Sugarless Apple Crisp

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Sugarless apple crisp, there are a number of different recipes out there, but here is my favorite. It’s super easy to make and you can use any kind of apples you want Desserts are supposed to be delicious, but it doesn’t mean they should wreak havoc on your digestive system. That’s why this Sugarless Apple Crisp recipe is perfect for those of you who are diabetic, or just want to keep sugar out of your life more often.

Easy Healthy Sugar-Free Apple Crisp

This Easy Healthy Sugar-Free Apple Crisp recipe is baked with Granny Smith apples and a crunchy topping, all with no refined sugar. This low-calorie dessert works well for breakfast, too!

healthy apple crisp on a plate with a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a baking dish of crisp
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I’m so weird about dessert! I really go for the ones without frosting and I love pretty much all fruit so a crisp is right up my alley! Crisps remind me a lot of a lightened-up cobbler, but they are different.

sweetener, cornstarch, fresh lemon, vanilla, and cinnamon in separate bowls
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What’s the Difference Between Crisp, Crumble, and Cobbler

Crumbles have a topping similar to streusel, often made with butter, flour, and sugar. A crisp is made very similarly, but often includes oats. Both often have the option to add nuts to the topping as well.

A cobbler is usually made with biscuit dough or pie crust. It has buttery, flaky layers with fruit filling lying within. Peach cobbler has always been one of my favorite desserts.

rolled oats, melted butter, brown sweetener, and cinnamon in separate bowls
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What Type of Apples to Use

You will want apples that are both tart and sweet. Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, and Golden Delicious will work well. I like to use all Granny Smith, but you can use what you prefer or a combination of the ones mentioned.

Granny Smith apples on a bamboo cutting board
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How to Peel and Core the Apples

The fastest way to do this is to use an apple peeler and apple slicer and corer. You want to peel the apples, remove the core and then slice the apples into identical slices so that the apples cook at an even temperature. You can slice them in whatever shape you wish.

sliced Granny Smith apples on a bamboo cutting board
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How to Make Healthy Apple Crisp

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place a saucepan on medium-high heat. Add the apples, cinnamon, vanilla, sweetener, and lemon juice. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes until the apples are soft.
  3. Mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Add to the pan and stir.
  4. Transfer the apple mixture to the bottom of the baking dish.
  5. Combine the oats, brown sweetener, cinnamon and melted butter in a separate bowl.
  6. Spread the topping throughout the pan.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes.
a collage photo showing how to make apple crisp by combining ingredients in a saucepan
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What Sweetener to Use

The two biggest things that make this dish healthy is the use of rolled oats instead of all purpose flour and the sweeteners used instead of refined sugar.

I like to use granular monkfruit sweetener for the filling and granular golden monkfruit sweetener for the topping. Monkfruit is zero calorie, zero carb, and is made without the use of artificial sweeteners

You can also use the following: 

  • Regular sugar (you can use the same amount outlined in the recipe)
  • Pure Organic Maple Syrup (1/3 cup in the filling and 3 tablespoons in the topping)
  • Honey (1/3 cup in the filling and 4 tablespoons in the topping)
healthy apple crisp in a red baking dish
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What to Substitute for Butter

You can substitute melted coconut oil (best option) or olive oil.

healthy apple crisp in a red baking dish
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How to Keep the Dish From Getting Watery

The filling will need a thickening agent to keep it from getting watery. I like to use a mix of cornstarch and water.

How Long Will it Last in the Fridge

Store the crisp in the fridge tightly sealed for 3-4 days.

healthy apple crisp in a red baking dish
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Freezer Tips

Freeze the dish covered and tightly sealed. Thaw completely and bake for 20-30 minutes on 350 degrees.


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Technically, this apple crisp recipe isn’t the same as the one I usually make. I wanted to see how it would turn out with Swerve, a substitute for sugar. The results were AH-MAZING!

Seriously, it turned out just like the original in terms of taste. My family gobbled it up! Unfortunately, I won’t be enjoying this one again.

