Apple Crisp Recipe Without Butter


I think this is the best Apple Crisp Recipe Without Butter and just wanted to share it with you. Apple crisp is delightful! The cinnamon and sugar that you sprinkle on top of the apple slices before adding them to the baking dish provide a delicious sweetness. Add some tart apples and juicy apples, crisp topping and butter, and you are in for a treat.

The Best Vegan Apple Crisp Recipe

This is the best Vegan Apple Crisp recipe! Hot and tender sweet apples covered in a crunchy oat-nut topping. Perfect for the fall and winter holidays.

vegan apple crisp in baking dish with spoon.

This recipe originally started out as my attempt to make a healthy vegan apple pie. Uh, let’s just say it didn’t work out. Long story short, I dumped everything into one big bowl and it was surprisingly good.

Then end result? One amazing vegan dessert – the BEST apple crisp recipe you’ll ever make or try.

I’m excited to share this “mistake” with you. It’s the perfect dessert for any season and will make you a rock star at any family or holiday gathering.

Ingredients You’ll Need

This vegan healthy apple crisp recipe is so easy to make. All you need are simple ingredients, you probably already have on hand, and just 1 bowl. Everything is combined and then baked into a delicious and healthy dessert.

Here’s everything you need for this vegan apple crisp recipe, including ingredient substitutions:

Apple Filling

  • Apples: Granny Smith, Gala, Pink Lady, Jonagold, and Honeycrisp apples are my favorite. You could use just one type of apple if you wish, but I like a good blend of both tart apples and sweet apples.
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice: can sub with a mix of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, or just use cinnamon.
  • Lemon Juice: adds a bright, citrusy flavor to savory and sweet dishes.
  • Pure Maple Syrup: the perfect sweetener for the apple mixture.
  • Cornstarch: acts as the thickening agent for the filling. You can also use arrowroot or tapioca flour as well.

Streusel Topping

  • Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats: organic is best. Steel-cut and quick-cooking are not optimal.
  • Flour: I used a mixture of almond flour and whole wheat flour. You can use gluten-free baking flour to make this recipe gluten-free.
  • Brown Sugar: sugars and sweeteners are full of empty calories. But, they do have a time and a place in a WFPB diet. And, that time and place should be dessert.
  • Chopped Nuts: pecan and walnuts are my favorite. But, they can be omitted if you have a nut allergy. Sunflower seeds and pumpkin are good subs.
  • Spice: either pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon are great options
  • Unsweetened Applesauce: replaces the butter and oil as usually found in this type of recipe.

How To Make Vegan Apple Crisp

(Note – the full printable recipe is at the bottom of the post)

Be prepared. You’re going to want to make this delicious vegan apple crisp at least once a week. Yeah, it’s that good.

  1. Peel and cut the apples into small cubes or thin slices if you prefer. Then, add to a large mixing bowl and cover with the remaining apple-filling ingredients. Toss and make sure everything is well combined and covered. Pour into a 9×13 nonstick baking dish or prepared baking dish lined with parchment paper.
  2. To a large bowl add the crisp topping ingredients. Stir everything together and use your hands, if necessary, to break apart any large chunks that stick together. If you prefer a finer crispy topping you can throw the topping ingredients into a food processor and pulse several times until everything is mixed together. Just don’t over-blend you still want some texture.
  3. Pour the topping over the filling and use your hands or a wooden spoon to evenly spread the mixture. 
  4. Bake uncovered in a preheated oven at 350˚F for 50 minutes to 1 hour until the top is golden, the filling is bubbling, and the apples are tender.
  5. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

That’s it! This easy vegan apple crisp is great hot but I think it’s even better once it reaches room temperature.

How To Serve Vegan Apple Crisp?

This delicious dessert is great all by itself. But, it pairs perfectly with…

  • a huge dollop of my homemade vegan whipped cream
  • serve in a bowl and top with some lovely coconut cream
  • a scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream is amazing with the crumble topping.
  • a small scoop of peanut butter is very nice

Questions & Helpful Tips

  • What are the best apples for vegan apple crisp? Granny Smith, Pink Lady, and Honeycrisp are my favorites. I wouldn’t use a sweeter apple than any one of these. And, these apples hold up really well to baking and won’t turn to mush.
  • Can I make a gluten-free apple crisp! Yes! Use organic gluten-free oats and gluten-free baking flour. Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour is excellent. Gluten-free oat flour is also great.
  • How do I store it? One of the best things about this delicious apple crisp is how well it keeps. Simple place any leftovers in an airtight container and store them at room temperature or in the fridge for up to a week.
  • Can it be frozen? Yes, and you can do it before or after baking it. It will keep for up to 3 months in your freezer. When you’re ready to serve simply place it in a low-temperature oven until it’s warm all the way through.
  • Should I remove the apple skin? I say, YES! The texture has just never worked for me in this recipe.
  • Is this a good make-ahead dessert? Yes! Vegan apple crisp is great to make ahead of time and store in case of unexpected guests, busy nights, and special gatherings.
  • Use fresh apples. If your apples have been sitting for a while they tend to get mushy.
  • Try other fruit fillings. Fruit crisps are the perfect way to use up leftover fruit before it goes bad. If apples aren’t your thing try using pears, blueberries, strawberries, or any other topping you desire.

