Vegan apple crisp is easy! You’ll love the combination of tender and moist apples, warm cinnamon and vanilla aromas, and the crispy, buttery, and nutty top.
Our easy apple crisp will impress because it is as satisfying and delicious as the apple crisp we all know and love.
You can make this recipe with simple ingredients and minimal effort. It’s perfect for a cozy everyday treat or holiday dessert alike.
Table of Contents
Dietary Note: this recipe is suitable for a vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diet.
From early fall through Thanksgiving and Christmas, this vegan apple crisp is the perfect recipe for special holiday meals and as an everyday treat to eat on a cozy evening with your loved ones wrapped in a warm, fluffy blanket.
Apple crisp and vegan apple crisp are the same in flavor, texture, and deliciousness.
The only difference is that our vegan variation uses non-dairy butter instead of regular butter and brown organic sugar.
There are many non-dairy vegan butter brands, and most are excellent. Our tip is to use one that comes in a stick form, solid at room temperature, rather than a spreadable one (although that would work, too, if that’s all you have).
We are sure you’ll love this easy apple crisp recipe because it has all the warmth, aromas, and lusciousness of your traditional apple crisp.
The apples are soft and packed with aromas. The top is perfectly golden, crisp, and flakey. It’s almost like eating apple pie but without doing all the work.
Uh, and don’t forget your non-dairy whipped cream, vegan vanilla ice cream, or salted caramel of choice. They are to die for with the crisp!
Ingredients & Substitutions
Quantities are in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.
We recommend combining a mix of tangy Granny Smith apples with a sweeter variety, such as Honeycrisp apples, Fuji apples, Jonagold, Pink Lady, Braeburn, Red Delicious, Gala, or Golden Delicious.
Mixing in sweeter apples makes the best apple crisp because it allows us to use less sugar and create more flavor nuances with every bite.
You can keep the peel on the apples as we do or peel them.
We use organic brown sugar.
Substitute coconut sugar, palm sugar, or maple syrup for brown sugar.
Freshly squeezed lemon juice brings out the flavor of the apples, adds acidity, and helps the vegan apple crisp thicken as it cools down.
A grating of lemon zest is optional.
Cornstarch thickens up the apple juices, making them deliciously creamy.
Substitute cornstarch with potato starch, tapioca flour, or all-purpose flour.
Spices and Aromas
We use cinnamon, grated nutmeg, vanilla extract, and grated ginger or ground ginger.
Other spices you can add are ground cloves and allspice.
Add a good pinch of sea salt to bring out the flavors of the filling.
We recommend using rolled oats or old-fashioned oats. Quick oats work, too.
For a gluten-free apple crisp, please read your oats’ label to ensure they comply with gluten-free standards.
We use all-purpose flour. Substitute a 1-to-1 gluten-free flour to make the vegan apple crisp gluten-free.
Whole wheat flour doesn’t work as well, but it can be used if you must.
Organic brown sugar is best. Substitute coconut sugar or palm sugar.
Pecan is our favorite nut for this easy vegan apple crisp.
Substitute walnuts for pecans.
Pick your favorite. Many brands make dairy-free butter these days.
We recommend the ones that come in stick form – they are generally firmer and easier to measure than those in a tub.
Some good ones are Miyoko’s European Style Cultured Vegan Butter, Vioblock from Violife, Melt Organic Butter, Earth Balance, and Kite Hill, but there are many more.
Vegan margarine can work, but only if it is solid and in stick form, made with coconut oil or palm oil.
You can use unsalted butter to make the streusel topping if you are vegetarian.
A good pinch to have that tongue-tickling sensation with every bite.
Traditionally, apple crisp is made in a cast iron skillet. However, we prefer making it in a 9×13-inch (about 22 x 33 cm) baking dish or casserole dish. We use a Pyrex oven dish.
How to make vegan apple crisp
US cups + grams measurements in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.
1. Prepare the apples
Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C. Grease a 9×13-inch (about 22 x 33 cm) oven dish with vegan butter.
Wash and cut the apples into four pieces, core them, and cut them into thin wedges with a small paring knife. Add the apple slices to a large mixing bowl.
Tip: we recommend using 3 Granny Smith apples and 3 to 4 Red Delicious. You can make vegan apple crisp with peeled or unpeeled apples. We recommend keeping the peel on. It’s faster, more colorful, and fiber-rich.
Add the juice of half a lemon, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of grated ginger, and a grating of nutmeg.
Toss well until all is combined.
Tip: we tried doing this step directly in the oven dish, but the apples flew around the kitchen as we tossed them. So, we recommend using a separate large bowl.
Sugar tip: you can add more or less sugar to your taste. For example, we often make the filling without sugar as we find it sweet enough, especially if served with a scoop of ice cream.
Transfer the apple mixture to the prepared oven dish and push the apples down to fit snuggly.
Top the apples with the chopped pecans. You’ll need about 1/2 cup of them.
Tip: adding the pecans at this stage and covering them with the crisp topping prevents them from burning in the oven. We did tests; if you add them with the crisp topping, they will burn.
2. Make the topping
To a food processor, add 3/4 cup of flour, 3/4 cup of rolled oats, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, one pinch of salt, and 1/2 cup of cold diced vegan butter.
Tip: we like to add oats at this stage to get processed into smaller pieces. If you want your topping with whole oats, then stir them in later without processing them.
Sugar tip: you can adjust the sugar based on your preference. For example, we tried making it with 1/4 cup, which was sweet enough for us.
Pulse until you get a crumbly topping with a coarse, sandy texture. You know you are done when the butter has absorbed most of the flour.