Why I WON’T Be Making My Apple Crisp Sugar Free

Like I said, even though we LOVE this recipe, I’ll be sticking to making my regular apple crisp recipe from now on. Though sugar substitutes can be helpful for some, they also come with some potential disadvantages. I think it is important to be aware of them.

Some commonly used ingredients in 1:1 sugar substitutes (including Swerve) can cause GI distress in certain individuals. A few potential offenders include erythritol (and other sugar alcohols), prebiotic oligosaccharides, and vegetable glycerin.

I’ve tried and enjoyed Swerve granular in the past with no problems. Unfortunately, the “brown sugar” Swerve does not agree with me.

The only difference between Swerve brown and other Swerve products is vegetable glycerin and fruit juice for color. I’ve pinpointed the vegetable glycerin as the cause of my difficulties.

I’ve had similar troubles digesting a certain low calorie ice cream in the past, and the culprit was also vegetable glycerin. (I won’t mention the ice cream brand, as they are no longer in business anyway.) Please note that I am the only one in my family who had a terrible reaction; everyone else was fine.

One of the reasons I tend to be a fan of whole foods is that you don’t have to worry about unwanted food additives disagreeing with you. Sometimes, ingredients like gluten and dairy get blamed for GI distress when it is really a certain additive causing the troubles. It’s unfortunate because whole foods containing gluten and (especially) dairy can be important nutrient sources in the diet.

In short, I’ll be sticking to my refined sugar apple crisp from now on (and only enjoying it on rare occasions). If you do well with sugar free dessert recipes, I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we did!

Benefits of Making Sugar Free Apple Crisp

One of the easiest ways to make lighter desserts (without sacrificing flavor) is to make them sugar free! Here are some other reasons you’ll want to make this healthy apple crisp:

  • Much lower carb than typical apple crisp: Swapping out sugar for Swerve in this recipe reduces the net carbs by over 50%. This may help if you follow a lower carb diet for weight loss or better blood sugar control in diabetes.
  • Helps increase your fruit intake: Hey, this dessert is definitely NOT the healthiest way to eat your fruit. However, if you’re picky and aren’t eating a lot of fruit anyway, every little bit helps!
  • Both easier to make and lower calorie than apple pie: There’s no need to fuss with homemade pie crust for this easy recipe! In addition, this apple crisp is lower calorie than most pies because crisps have no bottom crust.
  • Uses whole grains: This sugar free apple crisp recipe skips the white flour and uses rolled oats and whole grain spelt flour instead. These ingredients give this dessert a little boost of fiber.
  • A delicious way to use seasonal fruit: Since my 70-lb weight loss, I’m no longer much of a dessert person. However, making this apple crisp every year after we go apple picking is non-negotiable. It’s a family tradition!

Sugar Free Apple Crisp Ingredients

This easy dessert has a simple ingredients list to really allow the fruit to shine. Here’s what you need to make the best sugar free apple crisp I’ve tried:

  • Peeled, cored, and sliced apples
  • Swerve granular
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Cooking oil spray
  • Whole grain spelt flour
  • Rolled oatmeal (dry)
  • Swerve brown
  • Butter, cut into small chunks
  • Optional accompaniments (added sugar free ice cream and/or sugar free caramel syrup, if desired)

The downside of Swerve is that it is far more expensive than regular brown or white sugar. However, unlike table sugar, Swerve has zero net carbs and zero calories. Also, I noticed that brown Swerve does not clump up as brown sugar does.

Clumpy brown sugar is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. I’ve probably had a few too many frustrating instances of trying to salvage old brown sugar in the past. My technique typically involves sprinkling the sugar with a bit of water, microwaving until soft, and breaking it up with a food processor or butter knife.

With the brown Swerve, your “sugar” will maintain its fresh, clump-free appearance.

The downside (as discussed in the previous section) is that a few individuals may have trouble digesting these sugar substitutes. If it’s your first time trying them, I’d see if you could get a little from a friend or relative before making a purchase. That way, you won’t be wasting money if these products do not end up agreeing with you.

