An American classic! Made with tart apples and a crunchy maple oat topping this Vegan Apple Crisp is the ultimate fall treat paired with dairy-free vanilla ice cream. Gluten free!
Apple Crisp is a classic American dessert enjoyed all year long, but especially in the fall when apples can be picked straight from the orchard.
Tender tart apples pair perfectly with sweet crispy topping. It’s a fantastic texture and flavor contrast you won’t be able to resist.
The only thing better than traditional apple crisp is my Vegan Apple Crisp! Super easy to make. Gluten free!
Ingredients you need
Ingredient notes and substitutions
Apples ~ Firm, tart apples are best for this vegan apple crisp as they contrast well with the sweet topping. Granny Smith are my favorite. They are nice and tart and don’t get mushy when baked.
If you’re looking for a summer version of this dish, try my Vegan Peach Crisp!
Sugar ~ I like organic cane sugar mixed with the apples. It keeps the filling light in color in contrast to the brown oat topping. You could use brown sugar or coconut sugar if you prefer.
For the topping, I use pure maple syrup. Using liquid sweetener means we need less butter or even none at all if that’s your preference. You could use brown sugar here if using melted butter to moisten.
Oats ~ Old fashioned rolled oats provide the best texture. Quick oats won’t be as crisp and steel cut oats would be much too gritty. Use gluten free, if desired.
Flour ~ I like almond flour because of it’s nutty flavor and moisture content. You could use oat flour here or even all-purpose instead.
Spices ~ Cinnamon and apples are a match made in heaven! I love nutmeg, too, for it’s warm, nutty flavor. A little nutmeg goes a long way and the flavor can be a bit intense for some people. You can leave out the nutmeg altogether if it’s not a flavor you care for. Or you can lessen the amount by using it just in the apple mixture or just in the topping.
Vegan butter ~ This is optional. I find it helps the topping to crisp up, but I’ve made it plenty of times without any butter and it’s just as delicious. You may find you need an extra tablespoon or two of pure maple syrup to moisten all of the topping if you leave out the butter. Melted coconut oil can be used in place of butter, also.
Add-ins ~ I like my apple crisp pure and simple with just apples and a crunchy topping. If you like more texture, you can add chopped nuts to the topping or dried fruit, like raisins or cranberries, to the apple filling. You could also do a mixture of apples and pears, instead of all apples.
How to make the recipe
Vegan apple crisp is so easy to make! Prep the ingredients, throw it all in a casserole dish, and bake! The tedious part is peeling and slicing the apples, but after that, it’s smooth sailing!
Peel (1) and slice (2) the apples. Add the slices to a large bowl with the lemon juice (3), sugar and spices (4).
Toss the apples with the sugar and spices well until coated evenly (5). Spread into a baking dish in an even layer (6). Set aside.
In a separate bowl, add the oats, flour, and spices for the topping (7) and mix well to combine (8). Pour in the pure maple syrup and melted butter, if using (9). Mix well until thoroughly moistened (10).
Spread the oat topping over the apples in the baking dish.
Bake at 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the apples are tender and the topping is brown and crisp.
Store leftovers of this vegan apple crisp covered tightly in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
Reheat in a 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through. You can also reheat small portions in a microwave, but the topping won’t be as crisp.
It can also be frozen. You can freeze it either prepared and unbaked or after baking. Either way, wrap it tightly in several layers of aluminum foil. If freezing after baking, make sure it cools completely before transferring to the freezer. It should keep well for about 3 months.
To reheat after freezing, place the frozen vegan apple crisp into a preheated 350° oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until warmed through.
Pro tips for success
~ Use tart apples. Sweet apples mixed with the sugar and maple syrup will yield a much too sweet dessert.
~ Peel the apples! Apple peels are delicious and healthy, but NOT in a fruit crisp. The peels will be tough and get in the way of the apples absorbing all those yummy fall flavors.
~ Slice the apples uniformly, about ¼ inch thick. Slice them too thin and they’ll turn to mush, slice them too thick and the topping will burn before they are cooked through.
~ Use old fashioned rolled oats. Do not use steel cut oats – they won’t work in this recipe.
~ Make sure all of the oat topping is moistened thoroughly. Keep mixing until no dry patches remain. Add an extra tablespoon or two of pure maple syrup, if needed. But, do not use too much liquid! If the topping is too wet, it won’t crisp properly.
~ Choose the right baking dish. If you like more apples to topping in each scoop, use an 8 x 8 baking dish. If you like an equal amount of topping and apples, use an 8.5 x 12 or 9 x 13 baking dish.
~ Stick a fork into the apples to check if they’re done. They should be tender, allowing the fork to slip through easily, but not mushy.
Fruit crisp and fruit crumble are very similar. They are both baked fruit desserts. The difference is usually in the topping.
A crisp, as the name implies, has a crispy topping. It generally includes oats, nuts, sugar, butter, and warm spices like cinnamon.
A crumble has a topping usually made of flour, sugar, and butter.
A cobbler is yet another baked fruit dessert. It’s topping is traditionally made with drop biscuit dough or, sometimes, pieces of pie dough.
Technically, you could make this easy apple dessert with just about any type of apple, but different varieties will yield different results.
I prefer a firm tart apple for vegan apple crisp. Granny Smith are my favorite. I love the contrast of the tart apples with the sweet topping and they don’t get mushy when baked.
If you use a sweeter apple, you may need to decrease the amount of sugar in the filling.
If you can’t decide, you could use half tart apples and half a sweeter variety. Here is a handy chart detailing many varieties of apples and what they are best used for.
Apple crisp is such a versatile dessert. It’s great all year long and can be eaten hot, warm, room temperature, or cold.
I prefer it straight from the oven hot with a scoop of cool vanilla dairy free ice cream. Such a great contrast!
Yes! This vegan apple crisp can be made and baked 1 to 2 days in advance. Store tightly covered in the fridge until ready to serve. Reheat in a 350°F preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes until warmed through.
More vegan apple recipes
- Sugar Free Apple Pie Bars
- Vegan Apple Cinnamon Bread
- Stovetop Cinnamon Apples
- Healthy Apple Popsicles
- Vegan Apple Pie
- Butternut Squash Apple Soup
- Kale Apple Salad
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Vegan Apple Crisp
For the Apple Filling
For the Crisp Maple Oat Topping
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
For the Apple Filling
- Toss the peeled and sliced apples with lemon juice, vanilla, sugar, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg (if using), and ¼ teaspoon salt. Spread into one even layer in an 8.5 x 12 baking dish (an 8 x 8 dish baking dish will also work if you like a thicker layer of apples).
For the Crisp Maple Oat Topping
- Mix the oats, flour, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg (if using), and ¼ teaspoon salt. Add the maple syrup and melted butter (if using) into the mixture while stirring. Stir well until incorporated and the mixture is evenly moistened.
- Sprinkle the topping evenly over the apple filling.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the topping is brown and crisp and the apples are fork tender.
- Let cool for a few minutes, then serve warm with dairy free ice cream.