Cranberry Apple Crumble

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Juicy apples and tart cranberries with a thick cinnamon sugar oat topping.
A healthy, low-fat and easy dessert!


Cranberry Apple Crumble -- an easy & satisfying low-fat dessert. There's a full serving of fruit in every slice!


While home for the holidays my freshman year of college, I announced to my dad, “I want to go to Spring Training this year!” Since my conversion to become a die-hard baseball fan—one that traveled across the country just to visit MLB stadiums—a decade prior, my Spring Break from school never cooperated to fall conveniently in March so we could fly to Phoenix for preseason games. Until then.  


Three months later, we landed in the desert, drove a rental car to Aunt B’s house, and sorted out our schedule for the next four days. With three pairs of tickets, we had a jam-packed vacation ahead of us but still set aside plenty of time for fun and exercise with Aunt B.


Cranberry Apple Crumble -- an easy & satisfying low-fat dessert. There's a full serving of fruit in every slice!


Although unemployed for a year or two since battling her first round of cancer, she still scraped together enough money for specialty groceries to cook us gourmet homemade meals. She served beef-stuffed bell peppers after we unpacked because she remembered they were my favorite vegetable. She even bought extra-lean ground beef for the recipe in honor of my low-fat approach to food.


The next morning, Aunt B rose with the sun, quietly pulling out mixing bowls and preheating the oven to give us something healthy to eat at the game instead of hot dogs, nachos, and cracker jacks. She presented us with thick packets of tin foil and big bottles of water to survive the brutal Arizona heat, and when we unwrapped our mystery lunch during the third inning, we devoured the best crispy buttermilk “oven-fried” chicken we’d ever eaten. (I even stole half of Dad’s second piece!)


Pinnacle Peak Hike in Scottsdale, AZ


The final night, after a hike up Pinnacle Peak with her and another game of baseball, we sat down to dinner at her self-made tile mosaic table. As we wiped our mouths with white napkins, she cut us humongous pieces of the apple crumble she baked while we cheered on our Oakland A’s. The soft fruit speckled with cinnamon slid down our throats faster than the “fried” chicken, and we scraped every last oat topping morsel off our plates to enjoy.


So in remembrance of Aunt B, I baked my own version of apple crumble, and with Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching, I added in cranberries for a festive holiday touch. I’m sure she would’ve approved—she was always advocating for us to spice up our lives and add our own flair of personal touches!


Cranberry Apple Crumble -- an easy & satisfying low-fat dessert. There's a full serving of fruit in every slice!


This homey Cranberry Apple Crumble comes together in a matter of minutes. Mix up the filling, then the topping; layer, bake, and wait. That’s it! Nothing to it.


For the apples, I opted for one of my favorites: Fujis. Any red apple will work, and you could even mix and match a few varieties! I highly advise against green Granny Smiths; they lack the sweetness to balance the tart cranberries. You’ll need about 3 medium apples to dice.


Cranberry Apple Crumble -- an easy & satisfying low-fat dessert. There's a full serving of fruit in every slice!


I love a good oaty topping, and this one is topped with a really thick layer! With a whopping ¾ cup of oats, you’ll feel rather virtuous eating this crumble for dessert. Because everyone knows oats are heart-healthy. Right?


To round out the oat flavor, I added whole wheat flour. If you don’t have any on hand, swap it out for all-purpose. Or if adhering to a gluten-free diet, pick your favorite gluten-free flour or flour mix. (Currently, millet flour is my preferred go-to!)


Cranberry Apple Crumble -- an easy & satisfying low-fat dessert. There's a full serving of fruit in every slice!


Although I normally cut in chilled butter for the topping, my biceps complained and begged for the day off. I obliged and mixed in melted butter instead. (Only 2 tablespoons to keep the crumble on the skinny side!) It worked like a charm and crumbled up nicely.


This recipe makes a lot of crumble topping, and it will completely cover the filling. It should look like a carpet of buttery oaty cinnamon sugar. Bake your beauty of a crumble at 350°F for 35-40 minutes for firmer apples, or closer to 60 minutes for softer. I still like some texture and pulled mine out after the shorter time period. If baking longer, you may need to cover the pan with foil after the first 40 minutes if the crumble topping browns too quickly.


