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!
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 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!
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!
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.
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. 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 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.
tip! If you need this recipe to be nut-free just swap the nuts for additional oats!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.