This apple crisp recipe came together when I was on a mission to serve up something different and make-ahead for breakfast. Baked oatmeal with apples came to mind, but I’m the only one of two people in my home who enjoys baked oatmeal–a full dish of that is just too much to tackle alone! So, I went outside of the typical realm of breakfast and gleaned inspiration from dessert, making sort of a “dry” baked apple oatmeal or granola and fruit in one, in the style of a fruit crisp or crumble.
I serve this up with a dollop of full-fat Greek yogurt and sprinkle of chia seeds or flaxseed (or both). I keep the sugar low, so it’s breakfast appropriate, but the recipe can double as dessert if served with ice cream in place of yogurt, if your heart desires.
I will often not even peel the apples when making apple crisp as I find the skin gets very soft, so I don’t here either. Not peeling the apples also adds more nutritional value to your crisp, gives the apples a lovely pink tint, and makes this come together quickly and easily. If it’s a more tender, less rustic apple crisp you’re after, you can absolutely give them a quick peel.
When I was home in Canada a few months ago, I made apple crisp for my sister, who has celiac disease. I turned to the classic recipe because it’s one of the most crowd-pleasing gluten-free desserts you can whip up. Using gluten-free rolled oats and gluten-free all-purpose flour, along with coconut oil and coconut sugar, it was not only healthier than traditional versions, but dairy-free (she also has lactose intolerance) and vegan to boot. And, of course, we enjoyed gluten-free apple crisp for breakfast the next day.
This is warm, old-fashioned comfort food at it’s finest, and a great way to wake up to a chilly morning.
For those who don’t like baked oatmeal, or just want a change, consider this light apple crisp recipe that’s easy, quick, and made for mornings. This healthy apple crisp recipe relies on the natural sweetness of the apples for the filling. The granola-like oat crumble topping is spiced, buttery, and perfectly sweet. You can make this fast apple crisp coconut oil based, and refined sugar-free with coconut sugar. For breakfast, serve with Greek yogurt.
1 lb (5 to 6) apples (I used Cox apples, but you can use Royal Gala, Golden Delicious, or any other good baking apple; Serious Eats has a great guide to the best apples for pie (or crisp) here), unpeeled or peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
1 Tbsp lemon juice
95 g (approx. 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp) salted butter or coconut oil, melted
2 cups quick-cooking or old-fashioned rolled oats (gluten-free if necessary)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar or coconut sugar
2 Tbsp spelt flour or organic unbleached all-purpose flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom or and extra 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 to 1/4 tsp salt (use 1/8 tsp if using salted butter; 1/4 tsp for unsalted butter or coconut oil)
Greek yogurt or vanilla ice cream, to serve (optional but recommended)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- In a medium-large casserole dish (I used a deep oval casserole dish equal to a deep 8×8-inch square pan or deep 9-inch pie dish) toss apples to evenly coat with lemon juice and distribute evenly in dish.
- In a large bowl, add butter or coconut oil and mix in oats to coat, followed by brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. Mix everything well to combine, then lightly pack oat mixture on top of apples.
- Bake for 40 to 55 minutes, until apples are bubbling at the edges and top is browned. If you’re unsure if it’s done, pierce the centre with a sharp knife; the apple should yield very easily.
- Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled with yogurt for breakfast or ice cream for dessert.