingbirdfood!

About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

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Recipe Rating




150 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I was looking forward to having some left for me to eat the next day… none was left it was finished quickly. Everyone who tried it loved it. I am glad I have a few more apples left to make a new batch I will be taking to a family gathering, making sure to save an extra piece for me.

    1. Ah I am excited to hear that this was such a hit, Vicki. Thank you so much for coming back and sharing your review + star rating, I so appreciate it.

  2. 5 stars
    Delicious! I served this without any topping; very yummy on it’s own. So easy to make; not too sweet. Perfect Fall dessert!

    1. YUM! I am so glad that you loved this recipe, Bridget. Thank you so much for sharing your review + star rating, I really appreciate it.

      1. This is such a good recipe! It was eaten instantly 😊 I didn’t have almond flour with me, but used coconut flour and it tasted perfect!

        1. WOO! This is the best, Chloe. I am so glad you’re enjoying this recipe and it turned out fabulous for you. Thank you for sharing your review + star rating, it means so much to me!

  3. 5 stars
    My family loves this recipe and everyone always goes back for seconds! It’s criminally delicious and hubby always loves coming home to the apple cinnamon smell emanating from the kitchen 🙂

    1. Ah yay! I am excited to hear that you and your family are loving this recipe, Diana. Thank you so much for sharing your review & star rating, it truly means a lot to me!

  4. 5 stars
    I made this for Thanksgiving and even the guests who don’t have allergies were raving about it! This dessert will be making an appearance at all future gatherings in our home. Thank you, EBF!

    1. Yay! I am so glad you and your guests loved this recipe, Piper. Thank you so much for sharing your review + star rating, it means so much to me.

    1. Excellent. I am excited to hear that you this recipe was a hit, Sally. Thank you for sharing your review + star rating, I appreciate it!

  5. 5 stars
    Do you think I could double this recipe and put it in a 9×13 pan? If so, how long do you think I should bake for? Also, do you think I would be able to prepare this the night before, cover it, then bake it the following day? Or would the apples not be that great cut up for that long? Thanks again!

    1. Hi Melissa – Yes, I have 2 options for making this recipe ahead of time you can bake and then reheat before serving or prep, put into fridge and bake when you’re ready. All of this is mentioned in the blog post above. For doubling this recipe, it should work just fine, I would just keep an eye on it, it might need a bit more time, but I haven’t doubled this recipe so I am not sure exactly how much more. I hope you enjoy this recipe!

  6. 5 stars
    This crisp was absolutely delicious! I used oat flour instead of almond, and it tasted spot on! I also used sliced almonds, which added to the “crisp” factor. I served it with vanilla ice cream, and everyone was scraping their bowls and heading back for 2nds. Thanks again for yet another yummy recipe:)

    1. WOO! This makes me so happy to hear, Laurel. I am so glad you enjoyed this recipe and it turned out great for you. Thank you for sharing your review & star rating, it means the world to me.

  7. 5 stars
    This recipe was AMAZING!!!! SO SO SO GOOD!!! And very easy to make. I’m currently making it again for the 2nd time. I could eat the whole thing myself! 🤤🤤🤤

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