The main pieces of equipment needed for this apple crisp recipe are an 8-inch by 8-inch glass baking dish, knife, and apple peeler. Once you have everything in hand, you are ready to get going with the recipe.

How Do You Make Apple Crisp from Scratch?

Make sure to clean your hands well both before starting this recipe and after completing it. Things will get a little messy!

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly mist an 8″ x8″ glass baking dish with cooking spray.

Peel, core, and slice your apples. I aim to make the slices ¼”-½” thick, and I cut the slices in half widthwise. Mix the apples with Swerve granular, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Pour your apple mixture into your prepared baking dish and spread the apples out into an even layer. Set the dish aside.

Next, in a medium bowl, combine the spelt flour, oats, Swerve brown, and butter. The recipe for the crumble is easy to remember because you need ½-cup of each dry ingredient. I like to stir the dry ingredients together and then incorporate the butter chunks with my fingers.

Your apple crumble mixture is ready when it has taken on a clumpy, coarse texture with no visible butter chunks. Sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the top of the apples in the baking dish.

Bake your crisp in the middle of the heated oven for 35-40 minutes. I recommend letting the crisp cool before cutting into it. Your crisp will be less watery if you let it cool after baking.

If desired, you can serve your sugar free apple crisp with vanilla ice cream and caramel syrup or maple syrup. Use sugar-free and no added sugar products if you are looking to keep the entire dessert sugar free. It’s SO GOOD!

Should apple crisp be covered when baking?

No, I don’t recommend covering your apple crisp when baking. Covering the dessert will trap the moisture and may result in a crisp that is too watery.

Should apple crisp be watery?

Apple crisp does tend to be a little watery coming out of the oven, but the apple filling will thicken as it cools. I tend to prefer apple crisp that is cooled and then reheated because it is less watery this way.

If you often have extremely watery apple pies and crisps, consider changing up the apple variety you are using. Check out my suggestions for the best apples to use for apple crisp recipes in the FAQs below!

Expert Tips from a Dietitian

This is a level 3 recipe (weight maintenance and active lifestyles). I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Baked goods, including healthier baked goods such as this one, are not the best choice if you have a weight loss goal.

That said, fruit crisps tend to be a much lighter dessert option than pies, including fruit pies. The most calorific part of most pies and crisps tends to be the crust (or the crumble). Apple crisp will typically be lower in calories than apple pie because apple crisps do not have a bottom crust.

In addition, apple crisp is a fruit-based dessert. Desserts made with whole fruits tend to be lighter than nut or flour-based desserts. You will likely save hundreds of calories per serving when you choose a piece of apple crisp instead of pecan pie or a slice of chocolate cake.

Likewise, you could further lighten this recipe by reducing the amount of crumbly topping used in the crisp. Try using a little less butter than I’ve used in this recipe. Since each tablespoon of butter is a whopping 100 calories, even a small reduction can make a difference.

Light butters often don’t work out as a 1:1 substitute for full fat butter in recipes. The extra water and/or additives used in light butter may have a negative impact on your recipe.

Using plant-based oils as a substitute for butter in this recipe will actually add more calories. Coconut oil, avocado oil, and other plant oils are higher in calories than butter because they do not contain dairy solids.

How many calories in sugar free apple crisp? How many net carbs?

This sugar free apple crisp provides 207 calories and 20.8g net carbs per generous serving. My original apple crisp recipe (with sugar) provided 353 calories and 49.8g net carbs per serving. It’s a big difference!

The original apple crisp recipe contained ⅓-cup of white sugar (258 calories, 66.6g net carbs) and ½-cup of packed brown sugar (418 calories, 107.9g net carbs). In total, these two ingredients added a whopping 676 calories and 174.5g net carbs to the recipe.

When you substitute Swerve for sugar, you’re cutting 113 calories and 29g net carbs per serving. Though the change may seem minor, it has a big nutritional impact. The simple swap to a sugar substitute results in a net carb decrease of over 50%!

