Apple Cranberry Crisp (Gluten-Free)
This easy apple cranberry crisp features fresh tart cranberries, sweet apples and a delicious brown sugar oatmeal crumble topping.
About the Recipe
If you love old fashioned apple crisp, you’ll love this apple crisp with cranberries for a fun and festive twist on the classic.
The fruit filling has the perfect balance of sweet and tart and is wonderful paired with the buttery cinnamon, rolled oat and brown sugar crumble.
The recipe is vegan and gluten-free, made with basic ingredients, you can use fresh or frozen cranberries and it’s great for making ahead and reheating too.
While this simple dessert is an excellent choice for the holidays, its sweet and zesty flavour, gooey apple cranberry and apple filling and crispy oat crumble make this recipe a stunner year-round.
- Vegan (no eggs, dairy-free).
- Gluten-free (use GF-certified oats if needed).
- Quick and easy to make.
- 15 minutes prep time.
- 8 simple ingredients.
- Excellent holiday dessert.
- Easier than making pie!
- Can be made ahead of time.
- Freezes well.
What You’ll Need
This section provides an overview of the ingredients for apple cranberry crisp and possible substitutions.
Please scroll down to the bottom of the post to find the printable recipe box with ingredient measurements and step-by-step instructions.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 or cane sugar are suitable substitutes.
- 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 or gluten-free all-purpose flour. The oat flour in the apple mixture could be substituted with cornstarch or arrowroot starch (powder).
- Lemon: You’ll need 1 lemon to add some lemon juice to the apple filling.
- Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract is best for flavour but you can use artificial vanilla if that’s what you have.
- Cinnamon: You’ll need a bit of cinnamon for both the filling and crisp topping.
- 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.
How to Make (with Photos)
Before you start, 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 cranberry 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.
Quick Tip: If you don’t have enough oat flour for the filling (2 tbsp), you can substitute all-purpose flour, cornstarch or arrowroot powder.
Add the apple and cranberry 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.
Step 2: 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.
Quick Tip: It’s best to use a digital scale to measure your ingredients for accuracy, especially when it comes to the oat flour. Follow the listed measurements in the recipe card for success!
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 3: Bake the crisp.
Bake the crisp for 50-60 minutes until the topping looks golden brown and firm and the fruit is a bit bubbly around the edges. I baked mine for 50 minutes.
That’s it! You can serve it right away but I’d suggest letting it cool for 10 minutes to thicken a bit before serving.
For an outstanding dessert, the crisp is best served warm with your favourite ice cream or whipped cream. A drizzle of caramel sauce would also be an extra special addition.
Apple Cranberry Crisp: FAQs
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.
- 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.
- Pears work well as an alternative to apples or you can use half apple and half pear.
- Use monk fruit sweetener instead of brown sugar for a sugar-free option.
- Add up to 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans to the crumble topping.
- Try orange juice instead of lemon juice in the filling and add 2 tsp orange zest.
- Ground ginger pairs well with the nutmeg and cinnamon for extra spice.
- For an oil-free and butter-free recipe, use the topping from my blueberry crisp.
- You can reduce the sugar in the filling by as much as half for a lower-sugar recipe.
The crisp is really easy to make right 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 and store them in containers overnight in the fridge.
- Prepare the crisp in the baking dish, cover and refrigerate up to overnight before baking.
- Leftover crisp can be stored at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- Freezing: Allow the crisp to cool completely. Wrap the crisp tightly in a double layer of foil and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Reheating: 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.
You’ll love this apple cranberry crisp for the holidays or anytime! Soft, sweet apples and tart, juicy cranberries are delicious paired with a buttery brown sugar and oatmeal 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
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F (177˚C) and spray an approximately 9×13-inch baking dish* with non-stick spray. Melt the plant-based butter in the microwave or on the stove and set aside to cool.
- Make the 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.
- Make the crisp 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 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