Lactose Free Apple Crumble


Lactose Free Apple Crumble Apple crumble is my go-to comfort food. It makes me feel like everything will be alright even when it totally won’t (I rarely have a spoonful of sugar). I actually found this recipe online while looking for a dessert that was dairy free and made with regular apples. This low sugar lactose free apple crumble is the perfect way to use up all of those apples you need to use up before they go bad.

Gluten Free Apple Crumble (Dairy-Free, Egg-Free)

Gluten free apple crumble doesn’t need much introduction. A classic dessert with a healthier twist. I cook my crumble topping separately from the fruit making it quicker to create than a traditional crumble recipe. It also means you need less of it to top the fruit.

If you want a Christmas crumble just add a couple of tablespoonfuls of mincemeat for a mincemeat and apple crumble. The perfect way to use up leftover mincemeat!

Make this incredible gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free Christmas crumble. A great way to use up leftover mincemeat.

The story behind my gluten free apple crumble

A good crumble is a thing of glory and this recipe is something that my mum always used to make when I was a kid. However, it takes quite a long time to cook and if you’re entertaining and your oven is full, that can be a problem.

Enter my solution.

It’s so simple and yet delightfully satisfying.

I make my crumble topping separately from the fruit cutting down a huge chunk of time. 

Once I’ve made the crumble mixture I just grill it until crispy and golden and use it to top off my cooked fruit.

That means it’s perfect if you suddenly find yourself with visitors and no time. I’m really not one for cooking for hours and that’s how this recipe was born.

Something that mum always used to do at Christmas was make a Christmas crumble. Essentially an apple crumble with mincemeat stirred through the apple. It’s a wonderful twist to the traditional recipe and something I still enjoy to this day.

Then when it comes to entertaining all you have to do is warm up the fruit and scatter the crumble topping over it.

What do you need to make this apple crumble?

Gluten free apple crumble my way is delightfully easy. Throw aside any misgivings you might have about making a crumble. Roll your sleeves up and head into the kitchen.

All you’re going to need is some of my wholegrain gluten free flour blend, butter and sugar of your choice. I personally like to make this with coconut sugar but if you don’t have that then use brown sugar. It adds a lovely flavour and is how the American’s make their apple crisp.

Then you’ll need some good cooking apples, a bit more sugar if you want to sweeten them and any ‘extras’ like spices or mincemeat.

Why is the gluten free flour important?

What gluten free flour you use in the recipe will influence the flavour, and nutritional status of the final crumble.

When I got fed up with the gluten free flour blends on the market, I decided to create my own. I found that almost all of the blends contained rice flour.

Firstly, it’s what makes them have a funny grainy texture. And secondly, rice contains arsenic and so I didn’t want a blend with rice in it. Especially as I am bringing up a daughter with coeliac disease.

I found that most of the gluten free products that she was eating contained rice or rice flour. Far from ideal.

Anyway, you can read more about why I created the flour blend here. It can be used in all your baking from making gluten free bread to biscuits, cakes, pastry, pasta and more.

Delicious apple and mincemeat crumble. Perfect for the glutenfree and dairyfree guest and so easy to make.

How do you make the crumble topping?

Making the crumble topping is simple.

Add all the ingredients to a good food processor, switch it on and allow it to do its thing until you have a breadcrumb like texture.

Then transfer the mixture to a large baking tray and place it under a hot pre heated grill.

The next step is important. Every minute, remove the tray from the grill and stir the mixture. As the butter melts it will combine with the dry ingredients to form little clusters. Continue to cook in this way, removing and mixing every minute until your crumble is golden and crisp.

To cook your apples you’ll need to peel and core them. Then chop them into small pieces and cook them in a saucepan, lid on, with a little water for around 15 minutes or until smooth.

Once your crumble is cooked remove it from the heat. Transfer your cooked apple to a dish or several small dishes and sprinkle with your crumble topping.

Apple Crumble Cake

This dairy free apple crumble cake makes the best of seasonal apples, sweetened with honey and lots of shredded apples. Topped with a little naturally sweetened crumble for a perfect healthier coffee cake.

Two slices of apple crumble cake on small plates with yogurt.

Apples are intrinsic to autumn, when they’re at their best, and when they vie with pumpkins for the most loved produce of the season. Much like pumpkins, though, apples are excellent almost right through winter. Unlike winter squash, they’re also available year round.

