This Apple Cranberry Crisp is the perfect dessert for a healthier holiday! A perfect balance of sweet and tart, you never knew gluten-free desserts could taste so good.
Festive Apple Cranberry Crisp Recipe (Gluten-Free)
I often feel like less is more when it comes to Thanksgiving desserts. We’re usually so full after dinner and a host of side dishes that dessert can push us over the edge. I hate that feeling and usually regret stuffing myself to the bursting point! So, this year, I wanted to put together a dessert that was easy enough to make any time but festive enough for the holiday.
But you know me… I had to make this dessert delicious and still use ingredients I could feel good about. Instead of granulated sugar, we’ll combine coconut sugar and maple syrup for sweetness. We’ll also use gluten-free flour and oats to keep the entire dessert gluten-free. And if you want to make the apple crisp dairy free as well, just omit the butter at the end. The topping will still crisp up without it.
This Apple Cranberry Crisp combines sweet apples, tart cranberries, warm spices, and a crunchy topping for the perfect bite. If you’re looking for a healthier holiday dessert this year, look no further.
What Apples Should I Use for a Crisp?
Since this apple cranberry crisp gets its tartness from the cranberries, I recommend using a sweeter apple. I used Gala when I made it, but Fuji or Honeycrisp would also work really well.
What You’ll Need
This gluten-free apple crisp is perfect for the holidays with the addition of tart cranberries. Scroll down to the recipe card for actual ingredient amounts.
- Apples – Peel and dice your apples (I used Gala) into 1/2 inch cubes.
- Cranberries – You can use fresh or frozen cranberries for this apple crisp. If using frozen, be sure to thaw them first to avoid excess moisture making the dessert runny.
- Coconut Sugar – I love the lower glycemic index of coconut sugar.
- Spices – We’ll use cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Gluten-Free Oats (or Muesli) – Use your favorite gluten-free oats or muesli; either will be tasty and add great texture to the crumble.
- Gluten-Free Flour
- Brown Sugar
- Maple Syrup
- Nuts (optional) – Pecans or walnuts would both be great in this recipe. Toast them lightly for the best flavor.
- Unsalted Butter
How to Make This Apple Cranberry Crisp
Gluten-free desserts can often be challenging to make. But I’m happy to tell you that this apple cranberry crisp is anything but! Prep for this dessert takes less than 15 minutes, and the inactive baking time will leave your house smelling like the most incredible bakery.
- Prepare for Baking. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8″ x 8″ or 9″ x6″ baking dish with butter or coat it with baking spray.
- Season the Fruit. Mix the diced apples, cranberries, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Stir the fruit gently with a wooden spoon or spatula until all the pieces are evenly coated with the sugar and spices.
- Begin to Assemble the Apple Cranberry Crisp. Pour the fruit mixture into the prepared baking dish, smoothing it until you have a nice even layer. Set aside.
- Make the Topping. Using the same bowl you mixed the fruit in, combine the oats, gluten-free flour, brown sugar, maple syrup, and nuts. Stir until the mixture is thoroughly combined. By using the same bowl, you get to incorporate the sugar and spices from the fruit right into the topping. You’ll also save yourself some clean-up time!
- Finish Assembling the Apple Cranberry Crisp. Spoon the oat mixture over the fruit, spreading until you have a smooth layer on top. Dot the top evenly with cubed butter.
- Bake. Bake the apple crisp for 45 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the apple-cranberry mixture is bubbly. You can serve this warm right out of the oven or after it’s cooled completely.
Tips for Success
Here are a few tips and tricks to make your Apple Cranberry Crisp the best it can be.
- Peel the Apples. Be sure to peel the apples. Apple peels can get tough and a little chewy when baked, which is not what we want for a tender apple crisp. For the best texture, always peel the apples.
- Macerate the Fruit. This is a totally optional step, but the results are absolutely delicious. Once you’ve mixed the fruit filling, let it sit for about 30 minutes before assembling the crisp. This process allows the natural juices from the apples and cranberries to be drawn out by the sugar, which makes it really flavorful!
- Cover the Baking Dish with Foil (if needed). If your apple cranberry crisp is browning too quickly, loosely cover the top with foil. This will prevent the top from burning while allowing the filling to cook.
- Let it Cool. Even if you want to serve the apple crisp warm (which I heartily recommend), let it cool in the dish for 5-10 minutes first. This short amount of time will allow the filling to thicken up a bit before serving.
This is, by far, one of the simplest gluten-free desserts you can make for Thanksgiving (or really any time of year). In that spirit, let’s keep serving suggestions simple as well! My favorite way to eat this apple cranberry crisp is slightly warm and paired with a scoop of cold vanilla ice cream. I think it’d also be pretty incredible with a dollop of homemade whipped cream!
Leftover gluten-free apple crisp will stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. I notice the fruit filling starts to get a little runny after a few days, so I’d recommend freezing any portions you don’t think you’ll get to right away.
To freeze, portion out slices and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy a piece, thaw it in the fridge overnight and then warm it for 30 seconds in the microwave. If you have a little more patience, you can reheat it in the oven and try to re-crisp the topping.
Gluten-Free Apple Cranberry Crisp
- 3 apples peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 cup cranberries fresh or frozen
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 3 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 cup gluten-free oats or muesli
- 1/3 cup gluten-free flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar packed
- 4 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 cup pecans or walnuts chopped (optional)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter cubed into very small pieces
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8”x 8” or 9”x6” baking dish with butter or coat with baking spray.
- In a large bowl, mix together the apples, cranberries, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour evenly into the baking dish.
- In the same bowl, mix the oats, flour, brown sugar, maple syrup, and pecans or walnuts, if using. Pour evenly over the fruit.
- Sprinkle cubed butter evenly over the apple mixture.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the apple-cranberry mixture is bubbly.
- Serve warm or cold.