This healthy apple crumble is just as flavorful and delicious as the classic recipe, with less sugar and more fiber. A hazelnut crumble topping crisps up nicely over juicy spiced apples. This healthy apple crisp is the ultimate easy, comforting dessert.
I don’t know why the saying is “easy as pie”, because I don’t find pie to be particularly easy to make. But a fruit crumble? Now that is easy! This recipe doesn’t even require you to get out the food processor, as it all mixes together by hand in a single bowl! The results are a yummy, deconstructed apple pie and would be perfect served after my top round roast in the slow cooker.
And it’s made healthier by subbing out granulated sugar for monk fruit sugar replacement, adding in the ground flax seed, and making the topping low carb. But please keep in mind that eating a balanced diet with sweets in moderation is also perfectly healthy! So don’t feel like you *must* swap out the sugar. I always love trying out different ingredients and was so impressed with how these sweeteners tasted, I had to share with you!
Why this recipe works
- Quick and easy assembly. Despite having several ingredients, most of them are pantry staples. And all that is required is gathering, measuring and dumping the ingredients in a bowl to mix. The hardest part quite honestly, is peeling the apples. Just put on some soothing music and get into a meditative state.
- Low carb and low added sugar. Keeping the sugar on the lower side and adding in some extra fiber via the whole wheat flour, almond flour and ground flax seed means no massive spike in blood sugar. It also helps you feel more satisfied and full!
- Just as delicious and satisfying as a classic crumble. This healthy apple crumble recipe is by no means less flavorful or full of yummy crunch. In fact I think you’ll find this apple dessert the perfect balance of sweetness and texture.
- 3 pounds of apples, cut into small cubes. You want to use apples that are good for baking, in that they’ll stand up to the heat and are just a bit tart. Good choices are granny smith apples, gala apples or pink lady apples. You can also use sliced apples but just make sure they are thinly sliced.
- Natural sugar substitutes for brown sugar and granulated sugar, if you wish to keep this low in sugar. But keep in mind that overall the amounts used in this dessert are fairly low and if eating a balanced diet, it’s perfectly fine to stick with old-fashioned sugar.
- Corn starch or arrowroot powder to help thicken the apple filling. Apples release a lot of juices and the starch helps the crumble not become a runny mess.
- Vinegar or lemon juice to balance the tart apples. I used white balsamic vinegar because I love its smooth flavor, but I recommend using white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar or plain lemon juice.
- Almond flour and whole wheat flour replaces all purpose flour, for a more nutritious crumble topping. I used a 50/50 ratio of each, but feel free to use one or the other.
- Hazelnuts give the crumble topping a crunch. Crisps have oats, and crumbles often have nuts! Feel free to sub out for a different nut but the hazelnuts are delicious, so do use if you can!
- Cold Butter cut into small cubes
- Ground flax seed to add a bit more fiber and protein, and the flavor is completely undetectable
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and ½ teaspoon each ground nutmeg and sea salt to flavor the crumble topping
Peel and core apples and then cut into small pieces about 1″ in size. Add to a medium bowl and mix well with corn starch, white sugar and acid of choice (vinegar or lemon juice). Lightly grease a 3 quart baking dish and pour apple mixture into it.
Roughly chop up nuts and reserve ¼ cup for the topping. Combine crumb topping ingredients into a small bowl and mix well with hands or a fork. Work to break up the butter and mix with other ingredients, until you have smaller pea size balls and a crumbly texture.
Spread out over apples, then top with remaining ¼ cup chopped hazelnuts.
Bake in a 350 degree f preheated oven for about 35 minutes. Depending on how small the apple cubes are, they will still be a little crunchy and slightly firm or very soft. Adjust baking time to personal preference of how soft you want the apples.
Remove from the oven and marvel at the gorgeous bubbly apples and golden brown topping. Allow to cool so that the filling firms up a bit (may be a bit runny straight out of the oven). I personally find the perfect way to serve this easy apple crumble recipe is to allow it to come to room temperature a bit, and then serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Or keep the sugar low and just enjoy on its own.
Nutritional breakdown – is this healthy apple crumble truly “healthy”?
Simple answer is, if you are on a strict diet that is trying to limit calories by all means necessary, no dessert will fit your criteria of “healthy.” But if you are trying to live a healthy balanced life, then yes, this fits the criteria of healthy dessert recipes. The sweet cinnamon apples and crumbly top will fill a sweet tooth craving that won’t result in a major sugar crash. It’s also got a good balance of healthy fats, whole grain fiber filled carbs, and a decent amount of protein. Here’s how my healthy apple crumble stacks up:
- 33 g carbohydrates vs 67 g for a traditional crumble. This is in large part due to the sweet apples. But the apples do offer a great source of nutritional benefit, including vitamins and minerals.