Apples are a great fruit to have on hand because they can last for many weeks in the fridge without spoiling. In addition, many recipes made with apples freeze well. Try freezing homemade applesauce and homemade apple crisp when you have too many apples.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best apples for apple crisp?

Cortland apples are my favorite apples for baking pies and crisps. I highly recommend them! They are fabulous for snacking on as well.

Some other apple varieties that are excellent for apple crisps include the following:

  • Jonamac
  • Ginger Gold
  • Gold Delicious (NOT Red Delicious apples!)
  • Ida Red
  • Mutsu
  • Granny Smith

I have a chart showing which apple varieties are best for eating, pies, sauce, and baking in my Slow Cooker Applesauce Recipe article. Use the chart to pick a good apple to make sugar free apple desserts. Alternatively, use the apple chart to figure out how best to use the type of apples you already have.

Should apple crisp be served warm?

The answer to whether apple crisp should be served chilled or warm is really a matter of personal opinion. I prefer the juxtaposition of a warm fruit crisp with cold vanilla or berry ice cream. Something about the combination of a warm fruit dessert with some soft and slightly melty ice cream is pure bliss to me.

Should apple crisp be refrigerated after baking?

Are you wondering where to store apple crisp? Store sugar free apple crisp in the refrigerator.

Some fruit pies and fruit crisps contain enough sugar to hinder the growth of bacteria and safely be kept at room temperature. For fruit crisp recipes without sugar, I would not risk it. Just pop your sugar free crisp in the fridge after baking and cooling.

Leftover apple crisp can safely be refrigerated for up to 3-4 days. If you are not going to finish this apple dessert within that time frame, freeze it! Apple crisps freeze well and can last for months in the freezer.

Can I make this apple crisp gluten free?

The small amount of spelt flour in this recipe does contain gluten. Try making this sugar free apple crisp with almond flour instead of spelt to make it gluten-free. You will also need to ensure that you are using gluten free oats for a truly gluten free apple crisp.

Is this sugar free apple crisp keto?

No, this apple crisp is not keto, even though it is sugar-free. In general, apples are too high in carbohydrates to be a regular part of most keto diets. Though they contain no added sugars, apples are rather high in natural fruit sugars.

In addition, the oats and whole grain spelt flour used in the crumb topping are high carbohydrate foods. Though I would consider this a low carb apple crisp, it is not a good fit for very low carb diets (including ketogenic diets).

If you wanted a keto apple crisp, I have seen recipes that use peeled and seeded zucchini in the apples’ place. Low carb flours, such as almond flour, can be used for the crumb topping. That Low Carb Life has a sugar free keto apple crisp recipe (using zucchini instead of apples), if that’s what you are looking for.

What’s the difference between apple crisp and apple brown betty?

Both apple crisp and apple brown betty are traditional American desserts where apples are baked with sweetened crumbs. Though some use these dessert names interchangeably, the apple brown betty may have crumbs placed between layers of apples. With an apple crisp, the crumbly streusel is always sprinkled just on top.

How do you make apple crisp without using oil or butter?

The butter in this recipe helps to hold the crumbs of the apple crisp together. If you want to make apple crisp without butter or oil, you will need something else to help make the crumbs crumbly.

I would experiment with applesauce, mashed banana, or pureed Medjool dates. Try incorporating nut butter if you want to use something with a higher fat content. Keep in mind that making an added oil-free apple crisp will alter this recipe’s taste and nutrition information.

Sugar Free Apple Crisp

This Sugar Free Apple Crisp is the perfect fall dessert or winter holiday treat. Serve this as a fun twist on the classic apple pie that we all grew up loving to eat. This simple crisp dessert is gluten-free, sugar-free, and Trim Healthy Mama friendly.

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I’ve been enjoying making crisps for as long as I can remember. What I love about this simple dessert is that it just really saves on time. When you’re not in the mood to make a homemade pie crust, this crumble dessert comes to your rescue time and time again. Not only that but every bite is literally loaded with amazing flavor.

