This easy vegan and gluten free apple crisp is the best comforting fall dessert. It’s topped with a healthy refined sugar free and gluten free crumble made with rolled oats. All you need is a scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream!
There’s no better way to welcome fall than with a freshly baked homemade apple crisp. Well, maybe heading to an orchard to pick your own apples for said crisp. But however you do it, now is the time to throw yourself into fall baking, starting with this super easy vegan apple crisp.
How to make Healthy Oat Crumble for Gluten free Apple Crisp
We’ll get to the apples soon, but let’s start from the top down on this crisp.
Our crumbly topping is made with oats. (Although they’re naturally gluten free, don’t forget to grab certified gluten free oats if you have Celiac disease or a severe allergy!)
The combination of oats and apples just tastes like fall to me. This crisp topping is buttery with just the right amount of sweetness. And the best part? It’s totally refined sugar free!
Here’s how we’re making it:
- Rolled oats create the best crumbly texture.
- Shredded coconut gives a delicious coconut flavor. Plus, it melts into the apples for a surprise tropical twist to your apple crisp.
- Walnuts and pumpkin seeds add healthy fats and crunch. To make this vegan apple crisp nut free, simply sub the walnuts with sunflower seeds.
- Maple syrup and coconut sugar sweeten our vegan apple crisp topping. This way, we keep it totally free of refined sugar. The maple is a delightful flavor way beyond sweetness.
- Speaking of coconut, we bind everything together with coconut oil. It has a very mild flavor, so don’t worry – your crisp won’t taste like coconut. However, the oil helps the oats form delicious little clumps on top of your crisp.
- Vanilla and cinnamon dominate in the flavor department. These ingredients give your vegan apple crisp the warming fall flavors it needs.
Finally, making your crisp topping couldn’t be easier. Simply toss everything together in a mixing bowl. Voilà: delicious vegan and gluten free crisp topping!
If you make a big batch you can even save this in your freezer. In an airtight container, the crisp topping will last for several months. It makes a delicious hack for a dinner party. Simply slice up some apples, top them with your frozen crisp topping and you have an impressive dessert in minutes.
Which Apples are Best for Gluten free Baking?
If you find yourself at the store or orchard, stunned by all the different kinds of apples to choose from, fear not. We’ve covered some of the most common apple varieties before.
But when it comes to baking, there are some apples you want to avoid. And still others that make the ideal baking apple. For baking, gluten free or otherwise, you want a fruit that can stand up to heat. Some apples turn to mush. And others have skin that turns tough when baked.
Here are the apples to look for when you have a vegan apple crisp in your future:
- Granny Smiths. You probably know these as the classic green apple breed. Their tart flavor comes in handy for baking. As fruit cooks, its natural sugars come out. So starting with an apple that’s not too sweet will leave you with a dessert with just the right amount of natural sweetness.
- Honeycrisps are the current starlit of the apple world. Celebrated for their long-lasting crisp texture, they won’t fall apart in the oven. No one likes an apple crisp that’s more like applesauce with a crumbly hat. Honeycrisps help you avoid the dreaded mush inside your crisp.
- Braeburn is a less common, but just as useful, apple. It can handle a lot of moisture without falling apart.
And for a really delicious vegan crisp, why not try a mixture of different apples? Mix and match to add sweetness, new textures and flavors to your baked dessert.
How to Season Apples for a Vegan Crisp Filling
After you’ve selected your favorite apples, you’re just a few ingredients away from a delicous seasoned apple crisp filling. Here’s how we flavor our vegan apple crisp filling:
- Maple syrup and coconut sugar. Again, these natural sweeteners are flavor-packed without any refined sugar.
- Apple cider or juice. This adds a bit more apple flavor. And some moisture to help your apples melt down while they bake. Note that this does create a lot of steam in your oven, so be careful opening the door!
