Healthy Apple Crisp


Apple Crisp is a favorite fall dessert recipe. This healthy apple crisp recipe contains honey instead of sugar, whole grains and cinnamon – tasty, delicious and good for you! Even though it’s been one of the best months of the year here in California, I’ve still had the urge to bake during the last week. Even if I only have leftovers, or a few apples, I’ll put them to use in terms of baking healthful treats and sharing them with you.


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 definitely 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, it 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 absolutely irresistible topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


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 apple details below. Personally, 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’s 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.

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!

what are the best apples to use for apple crisp?

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 it’s 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.


Best answer, any apple you like! I personally like to use sweeter apples so I don’t have to add too much sugar such as Honey Crisp or Gala.


You can store apple crisp room temperature for 1 to 2 days, refrigerated for up to 1 week, or frozen for 3 to 4 months. When refrigerated, you can eat it cold or pop it back in the oven set very, very low or in the microwave to get the chill out.


  • If you’re not a fan of raisins, you can omit them.
  • To make it dairy free, sub the butter for coconut oil.


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.
thinly sliced apples in a bowl


I never let the fall season get away from me without baking up this recipe for healthy apple crisp! Here’s 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 apple filling with the topping and place it 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.


I personally like to use Honeycrisp apples for any apple recipe. The tart apples pair really well with the sweet filling and makes 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 different types of apples to give it even more depth of flavor.


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.

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