This Apple Crisp Granola has the essential, but often elusive, quality necessary in a homey fruit crisp: a satisfyingly crunchy crisp topping!
You'll love the ease of this unfussy apple dessert recipe. It's excellent for seasoned pros or baking novices. (Hint: bring this to your holiday or regular Sunday family gathering!)
As the tender, spiced apples and topping bake, they fill the kitchen and house with mouthwatering aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice--the appetizing perfume of winter and holiday cheer!
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- Lemon juice
- Maple syrup
- Cornstarch (optional)
- Flour, regular or gluten-free
- Brown stevia sweetener or regular brown sugar
- Cinnamon (divided use)
- Nutmeg (divided use)
- Coconut oil or canola oil
🍏 Apples: You can put any apples that you need to use up to work in this recipe. That said, traditional baking varieties such as Granny Smith (green apples), Jonathan, McIntosh, etc, taste excellent in this recipe.
But, tartish Pink Lady apples and sweetly acid Honeycrisps are delicious as well.
🍋 Lemon juice: Don't worry too much about measuring this ingredient. Just use the juice of half a lemon, or portion out a couple of teaspoons of storebought juice.
🍁 Maple syrup: Please use the real thing instead of pancake syrup. You can also substitute white or brown sugar.
Cornstarch: It's optional but will thicken the apple filling, which means less moisture so the topping stays crispy. This is particularly good for leftovers.
Granola: If using store-bought granola, check the label for sugars. Look for a brand that offers whole grains, fewer added sugars, and minimal dried fruit. Granola varieties like honey oats or vanilla honey oats are best. It's alright if there are a few nuts.
The granola should not be so clumpy that it will create big lumps in your topping. Place the granola in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin on it to break up large clusters, if needed.
Flour: Very little flour is needed--just enough to bind the topping ingredients. Use all-purpose or choose gluten-free if you avoid wheat products.
Brown stevia sweetener or brown sugar: The stevia sweetener will save you a couple of grams of added sugar per serving It assists with blood sugar management and tastes good. Brown sugar or a brown monk fruit sweetener are excellent alternatives.
Truvia and Splenda are two brands that have excellent brown stevia products, which blend stevia and erythritol. Lankanto has a brown monkfruit and erythritol blend.
Cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice: Either highly flavored cassia cinnamon or milder Ceylon cinnamon can be used in this recipe. Powdered nutmeg is fine.
If you don't have allspice in your pantry, cloves or mace are fine substitutes, and also, give the dish a darker spice note.
🥥 Coconut oil: It's fine to substitute canola oil if you want to lower the amount of saturated fat in the recipe.
🧈 Butter: A little bit goes a long way toward making the crunchy topping taste homey and yummy. Vegans can substitute coconut oil.
Note: Quantities and complete instructions are in the recipe card at the end of the post.
How to Make
Apple prep instructions
Cut the apples in half and remove the core parts. Lay the flat side on a cutting board and cut into chunks or thin slices if the apples are small.
Place the apples in a large bowl and add lemon juice, maple syrup, half a teaspoon of cinnamon, and an eighth of a teaspoon of nutmeg. Stir to coat the apples.
At this point, you can toss the spiced apple mixture with cornstarch if you want less liquid in the base.
Pour the apple filling into a square baking pan.
Crisp topping instructions
Wipe out the bowl that held the apples.
In the bowl, combine granola, flour, brown stevia sweetener (or brown sugar), cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Mix thoroughly.
Add the coconut oil and butter in dollops over the top. Using your hands, blend until the fats evenly coat the dry ingredients.
Distribute the topping evenly over the apple mixture.
Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake in a medium oven until the top is darkened and the apples are soft and bubbling underneath.
Cool slightly and serve with ice cream or whipped topping.
The goal of a crisp is tender, sweet fruit with a contrasting crunchy sweet topping.
- To keep the topping from becoming soggy, apply the topping just before baking.
Make-ahead tip: You can prep the apples in advance. Place them in your baking dish and refrigerate. Make the topping separately and apply to the apples just before baking.
- The oven temperature needs to be medium to medium hot, about 350 F to 375 F. This creates tender apples without overbaking the granola topping. Luckily, the granola helps the topping stay crunchy during a longish bake.
- Depending on how the apples are sliced or chunked, baking time could vary. Small chunks or very thinly sliced apples could bake in just over half an hour while thicker pieces could take up to an hour.
- To break down any large clusters in your granola, place it in a large plastic bag and go over it with a rolling pin.
🍒 Different fruits: Use any type of fruit you like for the filling. You'll need about five cups. Canned fruit that is already soft will not need a long bake. The bake will infuse spices throughout the filling.
Dried fruits taste great when mixed in with apple filling. Cranberries or craisins are particularly nice and will help thicken the fruit base due to their high pectin concentration.
Raisins, dark or golden, currants, and chopped dates, are also good choices.
Chopped pecans or walnuts, slivered or sliced almonds are nice additions to the topping. Choose your favorite.