- 19 g of sugar vs 47 g of sugar for a traditional crumble. Swapping out granulated and brown sugars for natural sugar replacements is what helps dramatically bring down the sugar content here.
- 9 g of protein vs 2 g for a traditional crumble. The added protein comes from the flaxseed, almond flour and the King Arthur keto whole wheat flour, which has 17 grams of protein per ¼ cup!
- 26 g of fat vs 12 g for a traditional crumble. I used a bit more butter than a traditional crumble calls for, plus the almond flour has a decent dose of healthy fats, so this increase matters a lot less to me.
A crumble is just a crisp without oats in the streusel. It may feature nuts, but the streusel topping is usually a simple combination of butter, flour, and sugar that is more clumpy than that of a crisp. You can easily turn this into a crisp recipe by adding in some oats!
As with any type of sugar, they are all processed but it appears these sugar substitutes are much less processed than old school zero calorie sweeteners like Equal. And I found the taste surprisingly wonderful! There is no way I would ever know this dessert used anything but traditional sugars. You can find out more about Swerve and Lakanto monk fruit in their respective links. Bottom line, they don’t raise blood glucose levels so definitely help those who have to be mindful of that. But they are still processed and some may find they get a bit of digestive upset when consuming. I have personally experienced digestive issues when consuming xlitol but not at all with monkfruit or erythritol.
Other ingredient swaps
- Alternative sweeteners & oils – this recipe was tested using both traditional granulated and brown sugar as well as their alternatives. While I haven’t made this using coconut sugar or maple syrup, I have seen these sweeteners used in crumbles so I’m sure it would work. Just google swapping ratios. To adhere the crumble ingredients together, you can also use melted coconut oil instead of butter, but the texture and flavor will be slightly different.
- For an oaty apple crumble, you can also add old-fashioned oats to create a traditional crisp with a crunchy oat topping.
- Nut substitutions could include chopped pecans or almonds, which both pair well with juicy apples. You could also add sunflower seeds to the topping if using gluten free oats.
- For the flour, you can really be free here and use almost anything. Coconut flour or your favorite gluten-free flour would both work well. And I did a 50/50 ratio of the almond and whole wheat flour, but you could certainly use only one or the other.
I hope you love this updated healthy apple crumble! If you make it and enjoy it, please consider leaving a rating and review below. It helps bloggers like me tremendously 🙂 Or if you have a question or didn’t love it, please leave that as well. Constructive feedback is always appreciated!
Healthy Apple Crumble
- 3 quart baking dish
For the apple filling
- 3 lbs apples peeled and cored, so equaling about 2.5 lbs final weight, and cut into 1" cubes
- 3 tablespoon corn starch
- ¾ cup sugar replacement I used Lakanto monkfruit, but regular granulated sugar could also be used
- 1 tablespoon vinegar I used white balsamic, but apple cider or white wine vinegar can be used, as well as lemon juice
For the crumble topping
- ½ cup whole wheat flour I used King Arthur's KETO wheat flour but any whole wheat or gluten-free flour can be used
- ½ cup almond flour
- ½ cup butter cold, cut into small cubes
- 1 cup hazelnuts chopped, ¾ for the crumble topping and reserve ¼ cup for final topping
- ¼ cup swerve brown sugar regular brown sugar can also be used
- 2 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ tsp kosher or sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
To make the filling
- Peel and core apples and then cut into small pieces about 1″ in size. Add to a medium bowl and mix well with corn starch, white sugar and acid of choice (vinegar or lemon juice).
- Lightly grease a 3 quart baking dish and pour apple mixture into it.
To make the crumble topping
- Roughly chop up nuts and reserve ¼ cup for the final topping.
- Combine remaining crumb topping ingredients into a small bowl and mix well with hands or a fork. Work to break up the butter and mix with other ingredients, until you have smaller pea size balls and a crumbly texture.
- Spread out over apples, then top with remaining ¼ cup chopped hazelnuts.
- Bake in a 350 degree f preheated oven for about 35 minutes. Depending on how small the apple cubes are, they will still be a little crunchy and slightly firm or very soft. Adjust baking time to personal preference of how soft you want the apples.
- Remove from the oven. Allow to cool so that the filling firms up a bit (may be a bit runny straight out of the oven). Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and enjoy!