I’ve shared an apple hazelnut cake before, which is a bit similar, but that’s a German apple cake, with big pieces of fruit and a nutty cake base. This apple crumble cake is a bit more subtle with the shredded apple, though both are excellent.

The base cake is oil free, with shredded apples, applesauce, and nut butter adding the moisture you’d get from oil. With so much apple, the flavour certainly comes through.

This is not vegan. There are eggs in the cake, and it suffers without them. Minus the eggs it becomes claggy, dense, and unpleasant. I have tried to sub them out but the resulting texture is bad. And it is occasionally eggs, after all, you must expect that some recipes will include them, right?

More Crumble, Please

Without the topping, this cake is fine, but not fantastic. The crumble very simple, just rolled oats, coconut sugar, whole grain flour, and coconut oil. It becomes partly incorporated into the cake, so you end up with a moist cake that has this sort of shield of streusel topping.


Gluten free apple crumble is easier than pie but just as delicious! Made with almond flour and chopped nuts, this gluten free apple crisp is the perfect fall dessert! Naturally sweetened this healthy dessert is vegan, gluten free, dairy free and paleo friendly!


  • So easy to make! This recipe is great for beginners, the most difficult part of this recipe is peeling and slicing the apples! The crumble topping comes together so easily.
  • Perfect fall dessert! If you love apple based desserts you are going to love this gluten free apple crumble! The apples are perfectly seasoned with cinnamon and a touch of cloves! I promise your house will smell amazing as this is baking in the oven!
  • Healthy dessert! Sweetened with coconut sugar and maple syrup this healthy paleo apple crumble is made with good for you ingredients that you can feel good about!
  • Customizable! If you don’t want to take the time to peel and slice apples, you can also use frozen fruit (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, peaches or cherries) in place of the apples!


  • Apples – be sure to use a baking apple so that they maintain their texture when cooking. My personal favorite is a fuji apple or pink lady apple for apple crumbles!
  • Lemon juice – lemon juice helps ensure the apples won’t brown as you are peeling and slicing them. I think it also helps to elevate the sweetness from the apples.
  • Coconut sugar – this is optional. Just a few tablespoons of coconut sugar can help boost the natural sweetness from the apples and make this more of a dessert. I often make this crumble without the added coconut sugar for myself but anytime I’m making it for guests, I add the extra coconut sugar to ensure this is a show stopper dessert!
  • Arrowroot flour – this helps to thicken the juice that cooks off the apples.
  • Spices: Cinnamon and ground cloves – ground cinnamon adds the familiar flavor you are expecting when you make a dessert with apples. The ground cloves are my secret ingredient anytime I make an apple based dessert. They make the apples taste sweeter and give them a depth of flavor you cannot create with any other spices.

Crumble Topping

  • Almond flour – you can use almond flour or almond meal, both will work great in this recipe since the topping tends to be a bit coarser. Almond flour is made with blanched almonds (the skins are removed) so it tends to be a finer consistency than almond meal which is made with almonds with the skin on. For a nut free version, use sunflower seed flour/meal (see notes below on how to make this yourself).
  • Chopped nuts – you can use walnuts, pecans, slivered almonds, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds to add crunch to the crumble topping.
  • Avocado oil – this is a very neutral tasting oil that will allow the other flavors to shine through. You could also use melted butter or ghee (not dairy free) but I always have avocado oil on hand. You could also use melted coconut oil or even olive oil in a pinch.
  • Coconut sugar and maple syrup – the coconut sugar helps to add a caramelized flavor to the topping and the maple syrup adds a different kind of sweetness. If needed, you can use all coconut sugar but I wouldn’t recommend using all maple syrup as it will make the crumble too wet.
  • Arrowroot flour – this helps to create a soft texture with the crumble as sometimes almond flour toppings/baked goods are not quite soft enough when compared to regular flour. The arrowroot flour helps to create that texture from the gluten you are missing.
  • Cinnamon and salt – cinnamon helps to enhance that same flavor profile in the apples and the salt elevates the sweetness in the crumble.


Preheat the oven to 350F.

Peel and slice the apples. Many people recommend using a mandoline to slice apples but I’ve personally had bad experiences with them in the past. Recently I got a mandoline with a safety slicer that is amazing and so easy to use, your fingers never get close to the blade and it’s so fast! If you are a collector of kitchen gadgets like me, I highly recommend this one! If you don’t have a mandoline, just try to slice the apples into thin, even slices.

Apples being sliced in the mandoline.

