healthy homemade apple crisp

Nan’s Homemade Apple Crisp

(Most recently updated 2/7/2021.)

The weekend is almost here, and the fall season is upon us!  I love this time of year, especially in New England:  cool brisk mornings, beautiful foliage, new beginnings, hot beverages, and of course all things apple (including my mom’s homemade apple crisp!).

Although the foliage in Texas is no match for my homeland this time of year (sigh), I’m still loving the local seasonal harvests at the farmers’ markets.  And the drop in temperature is nice too!

Hello Autumn!

Honestly though in my opinion, one of the BEST parts of autumn every year is all things pumpkin and apple – you can find that pretty much anywhere in America at this time!

Apple picking for gluten free apple crisp recipe

Although it’s not quite time for Thanksgiving, it’s definitely prime time for apple-picking (or just making things with apples) – at least according to my social media news-feed these last few weeks.  😀

That said, my mom, Nancy (“Nan”) has given me permission to share with you her recipe for the best apple crisp I have ever had, which she makes for our family every Thanksgiving!  Thanks Mom.

Fun fact:  the original recipe actually comes from the Chesterfield Inn in Vermont, where she and my dad visited back in the 80’s.

But with my mom’s permission, I did modify this recipe a tiny bit….

My recipe modifications

Natural sweeteners

You may or may notice in most of my dessert recipes, I’ll choose natural sweeteners such as raw honey, real maple syrup or coconut palm sugar (to name a few) which help to support the specific needs of many people in my clinic (food sensitivities, celiac disease, IBS, diabetes, nutritional deficiencies etc.).  These sweeteners are widely available at every supermarket that I know of (usually in a natural aisle), and their taste is decadent and so there is no deprivation! Win-win.

As a reminder, my definition of health has nothing to do with being “low calorie” or “sugar-free”, so this is NOT a low-calorie or low-sugar treat!  My sweeteners of choice are calorically equal their counterparts in the original recipe.  

(We talk allll about natural sweeteners and the “Sugar Spectrum” in part 5 of my Kitchen Alchemy E-course!)

***I realize not everyone has any of those needs or interests.  SO if coconut palm sugar ain’t your thing, and you could care less about the above information, just use granulated sugar instead of coconut sugar, and brown sugar instead of maple syrup.*** 😉 

fresh homemade baked apple crisp

Let’s talk about butter

You probably also noticed that some of my recipes use a LOT of butter!  We’re programmed by false advertising to believe that butter is bad for us, but in truth it has been used by our ancestors for centuries.  

When it comes to heart health and cholesterol, butter is a very small part of the equation.  Of course I wouldn’t recommend that you start slathering butter on your food multiple times a day (although I’m sure that would be a lot of fun!).  But I believe in looking at the full picture of health which includes other factors such as inflammation, homocysteine, omega’s and so much more. 

All of that said, in my clinical experience, fat and calorie-dense foods are not usually the underlying “culprit” for people with heart conditions.  

Vegan apple crisp option

Heart health aside, I also have lots of people in my community with a vegan/dairy free preference and so I have also included a vegan/dairy free apple crisp variation for you!

Get creative and make this your way, choosing the options that best align with your life.

But without further ado, I know this is what you’ve been waiting for…

Nan’s homemade apple crisp recipe

homemade apple crisp

Nan’s Homemade Apple Crisp

Jenna Volpe, RDN, LD, CLT
A "healthified", nutrient-dense, gut health friendly version of classic fall apple crisp!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 6 people


  • Peeler
  • Apple corer (recommended for time-saving purposes!)
  • (Paring knife, if apple corer not available)
  • Cutting board
  • Measuring cups and utensils
  • Food processor or blender
  • 9 X 13-inch casserole dish


  • 14 Cortland or Gala apples peeled, cored and sliced thinly
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 stick cold butter or 3/4 cup coconut oil (vegan option)
  • 3/4 cup coconut palm sugar or sucanat, or granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup or raw honey, or brown sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons apple pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • extra butter/coconut oil for greasing the pan
  • 3 tbsp flour of choice (all purpose or gluten free or coconut flour) optional


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Peel, slice and core apples, then pour them evenly throughout well-greased 9x13 inch casserole dish.
  • Combine ALL other ingredients into a food processor; blend or pulse until it has been evenly mixed.
  • Distribute and press entire mixture over the apples.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for one hour, uncovered.
  • Let it cool for 5-10 minutes before enjoying (if you can wait that long!).


Enjoy any time of the day as a dessert, snack, or even a breakfast!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


If you love this recipe and decide to share it with others, that’s fantastic!  Please share this with anyone who might love to give it a try.  And if you’ve tried it, I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.

Thanks for reading/sharing!  I hope you have a great holiday season!

<3 Jenna