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Easy Old Fashioned Apple Crisp {Gluten-Free Option}

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Does anything quite say fall like an easy Old Fashioned Apple Crisp? Sweet-tart apples in a cinnamon-sugar mixture and topped with a lighter buttery oat crumb topping. Plus, easily make gluten free and vegan!

We have been making this recipe for decades, but I haven’t made it in awhile, it was time I not only dusted it off, but lightened this decadent fall dessert up a bit, I reduced the butter and sugar by half — without sacrificing any of the flavor and crunchy crumb!

If you love apple desserts or recipes with crumb toppings, then these recipes are a must try — Apple Crumb Cake, Pumpkin Honey Bun, Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb bars and this amazing Giant Blueberry Muffin.

bowl filled with apple crisp and a scoop of vanilla ice cream with apples in background.

Old Fashioned Easy Apple Crisp

Oats or no Oats?

Every apple crisp I have ever eaten was made with oats, for me it’s part of what truly makes it a crisp, versus a crumble. And we all know that oats and brown sugar go together, like PB & J, Lucy and Ethel (I may have just dated myself!)

I love the flavor, chew factor and slight nuttiness that oats bring to this fall dessert. Here are the health benefits of oats:

baking dish filled with apple crisp with red apples in background

What are the best apples to bake with?

  • How about whatever apples you have on hand! Told you it’s not fussy.
  • I used Sweet Tango’s
  • Granny Smith’s are traditionally used in baking, they are tart and it beautifully compliments the sweet.
  • I also love baking with my favorite eating apple, Honeycrisp apples. Bottom line, you decide!


Totally, 100% your preference! I personally love the added fiber and color that red apples tint the slurpy goo in apple desserts. For this apple crisp, I partially peeled my apples, peel away or give them a good scrubbing and dice them up! My favorite peeler, careful it really is sharp!

Apples are one of my “must buy organic” fruits, since I do love the peel so much, they are much cleaner for you this way.

image of apple crisp ingredients.



  • Rolled Oats | Not instant, be sure to confirm Gluten Free if you are Celiac
  • All-Purpose Flour | easily substitute with a good 1-to-1 GF Flour
  • Real Butter | remember if it’s soft coming out of the fridge it’s not real butter
  • Brown Sugar | light or dark, your preference, I used organic light
  • Baking Powder | just a touch, raises the PH helping to brown the topping
  • Cinnamon | can you really have too much cinnamon?
  • Kosher Salt | brings out the amazing flavor in the oats
  • Pecans | roasted, chopped — these are totally optional
  • Fleur de Sel | optional, adds a sweet salty affect to the crisp topping

Apple Mixture

  • Apples, coarsely chopped | you will need about 5-6 small, 3-4 larger
  • Cane Sugar | I use organic all natural cane sugar
  • Flour | sub with GF flour if needed
  • Cinnamon & Nutmeg | it’s Fall Y’all!
apple crisp process shots. 1. Topping dry ingredients. 2. Adding butter to topping ingredients. 3. topping in baggie. 4. adding sugar to apples


This dessert comes together so quickly you might just make it weekly! (wink-wink)

  1. Start by making the crisp topping; in a medium bowl add oats, flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and baking powder, mix to combine. Add softened butter, using your hands, squish into the dry mixture until you have some larger marble sized pieces and the ingredients are mixed well.

FRESH COOKY TIP | I use soft instead of cold butter for my crumb and crisp toppings, adding the ingredients to a ziplock baggie and smooshing them together with my hands, then toss the whole thing in the freezer for 10-15 minutes while finishing the recipe. Firming the butter back up results in a crunchy, crumbly crumb topping every time.

