Nut Free Crumble Topping


My Nut Free Crumble Topping is a great substitute for an almond-based crumble topping. Made with seeds, you’d never know that it’s seed based. A crisp topper for your pies or a crumble on your “Ooey Gooey Cookie Cake”. This recipe is SO easy and there are so many things you can make with it.  I used this crumble topping on my berry cobbler last month and I already want to make more to eat it on this month.    

How To Make the Best Gluten-Free Crisp Topping

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Having a freezer full of crisp or crumble topping is like having a dessert secret weapon. It allows you to turn any fresh fruit (or hey, even thawed frozen fruit) into an after-dinner treat without dirtying more than one bowl. Our traditional crisp and crumble toppings freeze incredibly well, but since you never know when a gluten-free guest might drop by, I highly suggest keeping both on hand. (Just label them clearly!)

This crisp topping doesn’t have any special flours in it and can be made entirely from pantry staples that you’re likely to have on hand. It bakes up toasty with a delightful chew, and you can easily adapt it to a more crumble-like texture without much more effort. Here’s everything you need to know about making a gluten-free crisp that you can memorize and know by heart.

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Essentials of Gluten-Free Fruit Crisp Toppings

Crisps, crumbles, and cobblers have a reputation for being infallible. However, diving into the world of gluten-free baking, it’s best to arm ourselves with knowledge so that we can feed ourselves and our gluten-free friends well. Here’s what you’ll need to know for making the best gluten-free crisp topping.

  • The ingredients for a gluten-free crisp topping
  • The golden ratio for fruit to topping
  • How to turn crisp topping into a dessert secret weapon
Process 1 cup of the oats in a coffee grinder, blender, or food processor fitted with the blade attachment until it resembles flour, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

The Ingredients for a Gluten-Free Crisp Topping

I promised that this gluten-free crisp would be pantry-friendly, and it is, but here’s what you need to know. Just because oats are naturally gluten-free doesn’t mean that every package of oats is gluten-free. Oats are often processed (rolled, weighed, packaged) in facilities that process wheat or other gluten-rich products. Several manufacturers now process their oats and other gluten-free flours and starches on separate machinery to prevent cross contamination — and those are the oats we need to keep this crisp gluten-free.

Look for gluten-free labeling on rolled oats and then you can turn those oats into oat flour for this crisp topping. You can also buy oat flour and skip the at-home oat processing all together.

The Golden Ratio

You’ll need one batch — three cups — of this crisp topping for about two pounds of fruit. Crisp topping is amenable to more or less fruit, so you have creative license to use as little or as much as you want.

How to make this a gluten-free crumble topping

Crisps and crumbles are close cousins, with crisps being defined by their inclusion of whole oats. For a more crumble-like topping texture, process all of the oats into a fine flour and proceed with the same butter, sugar, and salt ratio.

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How to Use Gluten-Free Crisp Topping

Let’s say you’ve got a batch of this crisp topping whipped up and a bunch of fresh fruit you want to use up. Here’s how to bring the two together.

  • Slice the fruit into bite-sized pieces; this makes scooping and eating so much easier.
  • Then toss the fruit with a little cornstarch, lemon juice, and sugar.
  • Spread the fruit into a baking dish and top with the crisp topping. You’ll want roughly one cup of crisp topping for every 12 ounces of fruit.

Freezing Gluten-Free Crisp Topping for the Future

Here’s your secret weapon: Take one rainy afternoon in June and mix up three to four batches of crisp topping. Freeze each unbaked batch in a large zip-top bag and lay the bags flat in the freezer. You can then divvy out as little or as much topping as you need at a time. There’s no need to thaw the crisp topping before baking either.

ServingsPrep TimeCook Time
IngredientsFilling8  apples2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice1⁄2 cup sugar1⁄2 cup maple syrup2 teaspoons vanilla extract3 tablespoons tapioca starch2 teaspoons cinnamonTopping1⁄2 cup Brown sugar1 1⁄2 cup gluten-free rolled oats1 cup gluten-free flour blend1 teaspoon cinnamon1⁄4 teaspoon salt2⁄3 cups vegan butter or coconut oilServings:Units:MetricUS Imperial


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Peel and core apples. Cut each apple into cubes
  3. Place the apple cubes in a mixing bowl and mix in remaining filling ingredients (lemon juice, sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract, tapioca starch, cinnamon). Stir until apples are coated evenly.
  4. Use oil or vegan butter to grease a 9″x13″ baking dish. Place apple filling into baking dish, and spread evenly.
  5. To prepare the crumble topping, combine brown sugar, rolled oats, gluten-free flour mix, cinnamon and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the vegan butter or coconut oil and mix well with a fork or your hands until the topping resembles breadcrumbs. Spread the crumble mixture evenly on top of the apple filling.
  6. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until the apple filling is bubbling and the topping is golden.
  7. Serve warm with dairy-free vanilla ice cream on the side if desired.

Recipe Notes

Freezer friendly! Make ahead, assemble, cover with saran wrap and foil or an airtight cover then freeze for up to 4 weeks. To cook, defrost overnight in refrigerator then bake as instructed.

How To Make the Best Gluten-Free Crisp Topping

How To Make the Best Gluten-Free Crisp Topping

This crisp topping doesn’t have any special flours in it and can be made entirely from pantry staples that you’re likely to have on hand.

