There is something comforting about a warm apple dessert. When I started looking for healthier Apple Crisp recipe, I stumbled upon this delicious variation that relies on the natural sweetness from the apples and maple syrup instead of refined sugars. This will take a little over an hour to make, but it is totally worth it and definitely one to save, print or pin to your pinterest board.

Homemade Apple Crisp Recipe

Since I was little, apple desserts are my favorite. There was something about seeing my mother in the kitchen with her homemade apple crisp recipe card on the counter and the smell of cinnamon filling the air. The card was more for show than anything else. I’m sure she made it often enough to bake it from memory, yet still it sat on the counter top. While this recipe is a little different than the one I grew up with, it is a healthier apple crisp that I can enjoy!

What is the Difference Between an Apple Crisp and an Apple Crumble?

The difference between an apple crisp and an apple crumble actually depends on your location. An apple crisp is made with a mixture of brown sugar, flour and butter while an apple crumble is topped with rolled oats and brown sugar. The difference matters in the US and Canada, but the rest of the world uses the terms interchangeably.

What Are The Best Apples to Use with Apple Crisp?

The best apples to use with apple crisp tend to be firm apples, like a Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious or Pink Lady. By using a firm apple, the heat of baking doesn’t break down the apple into a squishy applesauce, leaving nice warm chunks to bite into. I tend to use a mixture of both as Granny Smith tend to be a bit more tart while the Pink Lady variety is on the sweeter side. By mixing the two together, it keeps the dessert nice and balanced.

Why Do You Add Lemon Juice to Apple Crisp?

Lemon juice is used in recipes to prevent the apples from turning brown from oxidation. If you don’t have lemon juice on hand, you can substitute lime juice or orange juice. If for one reason or another you don’t want to use citrus, just add extra apple juice.

How Do You Know When Apple Crisp is Done?

The amount of time it takes for an apple crisp to be finished in the oven can vary depending on the size of the pan. If you use a deeper dish, then it can take 45 minutes to bake. If you opt to use a larger pan that is more shallow, it could be 30-35 minutes. You will know that it is finished baking when the apples are bubbly and the crumble on top is an even golden color.

Can I use a sugar-free syrup in this recipe?

If you are concerned about sugar, there is a tasty alternative to using maple syrup. While there are several brands out there, I recommend using Walden Farms maple walnut syrup. It is sugar-free, calorie-free, carb-free, and gluten-free! I know what you’re thinking, how can it be free of all of that and still taste good? I was skeptical too, but now I use it with everything! Plus it adds another nutty flavor to the mix.

Tips to Make Your Apple Crisp Even Better

  • If you truly want to make the best apple crisp, remember to use REAL butter. There are ways to make this recipe healthier, but sacrificing the butter for a lower calorie or lower fat substitute is just not an option. Real butter gives it the flavor and texture to make the luscious crumbles on top.
  • Take the time to place the little crumbles all over the top evenly, but leaving spaces in between each one to allow the air to move around it. This way, each crumble has the opportunity to crisp up in the oven like a mini cookie on top of the apples.
  • Only use the freshest apples available. As I mentioned above, using firm, crisp apples is essential to a good apple crisp as they will hold up to the heat of baking.

How Do You Make Apple Crisp?

Like this recipe?
Check out my Frozen Banana Dessert or my Peach Cobbler!

recipe for homemade apple crisp

Homemade Apple Crisp Recipe

From your first bite, you'll fall in love with this twist on Apple Crisp! By adding fresh thyme, you'll get a subtle savory note to this gluten and refined sugar free dessert.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6


Main Ingredients

  • 6 large apples cored, peeled, and sliced
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup real maple syrup
  • 2 T. 100% apple juice sugar free
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • ¼ tsp salt

Topping Ingredients

  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 1/3 cup almonds sliced
  • 1/3 cup honey preferably local
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter melted


  • 1. Place top oven rack in the center position and pre-heat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8” x 8” baking dish and set aside.

    2. Place apples in a large non-reactive bowl and toss with fresh lemon juice. Add maple syrup, apple juice, cinnamon, allspice, thyme leaves, and salt. Toss to combine and set aside.

    3. Combine topping ingredients in a separate bowl and stir until oats are thoroughly coated and all ingredients are well combined. Set aside.

    4. Pour apple mixture into prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer. Spread the topping evenly across the top in a uniform layer, as well.

    5. Place into pre-heated oven and bake for 30 minutes. If the top layer is nicely browned, cover dish loosely with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning. Continue baking for another 15-20 minutes or until the apple crisp is nice and bubbling. Remove from oven and set aside to cool for 5-10 minutes.

    Serve warm with some vanilla bean iced cream or freshly whipped cream, if desired. Enjoy!

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The Reinbolt Family of Venice Foodies

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