Once the apples are peeled and sliced add them to a large bowl. Add the rest of the apple filling ingredients to the bowl and stir well making sure each apple slice is well coated.

Pour the apples into a large casserole dish. I like to spray mine with avocado oil or olive oil but this step is optional.

In the same bowl you mixed the apples in, add all the crumble ingredients and stir well until well combined.

Spoon or dump the crumble mixture over the apples and make sure there is an even layer over all the apples.

Bake in a 350F oven for 40-45 minutes until the crumble topping is golden and the apples are bubbling a bit on the edges.


  • Try to slice the apples the same thickness so they will cook evenly. To ensure that all the apples cook through and are soft and tender, try to slice the apples the same thickness. This is why I love the mandonline, as it easily slices everything the same thickness.
  • Use baking apples to maintain their texture. Using baking apples helps to ensure they have texture and a bite to the apples even after cooking. If you don’t use baking apples, the apples can turn into mush (like applesauce) and the texture will be different. The end result will still be very tasty but not the same texture.
  • Add lemon juice so the apples don’t brown as you are slicing them. Squeeze lemon juice over the lemons, then continue to stir them together as you slice more and more. The lemon juice helps to keep the apples from oxidizing and turning brown when exposed to air.
  • Best served hot, warm or cold the day you make it. The crumble topping is the best the day you make it. It’s still delicious the next day but has the absolute best texture the day it’s made so if you are serving it to company/guests, make the apple crisp the day of.


There are two things I check on to know if the apple crisp is done.

  1. The topping is a golden brown but not burned
  2. The apples are bubbling at the edges (this indicates they are likely cooked through)
Spoon full of gluten free apple crumble with ice cream.


I like to use baking apples – apples that when cooked maintain their texture. Here are some great options:

  • Fuji apples
  • Pink lady apples
  • Granny smith apples (more tart, not as sweet)
  • Braeburn
  • Jazz
  • Honeycrisp


  • Ice cream – ice cream is the classic companion of an apple crumble. For dairy free, there are some great options now. Oat milk, cashew milk or coconut milk based ice creams are my favorite.
  • Whipped cream – you can buy canned whipped cream or make your own coconut whipped cream to top the paleo apple crumble with.
  • Vanilla cashew frosting – this frosting is sweetened with dates and has an almost caramel flavor. It would be incredible drizzled over the top.
  • Simple drizzle of maple syrup – the extra drizzle of maple syrup can make this crumble even more delicious and a touch sweeter!


Almond flour: Instead of almond flour, use sunflower seed flour. You an buy it online or make your own. To make your own, add roasted sunflower seeds to a high speed blender or food processor and process on high until they resemble flour (but don’t go too long or it will start to become sunbutter). Store leftovers in the fridge or freezer in a well sealed container.

Nuts: Instead of pecans or walnuts, use pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds.


  • Fridge: This crumble is actually best the day it’s made but you may have leftovers! If so, you can store them in the fridge in a well sealed container for up to 3 days. Allow the crumble to cool completely on the counter before storing in the fridge. After 3 days the topping can get a little mushy. Reheat in the oven (350F for 10 minutes) to re-crisp the topping after being in the fridge.
  • Freezer: The apples will lose some of their texture but the flavor should still be there but the crumble topping will be mushy once defrosted. If you don’t mind the crumble being mushy, you can freeze leftovers for up to 1 month. Be sure to defrost in the fridge and reheat in the oven for the best possible leftovers.


  • Apples: You can also use peeled pears, berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries – fresh or frozen), cherries (fresh or frozen) or peaches (peeled, fresh or frozen) in place of the apples.
  • Coconut sugar: you can use date sugar or maple sugar (naturally sweetened) or brown sugar in place of coconut sugar.
  • Arrowroot flour: you can use tapioca flour or corn starch in place of arrowroot flour.
  • Ground cloves: if you don’ have ground cloves you can simply omit them. You may want to add ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg in place of the cloves if you have it to add more depth to the flavor of the apples.
  • Almond flour: you can use sunflower seed meal/flour in place of almond flour to make this nut free. See tips above on how to make your own sunflower seed meal.
  • Chopped nuts: use any chopped nut or seed you have on hand.
  • Avocado oil: I like avocado oil because it’s neutral and allows the other flavors to shine through. You can use melted vegan or regular butter, ghee or coconut oil in place of the avocado oil.
  • Maple syrup: if you don’t have maple syrup, you can use all coconut sugar or substitute it with honey or date syrup.

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