Gluten Free Apple Crisp

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Get ready for the best apple crisp of your life, and no it’s really not an exaggeration. This Gluten Free Apple Crisp is the the tastiest and best flavored apple crisp thanks to 1 simple secret, orange juice! That’s right, just a touch of orange juice takes your usual apple crisp right over the top. It’s also naturally gluten free with a dairy free and vegan option as well. It’s perfect for fall and always welcome at holidays.

Two bowls of Gluten Free Apple Crisp topped with vanilla ice cream.

Apple crisp has always been a homey and comforting favorite. It’s the perfect fall dessert. And in my experience, even people who don’t care for sweets much, still love a good apple crisp!

This apple crisp is extra special thanks to some added orange juice. It’s a trick I learned from my mother-in-law, and it makes for the best flavor. You’re not really aware of any ‘orange’ flavor, but somehow it transforms an ordinary apple crisp into a crave worthy dessert.

Bowl of Gluten Free Apple Crisp topped with vanilla ice cream with the crisp baking dish in the background.

Orange juice also adds a touch of natural sweetness to the apple filling. And I’ve found I don’t even add any extra sweetener if I’m using McIntosh apples. They have the perfect balance of tart to sweetness paired with a bit of orange juice.

Ingredients & Substitutions

All the ingredients for the apple crisp labled on a wooden cutting board.
  • Apples – any baking apple works here. Baking apple just means a variety that doesn’t turn to ‘applesauce’ when baked and usually has a bit to tang to it. McIntosh have the best flavor, and Granny Smith are also great and widely available.
  • Maple Syrup is my favorite sweetener for the apples, but honey or a bit of coconut sugar works as well. I also leave out the sweetener for the apples when I have McIntosh around. But I do use it if I have Granny Smith’s because they are a bit more tangy.
  • Orange Juice – is my go-to ‘secret’ ingredient for the best tasting apple crisp. You don’t really taste a lot of orange flavor, but it really adds depth!
  • Cinnamon – is the classic spice for apple crisp both in the filling and a touch in the topping as well.
  • Tapioca – just a small amount in the apple filling helps it to thicken when the apples are extra juicy.
  • Oats – are classic in a crisp topping, but you’ll find how to make an apple crisp without oats in my Paleo Apple Crisp.
  • Butter – coconut oil, or vegan butter all work well here.
  • Coconut Sugar – is my favorite choice for the crisp topping. Using coconut sugar keeps the topping crisp rather than maple syrup or honey.
  • Nuts – are optional and you’ll still have plenty of crunch if you can’t have nuts. I love to use pecans here because I find they have a great flavor with apples.
  • Almond Flour – is what I like to use as a gluten free flour here. However if you can’t have nuts, try the topping from my Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp which uses oat flour, and you can leave out the nuts called for.

How to make this recipe step by step

Slicing up the apples on a wooden cutting board.

Step 1: Preheat the oven and peel, core, and slice the apples. You can do this by hand with a peeler and pairing knife. Or save lots of time by using a apple peeler/corer/slicer.

Orange juice mixture in a pottery bowl.

Step 2: Arrange the apple slices in a baking dish, then whisk together the orange juice mixture.

Apple slice in a white baking dish.

Step 3: Toss the apple slices together with the orange juice mixture

Crisp topping mixed together in a white bowl on a wooden cutting board.

Step 4: Mix together the dry ingredients for the crisp topping, then add the melted butter or coconut oil.

Crisp topping being added to the apples in the baking dish.

Step 5: Evenly sprinkle the crisp topping over the apples.

Finished apple crisp topped with ice cream with a golden spoon on the side.

Step 6: Bake until the crisp topping it golden browned and the apples have softened and are bubbling around the edges.

FAQ’s

What apples are best for apple crisp?

McIntosh or Sweet Sixteen are my go-to choices for the best flavor. Granny Smiths are widely available and the easiest choice for an apple crisp. Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, and Braeburn are all delicious as well.

Can I make this crisp without oats?

Yes I have a crisp topping option without oats. You can make my crisp topping from my Paleo Caramel Apple Crisp.

Do you need to refrigerate apple crisp? 

The common consensus is YES! definitely refrigerate your apple crisp once it’s completely cooled to room temperature.

Can you freeze apple crisp?

Yes you can freeze apple crisp after it’s been baked and fully cooled. I also make just the topping to freeze ahead to make quick and easy apple crisps.

Storing leftovers

  • To store – cool completely and then refrigerate for 3-4 days. The crisp topping will become soft over time.
  • Reheating – bake the apple crisp in the oven at 300ºF until warm and the topping has become crisp again, 10-15 minutes.
  • To freeze – cool completely and then freeze in a sealed container for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat to crisp up the topping a bit as directed above.
Two bowls of Apple Crisp with the baking dish in the background.

Tips & Tricks

  • Make the crisp topping ahead of time and refrigerate for 2-3 days until you’re ready to bake. Or freeze the topping for up to 6 weeks so you can make apple crisp in a flash.
  • Use and apple-peeler-corer-slicer to make prepping the apples super fast!
  • Make this apple crisp gluten free, dairy free, and nut free. For a dairy free version, try using coconut or avocado oil in place of the butter. If you can’t have nuts, try my Oat Crisp Topping from my Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp recipe.

I really hope you enjoy this Gluten Free Apple Crisp! This dessert brings back memories of Sunday dinners and holiday desserts. So I hope you’ll enjoy having a healthier version too! If you do get a chance to make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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Two bowls of Apple Crisp with the baking dish in the background.

Gluten Free Apple Crisp


  • Author: Kari Peters
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Get ready for the best apple crisp of your life, and no it’s really not an exaggeration. This Gluten Free Apple Crisp is the the tastiest and best flavored apple crisp thanks to 1 simple secret, orange juice! That’s right, just a touch of orange juice takes your usual apple crisp right over the top. It’s also naturally gluten free with a dairy free and vegan option as well. It’s perfect for fall and always welcome at holidays.


Ingredients

Scale

3 pounds baking apples, like McIntosh or Granny Smith, about 8

1/4 cup maple syrup, or to taste, see notes

1 teaspoon tapioca starch, or cornstarch

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup fresh orange juice, from 1 orange

Topping:

1 1/2 cups almond flour

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup chopped nuts, I use pecans, see notes

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup melted butter, coconut oil, or vegan butter


Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350ºF

Use a peeler/corer/slicer to quickly slice up the apples. Or use a peeler to peel them, then cut into quarters and core. From there slice the apple into 1/4″ thick slices. 

Place the sliced apples into a 9″x13″ baking pan. In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, tapioca starch, and cinnamon until dissolved.

Then whisk in the vanilla and orange juice before pouring the mixture over the apple slices. Toss to combine.

For the topping, mix together the almond flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and sea salt. Then stir in the nuts and rolled oats before adding the butter. Mix until the mixture clumps together.

Using your hands, break up the crisp topping as you crumble it evenly over the surface of the apples.

Bake the crisp until the apples are tender, the topping is golden brown, and it’s bubbling around the edges, 35-45 minutes.

Let cool slightly before serving. Or cool completely to serve at room temperature.

Notes

If I have McIntosh apples, I don’t even use the maple syrup called for because they’re the perfect blend of tart-sweet for our taste. But Granny Smiths definitely benefit from a bit of maple syrup.

If you don’t care for pecans, use whatever nut of choice you enjoy in fruit crisps like cashews or walnuts.

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Healthy Apple Crisp, Apple Crisp Recipe, Gluten Free Apple Crisp with Almond Flour, Healthy Gluten Free Apple Crisp

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