There’s never a peep from anyone once it’s served up to eat. I love varying up the ways that I serve it as well. Some days I top it with a scoop of ice cream, while others days a little bit of whipped cream is just what it needs. (and sometimes, I don’t even add anything at all because it really is perfection just as it is!)

Ingredients

Apples – I prefer sweeter apples for my apple crisp but you can use tart as well. It’s totally up to you and your taste buds. You can also use whatever apples you have at home that need to be used up! Anytime I have an apple that’s bruised I pop it into the fruit drawer in the fridge and save it for baking.

Joy Filled Eats Sweetener – My favorite sweetener. I use a blend of xylitol, erythritol, and stevia to mimic the taste of sugar while only needing half the amount of other sweeteners. This is all natural with no aftertaste.

Lemon Zest – Clean the outside of the lemon well before zesting. The zest gives a hint of lemon flavor and tartness to the filling that balances the sweetness nicely.

Glucomannan – Gives a boost of fiber to the recipe and thickens the juices from the apples the same way wheat flour or cornstarch would. 

Oats – This is the star of the crumble topping! Make sure to use gluten free oats to make this gluten free. You want old-fashioned oats or rolled oats, not quick oats.

Butter – I prefer butter in my crumble topping but for a dairy-free option just sub in coconut oil. I only buy salted butter and use it when baking all my recipes. If you have unsalted butter add a tiny pinch of salt to the topping.

Cinnamon – I love the flavor of cinnamon and try to buy very good quality cinnamon such as Saigon cinnamon or Korintje cinnamon. They have a stronger flavor than the inexpensive cinnamon in the grocery store and it is worth it.

How To Make Sugar Free Apple Crisp

This is such an easy way to make a delicious apple dessert.

Step One: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray

Step Two: Stir together the apple filling ingredients right in the baking pan. I use a glass pyrex dish and it works out perfectly.

Step Three: Add the topping ingredients to a food processor. Pulse to combine. 

The mixture will resemble the look of sand once combined well.

Step Four: Sprinkle on top of the apples that are in the dish. 

Step Five: Bake for 45 minutes. You want to bake it until the juices bubble around the edge and the topping is golden. If the topping looks down before the apples just cover with foil for the last bit of baking time.

Common Questions

Do you have to peel the apples for this healthy apple crisp?

You do. You’re going to want to peel and core them and then slice them. Don’t slice them too thin because they might get mushy.

What are the tartest apples to use for this easy recipe that tastes like apple pie?

Granny smith apples are fairly tart and would be a fun addition to this recipe. I really like using Honeycrisp or Gala as well.

Fuji apples tend to be fairly popular, too.

You also don’t want to cut your apple slices too thick because then they might not cook completely.

And if you’re worried about your apple slices turning brown, adding a few drops of lemon juice to your newly sliced apples helps them keep their coloring.

How do you know the apple crisp is done baking in the oven?

The coloring of the gluten-free apple crisp should be golden brown. The apple filling underneath the crumbly top will also be bubbling as well.

What do you serve with sugar free apple crisp?

You can’t go wrong with sugar free vanilla ice cream! I also think that whipped cream is wonderful, too. Remember – a topping doesn’t have to happen. You’ll still get the crumble in every bite!

What other toppings would go well with this golden delicious dessert?

I think that this crisp recipe would taste great with a few crushed pecans added right on top.

I also feel that drizzling on some sugar free caramel sauce would be a fun topping suggestion as well.

How do you store this vegan apple crisp?

You have a few options. You can cover the top of the baking pan with aluminum foil and set it in the fridge.

You can also add it to an airtight container and put it in the fridge. Even though this recipe doesn’t have any dairy, I still think it tastes better chilled.

If you want to enjoy it warm, then just warm it up in the microwave right before you eat it.

I have a feeling that you’re not going to have a lot of this cobbler recipe left to store! My kids literally race to the table once they hear that this was made. I have to make sure to set myself back some or I won’t get any!

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