Tip: make sure your butter is cold from the fridge, or the mixture will be hard to crumble.
Tip: if you don’t have a food processor, make the topping by mashing the ingredients with a fork or pastry cutter in a bowl.
Crumble the flour mixture on the apples, trying to cover the pecan pieces.
Bake at 350°F or 180°C for about 45 minutes on the second lowest oven rack, below the center rack.
You know it’s ready when the apples are tender and juicy and the crisp is golden brown.
Tip: the topping won’t be crisp right out of the oven. It needs to cool down to get crispy.
Let the vegan apple crisp cool down for a few minutes before serving it. It’s delicious, warm, or at room temperature.
As it cools down, the flavor intensifies, and the topping gets crispier.
Scoop this easy apple crisp into a bowl and serve with your favorite vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and/or a caramel topping.
It’s the perfect treat on a cold fall and winter night and the perfect dessert for a special holiday meal like Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Healthy apple crisp
Vegan apple crisp is already healthier than classic apple crisp because it does not contain butter.
To make an even healthier apple crisp, omit the sugar in the filling and use only 3 – 4 tablespoons of sugar in the topping.
You can also swap olive oil or avocado oil for vegan butter. You’ll need about 1/3 cup of oil to replace 1/2 cup of butter.
Sweet potato casserole
Sweet potato casserole is another delicious dish, similar to apple crisp, but with mashed sweet potatoes instead of apples.
You can have it as a tasty dessert or side dish for Thanksgiving.
Check out our sweet potato casserole recipe.
Apples: we recommend using 3 Granny Smith apples and 3 to 4 Red Delicious. You can make vegan apple crisp with peeled or unpeeled apples. We recommend keeping the peel on. It’s faster, more colorful, and fiber-rich.
Mixing bowl: we tried doing this step directly in the oven dish, but the apples flew around the kitchen as we tossed them. So, we recommend using a separate large bowl.
Sugar: you can add more or less sugar to your taste. For example, we often make the filling without sugar as we find it sweet enough, especially if served with a scoop of ice cream. We also tried making the topping with 1/4 cup, which was sweet enough for us.
Pecans: adding the pecans before/under the topping prevents them from burning in the oven. We did tests; if you add them with the crisp topping, they will burn.
Oats: we like to blend the oats so that they are less rough, but you still get their nutty flavor. If you want your topping with whole oats, then stir them in later without processing them.
Butter: make sure your butter is cold from the fridge, or the topping will get sticky and be hard to crumble.
Topping: the topping won’t be crisp right out of the oven. It needs to cool down to get crispy.
They are the same thing, but apple crumble doesn’t have the oats.
Your apple crisp can get soggy if your apples contain a lot of moisture. You can precook your apples and discard the juices to prevent that from happening.
Put the apple slices in a bowl and microwave them at full power for 5 minutes. Stir, then microwave for 5 more minutes. Now toss them with a pinch of salt and wait until they release their juice.
Discard the juice and proceed with the apple crisp recipe.
Yes, you can! Substitute 1/2 cup of flour for 3/4 cup of oats, and you are done. In this case, it will be more of an apple crumble but still be delicious.
Storage & Make Ahead
Make ahead: bake the vegan apple crisp for 30 minutes, then let it cool down, wrap, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then bake in a preheated oven at 350°F or 180°C for 30 minutes.
Alternatively, make the apple crisp the day ahead, but don’t bake it. Wrap it unbaked and store it in the fridge for up to a day. Bake a few minutes longer than instructed.
Finally, you can freeze the unbaked apple crisp for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, and bake it for a few minutes longer than instructed.
Refrigerator: keep leftovers at room temperature for up to 1/2 day, after which cover and keep in the fridge for 3 days. Reheat in the microwave for a few seconds.
Freezer: see the make ahead section above.
Reheat: warm this vegan apple crisp in the microwave for a few seconds.
For many more easy dessert ideas, check out our desserts category page.
Vegan Apple Crisp
- 9 x 13-inch casserole dish or oven dish about 22 x 33 cm, we use a Pyrex oven dish
- Food processor or pastry cutter
FOR THE FILLING
- 6 large apples we recommend 3 Granny Smith + 3 Fuji, Pink Lady, or Red Delicious
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar up to 4 tablespoons if you like it sweeter
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch or all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger freshly grated or ground
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg grated
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup pecan nuts or walnuts
FOR THE TOPPING
- ¾ cup rolled oats
- ¾ cup flour
- ½ cup brown sugar down to ¼ cup for less sweet
- ½ cup vegan butter cold and diced
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 pinch salt
FOR THE FILLING
- Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C. Grease you oven dish with vegan butter.Chop 6 large apples into thin wedges and add them to a large mixing bowl. You can keep the peel on.
- Toss with 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ginger, ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg, and ⅛ teaspoon salt.
- Transfer to prepared oven dish and sprinkle with ½ cup pecan nuts (chopped).
FOR THE TOPPING
- To a food processor, add ¾ cup rolled oats, ¾ cup flour, ½ cup brown sugar, ½ cup vegan butter (cold and diced), ½ teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 pinch salt. Pulse until coarsely combined.
- Crumbled mixture on the apples. Tip: Try to cover the pecans so they don't burn in the oven.
- Bake on the lower rack of your oven at 350°F or 180°C for 45 minutes or until golden brown on top.
SERVES WELL WITH
- Let cool down for 15 minutes so that flavors intensify and topping gets crispy. Serve with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and/or a drizzle of caramel.
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