Simple Gluten Free Apple Crisp

Simple Gluten Free Apple Crisp

Gluten free apple crisp is nothing more than sliced apples are tossed with cinnamon-sugar, topped with a simple one-bowl cinnamon-sweet mixture, and baked. No crust, no fuss!

A close up of apple crisp on a white plate with a fork

To ensure that the apples cook and steam until they’re perfectly tender, the pan is covered for the first 25 minutes in the oven. Then, the cover comes off and the top is cooked until crisp-tender and gorgeously browned.

A gray bowl of apple slices with cinnamon

Whenever I have an overabundance of apples (which, if I’m lucky, happens every fall), I am sure to make two things: homemade chunky apple sauce, and this apple crisp. Making the crisp is nearly as easy as making homemade apple sauce, and the active time is even less.

Peel, core, and slice the apples, then toss them with cinnamon and sugar. Mix up the topping ), smooth it on top with wet hands, and bake it. That’s it.

I usually use my handheld mandoline to get nice, even slices and make quick work of the whole business. Of course, you don’t need a mandoline, or any special equipment at all. Just an apple, and a knife.

Gluten Free Apple Crisp

When I first published this post in 2011, my three children were 9, 7 and 6 years old. We’ve been to this very same apple orchard every year since. Each year, they run down through the orchard just like they did in this photo from 2011. Luckily, they still love going apple picking with us, as a family. Even if they’re just in it for the crisps, pies and muffins that I always bake for weeks afterward, I’ll take it.

An overhead view of a metal dish with apple crisp

It’s lovely to make complicated desserts, from time to time. But most of the time, all you really need is a few pounds of baking apples, some cinnamon, sugar, flour, butter and an egg. And they’ll come running. Trust me.

A metal dish with apples with cinnamon and a piece of apple crisp on a white plate below

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 1 9-inch pie


5 to 6 medium-size baking apples (about 3 pounds), peeled, cored, and sliced thinly (500 g total, as prepared)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225 g) granulated sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

10 tablespoons (140 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

1 1/2 cups (210 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup (50 g) certified gluten free rolled oats (can be replaced by 1/4 cup (50 g) additional all purpose gluten free flour)


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch pie plate with unsalted butter and set it aside.

  • To make the filling, combine the sliced apples, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a medium-sized bowl, and toss to combine. Place the apple mixture in the prepared pie plate, and set it aside.

  • To make the topping, in a large bowl, beat the butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and 2 teaspoons vanilla, mixing to combine after each addition. Add the flour, xanthan gum, salt, and oats, and mix until just combined. The batter will be very thick. Cover the apples with the topping, spreading it evenly over the top with wet hands. Cover the pie plate loosely with foil, place it in the center of the preheated oven, and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the top is an even, light golden brown. Allow to cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes before slicing into wedges and serving. For a cleaner slice, allow to cool completely before serving.

  • Originally published on the blog in 2009, then again in 2011. Recipe tweaked very slightly, photos and text all new. 


Comments are closed.

  • kclark
    September 18, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    Miss Nicole, sometimes I just freak out at your timing. Russ’ family is coming over for dinner on Saturday to celebrate is birthday and there are a few of us gee effers.  Russ’ fav desserts are lemon bars (check!) and apple crisp (now I can check that one off too).  I am going to make both I think! 

  • Jmdowdellclawson
    September 17, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    My family and I love simple baked apples. Core and peel firm baking apples (Granny Smith are great, Macintosh’s will NOT work), fill the hollowed core with a mix of butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and any other spices you happen to like (nutmeg, Chinese 5 Spice Powder, etc.). Sometimes I will roll the apples in the same mixture to coat the exterior as well. Place them in a greased glass baking dish and bake at 350 until soft (usually around 30 minutes). They’re great to serve very warm with GF vanilla bean ice cream (and sometimes caramel sauce, or homemade granola!)

