I made gluten apple crumble for dinner last night, and it was the best gluten apple crumble I’ve ever had. It was easy to make, fairly easy to clean up afterward (not that I did much cleaning), and it only cost me about $7 to make. Here are my ingredients: I love apples and I love apple crumble, but sadly, if I eat this dessert, I’ll get sick. That’s because they’ve got gluten in them. And I don’t want that.
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Simple Gluten-Free Apple Crisp
What’s better than apple pie and a whole lot easier to make? Apple crisp! This apple crisp recipe is gooey on the inside, and tender but crisp on top. It’s made with wholesome ingredients, like old-fashioned oats, almond meal, pecans, honey, and of course, lots of fresh apples.
On a cool fall day, there’s nothing better than the smell of this apple crisp baking in the oven. This homemade dessert would also be the perfect ending to your Thanksgiving supper.
This is my favorite apple crisp recipe, and it just happens to be gluten-free and healthier than the rest. This recipe is made with significantly less sugar than most apple crisps but tastes just as good. I’d say it’s even better!
This crisp turned out great for me when I made it a few years ago, but I heard that it didn’t turn out as well for some of you. This stuff keeps me up at night.
I’ve retested and tweaked this recipe, and it’s now better than ever. I’m so pleased to hear that with these updates, this crisp has been turning out perfectly in your kitchens.
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
1. Learning how to make apple crumble is easy! This is a no-hassle beginner gluten-free apple crumble recipe anyone can make!
2. Warm and buttery, this crumble topping bakes up into a deliciously beautiful golden brown color and is not dry or doughy.
3. Using a variety of crisp apples sets this apple crumble above the rest by enhancing the flavor of each bite you take.
CRUMBLE OR CRISP? WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
I think of a crumble as a baked fruit dessert that is covered with a streusel topping made most often with butter, flour, sugar, and sometimes nuts. A crisp is quite similar– still a baked fruit dessert but with a crunchier topping that may include oats.
The crumble shared in this recipe is gluten-free. The base of the topping is almond flour, brown rice flour, granulated sugar…and of course, butter, plenty of butter. When you serve this to your family and friends no one will know that the crumble is gluten-free because it tastes just like a traditionally baked recipe which makes this my favorite kind of gluten-free recipe– hooray! Another recipe I baked recently that wowed both gluten-free and traditional dessert lovers is this upside-down peach cake. May I have another slice, please?
How to Make the Best Apple Crisp
Apples take a long time to release their moisture, so my original crisp recipe was a little dry. To remedy this, I switched from using 1-inch chunks of apple to thinly sliced, which takes less time to get juicy and cook through. I also added some liquid to the filling to get the ball rolling, and reduced the amount of starch.
To ensure that the topping doesn’t get too crisp, you’re going to bake the apples for 20 minutes and then add the topping. This is pretty convenient because it means that your crisp can start baking while you are still mixing the topping.
That’s it! You’ve just made an apple dessert that rivals apple pie in flavor and comfort-food factor, but it’s so much easier.
WATCH HOW TO MAKE APPLE CRISP
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Healthy Apple Crisp Ingredients
The recipe is flexible. You can easily make it dairy-free, vegan, or nut free. See the recipe notes for details.
- Granny Smith Apples: Fresh and thinly sliced. No need to peel your apples—the skin softens up so much in the oven, you’ll hardly notice it’s there. You could also use Honeycrisp apples or a combination of Granny Smith and Honeycrisp.
- Old-Fashioned Oats: Oats form the base of the topping. Once baked, they are perfectly crisp-tender. Be sure to use certified gluten-free oats for gluten-free apple crisp.
- Almond Meal or Almond Flour: Almond meal (or flour) lends some irresistible richness and flavor. You can use regular flour in place of the almond meal if you prefer (see nut-free recipe note).
- Pecans or Walnuts: Chopped pecans or walnuts are technically optional in the filling, but I never leave them out. I love those little bites of nutty goodness.
- Honey or Maple Syrup: We’ll use one of these natural sweeteners in the filling instead of plain sugar. As a bonus, they impart some additional flavor that tastes so nice.
- Coconut Sugar or Brown Sugar: We’ll use some sugar in the topping since liquid sweeteners would interfere with the texture. I like to use coconut sugar since it’s less refined, but brown sugar works just as well.
- Butter: This topping calls for a reasonable amount of melted butter, and I promise, you won’t regret it.
- Greek Yogurt: We’ll use some Greek yogurt in place of some additional butter (though you can go all in on the butter if you’d like). I love that the yogurt imparts a subtle tang.
- Liquid (Water, Bourbon, Apple Cider, Etc.): A little bit of liquid helps the apples break down. Additional options include brandy or apple juice. I love to use equal parts water and bourbon so the bourbon flavor is subtle. I think it’s just right!
- Lemon Juice: A squeeze of lemon juice brightens up the flavor of the filling.
- Starch: You can use arrowroot starch or cornstarch. The starch helps the filling come together so it’s not watery.
- Cinnamon and Allspice: No apple crisp recipe would be complete without some warming spices.
The Best Apples for Apple Crisp
Granny Smith apples are the perfect apple for crisps. They retain their shape but become wonderfully tender in the oven, whereas other apple varieties turn to mush. Their tart flavor mellows and sweetens in the oven, but doesn’t turn overly sweet. Some contrast is key!
Another great option, albeit more expensive, would be Honeycrisp apples. They possess similar qualities and have become widely available in recent years. You could even use a combination of the two!
- After preparing the crumble, it’s important to place it in the freezer while you work on the apple filling. The crumble bakes more consistently if the butter is brought back down to a cold temperature.
- You’ll get the best results if you use crisp apples for this apple crumble. Stay away from soft apples, such as Macintosh and Red Delicious. Below are my favorite apples to use when baking.
- Granny Smith – Tart, crisp, and fail-proof for an apple pie recipe.
- Jazz – Crisp texture, juicy, and sweet.
- Honeycrisp – Extremely crispy and is great to use when baking.
- Pink Lady – Both sweet and tart.
- Gluten-free purpose flour is a great substitute for almond flour.
- Store any leftovers covered in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
How to customize your apple crumble
Like any baking recipe that contains warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, feel free to customize the spice to suit your tastes. If you like cinnamon, but think the amount I specify in the filling or topping might be too much for you, cut it back.
If you love nutmeg but are afraid not everyone does, leave it out of the topping and just sprinkle some on top of your portion before serving.
Related POST: Healthy Apple Crumble
Ingredients and Substitutions
As always, unless I specifically indicate otherwise, I haven’t tried this recipe with any substitutions. But here are my best-educated guesses.
Dairy: Instead of 12 tablespoons (168 g) of butter, use 14 tablespoons (168 g) of butter-flavored Spectrum nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening.
Oats: When properly sourced, oats are gluten-free. But if you need or want to avoid them, try replacing the 1/2 cup (50 g) of certified gluten-free old-fashioned rolled oats with quinoa flakes, or 1/4 cup (35 g) all-purpose use gluten-free flour.
For more guidance on how to replace oats in gluten-free baking, please see our discussion about oat substitutions in baking. It answers every question.
Nuts: Just leave out the nuts! I’ve made this recipe both with and without the nuts, and all you miss when leaving out the nuts … is the taste of nuts. 🙂