Have a bunch of apples to use up? Good, me too! Let’s make apple crisp together.
Wait, even better… let’s make a healthy apple crisp with a crunchy cinnamon pecan oat topping. You down?
Look, I love apple crisp for a variety of reasons. It’s cozy, comforting, a little bit nostalgic and much easier to make than homemade apple pie. Plus who doesn’t love the texture component of the topping? It’s everything you could want in a dessert.
I originally made this healthier apple crisp a few years ago and haven’t looked back since. You’d never know it was a little better for you either, I’ve lightened it up just enough for it for you to enjoy and still feel like it’s something really special coming out of your oven.
Instead of using regular sugar like most apple crisp recipes call for, I used maple syrup in the filling. The recipe doesn’t call for much but when all is said and done, it ends up being the perfect amount of sweetness. The filling also calls for a little bourbon, but you can swap that for vanilla if you’d like. Either way, this apple crisp is going to make your belly (and heart) very, very happy.
For the apples, I love using a mix of granny smith or honeycrisp but I’m sure it will work with whatever apples you have available. And here’s a tip: make sure you cut the apples into very thin slices; it makes a difference in how the quickly apples cook. No one likes hard apple in their crisp!
As far as the topping goes, I chose to use a little bit of real butter, brown sugar, flour and oats. Why? Because I think it makes a difference in the taste and crunchiness of the topping, but please know that you could swap brown sugar out for coconut sugar.
I also have plenty of gluten free + dairy free options in the notes section of the recipe.
I hope you all get a chance to make this healthy apple crisp recipe very soon because it’s truly one of my favorites! Put on a good playlist and bake your heart out. It’s easier to make than pie and when the time comes, would be a lovely addition to your Thanksgiving table. My favorite way to serve it is with vanilla bean ice cream because why not?!
See how to make this healthy apple crisp:
If you make this recipe, be sure to rate the recipe below and leave a comment below! And if you’d like you can tag #ambitiouskitchen on Instagram with a photo of your creation. xo!
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Healthy Apple Crisp
- For the topping:
- 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or regular flour or gluten free oat flour or almond flour)
- 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats, gluten free if desired
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar (can also sub coconut sugar but brown sugar is best)
- 1/2 cup raw chopped pecans
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup cold butter or vegan buttery stick, cut into very small cubes (can also use coconut oil)
- For the crisp:
- 5-6 medium Honeycrisp or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and very thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon bourbon (or pure vanilla extract)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease an 8x8 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
To make the topping: Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and pecans in a large bowl until well-combined. Add in the pieces of butter and use your hands to squeeze and combine until the mixture becomes crumbly and resembles wet sand. (Alternatively, you can cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, or place all of the topping ingredients in a food processor and pulse until just blended. My favorite method is to use my hands, as I believe you get the best crumbly topping that way.)
- Once finished, place topping in the fridge and begin making the apple filling.
- To make the filling: Place apples, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and bourbon (or vanilla) in a large bowl and toss to combine. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Take 1/3 cup of the topping mixture and toss with the apple mixture. Place the apple mixture in prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with topping.
- Bake the crisp on a baking sheet (just in case the filling bubbles over!) for 45-55 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes on wire rack. Serve warm with your favorite vanilla ice cream. Makes 9 servings.
TO MAKE GLUTEN FREE: in the topping, use certified gluten free oats and almond flour or an all purpose gluten free flour or gluten free oat flour.
TO MAKE VEGAN: sub a buttery vegan stick for the butter or use coconut oil.
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Sarah Fennel // Broma Bakery