When it’s fall and apple orchard season is here, one of my favorite things to make is apple crisp… actually, gluten-free apple crisp! I mean what could be better than baked apples with a sweet crispy oat topping!? And serving it with ice cream makes it that much more delectable. This apple crisp is clean with no refined sugar and is gluten-free. This is a pretty light dessert packed with good-for-you ingredients like apples, oats, and oat flour.
Keeping it Clean
A typical apple crisp uses brown sugar in the oat topping, but I find that coconut sugar is a great alternative to brown sugar due to the similar flavor of the two. It’s also what I consider a clean sugar since it’s unrefined and maintains the nutritional profile from it’s original source, the coconut sap (I’m not saying it’s a super food by any means, but it does maintain it’s original nutritional content through processing). I also use this in the filling, keeping the entire dessert refined sugar free!
As part of the oat topping I used gluten-free oat flour, but if you don’t need it to be gluten-free and/or don’t have gluten-free oat flour, regular oat flour, almond flour, or whole wheat flour would work too.
The combo of tart and sweet apples is a must when making an apple crisp. I prefer granny smith and gala, but you could really use any combination of tart and sweet, but I do recommend more tart than sweet. I also love making this in a cast iron skillet, however, if you don’t have a cast iron skillet an 8×8 baking dish will do just fine.
Now I typically would want to make my own ice cream, however, for this occasion when I made this I didn’t have the time so I bought organic ice cream from the local health food store. Doesn’t really fit the bill of “clean” food, but sometimes time gets in the way and convenience wins. So, either whip up a batch of homemade ice cream (you really can’t beat homemade vanilla ice cream) or go buy some at the store… no judgement here 🙂
Not looking for gluten-free? No problem, just use regular oat flour or whole wheat (or white whole wheat flour) and use regular oats.
Gluten-free Apple Crisp
This apple crisp is the perfect dessert for fall! It's naturally sweetened with a crunchy oat topping.
- 5 Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 Gala Apples (or any other sweet apple), peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 tbsp. corn starch
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar also known as coconut palm sugar
Crispy Oat Topping
- 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
- 2/3 cup gluten-free oat flour
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar also known as coconut palm sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick); cold and cut into small cubes see notes for non-dairy alternative
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If using a baking dish as opposed to a skillet, lightly grease the baking dish.
In a large bowl, mix the apples, lemon juice, cinnamon, corn starch, and coconut sugar. Pour apple mixture into skillet or prepared baking dish.
In a separate bowl, combine the oats, oat flour, and coconut sugar. Add the small cubes of butter (or coconut oil) and mix well with your hands or back of a spoon until you have a slightly coarse/crumbly mixture. Evenly spread the crumb mix over the apples.
Bake uncovered for 45 minutes to 1 hour. You want the topping to start browning slightly and the mixture to be bubbly.
Serve warm. Tastes great with vanilla ice cream (non-diary if needed)!
Sept 2019 Update: When I originally created this recipe I wasn't avoiding dairy as much so I used butter in the topping. I've made fruit crisps since this original post and have used coconut oil as a replacement for the butter in the topping. However, if you are going to use coconut oil, I would use 1/4 cup instead of 1/2 cup as directed for the butter. And the use coconut oil at room temp and scoop small amounts into the crumb mixture before mixing.