This healthy gluten-free apple crisp recipe is packed with warm spices, oats, nuts, and crisp Granny Smith apples. The beauty of this fall dessert—you’d never know it was made healthier or gluten-free. It doesn’t skimp on flavor one iota!
This recipe is:
- Warm – like spice warm
- Easy to make
- Make-ahead friendly
- Just sweet enough
What you’ll need for this healthy apple crisp recipe:
- Granny Smith apples
- Old-fashioned oats
- Almond flour
- Pecans (or whatever nut you prefer)
- Coconut sugar
- Unsalted butter
- Olive oil
- Cinnamon and nutmeg
- Bourbon (optional, but tasty)
- Arrowroot starch or cornstarch
- 8×8-inch baking dish (or a 2-quart baking dish)
How to make healthy apple crisp (step-by step images)
Gluten-free apple crisp
This gluten-free apple crisp is made with no refined flour—instead it features old-fashioned rolled oats and almond flour. Just be sure to seek out certified gluten-free oats if necessary.
Fruit crisps are easy to make gluten free—nothing needs to rise during baking and gluten formation isn’t necessary. All of this means you can swap out the flour for something a bit more nutritionally dense (and something gluten-free!) without requiring a long list of ingredients.
Healthy apple crisp
I want to stipulate—just because something is gluten-free doesn’t mean it’s healthy. I developed this to be healthier than classic apple crisp recipes and to be gluten-free (inclusivity ya know).
When developing healthyish desserts, my goal is to create desserts that are equal to their predecessor in character while being made intentionally with wholesome ingredients. And that’s on full display in this apple crisp recipe!
A quick rundown of how this apple crisp is healthier than classic recipes:
- Decreased the overall fat content.
- Substituted some of the butter with extra-virgin olive oil.
- Added no refined flour, and instead opted for whole-grain old-fashioned oats, almond flour, and nuts for a granola-like topping.
- Added no brown sugar or white sugar, and instead use natural coconut sugar.
- Used Granny Smith apples instead of sweeter varieties.
This apple crisp recipe is a great example of how we cook around here—healthyish. Here at ZK we make smart ingredient swaps to create healthier, more nutritious, and more wholesome dishes without sacrificing on flavor.
Which is why you still see butter in this recipe! A good apple crisp just needs butter. But it doesn’t need a cup or even half of a cup of butter—a quarter cup does the job wonderfully.
It’s also why I still use sugar. I just use a more wholesale option, and I use less of it. Because I want you to taste all of the components—not just sweetness.
BAKING WITH COCONUT SUGAR
Nowadays it’s pretty easy to find coconut sugar. If you’ve never bought it before, look for it in the baking aisle next to the other sugars.
I prefer coconut sugar over most refined sugars (regular cane and brown sugar) because it’s far less processed. But let me be clear, it’s still sugar and it’s still metabolized like sugar in your body.
However, one of the benefits of coconut sugar is that it has a lower glycemic index than refined sugar. This means it’s metabolized slower in the body and causes a lower and slower rise in blood sugar levels.
Now that you have coconut sugar, you may be curious how else you can use it. You’re in the right place! Use coconut sugar in these Healthy-ish Cinnamon Rolls, Homemade Graham Crackers, Healthier Puppy Chow, and Fruit Tart with Mascarpone Whipped Cream & Whole-Wheat Olive Oil Crust.
Best apples for apple crisp
I prefer to use tart and crisp apples, like Granny Smith, for apple crisps. For one thing, their tart flavor balances nicely with the sweet topping and the coconut sugar they’re cooked in.
And second, their crisp texture holds up well to longer bake times. Because of this, the apples can bake long enough to develop flavor and achieve a crisp topping without becoming overcooked and mushy.
If you prefer a slightly sweeter filling, substitute half of the apples with Honeycrisp or Braeburn. And if you prefer an uber traditional and sweet filling, use Golden Delicious, Jonagold and/or Braeburn.