  • Murmaid
    September 15, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    Can you use maple syrup instead of the sugar? Or another sweetener like raw agave nectar? I love the recipe but I can only have the two sweeteners above. I am totally new to this gluten free lifestyle.
    Thank you

    • gfshoestring
      September 16, 2012 at 10:38 PM

      Maple syrup or other liquid sweeteners cannot be substituted for granulated sugar without altering the moisture balance of the recipe, and often the level of sweetness, significantly. You’ll have to experiment!

    • September 17, 2012 at 2:38 AM

      Maple syrup or other liquid sweeteners cannot be substituted for granulated sugar without altering the moisture balance of the recipe, and often the level of sweetness, significantly. You’ll have to experiment!

  • Jegilfix
    September 10, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    I am thinking of doubling this recipe and putting it in a 9×13 pyrex pan.  Do you think that would work?  Also want to use Earth Balance sticks instead of butter to make it non dairy.

  • March 27, 2012 at 12:27 AM

    […] I found this recipe at glutenfreeonashoestring.com/apple-crisp-again. […]

  • November 25, 2011 at 7:04 PM

    […] an updated version, with better more pictures, see Apple Crisp, Again. Come […]

  • October 12, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    What a wonderful recipe! Thank you for sharing. My husband loves apple crisp — I hope to make this over the weekend.

    • Nicole
      October 12, 2011 at 12:12 PM

      You bet, Lee. My pleasure!
      xoxo Nicole

  • abby
    October 6, 2011 at 11:37 AM

    In the oven now!!! I had to use a butter sub (Organic Spectrum Shortening) for my dairy free kiddo. Hope it works!

    • kathie
      October 10, 2011 at 2:55 PM

      Made it this weekend for a party. It was the dessert everyone ate first. I was lucky to even get a taste of it. Oh so yummy (and no one knew it was GF).

      • Nicole
        October 10, 2011 at 3:36 PM

        Hi, Kathie,
        That is so bittersweet! It must feel wonderful to make the most-wanted-dessert. But it would be nice to have a fat slice all your own, too! So glad it went over so well. You’re a natural!
        xoxo Nicole

      • Jegilfix
        September 10, 2012 at 2:24 PM

        I am thinking of doubling this recipe and putting it in a 9×13 pyrex pan.  Do you think that would work?  Also want to use Earth Balance sticks instead of butter to make it non dairy.

  • Peggy
    October 4, 2011 at 3:50 PM

    I live in Sacramento, CA and we have an area just up Highway 50 in the Sierra Mountains called “Apple Hill”. We visit each year for the fresh picked apples. My son loves the apple donuts, pumpkin & apple pies! Love the fresh apple cider! We also have several pumpkin patches, Christmas tree farms & a couple of wineries mixed in with the apple orchards! It’s a fun place to visit between September & Thanksgiving! Lotsa of art & craft items that make great Christmas gifts or for your own home! Nicole, fall is also my favorite time of the year with spring close behind!

    • Nicole
      October 4, 2011 at 4:41 PM

      Hi, Peggy,
      That sounds so idyllic. I wish I lived closer to mountains. I find that mountains provide a sense of perspective for me like nothing else really can. I do love fall, and I’m with you — spring is a close second. But in recent years we’re lucky if we get a few days of spring. Fall tends to be a bit more reliable. But just a bit.
      I keep thinking about Blueberry Hill, since you said Apple Hill. As in I found my thrill. ;)
      xoxo Nicole

      • Peggy
        October 4, 2011 at 5:02 PM

        Nicole, I so agree with you about the mountains providing a sense of perspective. I lived in Colorado just north of Denver from 1995 to 2010 & spent every spare moment I could up in the Rocky Mountains (my favorite mountain range). Moved back to the Sacramento area in July 2010 when I retired to be close to my granddaughter. Very thankful the Sierra Mountains are as close to me as the Rocky Mountains were in Colorado. Some people are beach people…I’m a mountain person! Had to relearn how to cook at sea level again! Will not say how much food I burned/ruined the first month I was back here. lol I enjoy cooking/baking so much more now…don’t have to make adjustments to my recipes for the high altitude. :)