Cranberry Apple Crumble -- an easy & satisfying low-fat dessert. There's a full serving of fruit in every slice!


If you curb your temptations long enough for the dessert to cool and the juices to thicken, you’ll be rewarded with an entire pan of sweet-and-tart-cinnamony-oaty-fruity-ohsocomforting Cranberry Apple Crumble. With a bit of whipped cream or small scoop of ice cream, it’ll be everyone’s favorite meal of the day. And if you just so happen to end up with leftovers, feel free to sneak them for breakfast! I won’t judge. I did the same thing.


And Aunt B would have done that too.


Cranberry Apple Crumble -- an easy & satisfying low-fat dessert. There's a full serving of fruit in every slice!


Cranberry Apple Crumble

Yield: 1 crumble, 9 slices

Serving Size: 1 slice

Cranberry Apple Crumble

This stunning crumble would be perfect for any holiday table—or even a regular weeknight dinner! Top with whipped cream or ice cream for an extra special treat. Cover any leftovers with tin foil, and store them on the countertop for up to 3 or 4 days.

for the filling
4 c diced red apple (about 3 medium)
2 c cranberries, halved
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
½ tbsp ground cinnamon

for the topping
¾ c old-fashioned oats (gluten-free, if necessary)
¼ c whole wheat flour (or millet flour)
3 tbsp brown sugar
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp butter or margarine, melted

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F, and lightly coat an 8” square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. To prepare the filling, combine the apple, cranberries, brown sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir until the cornstarch dissolves and the cinnamon is evenly dispersed.
  3. To prepare the topping, stir together the oats, flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Mix in the melted butter until the mixture resembles a fine meal.
  4. Pour the fruit filling into the prepared pan, and evenly sprinkle with the crumb topping. Bake at 350°F for 35-40 minutes for firmer apples, or 55-60 minutes for softer apples. (After 40 minutes. cover the top with foil if the crumble topping browns too quickly.) Cool completely to room temperature. Let the crumble rest at room temperature for 1 hour before serving to allow the juices to thicken.

View Nutrition Information


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  1. Gretchen @ Two Healthy Kitchens says on November 25, 2013 at 5:28 am

    What a special way to honor your beloved Aunt B! Your way of describing her warmed my heart. I always feel that memories are made around food – and your tribute to her will leave a lasting legacy.

    I’ve been assigned a dessert to bring to Thanksgiving … I may just need to make Aunt B’s Cranberry Apple Crumble! :)

    • Amy says on November 25, 2013 at 12:35 pm

      Thank you Gretchen! It was a hard post to write, so I’m glad you enjoyed it. And you’re right; some of my most poignant memories are intertwined with food, especially family-related ones. I hope your family and friends like the crumble if you make it for Thanksgiving!

  2. Hari Chandana says on November 25, 2013 at 9:02 am

    Very beautifully presented.. Yummy :)

    • Amy says on November 25, 2013 at 12:39 pm

      Thank you Hari; you’re so sweet!

  3. Kristina says on November 26, 2013 at 7:33 am

    Oh what a sweet memory! I think this crumble did her proud :) Love the whole wheat flour added to the oats, have a great Thanksgiving Amy!!

    • Amy says on November 26, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      Thank you Kristina; that means a lot to me. She would’ve loved your food blog too, especially the panini you made in honor of your grandfather. She loved her panini press! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones!

  4. Emma says on April 18, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Just wondering, could you substitute strawberries for the cranberries and use tarter apples? Both versions sound delicious!

    • Amy says on April 18, 2014 at 9:22 pm

      You probably could! I’d suggest dicing the strawberries to be about the same size as the diced apple. You could still use a sweeter apple and just omit the sugar, if you preferred. And I’d probably add an extra 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch because strawberries contain more juice than cranberries. I’d love to hear how the crumble turns out for you if you try it!

  5. Angelica says on May 24, 2015 at 7:01 am

    What modifications should I make if I decide to use all apples without cranberries?

    • Amy says on May 24, 2015 at 11:54 am

      Use an extra 2 cups of diced apple to make up for the cranberries, and depending on how sweet you prefer the fruit, you could either leave in or omit the brown sugar from the filling. You may need to bake the crumble longer as well. I hope you enjoy it Angelica!

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