This is no ordinary pear crumble recipe. A few secret ingredients give it an incredible flavor. Cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla lend warmth; apple cider helps the pears soften and turn sweet; and candied ginger lends a subtle sparkle of spice, like a glittering pair of earrings. Don’t miss the step-by-step VIDEO below!

Close up of a serving of pear crumble on a plate topped with whipped cream, with a fork alongside.

Gluten free pear crumble 

This is a gluten free pear crumble, but you’d never know it. The crisp topping is made with rolled oats and oat flour (although you can use regular all-purpose flour if you prefer). It’s a dessert that can accommodate all eaters at the table, perfect for Thanksgiving and the holidays but easy enough for weeknights.

Gluten free pear crumble in a cast iron skillet, with serving plates alongside.

Fresh pear crumble recipe

The crumble is the perfect way to use up a lot of pears, and you don’t even need to peel them! The pears are mixed with cinnamon, vanilla, coconut sugar and apple cider. The apple cider helps the pears soften and creates a sauce in the bottom of the pan. The crumble is also assembled and baked in a cast iron skillet, which can go straight from the oven to the table. 

All of the ingredients for the pear crumble filling arranged on a countertop.

What kind of pears are best for a crumble?

I prefer to use Bartlett pears, which are juicy with thin skins, but you can use any pear variety you like in this recipe.

Healthy pear crumble 

This pear crumble is naturally sweetened with coconut sugar (or you can use maple sugar or brown sugar if you prefer) and has a whole grain oat topping. The recipe is adapted from my healthy apple crisp and uses less butter than most crisps and crumbles. 

All of the ingredients for the pear crumble topping recipe, arranged on a countertop.

Vegan pear crisp

To make a vegan crumble, simply swap out the butter for a vegan butter or coconut oil!

How do you make a pear crumble from scratch?

First, make an easy crisp topping by combining rolled oats, oat flour (or all-purpose flour), coconut sugar, cinnamon, walnuts (or pecans) and melted butter. Toss everything together until it’s the texture of damp sand.

Next, in a large bowl, toss thinly sliced pears with lemon juice, apple cider, cinnamon, vanilla, candied ginger and cornstarch. 

The pear crumble filling ingredients, arranged in a bowl.

Arrange the pears in a 10-inch cast iron skillet (or you can use a 9-10 inch baking dish). Dot the pears with butter, then sprinkle on the topping. 

Process shot showing a hand sprinkling gluten free crisp topping over pears in a cast iron skillet.

Bake the crumble until the pears are tender and the topping is golden brown and crunchy. 

A baked pear crumble in a cast iron skillet, cooling on a rack.

How do you serve a pear crumble?

Serve the crumble warm or at room temperature, with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream. It’s also fantastic with yogurt as a healthy dessert (or breakfast)!

A serving of pear crisp on a plate, topped with whipped cream.

FAQ

Does a pear crisp need to be refrigerated?

No, the pear crumble can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days, although you can refrigerate it if you prefer. 

Do you have to peel pears for a crisp?

Nope! While you can peel the pears if you’d like for this crisp recipe, I prefer to leave the skins on. It’s much easier, and the skins add color and nutrition. 

Can I use unripe pears in a crumble?

While it’s best to use ripe pears, which will soften and caramelize in the crisp, you can use unripe pears if that’s all you have. Just add another 2 tablespoons of apple cider to the crisp, since the pears won’t turn as juicy when cooked. 

Two dessert plates topped with pear crumble, one with whipped cream.

Tips for making a pear crumble:

  • You’ll need a 10-inch cast iron skillet for this recipe, although you can use a 9-10 inch baking dish instead. 
  • Adding a splash of apple cider to the filling helps the pears soften and creates a glaze. If your pears are very hard and not ripe, add another 2 tablespoons of cider (unripe pears won’t release much liquid when cooked). 
  • Candied ginger gives the crumble an irresistible sparkle of flavor, but you can omit it if you prefer. 
  • This gluten free pear crumble topping is made with whole grain oat flour, but you can use regular all-purpose flour if you prefer.
  • Vanilla paste is one of my favorite secret ingredients. It lends a rich vanilla flavor to baked goods at a quarter of the cost of fresh vanilla beans (and it lasts forever!), but you can use extract instead.
  • Serve the crumble warm or at room temperature, with a dollop of whipped cream (or coconut cream) or a scoop of ice cream. It’s also fantastic with yogurt as a healthier dessert (or breakfast!). 

Watch the video!

Get the recipe!

Pear and Ginger Crumble (Gluten Free, Vegan Option)

If you’re looking for a crowd-pleasing but easy dessert that takes less than 20 minutes of prep, then this gluten free pear crumble is for you! Warm cinnamon and ginger spiced pears are topped with a buttery oat and walnut nut topping for a soul satisfying finale to any meal. Candied ginger gives the crumble unexpected warmth and spice, like a pair of bright golden earrings (but it’s optional). It’s the kind of dessert you can curl up with on a Wednesday night in your pajamas, or share with friends for an elegant holiday dinner. For a vegan version, swap out the butter for vegan butter or coconut oil.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pear crisp, pear crumble, pear crumble recipe
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients

  • Butter or cooking spray for pan

Topping

  • 1/2 cup (60 g) old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) oat flour (or you can use regular all-purpose flour)
  • 1/4 cup (40 g) coconut sugar (or you can use light brown sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling

  • 5 medium ripe but firm Bartlett pears (2- 2 1/2 pounds), cored and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons packed coconut sugar (or you can use light brown sugar)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or vanilla extract (OR the seeds from ½ vanilla bean)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces

For serving

  • Vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, coconut cream or yogurt, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Butter a 10-inch cast iron skillet (or you can use a 9- to 10-inch baking dish).

Make the topping

  • In a bowl, stir together the oats, oat flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, salt and nuts. Pour the melted butter over top and toss everything together until it’s the texture of damp sand.

Make the filling

  • In a large bowl, toss the pears with the lemon juice, apple cider, coconut sugar, candied ginger (if using), cinnamon and vanilla. Fold in the cornstarch.

Assemble and bake

  • Transfer the pear filling (and any juices that have accumulated on the bottom of the bowl) to the prepared skillet and spread them in an even layer. Scatter the pieces of butter over the pears. Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over top.
  • Bake the crumble until the pears are tender when pierced with a knife and the topping is golden brown, about 45-50 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  • Serve the pear crumble warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or yogurt on top!

Notes

Storage: The crumble can sit out at room temperature for up to 8 hours before serving (reheat it in a warm oven, if you prefer). Leftover crumble can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 2 days (p.s. it makes for a great breakfast!).
Tips:
  • You’ll need a 10-inch cast iron skillet for this recipe, although you can use a 9-10 inch baking dish instead. 
  • Adding a splash of apple cider to the filling helps the pears soften and creates a glaze. If your pears are very hard and not ripe, add another 2 tablespoons of cider (unripe pears won’t release much liquid when cooked). 
  • Candied ginger gives the crumble an irresistible sparkle of flavor, but you can omit it if you prefer. 
  • This gluten free pear crumble topping is made with whole grain oat flour, but you can use regular all-purpose flour if you prefer.
  • Vanilla paste is one of my favorite secret ingredients. It lends a rich vanilla flavor to baked goods at a quarter of the cost of fresh vanilla beans (and it lasts forever!), but you can use extract instead.
  • Serve the crumble warm or at room temperature, with a dollop of whipped cream (or coconut cream) or a scoop of ice cream. It’s also fantastic with yogurt as a healthier dessert (or breakfast!). 

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