        • Nicole
          October 4, 2011 at 6:11 PM

          I always wondered why I never really loved the beach. It’s because a mountain person! The only problem is that I’m nowhere near mountains. The closest would be the Catskills, and they barely count — and aren’t very close at all. *sigh*
          xoxo Nicole

  • Darlene
    October 4, 2011 at 12:03 AM

    Oh Nicole, you know I love you.. :fidgets uncomfortably in her seat: but I gotta say that I miss the pictures in the Recipe selection. I liked looking at the food, I’d pick something that looked the bestest of all the goodies, and then I’d click on it. The new list of recipes isn’t as appetizing and enticing as the old way. Am I no longer your bestie? I do love the new layout. I just miss the preview pics. :/ Sorry. Don’t hate me.
    Big hug,

    • Darlene
      October 4, 2011 at 2:18 AM

      Oh! I went to “Archives” and the pictures are there. Yay! You think of everything you Miss Smarty you!

      • Nicole
        October 4, 2011 at 8:20 AM

        Hi, Darlene,
        Glad you found the thumbnail pics in the archives. It’s not the same, I know, since it’s not by category. It’s something, though. :) Just so you know, I always want to hear what you think about how the site is set up. So few readers are willing to speak up about that sort of thing. It’s so valuable to me.
        xoxo Nicole

    • Nicole
      October 4, 2011 at 8:18 AM

      Hi, Darlene,
      We are besties. The thumbnails were just too cumbersome in the categories! I love that you spoke up, though, and told me that you were missing something. I wish I could keep them, but people weren’t really spending any time in the categories and couldn’t see the whole lot of recipes at a glance. Now that they’ve been switched, there is a lot more time being spent in the categories, and people are going deeper into the site. Much better overall. Except for you. Oh, just come over. I’ll make you whatever you like. ;)
      xoxo Nicole

      • Darlene
        October 19, 2011 at 12:31 PM

        On my way!

  • We love this time of the year because of the variety of apples available and the wonderful recipes everyone posts!! Apple Crisp is an all time favorite :)

  • Peggy
    October 3, 2011 at 4:09 PM

    Pictures makes one’s mouth water! Thanks for the recipe…again!
    Speaking from a grandmother’s point of view! As sad as it was to see my little ones grow into adults, getting to spend time with my granddaughter made it all so worth it! Enjoy them now so you can enjoy those grandkids!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m so proud of my son…the adult he has become! Yep, it was so worth it to see him grown!!! Nicole, your kids will come home to visit often when they are grown!!! The delights they will bring you will be worth it!

    • Nicole
      October 3, 2011 at 4:22 PM

      Hi, Peggy,
      Thank you for the perspective. I think this is what happened: my nostalgia surprised me! I had always been so focused on encouraging them to grow up, to be independent (since I know that that is how they develop confidence and can become content in their lives). Each year of their lives, I celebrated with and for them that they were doing it. Learn to ride a bike! Go to school! Learn to swim! Stand up for yourself! Be not afraid! Suddenly, with my oldest halfway through her 10th year, nostalgia hit me. I didn’t expect it. It helps to hear from you, on the other side of it all. It definitely helps. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • October 3, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    It’s apple season here in Washington State! We have a little apple tree that sometimes bears fruit, and this year it did. The apple crisp recipe is timely.

    A thought for the future: if you have any interest in developing a gf recipe for St. Lucia saffron buns (also known as “Lucia cats”) in time for December 13, I’d love to see it and try to make it. I laughed out loud when I first read about the oldest daughter bringing “a tray of cats” to her parents on St. Lucia Day.