Choose a granola that doesn't have large clumps. Also, avoid granolas with large amounts of dried fruit that may burn during cooking. A couple of good store brands are Kind and Bob's Red Mill.
Of course, you can use homemade granola!
Yes, and no! You can prep the topping up three days ahead of time and put together the apple filling a few hours in advance. But, and this is important, you need to store them separately in the fridge.
Let the topping sit at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes before you spread it evenly over the apple filling. Bake the crisp immediately after you do this!
It is easy to adapt for either diet. Use gluten-free flour instead of wheat flour if you are sensitive to gluten proteins.
For a vegan recipe, substitute coconut oil for butter.
Using sugar with the apple filling will improve the texture as well as the taste. Maple syrup adds flavor, but you don't have to use either, especially if you add dried fruit and your apples are sweet.
The topping tastes more dessert-like with some type of sweetener, but you could leave it out. This is particularly true if your granola has many added sugars. Also, this crisp makes a lovely breakfast when less sugar is used!
Cover any leftover or pre-baked crisp tightly with plastic wrap or foil and keep it in the refrigerator. Eat it within three days for the best taste and texture.
This dessert can be frozen but, the topping may get soggy and the apple filling may be very mushy when thawed.
Does this dessert have any health benefits?
Made with apples, whole grains, and a moderate amount of fat and sugar, this dessert can easily fit into a healthy lifestyle and has many wholesome aspects.
- Apples: These everyday fruits are touted as having benefits for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and maybe, asthma, too. Since they contain pectin, a soluble fiber, they can help with gut health.
Apples also have plenty of the antioxidant quercetin, a flavonoid that has an antihistamine and anti-inflammatory effect. This recipe leaves the skins on the apples because that adds nutrition. The peels contain bonus amounts of fiber and quercetin!
- Whole grains: The amount of whole grains found in the recipe will depend on the granola. If you choose one with plenty of oats, and maybe barley, millet, popped amaranth, and other whole grains, you'll reap more benefits.
Whole grains add fiber (along with the apples), as well as B vitamins, and minerals, such as magnesium. They're good for cardiovascular health, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
This dessert is a health balancing act between the toothsome sweetness from added sugars, a few tasty saturated fats, and the wholesome goodness offered by unpeeled apples and whole grains.
😀 For a dessert, it's delicious and not too bad for what ails you. Enjoy in moderation!
The best way to eat Apple Crisp Granola is hot from the oven. A scoop of frozen vanilla ice cream, yogurt, or non-dairy frozen dessert is perfect if you're entertaining or hosting a holiday dinner.
Or just give it a kiss of whipped topping. That's yummy, too.
Caramel sauce takes this apple crisp to the next level!
You could eat the crisp for breakfast, too. Top it with plain yogurt.
Other recipes you may enjoy...
You can certainly reach for some homemade granola to use in this recipe. My Granola with Chia Seeds is a cinch to prepare. Make some extra and gift your friends!
Chia Banana Pudding is another healthy dessert. It can do double duty as breakfast.
Easy Orange Pudding Cake with Star Anise is an indulgent-tasting cake that makes its own layers. Whether you serve it in individual ramekins or family-style, it has a special, holiday vibe.
One more dessert that sits well on a holiday table is No Bake Chocolate Pie. The homemade graham cracker crust is terrific, but you could always use a pre-bought crust to save time.
Apple Crisp Granola
- square baking pan 9"x9" or something close
- large mixing bowl
- paring knife or use an apple slicer
- large spatula or use a wooden spoon or stirrer
- Baking spray for the pan
- 4 apples
- 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch (optional)
- 2 cups granola
- ¼ cup flour (can use gluten-free)
- ¼ cup brown stevia sweetener, or regular brown sugar
- 1½ teaspoons cinnamon (divided use)
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg (divided use)
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ cup coconut oil or canola oil
- ¼ cup butter, softened. Substitute canola or coconut oil, if vegan.
- Before beginning prep, wash hands thoroughly for 20 seconds. Lather, rinse, and dry.
- Wash apples. Using a paring knife, cut them in half and remove the core. Place them flat side down on a cutting board, and reach for a large knife. Cut into slices or chop into rough cubes.I don't remove the skins because they contain so much nutrition. Plus, they're often super sweet.(Or, use an apple slicer.)
- Place your prepped apples in a bowl and toss with maple syrup, lemon juice, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, and ⅛ teaspoon of nutmeg. Add cornstarch, if using, and stir to coat.
- Pour apples into a square baking dish coated with baking spray.
- Wipe out the bowl used to prep the apples. Combine the granola, brown sugar, flour, remaining cinnamon, and allspice. Stir well.
- Combine the coconut oil and softened butter with the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
- Spoon or ladle topping onto apples and spread evenly. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet in the oven (to catch any bubbly juices) and bake for about 45 minutes. Check at 30 minutes to see if the apples are soft and make sure the topping is not getting too brown.
- When the topping is golden brown and the apples are soft with bubby juices, remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes.
- Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped topping. Or enjoy at breakfast with plain yogurt on top!
Copyright © 2023 Jani H. Leuschel