Well, the inevitable has happened and fall is setting in. I know technically fall doesn't begin for a few more weeks but the weather is already changing where I live and the leaves are starting to turn which means we need all the fall flavors for every meal (I'm pretty sure that's a law). As fall desserts go, this gluten free apple crumble couldn't be any easier to make and the results are so delicious it's definitely something you'll be making again and again.
This easy apple crumble is loaded up with fresh apples, cinnamon, brown sugar and topped off with the crunchiest little crumb topping. Add a scoop of ice cream and *chefs kiss*. As if that wasn't enough, it's both gluten free and vegan and no one is ever going to know! They will be begging you for this recipe.
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What is the difference between a crisp, a crumble and a cobbler?
When it comes to fruit desserts, you might think the monikers are interchangeable. When in fact a crisp, a crumble and a cobbler are three different things.
- A crisp is a fruit filling topped with a streusel topping that includes oats. The topping is usually crispy and not super thick.
- A crumble is also fruit filling topped with a streusel topping. But the topping is thicker and does not include oats.
- A cobbler is also a fruit filling, but topped with a biscuit like topping.
- Gluten Free Flour Blend - I used Bob's Red Mill 1-to1 flour for this recipe. You can use the gluten free flour blend you prefer. Since the flour is used only in the crumble topping, differences in gluten free flour brands should not affect the outcome here.
- Brown Sugar - Brown sugar is used in both the crumble topping and the apple filling. I've used light brown sugar, but dark brown sugar would work just as well and provide a richer flavor. You could also substitute with coconut sugar if you prefer.
- Pecans - I love the nutty flavor and texture the pecans add to the crumble topping. If you don't have pecans, walnuts would be a great substitute.
- Cinnamon - I've used a little cinnamon in both the crumble topping and the apple filling. This spice is a traditional flavor pairing for apples. Don't skip it!
- Salt - I say it with every recipe, but salt is a crucial ingredient to build flavor in desserts.
- Vegan Butter - I've used Country Crock Plant Butter in this recipe. Any vegan stick butter will work fine, just avoid margarine. If you're not dairy free, use regular butter in the same measure.
- Apples - You'll need about 2 pounds of apples. They will cook down a good bit during baking, so you can really pile them into your baking dish, so if you use 1-2 extra apples you won't have any issues.
- Cornstarch - This helps the apple filling thicken up during baking. If you avoid corn, replace this with arrowroot powder in the same measure.
- Vanilla - Provides a little extra complexity of flavor and adds to the amazing smell you'll get from this apple dessert.
- Nutmeg - Just like cinnamon, this is a great match for the apples.
- Lemon Juice - A little acidity offsets all of the sugar to provide complexity to the flavors and it helps to keep the apples from browning.
See recipe card for full ingredient list and quantities.
Substitutions & Variations
- Not Dairy Free - replace vegan butter with regular butter in the same measure.
- Make it Nut Free - Omit the pecans from the recipe, no other changes are needed.
- Make it Corn Free - Replace the cornstarch with an equal measure of arrowroot powder.
- Mixed Fruit Crumble - If you don't quite have enough apples to make the filling, try adding pears, cherries, strawberries, cranberries, blueberries or blackberries. All pair well with apples and will make a delicious dessert!
- Cheddar Apple Crumble - Do you love cheese on your apple pie? Sprinkle sharp cheddar cheese over the apple filling before adding the crumble top. You'll have a delightful sweet and savory flavor.
- Boozy Apple Crumble: Add a splash of your favorite liquor, such as bourbon or brandy, to the apple filling for a boozy kick.
How to make an apple crumble
The hardest part about making this recipe is slicing the apples. The crumble is all mixed in one bowl and the filling in a second bowl. But if you want to save yourself a dish, you can mix the filling right in your baking pan.
STEP 1: Combine the gluten free flour, ¾ cup of brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and pecans in a small mixing bowl. Stir until it's well mixed.
STEP 2: Pour the melted butter into the dry ingredients. Then stir until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated and it has a chunky appearance.
STEP 3: Place the bowl of gluten free crumble in the refrigerator while you make the apple filling.
STEP 4: Combine the apples, brown sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla in a large mixing bowl (or directly in your baking dish). Stir well to coat the apples.
STEP 5: Spread your spiced apples into a 2-quart baking dish (use a 9x9 pan or similar size as long as it fits the apples).
STEP 6: Sprinkle the gluten free crumble topping over the apples.
Bake until the apple filling is bubbling. This will help the starch to activate to thicken the filling. If the topping is getting too brown before the filling is ready, gently lay a piece of aluminum foil over the top for the remaining bake time.
You can store this apple crumble in the baking dish as long as it's covered well with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. If you go this route, refrigerate it for 2-3 days only. If you transfer it to an airtight container, it can be stored in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
This dish will also freeze well. Once it has cooled, store in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months.
You want to work your crumble ingredients together until they are still clumpy. It should not a smooth mixture.
Since this apple dessert doesn't need to hold up to slicing, it's okay to use some of the softer apple varieties. I would suggest using at least half Granny Smith apples for the best flavor. I have used a combination of Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples in this recipe.
No, you can leave the peels on. They provide another level of texture in the finished dish.
My personal favorite is a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of a still warm bowl of apple crumble. Whipped cream would also work well, as would a vanilla yogurt. Of course, apple crumble is delicious on it's own too!
I cut my apples into long slices, then divide each of those into 3 pieces. So the apple pieces are about 1 inch in size and only a little over ¼ inch thick.
Other fall recipes to consider:
If you try this recipe, please leave a 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the comments below.
Gluten Free Apple Crumble
For the gluten free crumble topping
- 1 Cup Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour Blend I use Bob's Red Mill
- ¾ Cup Light Brown Sugar
- ½ Cup Pecans roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ½ Cup Vegan Butter melted
For the apple filling
- 2 pounds Apples about 6 apples
- ½ Cup Light Brown Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Prepare the gluten free crumble topping
- Combine the gluten free flour, brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon and salt in a small mixing bowl. Stir well to mix.1 Cup Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour Blend, ¾ Cup Light Brown Sugar, ½ Cup Pecans, 1 teaspoon Cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon Salt
- Pour the melted butter into the dry ingredients and stir together to combine. The dry ingredients should be incorporated but the mixture should still be lumpy.½ Cup Vegan Butter
- Place the bowl in the refrigerator while you prepare the apple filling.
Prepare the apple filling
- Peel and slice the apples into pieces about 1 inch in size and only about ¼" thick.2 pounds Apples
- Combine the apples, brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large mixing bowl (or directly in the baking dish). Stir it together until the apples are well coated with the dry ingredients.½ Cup Light Brown Sugar, 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch, 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice, 1 teaspoon Vanilla, 1 teaspoon Cinnamon, ½ teaspoon Nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon Salt
- Spread the apples into your 2-quart baking dish. It's okay if the dish is filled to the top or even mounded up a little. The apples filling will settle after baking.
- Sprinkle the crumble topping over the apples.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes. The filling should be bubbling and the topping should be golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and cool at least 30 minutes before serving.
Tiffany is the recipe developer, stylist and food photographer behind Well Fed Baker. As a lifelong baker who had to go gluten free and dairy free in 2016, Tiffany strives to share allergen friendly recipes that never feel like they are free from anything.