YIELDServes 6 to 8, Makes 3 cups crisp toppingShow Nutrition


For the fruit filling:

  • Butter, for coating the baking dish
  • 2 pounds fresh fruit, peeled and chopped as desired
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the topping:

  • 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats, divided
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)


  • 9×9-inch or 11×7-inch glass baking dish
  • Coffee grinder, blender, or food processor
  • Pastry brush
  • Mixing bowls
  • Gallon-size zip-top freezer bag (optional)
  • Whisk
  • Cooling rack


  1. Heat the oven. Arrange a rack in the middle of the the oven and heat to 350°F. Coat a 9×9-inch or 11×7-inch glass baking dish with butter; set aside.
  2. Make the fruit filling. Whisk together the sugar and cornstarch in a medium bowl until lump-free, and then add the fruit and lemon juice. Toss gently to coat, then pour the fruit filling into the baking dish.
  3. Make oat flour. Process 1 cup of the oats in a coffee grinder, blender, or food processor fitted with the blade attachment until it resembles flour, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Make the crisp topping. Add the remaining 1 cup oats, sugar, and salt and stir until combined. Drizzle the butter and vanilla over the oat mixture and stir to combine. Set aside or store in the freezer in a zip-top freezer bag.
  5. Add crisp topping. Scatter the crisp topping evenly over the fruit mixture, leaving large clumps intact.
  6. Bake the crisp. Bake until the fruit juices are bubbling around the edges of the baking dish and the topping is golden and firm to the touch, 30 to 35 minutes.
  7. Cool and store the crisp. Let the crisp cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. If transporting to a picnic or party, let the crisp cool completely to give the fruit filling time to set.


Make ahead: The crisp topping can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Storage: Crisps will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 week. Serve cold, room temperature, or re-warmed in a low oven for 20 minutes.

Recipe Highlights

Here’s what you need to know about this easy apple crisp recipe:

  • paleo and easily made vegan (swap honey for maple syrup)
  • grain free & gluten free: no oats or flour in the crumble topping
  • nut free: no almond flour, the crumble is made with tigernut flour and tapioca flour
  • dairy free: this healthy apple crisp is made without butter or milk

My recipe is lower in sugar than you’re average apple crisp. It’s sweetened with honey (maple syrup for vegan) but you can omit it, making this a no sugar apple crisp.

Also, if you prefer a paleo apple cobbler, then you can use the filling for this recipe and the biscuit topping for my blueberry cobbler recipe.


Here’s what you need to make this baked apple crisp:

Apple Filling

  • apples – I used Honeycrisp but any variety will work
  • non-hydrogenated shortening – I like Nutiva shortening, but any plant based butter or regular butter (if you aren’t dairy free) will work
  • lemon juice – I use freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • raw honey (or maple syrup)
  • vanilla extract
  • tapioca flour (or arrowroot starch)
  • apple pie spice (or cinnamon)
  • salt

Crumble Topping

  • tigernut flour (or almond flour)
  • unsweetened shredded coconut
  • tapioca flour (or arrowroot starch)
  • apple pie spice (or cinnamon)
  • salt
  • non-hydrogenated shortening
  • raw honey

The apple filling is made from fresh, juicy apples. I love the flavor of Honeycrisp apples for an apple crisp, but any tart/sweet variety will work. Lemon juice and honey really compliment the apples, adding more zing and flavor. And lastly, tapioca flour works as a thickener, which is needed to create more of a gooey filling once cooked.

As for the crumble topping, it’s made with a combination of tigernut flour and tapioca flour. Despite its name, tigernut flour is completely nut free. Tigernut flour is made from dried and ground tigernuts, which are small root vegetables. I love it for baking since it’s allergy friendly and has a naturally sweet, nutty flavor. That being said, the tigernut flour may be swapped with almond flour.

How to Make a Paleo Apple Crisp

This healthy baked apple crisp is super easy to make, healthy and tastes amazing – no one will guess that it’s paleo.

Before you begin making the crisp, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grab a small baking dish, either 11″ x 7″ or 8″ x 8″ and grease it with non-hydrogenated shortening (or butter). I used an 11×7 ceramic baking dish, but have also made this recipe in an 8-inch square glass dish. If you only have a large baking dish, then double this recipe.

Make the Apple Filling

Next, make the apple filling. Wash, core and chop the apples (see photos below). I did not remove the skin, but you can if you wish. To chop the apples, cut the apple in half, remove the core, then thinly slice the apples top to bottom. Lastly, cut the apple slices in thirds.

Next, combine the apples with the remaining filling ingredients. Mix with a spatula until the apple pieces are well coated.

Place the filling in the lined baking dish and set aside.

Make the Crumble Topping

Next, make the crumble topping.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine all dry topping ingredients. This includes the tigernut flour, shredded coconut, tapioca flour, apple pie spice and salt.

Mix in the shortening and honey using a fork or spatula. Combine the topping ingredients until they are just mixed.

Then, crumble the topping over the filling.

Bake the Crisp

Next, bake the apple crisp. Place the crisp in the preheated oven and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

After baking, remove the crisp from the oven and cool in the baking dish. You may serve the crisp warm, room temperature or chilled. (It’s excellent after a night in the fridge, so making this crisp ahead of time works well.)

Paleo Apple Crisp Toppings

I topped this paleo apple crisp with dairy free vanilla ice cream. I also love adding a dollop of coconut cream (just the cream from a can of full fat coconut milk).


This gluten free apple crisp needs to be stored in the fridge. It will last well up to a week.

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