Healthy Apple Crisp Recipe


Have you ever made a healthy apple crisp recipe or dessert? Where do you start? Do you make it from scratch, use a boxed mix? I’ve had some really good apple crisps in my day. So when I set out to make a healthy version for my family, I knew I had to be extra careful. Apple crisp is a delicious fall dessert that is great for family meals. It is much healthier than many desserts as it is low in fat and sugar, yet it is still very tasty.

Related Post: Mini Apple Crisp


This easy Apple Crisp is warm and tender apples with a crisp buttery brown sugar oat topping. An irresistible dessert that is perfect for any occasion or any time of year! It is so simple to make and always a hit, you will want to keep this recipe handy at all times!

I think this just might be the easiest dessert I’ve ever made! After chopping the apples, they can be thrown together in less than 5 minutes. And let me tell you, this apple crisp is a real crowd-pleaser. It didn’t even last a full day in the Lee household!

If that’s not reason enough to make this classic fall dessert, let me entice you a little further. It’s cozy, comforting, much easier to make than homemade apple pie, and irresistible topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Healthy Apple Crisp Recipe


One of the best parts about this apple crisp recipe is that it’s made with healthier ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchens. For this recipe you’ll need:

  • Apples. We’ll talk more about apple details below. I love to use Honeycrisp apples for this recipe.
  • Maple syrup or honey. I like to use maple syrup for the filling. You could also get away with using regular sugar here as well.
  • Lemon juice. There are not many desserts that don’t benefit from the addition of citrus zest or juice. It helps balance sweetness.
  • Arrowroot powder or cornstarch. Keeps the apple filling from getting too watery.
  • Old fashioned rolled oats. Use gluten-free if desired. And I would stick with old-fashioned rather than quick oats for the best texture.
  • Flour. I used almond flour, but all-purpose, whole wheat, and oat flour will all work.
  • Sugar. Brown sugar yields the best results in my opinion, but you can also use coconut sugar and in a pinch regular white sugar can be used.
  • Cinnamon & nutmeg. Adds the perfect amount of warmth!
  • Butter (or vegan butter). Makes the oat topping crisp and buttery.


This Apple Crisp is seriously SO simple to make! The most time-consuming part is slicing the apples.

  1. Prep apples. Wash and thinly slice your apples.
  2. Make apple crisp filling. Toss the apples with maple syrup, lemon juice, arrowroot powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt.
  3. Make the crisp topping. Stir together the rolled oats, almond meal, brown sugar, and melted butter. I like to use a fork to get them fully combined.
  4. Bake. Add fruit to a pie plate and sprinkle the topping over the fruit layer and bake until golden brown. Allow crisp to cool slightly before spooning out and serving with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.


I never let the fall season get away from me without baking up this recipe for healthy apple crisp! Here are some of the reasons why we love it:

  • This gluten-free apple crisp recipe has a basic ingredient list. From fresh organic apples to wholesome rolled oats – there are only simple ingredients required.
  • It’s so quick + easy! Throw this delicious dessert together in a time crunch and love the results.
  • A dessert that goes from its baking dish in the oven directly to the table is always a winner.
  • Servings are easy too: simply scoop out some of the apples filled with the topping and place them in a small bowl. Top with ice cream or caramel sauce (or both!). No fussy slicing or worrying about presentation. This easy apple crisp is a breeze to dish up.
  • You’d never know this was a healthier recipe. I’ve lightened it up just enough for you to enjoy and still feel like it’s something really special coming out of your oven.
oat mixture in a large bowl for apple crisp

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I like to use Honeycrisp apples for any apple recipe. The tart apples pair well with the sweet filling and make for a great flavor. They are also firm enough to hold up to baking. They’ll bake up nice and tender, but not get overly mushy.

Other great apple options would be Granny Smith, Gala, Fuji, Braeburn, and/or Golden Delicious. You could also use a mix of a couple of different types of apples to give it even more depth of flavor. Healthy Apple Crisp Recipe

TIPS FOR THE PERFECT CRISP-Healthy Apple Crisp Recipe

A few notes for the best apple crisp every time!

  • Unless the skin of the apple just really bothers you, there’s no need to peel the apples. It saves so much time and you’ll hardly notice the skin once the apples are cooked and soft.
  • Make sure that you cut your apples into similar size slices so that they cook evenly.
  • Your topping will be best with rolled oats (old-fashioned oats) instead of quick oats. Quick oats are cut into pieces to cook more quickly and tend to get mushy when baked.
  • If you notice your topping browning too quickly in the oven, cover with foil and continue to cook until apples are soft.


This healthy apple crisp can be customized to include your favorite fruit flavors.

  • Berries. Mix 2 cups of berries such as raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries and 2 sliced apples in the filling.
  • Pear. Stir together 2 diced pears and 2 diced apples for the filling.
  • Peach. For the filling, stir together 2 diced peaches and 2 diced apples.
  • Peach & Blueberry. 
using a serving spoon to dish out a serving of apple crisp


Since the topping has melted butter, I recommend that you refrigerate apple crisp if you want to eat it at a later date. It will stay good for the day out on the counter and then after that refrigerate it for 3-4 days. You can reheat your apple crisp by microwaving individual servings for about 30-45 seconds. To reheat the entire dish, place (uncovered) in a 375 degrees F oven for 10-15 minutes.


Frozen apple crisp (baked or unbaked) will last 3 to 4 months when properly stored in the freezer. Below are directions for freezing and thawing.

  • Unbaked. Freeze an unbaked apple crisp directly in a freezer-safe (and ovenproof) pan. Wrap the pan securely (to keep out excess moisture) with plastic and then foil.
  • Baked. Allow the crisp to cool completely before storing. Then wrap it in freezer-safe packaging and freeze.
  • Thawing. Thaw the unbaked or baked dessert in the fridge overnight. Once it’s thawed, you can bake it according to the original recipe or until warmed through. The reheating process of a baked crisp will take about 20-30 minutes.