- Lemon juice. This helps the apples from browning in the air. It also gives a nice zippiness that this dessert needs. We highly recommend using the juice from a fresh lemon, not anything from a bottle!
- Arrowroot powder or cornstarch. These are both natural thickeners. They help keep your crisp filling from becoming runny. Note that arrowroot powder is also sometimes called arrowroot flour or starch.
- Pumpkin pie spice. A classic fall spice blend of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice. You can mix up a simple batch on your own. Or, find it premade.
Individual or Full-Sized Crisp?
We chose to make this healthy apple crisp in 6 small ramekins. We just love how cute they are. And, they bake up a bit faster than one big crisp. Of course, if you want this dessert to feed more than 6 people, you can certainly make it in a single cast iron pan – the bake time is almost exactly the same.
How to Top and Serve Homemade Crisp
While this gluten free and vegan apple crisp is certainly healthier than other versions. There’s no butter, dairy, refined sugar or wheat. And more importantly, it’s full of healthy nuts, whole grains and fruit!
However when it comes to toppings, we don’t like to hold back. It is dessert, after all! There are so many delicious ways to elevate your apple crisp. And the fun part is that everyone can make their own!
Here are some of our favorite apple crisp toppings:
- Vegan vanilla ice cream. Or, if you’re really going for it, you could try our vegan cookie dough ice cream! Hey, more oats!
- Vegan vanilla yogurt. There’s the healthier option. We love Forager Project Vanilla Bean Cashewgurt. But there are tons of delicious dairy-free yogurts out there to try.
- Coconut whip. You can buy your own in the freezer section. Or you can whip up a batch of homemade coconut whipped cream from a chilled can of coconut milk. See how to do it in our recipe for strawberry shortcake.
- Extra chopped walnuts, or any nut, on top adds crunch!
- Vegan caramel sauce. This one’s not your typical apple crisp topping. But don’t knock it till you try it. You can find delicious store-bought options. But we’re partial towards our own recipe for easy 4-ingredient date caramel sauce.
However you top your crisp, savor each warming bite of this quintessential fall dessert.
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This easy vegan apple crisp is the best comforting fall dessert. It’s topped with a healthy refined sugar free and gluten free crumble made with oats. All it needs is dairy-free ice cream on top!
For the filling:
- 7 cups peeled and diced apples (about 6–7 large apples)
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- ¼ cup apple cider or apple juice
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tbsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice* or cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
For the crumble:
- ¾ cup old fashioned rolled oats
- ⅓ cup shredded coconut
- ⅓ cup chopped walnuts**
- 3 tbsp chopped pumpkin seeds
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar
- 2 tbsp gluten free all-purpose flour (homemade or store-bought)
- ½ tbsp vanilla extract
- ¾ tsp cinnamon powder
- ¼ tsp salt
Optional, for serving:
- Vegan vanilla yogurt
- Vegan ice cream
- Coconut whip
- Chopped walnuts
- Vegan caramel sauce
- Preheat the oven to 350. Add the diced apples to a large bowl with the maple syrup, coconut sugar, apple cider, lemon juice, arrowroot powder, pumpkin pie spice/cinnamon and salt. Stir well to coat evenly.
- Divided the apple mixture between 6 mini cocottes or ramekins. Divide any remaining sauce at the bottom of your bowl equally between the ramekins. Or, simply dump everything into a medium cast iron pan. Place the ramekins or cast iron pan on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine all of the crumble ingredients.
- Remove the baked apples from the oven, stir, and top generously with crumble. Return to the oven and bake for another 25-30 minutes until the crumble is lightly browned and crispy.
- Remove from the oven and let the baked apples sit for 15 minutes too cool a bit. Serve with a generous dollop of vanilla yogurt, ice cream, or whipped cream, chopped nuts, and a drizzle of caramel sauce if desired.
*Pumpkin pie spice is usually a mixture of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. You can either buy premixed or make your own.
**To make this nut free, sub in sunflower seeds.