This gluten-free apple crisp combines soft-baked apples flavored with maple and warm spices and a crumbly oat topping. Instead of using all-purpose flour, use a combination of almond meal and oats. Almond meal adds a lovely texture and delicious nutty flavor. To keep the recipe gluten free, make sure you’re using certified GF oats. This is a wonderful alternative to my regular apple crisp recipe.
This gluten-free apple crisp will test alllll your self control. I originally published this recipe back in 2014, and it’s not just “really good for a gluten-free recipe.” I mean, just plain good… just like my cranberry frangipane tart. It’s every bit as good as my classic apple crisp recipe! And dare I say even better because you have the fabulous addition of maple syrup. Yum.
Here’s Why You’ll Love This Gluten-Free Apple Crisp:
- Quick & easy: No pre-cooking, chilling, or waiting-for-it-to-cool steps
- Fall-favorite flavors of apple, cinnamon, maple, and brown sugar
- Crumbly, buttery oat and almond crisp topping
- Recipe doubles easily for serving a crowd
- No one will believe it’s gluten free!
I appreciate how easy it is to prepare fruit crisps. While I adore fruit pies with my homemade buttery flaky pie crust, they can be rather time consuming. Apple pie is a forever favorite dessert, but waiting for it to cool can be downright torturous. With this crisp, we can dig right in while it’s still warm!
Easy Apple Filling
- Apples: See below for the best apples to use. You need 5 cups of peeled, chopped apples, which is about 4 medium/large apples.
- Lemon Juice: A squeeze of lemon helps brighten up the flavor of the apple filling—it tastes a little flat without it.
- Brown Sugar: The molasses content in brown sugar adds so much flavor as it sweetens. It’s how I sweeten this apple galette, too.
- Maple Syrup: For sweetness with that unequaled maple flavor. The apple-maple combo tastes like quintessential fall! Have you ever tried my healthy apple muffins?
- Vanilla Extract: Enhances and complements all the other flavors.
- Cornstarch: This helps the filling thicken as it bakes.
- Spices: Just like in apple pie, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice add warmth and depth of flavor to this gluten-free apple crisp.
What Are the Best Apples to Use for Baking?
Firmer apples are ideal for baking. Avoid soft, mealy, and mushy apples. For depth of flavor, it’s best to bake with a mix of tart and sweet apples. For this crisp, I usually use 2 tart and 2 sweet.
- Tart apples I love to bake with: Granny Smith (in my opinion, this is the best overall apple for baking), Braeburn, Jonathan, and Pacific Rose
- Sweet apples I love to bake with: Jazz, Pazazz, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, and Fuji
Peel & Slice Apples Into Chunks
You can skip peeling the apples if you’d like, but many prefer peeled apples in desserts. I use and love (affiliate link) this OXO peeler. A lot of crisp recipes use apple slices, but I prefer chunks because chunks easily fit onto a spoon or fork. It’s also difficult to get perfectly uniform slices, so some pieces can be much thinner than others—and that means mushy apples. 1-inch chunks that are between 1/4 and 1/2 an inch thick are ideal for this gluten-free crisp.
Toss the apple chunks with the rest of the filling ingredients and then spoon/pour the apple filling into a 9-inch pie dish or square baking pan.
Here’s What You Need for the Topping
6 ingredients come together to make a delicious gluten-free topping:
- Brown Sugar: Brown sugar adds so much flavor and softness, and pairs really well with the maple flavor in the filling.
- Oats: Whole rolled/old-fashioned oats are best in this topping. Make sure to look for “certified gluten free” on the label.
- Almond Meal: This replaces the traditional all-purpose flour. Almond meal is simply ground almonds (before reaching the stage of almond butter). If you use blanched almonds and grind them up a little more fine, you’ll get almond flour. Almond meal has a little more texture. You can use almond flour or almond meal; I’ve done it both ways and either works.