Make the apple filling and the crumble topping separately. Refrigerate each in airtight containers, for up to one day. When ready to bake, sprinkle the crumble on top of the apples, and bake as directed in the recipe below.


The difference between a crisp and a crumble is all about the topping. Both crisp and crumble are desserts with a fruit filling and a sweet topping.

  • A crisp topping contains oats and often nuts. The oats tend to crisp up during baking and the nuts provide a little crunch.
  • A crumble topping bakes up soft and usually contains only brown sugar, flour, and butter.

what makes this apple crisp healthy?

Traditional apple crisp is made with lots of butter and sugar. This apple crisp is much better for you! Here’s why:

  • Whole Grains – We use old-fashioned oats instead of refined flour for the crisp topping
  • Low sugar – Rather than using regular sugar, we use just a little bit of maple syrup and allow the sweetness of the apples to come through
  • No butter – Instead of using butter, we’re using more nutritious coconut oil!
A black serving spoon taking a scoop out of Healthy Apple Crisp

This Healthy Apple Crisp requires minimum ingredients. Here is what you’ll need for this recipe:

what you need to make healthy apple crisp

To make Healthy Apple Crisp you’ll need:

  • apples
  • old fashioned oats
  • pecans
  • cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg
  • coconut oil
  • maple syrup
Healthy Apple Crisp Recipe

You can find substitutions for all of these ingredients below in the green shaded substitutions box.

how to make apple crisp:

Making apple crisp literally couldn’t be easier. Here’s what to do:

  1. Peel + slice your apples (You can also leave the skin on if you like!
  2. Once peeled, toss your apples with coconut oil/spices.
  3. Set aside. In a small bowl – mix your crisp topping.
  4. Lay your apples in a baking dish, top with crisp.. and bake!
  5. 30 minutes in the oven and you’ve got a warm, delicious healthy apple crisp ready to enjoy!
Healthy Apple Crisp Recipe

Topping it with vanilla ice cream pretty much is a must. It’s SO good. 

substitutions for this lighter apple crisp recipe:

This is a pretty versatile recipe. Here are some substitutions you can make!

Nut Free – To make this nut-free you can omit pecans. If you’d like to add in some crunch you could sub in sunflower seeds.

Oil – You can sub coconut oil with olive oil or avocado oil. Vegetable oil will also work.

Other fruit – This recipe will work great by adding other berries like blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries! (We also have a berry crisp and Peach Crisp recipe!) Dried raisins or craisins would also be a yummy add-in!

Apples: We recommend using Honeycrisp apples in this recipe. We don’t recommend using Granny Smith or other tart apples in this recipe.

Maple Syrup – You can sub maple syrup with honey

Weight Watchers – Save 2 SP per serving by omitting pecans

Oats – You can not substitute steel-cut oats for old-fashioned oats. It will now work. Quick cook oats will work.

what’s the difference between crisp and crumble?

Crisps are typically made with oats as the base, while crumbles typically have a flour/butter-based topping. I added some chopped pecans for crunch, healthy fats, and flavor!

Healthy Apple Crisp Recipe

what are the best apples to use for apple crisp?

I like to bake with Pink Lady apples. They’re a little sweet and a little tart so I find them perfect in desserts!

Braeburn or Honeycrisp are also delicious and hold up well. Really – any apple will work in this recipe!

We don’t recommend using Granny Smith or other tart apples in this recipe.

storing apple crisp

Storing: This apple crisp will stay in the fridge for 3-4 days

Freezing: We haven’t tried freezing this recipe but we don’t think it would freeze well. The topping would lose its crisp.

serving apple crisp

Serving: We recommend serving this apple crisp with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. It’s also great with a scoop of vanilla yogurt.

Preparing in advance: You can prepare this recipe 3-4 hours in advance of baking it. Keep it in your refrigerator until you are ready to bake.

Gluten-Free Apple Crisp

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

This wholesome, honey-sweetened apple crisp is covered in an irresistible oat, almond meal, and pecan topping. This dessert is perfect for the holidays! This recipe yields about 8 modest servings.


Apple filling

  • 2 ¼ pounds Granny Smith apples (about 5 large or 7 small), cored and sliced into ¼” thick wedges
  • ⅓ cup honey or maple syrup
  • ¼ cup water, or bourbon or brandy, or apple cider or apple juice (I like 2 tablespoons bourbon and 2 tablespoons water)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot starch or 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice or nutmeg-Healthy Apple Crisp Recipe

Oat, almond meal, and pecan topping

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats (use certified gluten-free oats for a gluten-free crisp)
  • ½ cup firmly packed almond meal or almond flour
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional but recommended)
  • ⅓ cup lightly packed coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt (Greek or regular)

Don’t forget the vanilla ice cream, for serving!

Related post: Apple Crisp Topping Without Oats


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place the sliced apples in a 9” square baking dish. In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the honey and water until combined. Add the lemon juice, starch, cinnamon, and allspice, and whisk to combine. Pour the mixture over the apples and toss to combine. Bake for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, stir together the oats, almond meal, pecans, coconut sugar, and salt. Mix in the melted butter and the yogurt. Stir until all of the flour is incorporated and the mixture is moistened throughout.
  4. Once the apples have baked for 20 minutes, stir them and redistribute them evenly in the baker. Dollop small spoonfuls of the oat mixture evenly over the filling (see photos, no need to pack it down). Return the baker to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 more minutes, until the filling is bubbling around the edges and the top is nice and golden.
  5. Let the crisp rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream, I insist. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator, covered, for about 5 days.

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