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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!

SHOULD YOU PEEL YOUR APPLES WHEN BAKING?

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.

INGREDIENTS

Topping

  • 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

HOW TO MAKE A CRISP FROM SCRATCH

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

MY VERY FAVORITE BAKING DISH IS THIS STAUB 8X11″ DISH, BAKES EVENLY, CLEANS UP SPOTLESS!
I USE THIS MICROPLANE ALL-THE-TIME FOR ZESTING AND FRESH GRATING SPICES.

CAN I MAKE APPLE CRISP GLUTEN FREE OR VEGAN (OR BOTH)!

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

GLUTEN FREE APPLE 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.

VEGAN (OR DAIRY FREE)

  • 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

HOW DO YOU KEEP APPLE CRISP FROM GETTING SOGGY?

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.

TIPS FOR THE BEST APPLE CRISP

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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bowl filled with apple crisp and a scoop of vanilla ice cream with apples in background.
Yield: 8-10 servings

Old Fashioned Easy Apple Crisp

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

The essential fall dessert, old fashioned apple crisp is an easy and not fussy recipe with all the best fall flavors, Apples, cinnamon, brown sugar with a buttery crisp topping. Easily convert to gluten free and vegan.

Ingredients

TOPPING

  • 3/4 cup Rolled Oats | Not instant, be sure to confirm Gluten Free if you are Celiac
  • 1/3 cup All-Purpose Flour | easily substitute with a good 1-to-1 GF Flour
  • 1/2 cup Real Butter, softened
  • 3/4 cups Brown Sugar, packed | light or dark, your preference, I used organic light
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 cup Pecans, roasted, chopped (optional)
  • Fleur de Sel (optional)

Apple Mixture

  • 5-6 cups coarsely chopped apples, peeled, partially peeled or unpeeled (about 5-6 small apples)
  • 3 tablespoons cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour (sub with GF flour if desired)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Instructions

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.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and butter or spray an 8x11 (thicker crisp) or 9x13 pan (thinner crisp).

Coarsely chop apples and toss with sugar, flour and cinnamon; coating well. Pour evenly into prepared pan.

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.

Remove from oven and if desired, sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt, and a little fresh grated nutmeg.

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!

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

Notes

Use any apples you like! I used Sweet Tango, but have also used Granny Smith's, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious

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.

GLUTEN FREE APPLE 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.

VEGAN (OR DAIRY FREE)

  • 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.


May be made ahead of time and placed in fridge before baking, if a couple of hours baked as directed.

Or Freeze unbaked or baked, covered well. To bake, bake straight from freezer (make sure your dish is oven safe) or let set out for 30 minutes before baking, follow directions.

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.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 394Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 264mgCarbohydrates: 75gFiber: 10gSugar: 54gProtein: 3g

The nutritional information is estimated and may not be entirely accurate, at times it pulls information for suggestions and options which may increase calories, etc. Nutritional information will change based on used ingredients, quantities used, etc.

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