Over spring break during my freshman year of college, my dad and I flew to Arizona to visit my aunt and spend a few days attending Major League Baseball’s Spring Training games. We stayed at her house in the Phoenix suburbs, a small one-story home with every room painted a different color (including her lavender bedroom and crimson office!) located less than an hour away from all of the stadiums.
My aunt loved company, and we quickly fell into a routine during our vacation. Each morning, we scheduled in time for exercise, which resulted in a hike up and over one of the local mountains on our first full day and a trip to her favorite gym on another. In the afternoons, Dad and I drove to watch baseball games while my aunt played with her dogs and took care of chores around the house.
Because my aunt knew about my healthy eating habits, she also spent a large portion of those afternoons cooking nutritious dinners for us to enjoy after returning from the stadiums. She prepared stuffed bell peppers one evening, full of brown rice and extra lean ground beef, and oven-baked buttermilk “fried” chicken another night, irresistibly seasoned and coated with crunchy cornflakes.
For dessert (because I definitely inherited my sweet tooth from both sides of my family!), she baked whole wheat chocolate chip cookies and an apple crumble. We saved the slightly more portable cookies as treats to take with us to the baseball games and on the airplane flight back home, but that crumble…
I ate two servings almost every night and snuck a forkful nearly every time I walked through the kitchen! With its cozy spices, perfectly tender fruit, and sweet streusel topping, it immediately became my kryptonite, and I basically hoarded the entire pan. Thank goodness she baked so many cookies — Dad didn’t seem to notice!
My aunt passed away a little over a year later after battling breast cancer for the fourth time, so every time I see or eat a slice of apple crisp, I think of her.
So eventually, after lots of testing, I finally perfected this recipe for The Ultimate Healthy Apple Crisp in honor of her. It’s simple to make and requires just a handful of common, everyday ingredients.
With its warm cinnamon flavors and irresistible oat streusel, I even think she would agree it tastes better than the original one she baked many years ago. At least… That’s what both of my parents told me after eating two servings each!
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST HEALTHY APPLE CRISP
Let’s go over how to make the best healthy apple crisp! And because people always tend to ask… “Apple crisp” and “apple crumble” are two different names for the same dessert! They consist of really tender, deliciously sweet apples covered with an oat streusel (or “crumble!”) topping. Not to be confused with an apple cobbler… Which has a biscuit-like topping instead.
So now with that out of the way… What exactly makes this healthy apple crisp absolutely irresistible?
The apples, for starters! Because the filling contains no added sugar, I always choose the sweeter varieties of firm red apples, and Fuji’s are my absolutely favorite. Gala and Braeburn apples would work as well. If you prefer a tarter flavor, then substitute up to two cups of diced Granny Smiths for the equivalent amount of red apple, but I’d recommend against more than that since you aren’t adding any sweetener to the filling.
To help the fruit soften faster, you’ll chop the apples fairly finely, about the size of blueberries. I know it takes a little extra time and effort, but I promise it’s worth it! You’ll also mix them with some cinnamon, nutmeg, and cornstarch. The nutmeg adds a subtle yet irresistible depth to the spice flavors in this healthy apple crumble, and the cornstarch thickens the juices that the apples release while baking.
Is the oat streusel your favorite part too?? That sweet, crunchy, cinnamon-spiced topping… It gets me every time! I always save the slice with the most streusel for myself… And I often pick a few pieces off of the surrounding slices too. No healthy apple crisp is safe with my fork around!
This streusel is incredibly easy to make! You’ll combine old-fashioned oats, whole wheat flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Then it’s time for my secret trick! Instead of traditional recipe instructions that direct you to cut cold butter into the mixture… You’ll mix in melted butter! It’s so much simpler and takes less than ¼ of the time. Easy peasy!
Tip: If you prefer, I’ve included how to make this healthy apple crisp gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan in the Notes section of the recipe!
To sweeten the streusel for this healthy apple crumble, you’ll also mix in a touch of pure maple syrup. Make sure you use the real kind! Skip the pancake syrups and sugar-free syrups; those generally behave differently in baking recipes. The only ingredient on the label should be “maple syrup,” and it often comes in thin glass bottles or squat plastic jugs (like this!).
Then after a trip to the oven…
Your entire kitchen will smell like fall! Cozy, comforting, cinnamon-spiced… And oh so delicious! And when you make your own, remember to snap a picture and share it on Instagram using #amyshealthybaking and tagging @amyshealthybaking IN the photo itself! (That guarantees I’ll see your picture! 🙂 ) I’d love to see your ultimate healthy apple crisp!
The Ultimate Healthy Apple Crumble
FOR THE STREUSEL
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, and coat an 8”-square pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- To prepare the streusel topping, whisk together the oats, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Make a well in the center. Pour in the maple syrup and melted butter. Stir until fully incorporated.
- To prepare the filling, toss the apples with the cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl until completely coated.
- Transfer the filling to the prepared pan, and gently press down with a spatula. Sprinkle evenly with the topping. (The topping tends to clump a lot, so break it up into really small pieces, about the size of miniature chocolate chips, to ensure it covers the apples.) Bake at 350°F for 50-60 minutes or until the apples are fork tender. Cool completely to room temperature; then refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving to allow the juices to fully thicken.
View Nutrition Information + Weight Watchers Points
You may also like Amy’s other recipes…
♡ The Ultimate Healthy Apple Pie
♡ The Ultimate Healthy Blueberry Crumble
♡ Healthy Slow Cooker Gingerbread Apple Crumble
♡ Healthy Cranberry Apple Crumble
♡ Healthy Slow Cooker Apple Pie Filling
♡ Healthy Apple Pie Snickerdoodles
♡ Healthy Apple Pie Scones
♡ Healthy Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls
♡ Healthy Apple Pie Oatmeal Cookies