How to store apple crisp
Homemade apple crisp will last up to 4 days in the refrigerator covered tightly with plastic. Reheat individual servings in the microwave for 1 minute on high. Or reheat multiple servings in the baking dish in a 300-degree oven for 5–10 minutes.
Variations on this healthy apple crisp recipe
- Swap the cinnamon and nutmeg for more bold spices like clove, allspice, or cardamom.
- Swap the pecans for sliced or slivered almonds, walnuts, and/or pepitas (pumpkin seeds).
- Use sweeter apples (Honeycrisp, Braeburn, Golden Delicious, and/or Jonagold) for a sweeter filling.
- Add some shredded unsweetened coconut to the topping mixture for additional flavor and texture.
More apple recipes you may like…
- Healthy Deconstructed Apple Crisp (great for make-ahead meals!)
- Skillet Apple Pie (I developed this while working at Cuisine at Home Magazine!)
- Slow-Cooker Apple Crisp
- Puffed Apple Pancake
- Apple Bourbon Smash
- Gruyère and Apple Toast with Thyme & Honey
- Harvest Cobb Salad
Gluten-free desserts you may like…
- Cherry-Almond Crisp
- Eggnog Cookies
- Healthier Puppy Chow (use a combo or rice and corn cereal)
- Gluten-Free Oreos
- Grapefruit & Campari Tea Cakes
- Crisp Peppermint Cookies
- Chewy Gluten-Free Black Tahini Cookies
Make sure to tag me @ZESTFULKITCHEN ON INSTAGRAM or tag #zestfulkitchen on social media if you make a recipe!
Don’t forget, if you make this Healthy Apple Crisp, leave a comment and rating below!
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Full of warm spices, a splash of bourbon, and coconut sugar, this homemade healthy apple crisp recipe is full of fall flavor!
Made with tart Granny Smith apples, old-fashioned oats, almond flour, and pecans, this dessert is saucy, crunchy, and crispy. Plus, it’s gluten-free, which makes it perfect for a crowd!
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted (or ghee, or coconut oil)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg*
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅓ cup packed almond flour (or almond meal)
- ¾ cup old-fashioned oats
- ⅓ cup chopped pecans
- 3 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored (7 apples), cut into ½ inch wedges
- 3 tablespoons coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
- 1 tablespoon bourbon (or water)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons arrowroot starch (or cornstarch)
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg*
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
Heat oven to 400ºF with rack set in middle position.
For the topping, combine sugar, butter, oil, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, and ⅛ teaspoon salt together in a medium bowl. Add almond flour and stir to combine. Add oats and pecans and mix until a thick dough comes together. Cover and chill until needed.
For the filling, toss apples with coconut sugar, bourbon, lemon juice, arrowroot starch, ¾ teaspoon cinnamon, ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg, and ⅛ teaspoon salt together in a large bowl. Transfer to an 8×8-inch baking dish (or 2-quart baking dish), cover with foil and set on a baking sheet. Bake until apples are juicy and tender, about 50 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Carefully stir apples to distribute juices, then pinch topping into ½-inch pieces and sprinkle in an even layer over top of apples. Bake, uncovered, until filling is bubbly and topping is deep golden brown, about 15 minutes, rotating half way through baking. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool 20 minutes.
Serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.
Freshly grated nutmeg is much stronger in flavor than pre-ground nutmeg. If you already have pre-ground nutmeg, go ahead and use that. But if you’re interested, grab some whole nutmeg and use a microplane to grate the nutmeg. Store whole nutmeg in their original jar in the freezer to retain freshness. You can grate the nutmeg straight from the freezer, no need to thaw.
- Serving Size: ⅙ recipe
- Calories: 292
- Sugar: 34g
- Sodium: 97mg
- Fat: 14g
- Saturated Fat: 6g
- Carbohydrates: 44g
- Fiber: 7g
- Protein: 1g
- Cholesterol: 20mg
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