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Healthy Apple Crisp Recipe (Low added sugar)

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This healthy apple crisp recipe is incredible and will make you wonder why traditional recipes even have so much sugar in the first place…you won’t miss it! This recipe has over 50% less sugar than traditional recipes.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

bowl of apple crisp with vanilla ice cream

Why I love this recipe

Apple crisp (or apple crumble) just feels like Fall, doesn’t it? Something about warm, cinnamon-y apples is just so cozy. Everyone in my house was dying over how good this smelled in the oven!

And I love making desserts that also have some good nutrition in them. As a dietitian I just can’t stop myself. The apples, oats, and ground flax are all helpful for healthy digestion and avoiding constipation. (If constipation is a struggle in your house, check out Foods to Help With Constipation in Toddlers.)

Besides peeling the apples, kids can totally help out with making this, too. This isn’t one of those baking recipes that needs to have very precise measurements to still turn out great.

Ugh just thinking about a bowl of this apple crisp fresh out of the oven with some vanilla ice cream on top…I want it right now! It’s perfection. Honestly, just make this instead of homemade apple pie. It’s less work than making pie crust, is healthier, and is so delicious that no one will miss the pie. Apple crisp is definitely my favorite apple dessert to make.

Healthy Apple Crisp

The combo of green, tart apples and the sweeter honeycrisp apples makes the perfect baking combination. Since we’re going lower on the added sugar and refined sugar, the honeycrisp apples help bring in more natural sweetness.

I’m kind of mad I didn’t think of this earlier, but if you have leftovers, they would be amazing stirred into a bowl of oatmeal! I think I’m making apple crisp again this weekend…

Ingredients needed for this apple crisp recipe

ingredients for topping for apple crisp
ingredients for filling for apple crisp


For gluten-free: make sure to use gluten-free oats.

For vegan / dairy-free: use vegan butter, or coconut oil. If using coconut oil, chill it before making the recipe. And use your favorite non-dairy vanilla ice cream when serving.

Apples: if you can’t get honeycrisp, make it with all granny smith apples, and add 1 to 2 extra teaspoons of maple syrup to the apple mixture.

You CAN leave skin on, which will increase the fiber and overall nutrition, but the texture will be less smooth.

How to make this recipe

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F before you get started.

Step 1: Add oat flour, old-fashioned oats, ground flax, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt to medium bowl.

Step 2 & 3: Add in the pieces of butter and use your hands to squeeze and combine until the mixture becomes crumbly and resembles wet sand. There will be clumps, this is fine. 

Step 4: Place the apple crisp topping mixture into the fridge while you prepare the filling.

steps 1-4 how to make apple crisp

Step 5: Peel, core, and slice the granny smith apples and honeycrisp apples to ¼-inch thick slices, halved. Add apples, maple syrup, cornstarch, cinnamon, and vanilla extract to a large bowl and toss to combine.

Step 6: Let sit for 5-10 minutes, to allow the cornstarch to help thicken the mixture.

Step 7: Spray 8×8 baking pan with cooking spray.

Step 8: Pour filling ingredients into prepared baking dish.

steps 5-8 how to make apple crisp

Step 9: Spread crumble topping in an even layer over the filling.

Step 10: Bake at 350 F for 45-55 minutes, or until browned and bubbly. You can test an apple slice if you’re not sure if it’s done. The apple should be very soft. Enjoy the warm apple crisp with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

Steps 9-10 how to make apple crisp
finished apple crisp in a bowl with vanilla ice cream
two bowls of apple crisp with vanilla ice cream

Recipe FAQs

  • Can you leave out the ground flax?
    • Yes, but it will change the nutrition facts. My absolute favorite ground flaxseed is this one – it’s so finely milled that it mixes into things without anyone noticing. My husband is probably the pickiest about this and I add it to foods all the time and he has no idea. You could also sub in almond flour or almond meal if you don’t have flax.
  • What age is this good for?
    • Since there is added sugar, I recommend ages 2+.
  • What kind of ice cream should you use?
    • The scoop of vanilla ice cream is not optional, in my opinion! It totally completes the dish. I like Breyers Natural Vanilla for its simple ingredients list.
  • How do I make it vegan apple crisp?
    • Use vegan butter or chilled coconut oil in place of the butter. A liquid oil like olive oil would not be a good replacement. Top with your favorite dairy-free scoop of ice cream!


If you want to make the apple crisp ahead of time and freeze for later… I haven’t tried this so be warned. But based off other recipes I looked at, I would suggest that you make the filling, also add a teaspoon of lemon juice to the filling, and cook it on the stovetop until soft. Then prepare the rest of the dish according to the recipe; cover the entire baking dish and freeze. Bake from freezer, uncovered, 50-60 minutes.

Healthy Apple Crisp Recipe

Healthy Apple Crisp

Kacie Barnes, MCN, RDN, LD
This apple crisp is so yummy and makes your whole house smell like fall. It even has a nutrition boost with some added flaxseed, but no one needs to know its anything but dessert!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 people
Calories 217 kcal


Topping Ingredients

  • ¼ cup oat flour heaping ⅓ cup old fashioned oats, blended to flour
  • ½ cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup cold butter, diced into small cubes

Filling ingredients

  • 3 medium granny smith apples peeled, cored, ¼-inch thick slices, halved
  • 2 large honeycrisp apples peeled, cored, ¼-inch thick slices, halved
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease an 8×8 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • To make the topping: Mix the oat flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and ground flaxseed in a large bowl until well combined. Add in the pieces of butter and use your hands to squeeze and combine until the mixture becomes crumbly and resembles wet sand. There will be clumps, this is fine. (Or, cut in the butter with a pastry cutter.)
  • Place topping mixture in the fridge and begin making the apple filling.
  • To make the filling: Place sliced apples, maple syrup, cornstarch, cinnamon, and vanilla extract in a large bowl and toss to combine. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.
  • Place the apple mixture in the prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with topping.
  • Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbling.
  • Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes on wire rack.
  • Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream!


YouTube video


This dessert contains 13g of added sugar from brown sugar and maple syrup.


Calories: 217kcalCarbohydrates: 32.7gProtein: 1.9gFat: 7.25gFiber: 4.3gSugar: 24g
Keyword baking, dessert
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!


Elizabeth · October 27, 2021 at 6:42 am

This was a big hit with the whole family!

    Mama Knows Nutrition · October 27, 2021 at 9:08 am

    I am so happy to hear that!! Yay!!

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Kacie Barnes holding an apple
Hi, I’m Kacie!

I’m a mom of two and a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. I offer e-guides and e-books (go to my Shop page), workshops, brand partnerships, and nutrition counseling. Check out my blog for nutrition and feeding tips for your little ones.


This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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