Soft and warm cinnamon sugar apples under a blanket of sweet streusel topping - this gluten free apple crumble is a perfect fall dessert.
Simple to make and with one ingredient switch, it can be made into a gluten free dairy free apple crumble!
The difference between a cobbler, crumble and crisp
Fruit desserts are really popular, so there’s bound to be some overlap in some of the dishes, right?! For years I thought a crumble was a crisp, so don’t worry if you get these three desserts all mixed up. Here are some details to clear things up…
- What is a cobbler? A cobbler is a baked dessert that has a fruit base which is covered by batter, biscuits or dumplings.
- What is a crumble? A crumble is also a fruit dessert, but instead of being covered with biscuits or dumplings, the topping is a streusel. Streusel toppings are made with flour, butter and sugar.
- What is a crisp? A crisp is basically a crumble, but the topping has oats added. If your fruity dessert with a streusel topping doesn’t have oats - it’s a crumble, not a crisp!
So basically crisp and crumble desserts are very similar - the only difference is the oats. Since this recipe doesn’t contain oats, it’s a gluten free crumble. Easy, peasy! (If you still want to call it a crisp, that’s ok, too!)
Ready to make an easy gluten free apple crumble topping? Here’s what you’ll need:
- Gluten free flour: I used a homemade blend, but you can use any all purpose blend you may have in your cupboard!
- Brown sugar: light or dark, either will do. Wondering what the difference is? Check out this post.
- Granulated sugar
- Cinnamon: if apples had a BFF, cinnamon would be it!
- Unsalted butter: full dairy or your favourite dairy-free version!
For the apple crumble filling, you’ll need these ingredients:
- Apples: about 6 large ones, peeled and chopped. Any variety will do, but keep reading for specifics on sweet vs. tart apples.
- Granulated sugar
Dairy free apple crumble
Making a gluten free dairy free apple crumble is so easy! To adapt this recipe, all you need to do is replace the butter with a dairy free alternative.
We like to use Earth Balance around here when I’m making dairy free treats, but feel free to use any brands that you typically use.
New to the gluten & dairy free life? Check out this post all about butter for more dairy free butter brands.
Which apples to use
Obviously, if you’re making a gluten free apple crumble, you’ll need some apples. There are so many varieties out there, which one should you choose?! Apples can be tart, sweet or a combination of both.
- Tart apples: these are strong on flavour and not as sweet. Granny Smith is the most famous tart variety, but Northern Spy, Braeburn, Pink Lady, Macintosh, Empire, and Courtland apples are all good choices too.
- Sweet apples: Fuji, Honeycrisp, Ambrosia, Gala, Golden Delicious and Red Delicious apples have less lip-puckering flavour, but more sweetness.
I did the first recipe test for this apple crumble with nothing but Gala apples - the dessert was SUPER sweet. No one complained, but I think a mix of tart and sweet apples is the perfect combination for this recipe. When I tested it with half Granny Smith, half Honeycrisp, it was the perfect balance of tartness and sweetness.
How to make a crumble
An apple crumble is one of the simpler gluten free apple desserts that you can make. It only takes 15 minutes to prepare and it’s beyond delicious. Easier than a pie, but just as amazing.
Start by making the gluten free crumble topping. Combine the gluten free flour, sugars, cinnamon and salt in a bowl to mix. Then add in the cold unsalted butter and pinch it with your fingers until it becomes incorporated in the mixture.
You’ll know the crumble topping is ready when it resembles sand.
In another bowl, toss the apple pieces with cinnamon and granulated sugar to coat. Pour the filling into an 8” x 8” (20cm x 20cm) baking dish and then cover with the crumble topping.
Bake in the oven at 350°F for about 25-30 minutes until the apple filling gets nice and bubbly. Then cool slightly before serving with vanilla ice cream, custard, or whipped cream. (Eating it right out of the pan works, too!)
Make this ahead of time
Want to save yourself some prep time right before dessert? There are a few things you can do to make this recipe ahead of time…
- Prepare the crumble topping in advance. Once you’ve added in the butter and the crumble topping looks like sand, transfer it to an airtight container and store in the fridge for 1-2 days before using it. Sprinkle it over the apple filling whenever you're ready to bake!
- Prepare the apple filling in advance. Once you’ve peeled, cored and sliced the apples, toss them in a few tablespoons of lemon juice to coat them. This will prevent the slices from browning before baking. Continue with adding the cinnamon and granulated sugar, then toss to coat. Store the filling in the fridge a few hours before baking.
- Freeze the unbaked crumble. Prepare the entire recipe, as directed, without baking in a freezer safe dish. Cover to ensure it’s airtight and freeze for up to a month. Bake whenever you’re ready!
Store the baked apple crumble in the fridge, covered, for up to 5 days. To reheat, warm in the oven at 350°F or microwave.
What to serve with gluten free apple crumble
This gluten free apple crumble recipe is amazing on it’s own, but I won’t deny that adding something on top of it makes it even better.
- Adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream (dairy or non dairy) on top is obviously a classic choice. Vanilla ice cream and apple pie have been holding hands for ages, so clearly a bit of vanilla would go well with this crumble dessert.
- Custard is a good choice to make this dessert even more decadent. Make a homemade version or use an instant custard - either way, you can’t go wrong!
- Whipped cream always makes kids (& adults) happy! Whip up your own at home - it’s so easy!
- Whip 1 cup of whipping cream using an immersion blender or in a stand mixer with 2 tablespoons of icing sugar and ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract until it forms stiff peaks.
- Hello, caramel sauce! Drizzle some on top after the crumble cools. Soft, warm apples, spicy cinnamon and caramel? You had me at hello.
Gluten Free Apple Crumble
For the crumble topping:
- 1 cup (120g) gluten free flour
- ½ cup (80g) brown sugar packed
- ½ cup (110g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (110g) unsalted butter cold and cubed
For the filling:
- 7 cups (900g) apples peeled, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces (about 6 large apples)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons (42g) granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl, mix together the gluten free flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon and salt to combine.
- Add in the cold, cubed unsalted butter and pinch the cubes with your hands until it is incorporated into the mixture. Continue to mix with your hands until the texture of the topping begins to resemble sand. Set it aside for a moment.
- In another large bowl, add in the bite-sized apple pieces, cinnamon and sugar. Toss the apples in the cinnamon and sugar until completely coated.
- Pour the apples into an 8" x 8" (20cm x 20cm) baking dish and distribute evenly.
- Pour the crumble topping over the apples and ensure it covers them completely. There's no need to press the filling down, just allow it to coat the apples generously.
- Bake the apple crumble in the oven for approximately 25-30 minutes until the apple filling is bubbling underneath.
- Allow to cool slightly before eating.
- Storage: Store the baked apple crumble in the fridge, covered, for up to 5 days. To reheat, warm in the oven at 350°F or microwave.
- To make it dairy free: Substitute the butter for your favourite dairy-free version.