Process shots 5. flour on apples. 6. cinnamon 7. nutmeg 8. coating apples with sugar, spices, flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and butter or spray an 8×11 (thicker crisp) or 9×13 pan (thinner crisp).
  2. Coarsely chop apples and toss with sugar, flour and cinnamon; coating well. Pour evenly into prepared pan.
  3. Top with chilled crisp oat topping, breaking up larger chunks and evenly covering the apples. If desired, sprinkle some chopped pecans on top. Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes until apples are soft, crisp topping is lightly browned. Bake longer for soft and tender apples, less time if a crisp tender apple is desired.
  4. Remove from oven and if desired, sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt, and a little fresh grated nutmeg.
  5. Serve warm with a scoop of cinnamon or vanilla ice cream, grating a little fresh cinnamon and/or nutmeg over the top. You may swoon now!
image with hand holding crisp topping and adding on apples
Placing crisp topping on top



We are not a gluten free or vegan house (hello Beer Beef Stew!), however; I have family and friends with severe allergies requiring no gluten, no dairy and I take it as a challenge to come up with alternatives for them to bake.

I recently had a ladies luncheon and one of my friends is dairy and gluten free.

Adding pecans to apple crisp
Adding roasted pecans to crisp


  • Replace the all-purpose flour with a good Gluten Free Flour, this is my favorite GF 1-to-1 flour. Make sure you replace it both the apple mixture and the topping.
  • Make sure your oats are gluten free, especially if someone is celiac, better to spend a few extra dimes and buy Gluten Free Oats.


  • Replace butter with with coconut oil (liquid or solid) or Olive Oil
  • If desired, replace 1 tablespoon of brown sugar with equal amount of maple syrup
  • Mix topping ingredients well with oil of choice above, place in freezer for 10 minutes to firm back up slightly, bake as directed.
pre-baked best apple crisp with apple in background
Apple Crisp ready for the oven


Topping will get soggy with refrigeration, or if covered before cooling.

How to Fix a Soggy Crisp

  • Soggy crisps happen. Have no fear, because this is best warm anyway.
  • To rewarm and crisp up the topping; preheat oven to 300 degrees F, place apple crisp uncovered in oven rewarming for about 20 minutes.


Can I Make this Ahead of Time?

To make an apple crisp ahead of time, if not baking right away, several hours is fine, days, not so much. Assemble as planned, cover and store in fridge until ready to bake. Bake as directed.

Can I Freeze It? Baked or Unbaked?

You can freeze assembled apple crisp, unbaked or baked. If baking first, be sure to cool completely and then double wrap in aluminum foil.

To rewarm a frozen baked crisp place in preheated 300 degree oven covered for about 30 minutes, removing the foil 10 minutes prior — bake longer if not warmed through.

If unbaked, bake from frozen covered for first 30 minutes; remove foil and bake until golden, tender and lightly browned on top. If it starts browning too much, lightly place a piece of foil over the top.

bowl of apple crisp with vanilla ice cream, tea towel andd apple in background.

What’s the best way to store apple crisp?

Baked apple crisps will last covered at room temperature for 3-4 days. 7-8 days refrigerated and up to 3 months frozen.

Well that’s it, told ya it’s the Best Old Fashioned Easy Apple Crisp, it’s not fussy at all and it’s what fall weekends were made for! Make it for breakfast, brunch or serve it with ice cream for a fabulous fall dessert!

If you are a crisp lover, then please try this Chocolate Pumpkin Graham Skillet Crisp.

PIN to your Favorite Fall Recipes Board.

Pinterest image for Old Fashioned Apple Crisp, baking dish filled with apple crisp

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Don’t forget to give it a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating and comment below the recipe!

Kathleen Pope, The Fresh Cooky.

About Kathleen Pope

Recipe Innovator | Food Photographer | Food Writer

Hi, I’m Kathleen Pope. Here at The Fresh Cooky you will find easy, mostly from-scratch, trusted recipes for all occasions. From speedy dinners to tasty desserts, with easy step-by-step instructions. I am here to help teach you how to make mouthwatering recipes without spending hours in the kitchen. Read more about Kathleen here.

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  1. 5 stars
    My sister found your recipe and shared it. We’ve been making it over and over again for our families and when delivering meals to friends. So delicious warmed with vanilla ice cream. Everyone loves it!

  2. 5 stars
    This crisp is so delicious and easy on my sensitive stomach. Thank you for the alternative ingredients that make this possible for me to eat in confidence.