    • Nicole
      October 3, 2011 at 2:41 PM

      Hey, there, Farida,
      It’s so nice to hear from you.
      I don’t think I realized that you live in Washington State. I’m almost embarrassed to have tried to teach you anything at all about apples, then. It’s so kind of you to pretend for me.
      I’ve never heard of St. Lucia saffron buns, but I will definitely look them up. I can’t wait to see if they are made with saffron! An assignment with a deadline. *yikes*
      xoxo Nicole
      UPDATE: I just googled, and they’re amazing! I have a Swedish aunt, and these sound vaguely familiar. I must make them. Great idea, Farida!

      • October 4, 2011 at 2:11 PM

        Yay! I love to hear “Great idea, Farida.” It makes me glow. But you knew that.

        • Nicole
          October 4, 2011 at 2:22 PM

          So happy to oblige, Farida. But then again, you knew that. ;)
          xoxo Nicole

  • Shauna Wagner on Facebook
    October 3, 2011 at 10:57 AM

    I got your book yesterday. Shopping today to stock my pantry. I LOVE the cook for a week and month section. Thank you. Thank you.
    And the kid thing is oh so hard. My baby boy is turning 11 this week. Thank you God that friends are having babies. Gotta get my fix somewhere. ;)

  • Elaine Finlay
    October 3, 2011 at 10:06 AM

    Fall is a time for nostalgia isn’t it? Crisp mornings. The smell of baking cinnamon. Piles of leaves to throw in the air and the sound of children’s laughter. I am so lucky to have grands nearby so I can relive the sounds and smells of fall.
    It matters what kind of apples you use to make your pies and crisps. The Gravensteins come first here in Nova Scotia: they are the perfect cooking apple. Next come the MacIntosh; sweet and crisp, but they go to mush when cooked. My all winter favourite (forgive me, I’m Canadian and I have to have the ‘U” in those words) and go-to cooking apple is the Cortland.
    Enjoy your fall as much as I enjoy mine!

    • Nicole
      October 3, 2011 at 10:11 AM

      Hi, Elaine,
      Now that you mention it, I agree. Fall is rather nostalgic. It is rife with ritual. That must be why. The relief from the heat of summer also doesn’t hurt.
      I have never had a Gravenstein apple. They sound wonderful, though. I love apple names. Even the hybrids, like Jonagold. I love Macintosh for eating, but yes, they are not for baking. Especially not in an apple crisp!
      Thank you for celebrating Fall with me. It’s by far my favorite time of year. Cheers!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Sarah D
    October 3, 2011 at 9:33 AM

    I LOVE to make applesauce and I was hoping to can some for the winter, but apples aren’t so cheap around here and we don’t have any local orchards. I miss living up north where I could get bushels of apples CHEAP!

    I totally agree about the kiddos. They grow up so quick, don’t they? It’s like you blink, and they’re grown up and you’re left wondering where all the time went. It’s hard to see them gain that independance, but so very important. I like the idea of leaving one key ingredient out of the recipe. There’s nothing like Mom’s cooking, right? :)

    • Nicole
      October 3, 2011 at 9:53 AM

      Hi, Sarah!
      I have lived in the Northeast all my life, so I never thought of not having an “apple season.” People talk about the change of seasons a lot around here, how they couldn’t move to the South or out West. I still feel like I could move and be just fine, but I would miss apple season. ;)
      Until this year, I was always so perfectly happy and fine to have them grow up. The natural order and all that. I wasn’t really allowed to be my own person. I had to fight for that. I want my children to be independent. I guess I reached the limits of my comfort with it, though, because 10 sounds a bit too old! I am going to have to come up with another way to keep ’em hooked on my cooking, though. The blog and book(s) kinda ruined everything!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Karen Langley on Facebook
    October 3, 2011 at 9:26 AM

    Camping this weekend – this will be perfect to take along for desert on Friday night! Thanks Nicole!

Where should I send your free guide?

By entering your email, you're agreeing to our Privacy Policy. We respect your email privacy, and will never share your information.