This Paleo Caramel Apple Crisp is a go-to dessert for me because it’s always a crowd pleaser!
A few years back now I published my Apple Crisp with a Twist. It has a secret ingredient that makes it oh so delicious. And while I still make my apple crisps mostly as that recipe is written, it was time for an update!
Today’s apple crisp has 2 secret/not-so-secret ingredients that makes it a winner with everyone! The original secret ingredient was orange zest. This is a fabulous trick I learned from my mother-in-law. She always makes her apple crisp with orange zest, and everyone always wants to know why it’s extra good!
And now today my second addition is a little caramel to the mix. Between these 2 it’s really hard to go wrong, and this apple crisp is sure to be a hit for you too!
And now on to some other tips to help you make the best apple crisp!
What apples are best for apple crisp?
- McIntosh or Sweet Sixteen are my go-to choices. You can sometimes find McIntosh apples at the health food store. But your best bet for either apple is your local farmer’s market. Also if neither apple is available to you, ask your farmer and they’ll tell you the best apple in your area for baking!
- Granny Smiths are widely available and the easiest choice for an apple crisp. Their natural tang creates the perfect backdrop to the spices and caramel here.
- Honeycrisp and Pink Lady apples also work really well for baking.
- Cortland and Braeburns are also delicious but can be interesting to find here locally for me!
How to make this Paleo Caramel Apple Crisp:
- Start by making my Double Coconut Salted Caramel Sauce to have on hand for drizzling over the top.
- Next mix together the apple crisp topping, and set it aside.
- Prep all the apples and layer them evenly in a baking dish.
- Whisk together the orange juice with spices and pour this mixture over the top.
- Finally distribute the topping evenly over the top of the apples, and bake until it’s golden brown and bubbling.
- Serve the crisp warm with ice cream or whipped cream along with a caramel drizzle to take it right over the top!
Apple Crisp FAQ’s:
- 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. I personally leave mine on the counter overnight, and refrigerate within 1 day, but it never hurts to safer side than sorry!
- Can you freeze apple crisp? Also yes! My favorite way to make and freeze apple crisp ahead is to just make the topping and freeze it. Then I do the apple filling fresh, place the thawed topping over the top and bake it. This saves me space in the freezer. However I do have friends with apple trees that make the entire crisp up until the point of baking, then tightly cover and freeze it for up to 2-3 months. From there you thaw and bake it.
- Should apples be peeled for apple crisp? The short answer is yes! I think an apple crisp is best with the apples peeled. However that being said I have made it with the peels on when I’ve been short on time and it was still delicious.
- How do I reheat apple crisp? The best way to reheat and re-crisp and apple crisp is to heat it in the oven at 300ºF until warm and the topping has become crisp again, 10-15 minutes.
Time Saving Tips:
1. An apple/peeler/corer/slicer is your best friend when it comes to apple crisps. I have one and it makes any kind of apple dessert so much faster!
2. Like I mentioned above you can make the topping ahead of time and have it frozen. You can also refrigerate it 1-2 days before you bake the apple crisp. This is really helpful when you’re making a larger dinner, (here’s looking at you Thanksgiving) and need to have as much as possible prepped ahead.
How to make this apple crisp gluten free, dairy free, and nut free?
- This apple crisp is grain free and paleo which is also gluten 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.
Best Toppings for Paleo Caramel Apple Crisp:
- Homemade Maple Ice Cream
- The Best Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
- Homemade Coconut Ice Cream, (dairy free & vegan)
- Homemade Coconut Whipped Cream, (dairy free & vegan)
- The Ultimate Whipped Cream
Whew… so that’s everything I know to help you bake the best apple crisp you’ve ever had! If you do make it, I hope you’ll leave me a comment/rating below. And I always love hearing from you here and over on Instagram where you can tag me at #getinspiredeveryday with your photos of this Paleo Caramel Apple Crisp.Print
This apple crisp is extra good thanks to 2 secret ingredients!
1 1/2 cups fine almond flour
1 cup chopped pecans, raw
2 Tablespoons tapioca starch
1 Teaspoon cinnamon, I like Vietnamese cinnamon
1 Teaspoon orange zest, grated with a microplane grater
1/2 Teaspoon sea salt, more to taste if you use coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
6 Tablespoons melted ghee, butter, or coconut oil
3 pounds baking apples like Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4″, see notes
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3–1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, from 1 large orange
1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
1 Teaspoon tapioca starch
1/2 cup Double Coconut Salted Caramel Sauce, or caramel sauce of your choice
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
In a medium sized bowl, mix together the almond flour, pecans, tapioca starch, cinnamon, orange zest, and sea salt. Add the maple syrup and melted ghee and stir together until a very clumpy topping forms. It should be similar to a cookie dough in texture.
Place the apples in a 9″x13″ glass baking dish. Whisk together the maple syrup, orange juice, cinnamon, vanilla, and tapioca until combined. Pour the mixture evenly over the top of the apples. Toss lightly with your hands to combine, then spread the apples out evenly.
Spoon the topping over the apples in small pieces, trying to space it out to cover as much surface area as possible. You may need to pat it out a bit with your hands.
Bake the apple crisp until golden brown and bubbling, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Drizzle the caramel sauce over the top just before serving.
3 pound of apples peeled and sliced should take up about 3/4 of your baking pan as a second way to measure.