The Best Vegan Apple Crumble


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Make the best vegan apple crumble with tender, lightly spiced apples in a caramel-like sauce, topped with a buttery, crisp streusel. It’s a quick, easy, crowd-pleasing dessert, perfect with vegan ice cream or custard. GF and sugar-free options included!

Quick Easy Foolproof Vegan Apple Crumble

Fruit crisps and crumbles have a special place in our hearts as one of the quickest, easiest, low-cost, and most versatile cozy, crowd-pleasing desserts (or breakfast!), ready to throw together in just minutes, then bake to bubbling, crisp perfection. Along with this vegan plum crisp and pear crumble, this vegan apple crumble is a classic!

With a collection of ingredients including crisp apples, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, and brown sugar, not only is this a tender, warm, and comforting, must-make Fall dessert, but you can enjoy it year-round as a last-minute/make-ahead (and freezer friendly!) weeknight dessert, or at potlucks, dinner parties, and the holidays. Plus, it makes your house smell delicious!

Even better, this easy apple crumble recipe is super adaptable, too – no matter what you’re looking for. That includes making it gluten-free and/or naturally sweetened/ refined sugar-free, healthy enough to enjoy for breakfast, and experimenting with optional add-ins, like extra fruit, nuts, and more.

Looking for even more ways to enjoy apples? Check out our recipes for stuffed baked apples, apple crescent rolls, and easy apple pear pie.

What is an Apple Crisp vs. Apple Crumble?

Traditionally, apple crisp and apple crumble recipes refer to a dessert made with a sweetened fruit filling topped with a crisp, buttery topping. An apple crumble traditionally has a streusel topping of flour, butter, and sugar. In comparison, apple crisp adds oats to the topping for extra crispy, crunchy, chewy texture.

That being said, the terms are used interchangeably in more recent years. Of course, it also depends on where you live (generally ‘crumble’ in the UK and ‘crisp’ in the US) – so you’ll see us refer to this recipe as both apple crumble and vegan apple crisp without oats.

The Ingredients

ingredients for The Best Vegan Apple Crumble measured out against a white surface

The Vegan Apple Crumble Filling:

  • Apples: We used Honeycrisp apples, which are naturally sweet and crisp. However, you can use sweet, tart, or a combination of apples.
  • Lemon juice: This will help keep the apples from browning and balance the sweetness. Add 1 tsp lemon zest for an extra bright, zingy flavor.
  • Sugar: We like combining regular white and brown sugar for a delicious caramel apple flavor. However, you can use unrefined sweeteners like raw cane sugar or coconut sugar. To make a sugar-free apple crisp/crumble, use sugar alternatives.
  • Spices: Cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice make for a wonderfully warming recipe for apple crumble, though you could omit the latter if preferred.
  • Flour: A small amount of flour will help to thicken the filling into a caramel-like sauce. Cornstarch will also work.

What Are The Best Apples for Apple Crisp/Crumble?

While we’re tempted to say no apple makes a bad apple crumble, choosing the right apple is the best way to adapt/make a simple apple crumble recipe to your preferred flavor/ texture.

  • Sweeter apples: Honeycrisp, Gala, Fuji, Jonagold, Pink Lady (sweet-tart flavor), etc.
  • Tart apples: Granny Smith, Braeburn, etc.

For a more full-bodied flavor, we recommend combining sweet and tart apples.

It’s best to use firm/crisp apples as they’ll hold their shape when baked. Soft apples (like McIntosh, Rome, Cortland, and Golden Delicious apples) break down into a mushy/fluffy consistency. However, experiment to find your desired texture.

The Vegan Crumble Topping

  • Flour: You can use white all-purpose or whole wheat flour (or a 50/50 combination). For a gluten-free apple crumble, use an all-purpose gluten-free blend like King Arthur’s or Bob’s Red Mill. A 50/50 blend of regular and oat flour/almond flour also works.
  • Vegan butter: It’s best to use dairy-free unsalted butter, though lightly salted works too. Something like Miyoko’s or Earth Balance would work great. Melted coconut oil should also work, but it won’t taste as rich and buttery.
  • Sugar: Just like the filling, we use a combination of white and brown sugar.
  • Spices: A small amount of cinnamon and a pinch of salt make a delicious streusel.

What could I add To Vegan Apple Crisp/Crumble?

Crisps and crumbles, like this vegan apple crumble recipe, are so simple to make and easy to adapt in dozens of ways with next to no additional effort.

  • Other fruits: Some of our favorite combinations include:
    • Apple berry crumble (with mixed berries)
    • Apple pear crumble (sliced evenly like the apples)
    • Apple rhubarb crumble (in 1 ½-2-inch pieces)
  • Dried fruits: Adds chewy contrast to the apples. I.e., raisins, cranberries, blueberries.
  • Spices: Boost the apple crumble filling flavor with:
    • Vanilla (extract or paste in the filling)
    • Ginger (fresh, ground, or crystallized – for heat)
    • Cardamom (instead of pumpkin spice – just a pinch)
  • Nuts: Chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds, etc., will add a delicious toasty crunch to the apple crumble topping.
  • Oats: Mix some rolled oats into the crumble topping for apples for more of a classic apple crisp topping with added chew and crunch.
  • Vegan chocolate chips: Mixed into the topping for a more decadent vegan apple dessert.

