Delicious apple crisp is made with a minimal amount of added sugar, yet it tastes just as decadent as sugary versions. It’s the perfect fall dessert!
Apple crisp is the ultimate fall dessert. Warm apples, vanilla and cinnamon, the crunchy topping… it’s such a wonderful comfort food. I adore apple crisp, but I wanted to make a healthier version, and I wanted it to be easy too. So I’ve been experimenting.
I make this delicious apple crisp with minimal amounts of butter and sugar, yet it tastes just as indulgent as sugary versions. Sweet, gooey and crunchy, it’s healthy enough that I feel good about serving it to my family. In fact, it’s one of the desserts I serve most often in the fall and winter.
What kind of apples do you use for apple crisp?
I prefer to use Fuji apples because they bake well. They soften and caramelize, but they don’t become mushy when baked. Fuji apples are sweeter than Granny Smith apples, allowing me to use less added sugar and rely on the naturally occurring sugars in the fruit.
How do you make apple crisp topping?
The traditional topping contains oats for the crunch, brown sugar for sweetness, and butter for richness and creaminess. Many recipes include flour, but I prefer to keep this apple crisp healthy and gluten-free and avoid flour. I don’t think it’s crucial to the success of this dish.
I keep my homemade apple crisp healthier by simply using less of the toppings. Some recipes really drown out the apples in the buttery, rich toppings. My apple crisp is wonderful – but it lets the apples be the stars of the show.
Is apple crisp paleo?
This particular recipe is not. Although you can use coconut sugar instead of brown sugar, this recipe contains oats, so it can’t be paleo. I do have a recipe for paleo and low carb apple crumble. Check it out if you follow the paleo diet.
Is this a healthy recipe?
It depends. Apples are healthy (albeit high in carbs), but apple crisp is a dessert. It is sweet and high in carbs. If you use my recipe, then it’s healthier than most. But I still wouldn’t necessarily classify it as “healthy,” only as “healthier.”
When people email me about this recipe, I mostly get very positive feedback. Out of those who complain, the most frequent complaint is that they want the ratio of topping to apples to be higher. That’s fine of course, and if you make apple crisp only occasionally, then go for it!
But if you make it often, I do suggest trying to get used to enjoying the wonderful flavor of the baked apples, enhanced by a smaller amount of the sweet, crunchy topping.
How to serve apple crisp?
In a bowl, with a spoon! You can obviously top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you wish, but as I said before, I make apple crisp fairly often for my family – it’s one of our favorite winter desserts (I also make baked pears quite often). So I prefer to keep it low key and avoid too much indulgence.
What about leftovers?
You can keep leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days, but be aware that the topping is going to lose some of its crispiness. Reheat leftovers covered, in the microwave, on 50% power.
- 3 large Fuji apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch-thick slices (7-8 oz each apple)
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup rolled oats* (not instant oats)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Layer the apple slices in a square 9-inch baking dish, in one or two layers.
- In a medium bowl, using a fork, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, oats, butter and vanilla. Using a spatula, pour the mixture over the apples, spreading evenly.
- Bake 30 minutes, until topping is golden and crunchy and apples are fork-tender. Gently stir to evenly coat the apples in the melted sugar that has accumulated in the bottom of the pan. Serve immediately.