healthy homemade apple crisp

Nan’s Homemade Apple Crisp

Holiday season is upon us!  I love this time of year, especially in New England where we would get lots of cool brisk mornings, beautiful foliage, hot beverages, and of course all things pumpkin and 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!

Apple picking for gluten free apple crisp recipe

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….


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Recipe modifications


Okay, I know what you’re thinking… how can you make apple crisp without apples?!  But the thing is, not everybody tolerates apples. 😉

Low FODMAP swap

Well, if you have a FODMAP intolerance to apples, you can easily make this into a strawberry crisp by swapping the 14-ish apples for 3 to 4 standard-sized containers of strawberries, sliced.

Low sucrose swap

If you have a sucrose intolerance, the good news is you can easily swap apples for ~12-14 pears!

It will give you a very similar experience.

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.

But not everybody tolerates coconut palm sugar and maple syrup – so make sure to check out the optional substitutions below, if they’re relevant for you.


  • Low FODMAP (low fructose) + granulatedturbinado sugar* or sucanat*
  • Low sucrose: add extra liquid sweetener (see below)

Liquid sweeteners

  • Low FODMAP (low fructose):  keep the real maple syrup
  • Low sucrose:  swap granulated sweetener and the maple syrup for 3/4 cup agave nectar or honey

fresh homemade baked apple crisp


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 when it comes to high cholesterol and heart health. (A conversation for another time!)

Still, not everyone tolerates butter.

Enter: some optional alternative substitutions!

Lactose-free alternative

You can easily swap butter for ghee, if you’re very intolerant to lactose.

But keep in mind, butter is low FODMAP!

Dairy-free / vegan alternative

Heart health aside, I also have lots of people in my community with a vegan/dairy free preference and so you can easily swap butter for coconut oil (or a vegan butter of your choice!).

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


Low maltose option 1

While oats are gluten free, low FODMAP and low sucrose, they aren’t considered low in maltose (a derivative of starch).

If you have a sucrose intolerance, you may want to consider trying an enzyme called “Starchway” which helps break down maltose.

Paleo and/or low maltose option 2

You could also swap the ground oats for additional 1/2 cup coconut flour.

  • Disclaimer:  I’ve never made this recipe without oats.  I’m making an educated guess based on my experience baking with coconut flour. If you try this recipe with coconut flour instead of oats, please leave a comment to let me know how it turned out! 


Low FODMAP and/or gluten free

Use almond flour or Bob’s Red Mill gluten free all-purpose flour.

Low maltose and/or Paleo

Use coconut flour.

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

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