- Cinnamon: A hint of cinnamon in the topping adds even more flavor.
- Salt: Sweetness balancer/flavor enhancer.
- Butter: Stirring in melted butter is what makes the crisp topping come together, all crumbly and delicious!
You can buy almond meal from the store, but it’s really easy to make at home. Pulse sliced or slivered almonds in a food processor until the almonds are pulverized. To avoid the almonds grinding into an oily almond butter due to the processor’s heat, pulse them with 2 Tablespoons oats. I note that in the recipe below.
Sprinkle the topping all over the top of the apple filling, and your gluten-free apple crisp is ready to bake! No chilling, pre-cooking, cooling, or any other steps that would further delay the moment of bliss when you dig in your spoon for that first bite.
And of course, don’t forget the vanilla ice cream! No apple dessert is complete without a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. And for a juicy pop of color, sprinkle some fresh pomegranate arils on top before serving. (Totally optional, but look how pretty!) Talk about texture heaven.
Can I Make Other Gluten-Free Fruit Crisps?
Yes, you can replace the apples with cherries or pears, or even replace 1 cup of the apples with fresh cranberries. You can also use blueberries or peaches, but reduce the maple syrup in the filling down to 3 Tablespoons, because both of those fruits get so juicy. Feel free to adjust the spices, based on the fruit you’re using.
This gluten-free apple crisp combines soft-baked apples flavored with maple and warm spices and a crumbly oat topping. Instead of using all-purpose flour, use a combination of almond meal and oats. Almond meal adds a lovely texture and delicious nutty flavor. To keep the recipe gluten free, make sure you’re using certified GF oats. It’s not just “really good for a gluten-free recipe.” It’s just plain REALLY GOOD.
- 5 cups (about 600g) peeled & chopped apples
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/3 cup (67g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup (80ml) pure maple syrup*
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/3 cup (67g) packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 cup (85g) old-fashioned whole rolled oats (certified GF)
- 1/2 cup (50g) almond meal or almond flour*
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup (71g, or 5 Tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
- optional: 2 Tablespoons sliced or slivered almonds, vanilla ice cream (GF), pomegranate arils
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease a 9-inch pie dish, cake pan, or square baking pan. Set aside.
- Filling: Stir all of the filling ingredients together in a large bowl. Make sure the apples are evenly coated. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
- Topping: Whisk the brown sugar, oats, and almond meal together. Break up any large clumps of brown sugar. Whisk in the cinnamon and salt. Once combined, stir in the melted butter. Sprinkle topping over the apples and finish with a few slivered or sliced almonds (optional).
- Bake for 35–40 minutes or until the filing is bubbly, the apples are a little soft, and the topping is browned. If it looks like the topping is browning too quickly, cover the top loosely with aluminum foil about halfway through baking time. Allow to cool for 5–10 minutes before serving.
- Top with pomegranate arils, if using, and serve with vanilla ice cream.
- Cover leftovers and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Follow steps 2 and 3 in the recipe, then cover the crisp and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bake as directed.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): 9-inch Pie Dish, 9-inch Round Cake Pan, or 9-inch Square Baking Pan | Glass Mixing Bowls | Whisk | Rubber Spatula | Vegetable Peeler
- Apples: You want about 5 cups (about 600g) chopped apple chunks. For best flavor, use a mix of tart and sweet varieties, such as 2 tart Granny Smiths and 2 apples of a sweeter variety like Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, or Fuji.
- Maple Syrup: Delivers so much flavor. And makes the apple filling extra juicy and gooey. Don’t leave it out!
- Almond Meal: You can use store-bought almond meal or almond flour, or you can make your own. Start with 1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds. Pulse them, along with 2 Tablespoons of the 1 cup oats called for in this recipe, in a food processor until a crumbly meal has formed. Do not run the food processor continuously; you may end up with almond butter. Quick pulses are best. You will end up with about 1/2 cup almond meal.
Keywords: gluten free apple crisp