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The Best Gluten Free Apple Crisp (Lightened Up!)

This gluten-free apple crisp is as welcome on a weeknight as it is at a dinner party! Whole and ground oats are used in place of white flour, and are combined with pecans, maple sugar and spices for a tantalizing topping that would be delicious draped over nearly anything (think berries in the spring, peaches in the summer…). It also has nearly half the sugar and butter of regular crisp recipes, but I promise you won’t miss them! A hint of cardamom and vanilla paste lend aromatic sweet warmth, but are optional. For a vegan version of the crisp, swap out the butter for coconut oil and serve the crisp with a dairy-free coconut ice cream. You can either bake the crisp in an 8x8-inch (or similar-sized) baking dish, or in smaller individual baking dishes. While the crisp takes slightly longer than an hour to make because of the baking time, the prep process is really easy!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: gluten free apple crisp, gluten free crisp recipe, gluten free thanksgiving dessert
Servings: 6 people


Crisp topping

  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats, divided
  • cup pecans
  • ¼ cup packed maple sugar, light brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • teaspoon fine sea salt
  • teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch freshly ground nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted


  • 5 sweet-tart apples (about 2 pounds), such as Granny Smith, Fuji, Pink Lady and/or Honeycrisp, cored and cut into ¾-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons packed maple sugar or light brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
  • Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for serving (optional)


Make the crisp topping

  • Preheat the oven to 375˚F (190˚C).
  • Process ½ cup of the oats in a mini food processor until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl. Add the pecans to the processor (no need to wash it) and pulse until coarsely chopped. Transfer the pecans to the bowl with the oat flour, and add the remaining whole oats, maple sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and melted butter. Stir until combined.

Make the filling & assemble

  • In a large bowl, toss the apples with the maple sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla paste (if using).
  • Transfer the apples to an 8x8-inch or similar sized baking dish (or you can use individual baking dishes, ramekins or mini cast iron skillets!), and dot with the butter. Sprinkle the crisp topping over the apples and spread it in an even layer, pressing lightly to adhere. Cover the dish (or dishes) with parchment paper then aluminum foil. Place the baking dish (or dishes) on a baking sheet (this is to catch any juices that might bubble over).
  • Bake the crisp for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and parchment and increase the oven temperature to 400˚F (200˚C). Bake 15-20 minutes longer, or until the topping is golden brown and the apples are tender and bubbling around the edges. Serve warm or at room temperature with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream, if you wish. Swoon!


Do Ahead: The crisp can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. Reheat it in a warm oven, if desired. (I think it totally counts as a balanced breakfast!)
  • I use a mini food processor or Vitamix to make the oat four. You could use ½ cup of store-bought oat flour instead of grinding the oats, if you wish.
  • You can use either brown sugar or maple sugar in this recipe. Maple sugar is made by boiling down maple syrup until it crystalizes, and has a wonderful maple flavor. I buy it online and use it as a natural sweetener in cookies, pancakes and as a sweetener for tea and coffee.
  • If you haven’t tried vanilla paste before, it’s much more flavorful than extract, but it’s a lot cheaper than vanilla beans (but feel free to use the scraped beans from half of a vanilla pod instead!).
  • Feel free to swap out the pecans for other nuts, such as walnuts, hazelnuts or slivered almonds.
  • You can cook this crisp in an 8x8-inch baking dish, but you can also use single serving baking dishes. I can't wait to try it in these mini cast iron skillets.
  • Covering the dish with parchment before aluminum foil prevents the crisp topping from sticking. (p.s. these pre-cut parchment sheets are the best!)
  • Try the crisp with this Cardamom Whipped Cream (swoon). 
  • Don't miss my strawberry crisp and peach crisp recipes!