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Paleo, Grain-Free Apple Crisp

This is a recipe for a grain-free and paleo-friendly apple crisp, adapted from a recipe that my wonderful aunt made for me over Thanksgiving. This is a lovely dessert dish to bring to holiday parties, gatherings, or office pot-lucks. 

Apples + cinnamon = Yum! // TheCuriousCoconut.com

It only requires a few simple ingredients to make, and nobody will be complaining (or even realize) that it is gluten-free. Since apples are on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen, I try to buy them organic. But, if you can’t swing organic, at least for this recipe the apples are peeled. 

I experimented with several different flour blends before arriving at the options presented here. I would have loved to make it with coconut flour, but it just does not give it the right texture or mouth feel.

Grain-free, #paleo apple crisp -- just like your grandma's! // TheCuriousCoconut.com

If you have a nut allergy or otherwise need to avoid almonds, you can substitute white rice flour for the almond flour. If you can eat almond flour and you aren’t averse to eating a little white rice flour, it’s actually really tasty to do a half/half mix of almond/rice flours (and it lowers the cost of the dish -- almond flour is expensive!)

Paleo apple crisp with hot buttered coffee // TheCuriousCoconut.com

If you are feeling really decadent, you can make this to have with your morning coffee. It’s an awesome combination. I wouldn't recommend doing it all the time. But, hey. It's the holidays. You're supposed to have some treats now and then. And at least this dish is full of cinnamon, which helps with post-prandial blood sugar regulation. 

If you are feeling really decadent, pair it with my Paleo-Friendly Hot Buttered Rum

Paleo, Grain-free apple crisp -- just like your grandma's! // TheCuriousCoconut.com

Depending on how much you love cinnamon, you can adjust the amounts used with the apples and in the crust. 1 tsp + 1 tsp is a lot, but I don’t think it’s too much. If you want the flavor to be a bit more subtle, cut back to ½ or ¾ tsp in each part.

For tips on where to buy ingredients (and which brands I recommend), check out the links at the bottom of the post. Enjoy!!

Paleo, Grain-Free Apple Crisp

Recipe by Amanda Torres

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 35 - 50 minutes

Total time: 45 - 65 minutes

Yield: approx. 4 servings


For the Filling:

  • 4 -6 organic granny smith apples
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp ground cinnamon

For the Crust:

  • 1/2 cup almond flour/meal (I use Bob's Red Mill) OR substitute 1/4 c white rice flour + 1/4 c almond flour OR use 1/2 c rice flour only
  • 4 Tbsp unrefined cane sugar (sucanat, rapadura, etc.)
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 1 Tbsp tapioca starch/flour (also called "yuca harina" in Latin American markets
  • 1/2 tsp unrefined salt
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp cinnamon
  • approx. 1/2 stick grass-fed or organic butter, softened

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Remove butter from fridge to allow to soften at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Cut it into about 1 Tbsp portions to make it easier later.
  3. Peel and core apples. Chop into thick slices (about 8 per apple).
  4. Coat apples with cinnamon. This is easiest if you do it inside of the dish that you will be baking them in. Just sprinkle on top and gently toss them with your hands.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix almond flour (or almond and rice flours), sugar, tapioca starch, arrowroot starch, sea salt, and additional cinnamon until it has a uniform consistency.
  6. Get ready to get your hands dirty. Take softened butter and mix with the dry ingredients using your hands. It’s not difficult, and won’t stick much to your hands. Keep massaging the batter until the butter is evenly distributed and the batter is completely wet. Alternatively, you can use a dough cutter and/or a fork. But I promise: it's a lot easier to just use your hands. And it's fun to lick your fingers afterwards ;-)
  7. Carefully spread the batter on top of the apples in the ovenproof dish. NOTE: depending on what shape and size your dish is, you may need to make a bit of extra batter so that the apples are covered completely. You don’t want to leave them uncovered or else they will have a leathery texture when they finish baking.
  8. Bake uncovered for 35-50 minutes at 350F, or until the topping is nicely browned and the apples are falling-apart tender.
  9. When serving, be sure to scoop out a mix of the gooey apples from the bottom and some of the crispy crust from on top. Leftovers reheat well in the oven. Enjoy!

Recommended Ingredients

The following links for products that I used in this recipe are from my affiliate partners. My full affiliate disclosure is here. I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, but you pay the same price as everyone else. I appreciate your support and I only recommend products that I personally use and think you will love, too!

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