Vegan Apple Crisp

An American classic! Made with tart apples and a crunchy maple oat topping this Vegan Apple Crisp is the ultimate fall treat paired with dairy-free vanilla ice cream. Gluten free!

Vegan apple crisp with two scoops of vanilla cream and sprinkle of cinnamon.

Apple Crisp is a classic American dessert enjoyed all year long, but especially in the fall when apples can be picked straight from the orchard.

Tender tart apples pair perfectly with sweet crispy topping. It’s a fantastic texture and flavor contrast you won’t be able to resist.

The only thing better than traditional apple crisp is my Vegan Apple Crisp! Super easy to make. Gluten free!

Ingredients you need

Ingredient notes and substitutions

Apples ~ Firm, tart apples are best for this vegan apple crisp as they contrast well with the sweet topping. Granny Smith are my favorite. They are nice and tart and don’t get mushy when baked. 

Sugar ~ I like organic cane sugar mixed with the apples. It keeps the filling light in color in contrast to the brown oat topping. You could use brown sugar or coconut sugar if you prefer.

For the topping, I use pure maple syrup. Using liquid sweetener means we need less butter or even none at all if that’s your preference. You could use brown sugar here if using melted butter to moisten.

Oats ~ Old fashioned rolled oats provide the best texture. Quick oats won’t be as crisp and steel cut oats would be much too gritty. Use gluten free, if desired.

Flour ~ I like almond flour because of it’s nutty flavor and moisture content. You could use oat flour here or even all-purpose instead.

Spices ~ Cinnamon and apples are a match made in heaven! I love nutmeg, too, for it’s warm, nutty flavor. A little nutmeg goes a long way and the flavor can be a bit intense for some people. You can leave out the nutmeg altogether if it’s not a flavor you care for. Or you can lessen the amount by using it just in the apple mixture or just in the topping.

Vegan butter ~ This is optional. I find it helps the topping to crisp up, but I’ve made it plenty of times without any butter and it’s just as delicious. You may find you need an extra tablespoon or two of pure maple syrup to moisten all of the topping if you leave out the butter. Melted coconut oil can be used in place of butter, also.

Add-ins ~ I like my apple crisp pure and simple with just apples and a crunchy topping. If you like more texture, you can add chopped nuts to the topping or dried fruit, like raisins or cranberries, to the apple filling. You could also do a mixture of apples and pears, instead of all apples.

How to make the recipe

Vegan apple crisp is so easy to make! Prep the ingredients, throw it all in a casserole dish, and bake! The tedious part is peeling and slicing the apples, but after that, it’s smooth sailing!

Peel (1) and slice (2) the apples. Add the slices to a large bowl with the lemon juice (3), sugar and spices (4).

Toss the apples with the sugar and spices well until coated evenly (5). Spread into a baking dish in an even layer (6). Set aside.

In a separate bowl, add the oats, flour, and spices for the topping (7) and mix well to combine (8). Pour in the pure maple syrup and melted butter, if using (9). Mix well until thoroughly moistened (10).

Spread the oat topping over the apples in the baking dish.

Bake at 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the apples are tender and the topping is brown and crisp.


Store leftovers of this vegan apple crisp covered tightly in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

Reheat in a 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through. You can also reheat small portions in a microwave, but the topping won’t be as crisp.

It can also be frozen. You can freeze it either prepared and unbaked or after baking. Either way, wrap it tightly in several layers of aluminum foil. If freezing after baking, make sure it cools completely before transferring to the freezer. It should keep well for about 3 months.

To reheat after freezing, place the frozen vegan apple crisp into a preheated 350° oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until warmed through.

Pro tips for success

Use tart apples. Sweet apples mixed with the sugar and maple syrup will yield a much too sweet dessert.

Peel the apples! Apple peels are delicious and healthy, but NOT in a fruit crisp. The peels will be tough and get in the way of the apples absorbing all those yummy fall flavors.

Slice the apples uniformly, about ¼ inch thick. Slice them too thin and they’ll turn to mush, slice them too thick and the topping will burn before they are cooked through.

Use old fashioned rolled oats. Do not use steel cut oats – they won’t work in this recipe.

Make sure all of the oat topping is moistened thoroughly. Keep mixing until no dry patches remain. Add an extra tablespoon or two of pure maple syrup, if needed. But, do not use too much liquid! If the topping is too wet, it won’t crisp properly.

Choose the right baking dish. If you like more apples to topping in each scoop, use an 8 x 8 baking dish. If you like an equal amount of topping and apples, use an 8.5 x 12 or 9 x 13 baking dish.

