This gluten free apple crumble recipe is loaded with the season’s best apples and topped with crisp chunks of apple spiced goodness. Make it with or without oats!
All summer long, I dream of the crispness of the first real fall days, when I can layer up with warm sweaters and dig out my LL Bean fuzzy slippers. If we can squeeze in a trip to the apple orchard, in between softball games, track meets and homework, I’m in leaf-kicking heaven.
Of course, it goes without saying that baking gluten free with apples is a favorite pastime around here. Somehow, though, we’ve never made a gluten free apple crumble together.
The differences between a gluten free apple crisp, crumble, a cobbler, a gluten free apple pie and a galette are sometimes more than I can possibly bear. Not that it’s so difficult, but there just doesn’t really seem to be a consensus.
And really the most important thing is that we have your favorite baking apples, the right fall spices, and something warm and buttery. This apple crumble ticks all the boxes.
What you can make ahead
You can make the crumble topping ahead of time, then chill it, break it into chunks and store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Then, when you’re feeling like a bit of gluten free apple crumble, peel, core and slice the apples and bake it to dreamy fall perfection.
How to know when it’s baked perfectly
There’s so much ground cinnamon in the rich and buttery crumble topping that the raw crumble almost looks like it’s already browned in the oven. Luckily, you don’t need to see the topping browning to know that it’s done.
Once the apple filling is bubbling and fragrant, you’ll know that it’s ready. Between the sugar we add and the natural sweetness of the apples, there’s enough sugar for the dish to burn if you’re not careful.
I like to cover the baking dish covered with aluminum foil for the first 25 minutes of baking. That way, the topping doesn’t burn before the apples are super tender.
How to customize your apple crumble
Like any baking recipe that contains warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, feel free to customize the spice to suit your tastes. If you like cinnamon, but think the amount I specify in the filling or topping might be too much for you, cut it back.
If you love nutmeg but are afraid not everyone does, leave it out of the topping and just sprinkle some on top of your portion before serving.
Ingredients and Substitutions
As always, unless I specifically indicate otherwise, I haven’t tried this recipe with any substitutions. But here are my best-educated guesses.
Dairy: Instead of 12 tablespoons (168 g) of butter, use 14 tablespoons (168 g) butter-flavored Spectrum nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening.
Oats: When properly sourced, oats are in fact gluten free. But if you need or want to avoid them, try replacing the 1/2 cup (50 g) of certified gluten free old-fashioned rolled oats with quinoa flakes, or 1/4 cup (35 g) all purpose gluten free flour.
For more guidance on how to replace oats in gluten free baking, please see our discussion about oat substitutions in baking. It answers every question.
Nuts: Just leave out the nuts! I’ve made this recipe both with and without the nuts, and all you miss when leaving out the nuts … is the taste of nuts. :)
Gluten Free Apple Crumble
1 1/2 cups (210 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1/2 cup (50 g) certified gluten free old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup (109 g) packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup (67 g) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
12 tablespoons (168 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 pounds (about 6 large apples) Granny Smith apples (or other tart and firm apple), peeled, cored and sliced into 1/4-inch thick wedges
2 tablespoons (18 g) gum free gluten free flour blend (or use an equal amount tapioca starch/flour)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup (73 g) packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup (40 g) raw pecans and/or almonds, roughly chopped
Vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish and set it aside.
First, prepare the crumble topping. In a medium-sized bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, oats, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt, and whisk to combine, working out any lumps in the brown sugar. Add the butter, and mix to combine well. The mixture will be thick. Place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill for about 10 minutes or until firm (or the freezer for about 5 minutes).
To make the filling, in a large bowl, place the apples flour, brown sugar and cinnamon, and toss to combine well. Transfer the apple mixture to the prepared baking dish, and spread them into an even layer. Scatter the nuts evenly over the top of the apple filling. Remove the crumble topping from the refrigerator and break it up into large chunks with a fork. Scatter the topping in an even layer all over the top of the apple filling. Press gently on the crumble topping to ensure that it adheres to the filling.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and place it in the center of the preheated oven. Bake for 25 minutes, remove the foil, and continue to bake until the crumble topping is golden brown and the apples are fork tender (about another 20 minutes). Remove from the oven and serve warm by scooping into bowls and topping with the optional vanilla ice cream.