How to Make an Easy Vegan Apple Crumble

Preparing this recipe for apple crumble really is as simple as chopping the apples, mixing the filling and topping separately, assembling, and baking. The prep work is minimal, and it’s easy enough for even the most novice cook.

  • 1) First, preheat the oven to 375F/190C and lightly grease an 8×8-inch baking dish.
  • 2) Then, in a medium bowl, prepare the vegan crumble topping by combining all the ingredients and using a fork or pastry cutter to ‘cut’/mix it until it resembles crumbs (you can leave it chunky or make a smoother ‘wet sand’ consistency). Set it aside.
  • 3) Then, rinse and slice the apples (¼-inch slices/½-inch cubes – using a knife, mandoline, or food processor slicing disk) and transfer them to a large bowl with the lemon juice, sugars, flour, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix/toss to thoroughly combine.
  • 4) Transfer the apple crumble filling to the prepared baking dish and evenly sprinkle the cinnamon streusel over the top. Optionally, sprinkle more coarse brown sugar over the top for an even crunchier top.
  • 5) Bake the vegan apple crisp in the oven for 50-55 minutes or until the apple filling is tender and bubbling and the crumble topping is golden brown and crisp.

If it’s browning too quickly, tent the top with some foil. If it’s not browning enough, optionally broil the apple cinnamon crumble for a short while at the end.

  • 6) Finally, remove the baked apple crumble from the oven and allow it to cool for at least 10 minutes (to allow the filling to thicken/set) before serving.

FAQs

Do I need to peel the apples?

While apple peel softens when baked, you’ll likely still notice it within the vegan apple crumble, so you can peel them if preferred (though you’ll miss out on extra fiber and nutrients).

Can I make a sugar-free apple crumble?

There are a couple of ways you can make apple crumble without sugar. First, using naturally sweet apples will make it easier to reduce any added sugar. However, if you have quite a sweet tooth, replacing the sugar with a sugar alternative, like erythritol, swerve, etc., is the best option. Sweeten to taste.

Note that the texture of the crumble topping may vary slightly without sugar.

Top Tips for the Best Apple Crumble

  • Choose the right apples: Combining sweet and tart apples (like Honeycrisp and Granny Smith) is the best way to create a more full-bodied, balanced flavor.
  • Time-saving tip: Use a mandoline/food processor slicing disk to slice the apple quickly.
  • Sweeten to taste: Adjust the sugar amount based on the apples’ sweetness and your preferred sweetness preference.
  • For a crisper crumble topping: Chill it in the freezer for 15 minutes (or fridge for 30 minutes). This will hold the larger crumbs together and make for a crispier topping.
  • For a saucier filling: Add ¼-½ cup of apple juice/water to the filling.
  • Leave it to rest: After baking, it’s best to give it 10 minutes for the filling to thicken so it’s easy to serve and isn’t too runny.
completed Vegan Apple Crumble with a piece missing in a baking dish

Serving Recommendations

Enjoy a portion of this easy apple crisp recipe without oats, either warm or at room temperature, alone or with:

How to Make Ahead and Store?

You can prepare the apple crumble filling and streusel topping and store them covered (separately) in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. To bake, bring both back to room temperature for 20 minutes, assemble, and bake as normal.

Once baked, leftover apple crumble will store, covered, in the fridge for 4-5 days. This easy apple crumble recipe is also very freezer friendly and will store (pre-baked or baked) for up to 3 months.

You can reheat portions of the dessert in the microwave (1-2 minutes – topping will be soft this way) or reheat a larger amount in the oven at 350F/175C for around 15-20 minutes or until heated through.

More Vegan Apple Recipes

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease an 8×8 baking dish.

  • In a medium bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the crumble. Use a fork to cut it until it resembles crumbs, and set aside.

  • In a large bowl, mix sliced apples, lemon juice, sugars, flour, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.

  • Fill the baking dish with the apple filling. The apples should be filled to the top almost spilling out.

  • Evenly sprinkle the crumble topping over the apples and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes to thicken up.

  • Choose the right apples: Combining sweet and tart apples (like Honeycrisp and Granny Smith) is the best way to create a more full-bodied, balanced flavor.
  • Time-saving tip: Use a mandoline/food processor slicing disk to slice the apple quickly.
  • Sweeten to taste: Adjust the sugar amount based on the apples’ sweetness and your preferred sweetness preference.
  • For a crisper crumble topping: Chill it in the freezer for 15 minutes (or fridge for 30 minutes). This will hold the larger crumbs together and make for a crispier topping.

Calories: 403kcalCarbohydrates: 77gProtein: 2gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 2gSodium: 167mgPotassium: 182mgFiber: 4gSugar: 57gVitamin A: 64IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 34mgIron: 1mg

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: American

Method: Oven

Diet: Vegan

Keywords: apple crumble, apple recipes, easy desserts, holiday recipes, sweet treat, vegan apple crumble, vegan crumble, vegan dessert, vegetarian crumble, vegetarian desserts


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