Stick a fork into the apples to check if they’re done. They should be tender, allowing the fork to slip through easily, but not mushy.


What is the difference between apple crisp and apple crumble?

Fruit crisp and fruit crumble are very similar. They are both baked fruit desserts. The difference is usually in the topping.

A crisp, as the name implies, has a crispy topping. It generally includes oats, nuts, sugar, butter, and warm spices like cinnamon. 

A crumble has a topping usually made of flour, sugar, and butter.

A cobbler is yet another baked fruit dessert. It’s topping is traditionally made with drop biscuit dough or, sometimes, pieces of pie dough.

What are the best apples to use for apple crisp?

Technically, you could make this easy apple dessert with just about any type of apple, but different varieties will yield different results.

I prefer a firm tart apple for vegan apple crisp. Granny Smith are my favorite. I love the contrast of the tart apples with the sweet topping and they don’t get mushy when baked. 

If you use a sweeter apple, you may need to decrease the amount of sugar in the filling.

If you can’t decide, you could use half tart apples and half a sweeter variety. 

Do you eat apple crisp hot or cold?

Apple crisp is such a versatile dessert. It’s great all year long and can be eaten hot, warm, room temperature, or cold. 

I prefer it straight from the oven hot with a scoop of cool vanilla dairy free ice cream. Such a great contrast!

Can apple crisp be made ahead of time?

Yes! This vegan apple crisp can be made and baked 1 to 2 days in advance. Store tightly covered in the fridge until ready to serve. Reheat in a 350°F preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes until warmed through.

Easy Apple Crisp Recipe (Gluten-Free)

Freshly baked apple crisp in a square, white Le Creuset dish

Made with a scrumptious crisp topping layered over a filling similar to apple pie, this easy apple crisp recipe is one of my family’s favorite cool weather desserts. Just like my blueberry crisp recipe, the filling can be mixed up right in your baking dish, which means you’ll be able to skip washing an extra bowl. 

This recipe is plenty sweet so I serve it plain, but I’m sure it would be delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce. 

Now, you may be wondering . . . 

What are the best apples for apple crisp?

My official answer is that the best apples are the ones you have on hand. My personal favorite to use are granny smith apples, which is not what I expected when I first started experimenting different varieties. They yield a sweet, firm crisp with a thick syrupy filling that my family adores. 

However, I’ve had good results with other varieties such as fuji, gala, honey crisp, golden delicious,  and pink lady, so whatever you like will probably work. 

What’s the difference between a crisp, a crumble, and a cobbler?

A crisp typically has a crunchy topping made with a oats, some kind of sweetener, flour (in this case almond), butter (or coconut oil if you’re dairy-free), and sometimes nuts like pecan, walnut or almond. Apple crisps are probably the most well-known, but the summer both strawberry crisps and blueberry crisps are popular, too. 

A crumble topping doesn’t usually include oats or nuts. It’s more like a streusel.

Cobblers are usually made with a thick dropped-biscuit or pie dough topping. In my Southern-style peach cobbler, I prefer to use use a buttery biscuit topping that melds perfectly with cinnamon, vanilla, & heaps of fresh peaches.

Easy Apple Crisp Recipe (Gluten-Free)

This apple crisp has a crunchy topping made with a oats, healthy sweetener, almond flour, butter (or coconut oil if you’re dairy-free), and your choice of walnuts, pecans or almonds.


 Prep Time15 minutes

 Cook Time45 minutes

 Total Time1 hour

 Servings5 people



  • vegetable peeler


For Apple Filling:

  • 4 cups apples  (peeled and thinly sliced)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

For Crisp Oat Topping:

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats  (look for certified gluten-free and also glyphosate-free)
  • ½  cup walnuts, pecans or almonds (roughly chopped)
  • ½ cup blanched almond flour
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil  (or unsalted butter)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup


  • Preheat your oven to 350° F. 
  • Place the apples in an 8×8 casserole baking dish and sprinkle with arrowroot flour and cinnamon. Stir together lemon juice, maple syrup, and water, then pour over the apples.
  • Stir the apples until they are well-coated with the arrowroot, maple syrup and lemon juice, then set aside. 
  • In a medium bowl, combine all the dry ingredients needed for the crisp – oats, nuts, almond flour, and salt. Stir until well-combined.
  • Add the coconut oil/butter and maple syrup  to the crisp mixture and stir again. 
  • Scoop spoonfuls of the topping over the apple mixture. It’s best to leave a little space between the spoonfuls to allow some heat to escape from the apple mixture during baking. 
  • Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. 


Calories: 404.24kcal | Carbohydrates: 43.14g | Protein: 6.59g | Fat: 25.32g | Saturated Fat: 10.75g | Sodium: 120.38mg | Potassium: 253.47mg | Fiber: 6.54g | Sugar: 20.94g | Vitamin A: 54IU | Vitamin C: 4.99mg | Calcium: 74.98mg | Iron: 1.64mg

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