Gluten-free apple crisp is the perfect way to enjoy an easy fall treat, without the effort! This easy gluten-free apple dessert is loaded with fresh apple cinnamon filling and the best, thick double topping, full of buttery oats and brown sugar!
Gluten-Free apple crisp with a twist!
Enjoy a gluten-free apple crisp recipe just as delicious as the classic, old fashioned dessert Grandma used to make! This warm, inviting apple crumble is guaranteed to exceed all expectations.
It utilizes simple, affordable ingredients, just like those highlighted in my gluten-free cookbook. However, some easy tricks, like those used in gluten-free peach crisp, makes an extra juicy filling with thick, buttery oat topping.
- Adding one grated apple with the chopped apples breaks down during baking to thicken the filling and avoid a thin, watery sauce.
- Partially baking the apple filling before adding the topping means the crumble topping does not become overly browned as the apples soften.
- Mixing together the gluten-free crisp topping in the food processor means it comes together in minutes and binds the ingredients into perfect clumps!
These tricks are also used in another fruit crumble with streusel topping – gluten-free apple crisp without oats.
An easy recipe for gluten-free apple crisp only requires fresh apples and staple kitchen ingredients! For a caramel apple version, don’t forget to pick up some caramel topping to drizzle on when serving.
- Apples – Like in gluten-free apple cobbler, I prefer Golden Delicious, but see below for alternative baking apples.
- Sugar – Blend of granulated sugar and brown sugar adds a nice caramel flavor.
- Spice – Mixture of cinnamon and nutmeg
Oat Crumble Topping:
- Old-fashioned rolled oats – Oatmeal in pure form are gluten-free, but may become contaminated during packaging on shared equipment. Therefore, using certified gluten-free oats are best.
- All purpose gluten-free flour blend – I use and recommend Cup4Cup gluten-free flour for best results. Instead of gluten-free flour, oat flour or coconut flour may also be used.
- Butter – For a dairy-free or vegan crisp, replace with melted plant-based vegan butter
- Optional nuts, such as chopped pecans, walnuts, or almonds
How To Make Gluten-free apple crisp
(Below shows step-by-step photos and modified instructions. For the complete recipe, along with ingredient amounts, scroll down to the recipe card.)
- First make the apple filling by whisking together water, lemon juice, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the apple chunks, grated apple and sugar.
- Transfer to a baking dish and drizzle melted butter over the top. Securely cover with foil and bake at 400ºF for 20 minutes.
- While the apples are partially baking, begin the gluten free crisp topping. In a food processor (see recipe notes for alternative “by hand” method) place 3/4 cup oats, flour, brown sugar, vanilla, water, and salt. Pulse briefly to combine.
- Add the butter and half the nuts, if using. Process until all the ingredients comes together in a large, crumbly ball.
- Add remaining nuts and 1/3 cup oats. Pulse 2-3 times to just combine.
- Break off clumps and sprinkle over partially baked apple filling. Reduce oven temperature to 350ºF. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes, or until the juices are bubbly and top is golden brown. Serve with ice cream and caramel topping for apple caramel crisp.
easy trick for juicy apple filling
The trick of grating one apple in the filling with the chopped apples is a technique Cook’s Illustrated uses. The grated apple breaks down during baking, leaving the filling juices optimally flavored and thicken.
I’ve tried it both ways (because grating an apple is an extra step), but taking the time to grate an apple definitely makes the filling SO much better!
Best apples to use for baking
With so many apple varieties out there, it’s hard to know which are best for baking! Apple crumble can be made with a variety of apples for diverse flavor and texture.
These apples are known to be good for baking, hold their shape, and don’t turn mushy. My personal favorite to use for gluten free apple desserts are Golden Delicious because they also have a perfectly balanced flavor, not too sweet or too tart.
- Granny Smith apples (these apples are tarter so may want to pair with something else)
- Pink Lady
- Golden Delicious
substituting canned apple filling
You may substitute canned filling, but fresh is best! If you want to save a step, and make apple crisp with canned apple pie filling, use two 20 ounce cans. The crisp will be a lot sweeter, so you may also want to decrease the amount of brown sugar in topping.
making recipe without a food processor
Stir together 1/2 cup oat, coconut, or almond flour with gluten-free flour, brown sugar, sugar, salt, 1/3 cup old fashioned oats, and optional chopped nuts. Then use a pastry blender or fork to mix in the vanilla extract, water, and softened butter
Fruit crisp is best served slightly warmed with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. For a caramel apple crisp, either drizzle caramel sauce over the oat topping or on top the ice cream. Caramel apple crisp is always a wonderful step up!
how to store and Reheat
Store the crisp on the counter, covered with foil, at room temperature for 1 to 2 days. Avoid using plastic wrap, which traps moisture, making the topping soggy.
