Here is an easy apple crisp – gluten-free and vegan – that you toss into the slow cooker. It’s made with healthy oats and warming spices like cinnamon and ginger. While it cooks you can relax and enjoy the wonderful aroma of apples and spices filling your home. A few hours later, voila! A tasty dessert that is healthier than most versions too. There is less sugar and no butter (a little plant-based spread is used). This is a great homemade dessert for fall or any time of the year.
You can enjoy this slow cooker apple crisp warm right after it is cooked (let it cool a little) or later. But I do like to heat it up to serve later. You can microwave it for 20 – 30 seconds or heat it for a few minutes in the oven or on the stove (add a little water so it doesn’t burn).
It is great topped with a vegan frozen dessert/ice cream substitute too! I tried it with a vanilla oat milk chip frozen dessert.
Apples – I have used Granny Smith, Gala, and Honeycrisp apples in this recipe with great success. Pink Lady and Jonathans are also among the recommended varieties for baking.
Almond flour – I have updated this recipe to be gluten-free and switched the flour from white whole wheat to almond so more people can enjoy it.
Oats – Be sure to use gluten-free oats if you follow a gluten-free diet. Oats themselves are gluten-free but are often contaminated with wheat in processing if they are not a certified gluten-free brand. This recipe calls for quick oats, which are in smaller pieces than rolled oats.
Lemon juice – I suggest fresh lemon juice. You could also add in a little lemon zest for more flavor.
Cinnamon – I used regular cinnamon with the apples, then Ceylon cinnamon in the topping for fun. This has a lighter, fresher taste and I’m having fun experimenting with it. Regular cinnamon (cassia) has more heat.
Nutrition in Apples
A whole medium apple has 4.4 gm. of total fiber and 195 mg. of potassium with 95 calories (source: USDA Food Data Central). The soluble fiber in apples, like that in oatmeal and beans, can help lower blood cholesterol. Apples also have a high level of antioxidant activity from the phytochemicals they contain, such as quercetin and catechin.
This article about apple phytochemicals and their health benefits by Boyer and Liu (2004) discusses associations between eating apples and lower rates of cardiovascular disease, and potentially cancer.
How to Make Apple Crisp – Gluten-free and Vegan
The first step is to peel and chop the apples. As the peeler on my apple corer/slicer/peeler is sub-optimal, I decided to just do it the old-fashioned way. I peeled the apples with a vegetable peeler, quartered them, took out the core, and then sliced them crosswise. The time it takes to prepare this recipe will mainly depend on how long this step takes you.
Next, spray the bottom and ⅓ up the sides of the slow cooker crock with non-stick spray. Turn the slow cooker on high.
Place the apple chunks, maple syrup, almond flour, water, lemon juice, cinnamon, ground ginger, and salt in the slow cooker crock. Mix them together.
Combine the topping ingredients into a crumbly mixture. I cut through it with a knife so the plant-based spread was in little pieces:
Sprinkle this mixture on top of the apples, cover it with the lid, and relax.
Let it cook for 2 – 3 hours or until the apples are soft enough to your liking. Slow cookers vary too. This one doesn’t have a tight seal. If I had used my other one, it probably would have been done a little sooner.
Can You Bake This Apple Crisp in the Oven?
Yes. Spray an 8″ x 8″ square casserole dish with nonstick spray, and cook at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Cover with foil until the last 10 minutes of baking so the topping doesn’t burn.
Can You Make This Apple Crisp Recipe in an Instant Pot?
Yes, you can use an Instant Pot instead of a slow cooker if you want. First, spray the Instant Pot liner with non-stick spray. Then, add the apples and other ingredients, but increase the water to a quarter cup and stir. Then sprinkle the topping ingredients on top and don’t stir those in.
Cook on high pressure for two minutes. Carefully release the pressure after the two minutes are up and open the lid. This was tested in a 6-quart Instant Pot Duo. It took about 7 minutes for it to get up to pressure.
What Else Can You Add to Apple Crisp?
- Fresh or frozen blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries
- Fresh or dried cranberries
- Sliced almonds
- Chopped pecans or walnuts
- A chopped, peeled pear
Place this apple crisp in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Related Recipes You May Enjoy:
- Homemade Honeycrisp Applesauce
- Homemade Vegan Apple Cinnamon Bread with Walnuts
- Easy Homemade Apple and Peanut Butter Waffles
- Triple Berry Nectarine Crisp (Vegan and Gluten-Free)
- Blueberry Coffee Cake – Without Dairy or Eggs
- Vegan Peanut Butter Brownies – Instant Pot Recipe
- Healthy Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Muffins
Slow Cooker Apple Crisp – Gluten-free and Vegan
- Slow cooker
- Vegetable peeler or apple corer / peeler
- Cutting board
- Large spoon
- non-stick spray
- 4 (22 oz or 627 gm) apples peeled and cut into 1/2 – 1" chunks
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons almond flour
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup quick oats gluten-free
- 2 tablespoons plant-based spread
- 1 tablespoon organic brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon almond flour
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- Spray the bottom and ⅓ up the sides of the slow cooker crock with non-stick spray. Turn the slow cooker onto high.
- Place the apple chunks, maple syrup, almond flour, water, lemon juice, cinnamon, ground ginger, and salt in the slow cooker crock. Mix them together.
- Combine the oats, plant-based spread, brown sugar, almond flour, cinnamon, and baking powder in a small bowl (the plant-based spread should be cold from the refrigerator). Cut the plant-based spread through the crumbs with two knives or a pastry cutter. Sprinkle this on top of the apple mixture.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for about 2 – 3 hours, or until apples are soft. Keep an eye out for any browning: add a tablespoon or two more water if needed and stir.
Keep up to date with seasonal recipes from my free new monthly newsletter.
Have you tried this apple crisp recipe? Please share the recipe with a friend and let me know how you liked it in the comments:
Originally published 2/9/2020. Updated: 9/17/2023