Easy Gluten-Free Apple Cranberry Crisp
This easy gluten-free apple cranberry crisp features fresh tart cranberries, sweet apples and a delicious brown sugar oatmeal crumble topping.
This recipe is easy to prep in just 15 minutes with 8 ingredients. Once you pop it in the oven, all you have to do is wait.
About the Recipe
If you love traditional apple crisp, you’ll love this cranberry apple crisp for a fun and festive twist on the classic.
The natural sweetness of the apples pairs perfectly with the tartness of the cranberries in the juicy fruit filling and is wonderful topped with the buttery oat and brown sugar crumble.
The recipe is vegan and gluten-free, made with basic ingredients, you can use frozen or fresh cranberries and it’s great for making ahead and reheating too.
While this is the perfect apple dessert for the holiday season, its sweet and zesty flavour, gooey apple cranberry filling and crisp oat crumble make this recipe a crowd-pleaser any time of year.
For more crisp and crumble recipes, don’t miss my Blueberry Crisp Vegan Blackberry Crumble, Apple Crumble Bars and Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp. Apple lover? Try these Apple Crumble Bars and Vegan Apple Cake.
- Apples: It’s best to use a firm apple that won’t break down too much in the oven. Some varieties that work well are Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Gala, Honey Crisp, Pink Lady and Braeburn. You can use one kind or a mixture. Extra apple? These Baked Apple Slices are the perfect use.
- Cranberries: You can use fresh or frozen cranberries. Sometimes these are hard to find fresh when they’re out of season, so check the freezer aisle. Make sure you’re using fresh or frozen whole cranberries, not dried cranberries. Extra cranberries? Use them in cranberry sauce or cranberry oatmeal bars.
- Brown Sugar: Dark brown sugar is delicious for a rich, caramel flavour but light brown sugar is ok too. If you don’t have brown sugar, coconut sugar, white sugar or cane sugar are suitable substitutes.
- Oats: I like this recipe best with rolled oats or large flake oats but you could use quick oats if that’s all you have.
- Oat Flour: You can make your own oat flour from the rolled oats or use store-bought oat flour. Oat flour can be substituted with all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour. The oat flour in the apple mixture could be substituted with cornstarch (corn flour) or arrowroot starch (powder).
- Nutmeg: Nutmeg adds something special to the crisp topping, especially combined with the dark brown sugar. It’s optional but really nice so definitely use it if you have it!
- Plant-Based Butter: You can use any brand of plant-based butter such as Earth Balance, Melt Organic or Miyoko’s. I used salted Melt Organic butter sticks. You can substitute coconut oil.
Please scroll down to the bottom of the post to find the full recipe card with ingredient measurements and step-by-step instructions.
Variations & Additions
- Pears: Pears work well as an alternative to apples or you can use half apple and half pear.
- Sugar-Free: Use monk fruit sweetener instead of brown sugar for a sugar-free option.
- Nuts: Add up to 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans to the crumble topping for a nutty flavour and crunch.
- Coconut: Add up to 1/2 cup shredded coconut to the oat topping.
- Orange Flavour: Try orange juice instead of lemon juice in the filling and add 2 tsp orange zest.
- Ginger: Ground ginger pairs well with the nutmeg and cinnamon for extra spice. Cardamom or cloves would also be nice.
- Oil-Free: For an oil-free and butter-free crisp, use the topping from my blueberry crisp.
- Less Sugar: You can reduce the sugar in the filling by as much as half for a lower-sugar recipe.
To prepare, peel and chop the apples. It’s not required to peel the apples but I prefer the texture of the final dish if you do.
Cut the apples into chunks about the size of 2 cranberries. Though the size of the apple pieces is not hugely importnat, I prefer chunks over thin slices so they maintain their shape a bit better in the oven.
Once the apples are chopped up, preheat the oven to 350 F.
Step 1: Prepare the apple filling.
Add the chopped apples, cranberries, brown sugar, oat flour, lemon, vanilla and cinnamon to a mixing bowl and mix really well until the apples and cranberries are all coated.
Step 2: Add filling to dish.
Add the apple cranberry mixture to a baking dish. I used a deep oval dish but you can use anywhere from a 9×9-inch square pan to a 9×13-inch casserole dish. The baking time will remain the same regardless of the pan.
Quick Tip: If you don’t have enough oat flour for the filling (2 tbsp), you can substitute all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, cornstarch or arrowroot powder.
Step 3: Prepare the oatmeal crumble.
Using the same bowl you prepared the filling in, mix together the rolled oats, oat flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and melted butter.
Step 4: Spread crumble over apple.
Spread the crumble mixture over the apple cranberry filling in the dish until covered. It’s ok if there are a few bits of fruit poking through.
Step 5: Bake the crisp.
Bake the crisp for 50-60 minutes until the topping looks golden brown and firm and the fruit is bubbly around the edges. I baked mine for 50 minutes.