If you would like to keep your gluten-free crumble for longer than 2 days, store it in your refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to one week.
When you are ready to reheat, bring it out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Place it in your oven at 300ºF for about 20 minutes, or until heated through. You may need to cover with foil if the topping starts to get too brown.
Freezing Apple Crisp
To freeze, first bake and allow to cool completely. Then, wrap the cooled dessert tightly in plastic wrap, cover in foil, and freeze for up to three months.
To reheat, thaw it either on the counter, or in the fridge overnight and then bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes, or until heated through.
It may also be frozen unbaked for a make-ahead dessert. Bake directly from frozen, adding about an additional 20 minutes. If the top is becoming overly browned before the fruit is thickened and heated through, loosely tent foil over the top.
Difference between Cobbler, Crisp, and Crumble
- Fruit cobbler usually has a biscuit topping, made from scratch or with Bisquick. Some recipes use a cake mix or cookie dough for the topping. When making a gluten-free fruit cobbler, you will want to use GF biscuits or shortcakes and cornstarch or tapioca as a naturally gluten free thickener for the fruit sauce.
- Fruit crisp topping contains oats, which crisp up when baked. There are many versions of crisp, such as peach crisp, blackberry, or the ever popular apple crisp.
- Fruit crumble is very similar to crisp. Technically a crumble does not contain oats, and is more of a streusel topping with flour, butter, and sugar. However, the terms crisp and crumble are often used interchangeably.
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Easy Gluten-Free Apple Crisp with Best Topping
Listen to Recipe Audio
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 ¾ pounds (about 5 large) Golden Delicious apples peeled and cut into ½" cubes
- 1 Golden Delicious apple peeled and grated
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- ¾ + ⅓ cup gluten-free old-fashioned rolled oats divided
- ⅓ cup all purpose gluten-free flour (I recommend Cup 4 Cup)
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter softened and cut in 8 pieces
- ⅓ cup (optional) chopped nuts pecans, walnuts, or almonds
- (optional) caramel ice cream topping for serving
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Grease a 11X7 or 2 quart baking dish.
- In a large bowl whisk together sugar, brown sugar, water, vanilla extract, lemon juice, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add chopped apples and grated apple. Stir to combine.⅓ cup sugar,2 tablespoons brown sugar,1 tablespoon water,1 tablespoon lemon juice,1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch,1 teaspoon vanilla extract,½ teaspoon ground cinnamon,⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg,⅛ teaspoon salt,2 ¾ pounds (about 5 large) Golden Delicious apples,1 Golden Delicious apple
- Transfer to prepared baking dish. Pour melted butter over top of apple filling. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes.2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Oat Crumble Topping:
- While apples are partially cooking, make topping. In a food processor (see recipe notes for by hand method) place 3/4 cup oats, flour, brown sugar, vanilla, water, and salt. Pulse to combine, about 5 times.¾ + ⅓ cup gluten-free old-fashioned rolled oats,⅓ cup all purpose gluten-free flour,⅓ cup packed brown sugar,2 teaspoons vanilla extract,2 teaspoons water,¼ teaspoon salt
- Add butter and half the nuts, if using. Process until all the ingredients comes together in a large, crumbly ball. Stop halfway through to scrape down bowl, if necessary.8 tablespoons unsalted butter,⅓ cup (optional) chopped nuts
- Add remaining nuts and 1/3 cup oats. Pulse 2-3 times to combine.
- Break off clumps and scatter over partially baked apple filling. Reduce oven temperature to 350ºF. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes, or until the juices are bubbly and top is golden brown.
- Let crisp cool on a wire rack for 30-60 minutes, for filling to thicken. Serve slightly warm with ice cream or whipped cream.
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By Hand Method:Stir together 1/2 cup oat, coconut, or almond flour with gluten free flour, brown sugar, sugar, salt, 1/3 cup old fashioned oats, and optional chopped nuts. Then use a pastry blender or fork to mix in the vanilla extract, water, and softened butter.
Storing Fruit CrispStore baked crisp on the counter, covered with foil, at room temperature for 1 to 2 days. Avoid using plastic wrap, which traps moisture, making the topping soggy. To keep longer than 2 days, store it in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to one week. When you are ready to enjoy your crisp, bring it out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for about 20-30 minutes. For optimal reheating, place it in a 300°F oven for about 20 minutes, or until heated through. You may need to cover with foil if the topping starts to get too brown. To freeze, bake and allow to cool completely. Then, wrap the cooled crisp tightly in plastic wrap, cover in foil, and freeze for up to three months. To reheat frozen crisp, thaw either on the counter, or in the fridge overnight and then bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until heated through. Individual servings of fruit crisp may also be reheated in the microwave, but the topping will become soft. For best results, use an oven or toaster oven for reheating. Recipe adapted from The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook
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