Step 6: Cool and enjoy.
You can serve the crisp right away but it’s recommend to let it rest for at least 10 minutes to allow the fruit filling to thicken.
For an outstanding dessert, the crisp is best served warm with your a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. A drizzle of caramel sauce would also be an extra special addition.
You could but this recipe really shines with fresh or frozen cranberries. Fresh/frozen cranberries are nice and juicy, so they add a lot of flavour and gooeyness to the filling.
You can use any variety of apples for apple crisp, but some types work better than others depending on your taste preferences. Here are some popular apple varieties for making apple crisp
• Granny Smith: Tart and firm. Even though the cranberries are more tart than sweet, Granny Smith still works well with the sweet oat topping.
• Honeycrisp: Honeycrisp apples are sweet and crisp, and they hold their shape well when baked. They provide a nice balance of sweetness and tartness.
• Golden Delicious: These apples are sweet and have a mild flavor. They soften when baked, which can be nice if you prefer a softer apple filling.
• Fuji: Fuji apples are sweet and crisp, making them a good choice for apple crisp. They hold their shape when baked and provide a pleasant sweetness.
Jonagold: Sweet-tart flavor that works well in apple crisp recipes. They have a good balance of flavor and texture.
Braeburn: Braeburn apples are slightly tart and hold their shape when baked.
Cortland: Juicy with a slightly tart flavor. They work well in apple crisp recipes and hold their shape well.
My favourites are Granny Smith apples, Honeycrisp and Fuji.
The crisp is really easy to make about an hour before serving but you do have a few options for preparing it ahead of time if needed. This can be helpful for busy holidays!
If you are making it in advance, I would suggest baking the crisp the day before you need it, storing it covered at room temperature or in the fridge, then reheating it in the oven just before serving.
Though, you can also mix the filling and crumble portions of the recipe and store them in containers overnight in the fridge or prepare the crisp in the baking dish, cover and refrigerate up to overnight before baking.
If the crisp is frozen, thaw in the fridge or at room temperature overnight.
Once thawed, reheat the crisp in the oven at 350 F for 20-25 minutes or until heated through, or reheat individual portions in the microwave until heated to your preference.
- If you don’t have oat flour on hand, make your own by blending rolled oats into a fine consistency in a blender.
- Use a digital scale to measure the oats, oat flour and butter for accuracy. The amount of apples, lemon, cranberries and spices don’t have to be exact.
Storing & Reheating
- Leftover crisp can be stored at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the fridge for 3-4 days. I’d suggest storing it in the fridge to be on the safe side. Try the leftovers warmed up the next morning for breakfast or brunch.
- Freezing: Allow the crisp to cool completely. Wrap the crisp tightly in a double layer of foil and freeze for up to 3 months.
More Holiday Desserts
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Scroll down to the comment section to leave a star rating and review.
Enjoy the delicious combination of cranberries and apple in this holiday-inspired twist on classic apple crumble.
For the Filling
- 6–7 cups peeled and chopped apples (from 4 large apples, about 780 g)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (112 g)
- ⅓ cup brown sugar (66 g)
- 2 tbsp oat flour (10 g)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (15 mL)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
For the Crisp
- 1 ½ cup rolled oats (150 g)
- 1 cup oat flour (90 g)
- ⅓ cup brown sugar (66 g)
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup melted vegan butter (112 g)
- Prepare for Baking: Preheat the oven to 350˚F (177˚C) and spray an approximately 9×13-inch baking dish* with non-stick spray. Melt the vegan butter in the microwave or on the stove and set aside to cool.
- Mix Cranberry-Apple Filling: Make the fruit filling by combining the apples, cranberries, ⅓ cup brown sugar, oat flour, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and 1 tsp cinnamon in a large bowl. Mix until the apples and cranberries are evenly coated. Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish.
- Mix Dry Ingredients: Make the crisp topping by mixing the rolled oats, oat flour, ⅓ cup brown sugar, ½ tsp cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl until well combined. Pour in the melted plant-based butter and mix until everything is evenly coated. Use a spoon to evenly distribute the mixture over the fruit in the baking dish.
- Bake Crisp: Bake at 350˚F (177˚C) for 50-60 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the fruit mixture is bubbling. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Apples: Use firm baking apples such as Honey Crisp, Gala, Granny Smith, Fuji, Braeburn or Pink Lady. You can use kind or a variety for more depth of flavour.
Baking Dish: I used a 2-quart oval baking dish and that worked perfectly. You can use a 9×13-inch dish or even a deep 9×9-inch square pan.
- Serving Size: 1/10th of recipe
- Calories: 289
- Sugar: 23 g
- Sodium: 73 mg
- Fat: 12 g
- Carbohydrates: 43 g
- Fiber: 4 g
- Protein: 4 g
Keywords: easy apple cranberry crisp, apple and cranberry crisp