This easy Vegan Apple Crumble is the best apple dessert for the holidays! As delicious and nostalgic as apple pie and vegan apple galette (but less work), it's made with a gooey cinnamon apple filling topped with a double helping of crispy oat crumble topping. Only 15 minutes of hands-on time!
Does anything smell better than apple crisp baking in the oven? For me, it's a magical, vegan apple dessert that's simple enough for everyday, but festive and special enough for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.
Apple crumble is one of those back pocket, make it on the spur of the moment kind of recipes. It's easy to make from scratch with only about 15 minutes of hands on time, and a handful of affordable pantry ingredients.
Gather together these ingredients, fire up the oven, and let's bake one together:
- apples - firm, tart apples like Granny Smith or your favorite variety
- sugar - brown sugar
- oats - rolled oats
- dry ingredients - all purpose flour, baking powder
- spices - cinnamon, salt
- dairy free butter - (or margarine), adds flavor and moisture
- fresh lemon juice - prevents the apples from browning and balances the flavors
Variations & Substitutions
Super versatile, it's easy to customize the apple filling and crumble topping to suit your preferences or dietary restrictions. Here are some ideas:
- What apples should I use?: I prefer Granny Smith apple because they’re firm and tart. But any firm apple (like honeycrisp or gala) hold up nicely to a longer bake.
- Switch up the sugar: Swap some or all the brown sugar for maple syrup or coconut sugar if you prefer.
- Extra spicy: Make it extra cozy by adding a pinch of warming spices like nutmeg, ginger or apple pie spice.
- Is this gluten-free?: For a vegan, gluten-free apple crisp, sub in 1:1 gluten-free flour or oat flour. To make oat flour: I just put oats into a Vitamix and blend until smooth - very quick and easy. Sub cornstarch as the thickener in the apple filling.
- Vary your fruit: Have fun with the fruit - replace some of the apples with cherries, peaches or pears for a vegan fruit crisp. Or add a handful of fresh or frozen cranberries to the apples for a festive feel.
- Extra gooey: While this easy apple dessert is great on its own, if you like extra gooey apple crisp, add a drizzle of vegan caramel sauce!
- Make ahead: Make it in the morning to get ahead, and then pop it into the oven while you enjoy dinner. Pro Tip: I store the filling and topping in separate bowls and crumble the topping over the apples right before baking.
How to Make Vegan Crumble
This vegan apple dessert packs all the flavor of classic apple recipes like apple pie and apple galette, but with half the effort! Here's the foolproof, 3 step process I follow (full details in the recipe card below):
- Prepare the apple filling: I start with peeling, coring, and slicing the apples. Sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, and lemon plus a little flour (or cornstarch) to thicken the apple juices. Make sure to thoroughly toss until all the apples are coated with a sticky syrup. Transfer to the prepared 2 quart baking dish.
- Prepare the vegan crumble topping: I like a combination of oats and flour to get the perfect clumps of crispy crumble - not too fine or cakey, not soggy or dry. Melt the butter and pour it into the dry ingredients. Mix together (I like to use my hands but use a fork or spoon if preferred) until crumbles form (see photo) and all the dry bits are moist.
Sprinkle the crumble evenly over the apple filling.
- Bake it: Bake in a preheated 350ºF oven until the apples are tender and the crumble is golden and bubbly. Fork test - test the apples in the middle using a fork - the apples should be tender but not mushy.
- To serve: The apple filling thickens as it cools so wait 10 minutes and then serve it warm with a scoop of dairy-free ice cream.
FAQ & Tips
While vegan crumble is very easy to make, here's a few questions that usually pop up:
- Peeling the apples: To make light work of peeling apples, I use this handy dandy apple peeler (which also cores and slices the apples). It has everything I look for in a kitchen gadget: it does its job well, it's affordable and well made, and it's easy to clean and store. Peeling the apples using a vegetable peeler takes under 6 minutes which makes up the bulk of this recipe so either way, it's quick.
- Sugar: Reduce or increase the amount of sugar as needed. If using sweeter apples, you may want to reduce the amount of sugar. If using cranberries, you may need to increase the sugar. Customize to taste.
- Don't overmix the crumble topping: Mix just until moist. Leave some clumps - otherwise you get a crust instead of a crumble.
- What type of pan should I use?: Any 2 quart baking dish - 9x9" square, round or 10x8" oval ceramic baking dish, cast iron skillet or individual size ramekins.
- Million Dollar Tip: If you are lucky enough to have leftover apple crumble, hide it in the back of the fridge because it's incredible for breakfast (at our house, it's in hot demand)! I've been caught many times with fork in hand and my head stuck in the fridge . . .
Storing and Reheating
Cover leftover vegan apple crisp and store in the fridge for up to a week.
Transfer leftover apple crumble into a freezer safe bag or container. It will keep for a couple months. When ready to serve, thaw at room temperature and enjoy!
Need More Vegan Dessert Ideas?
Here's a few tasty vegan desserts to try that everyone raves about (some are gluten free too):
- Vegan Apple Galette
- Vegan Peanut Butter Cups (gf)
- THE BEST Vegan Banana Bread (gf friendly)
- Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Vegan Cinnamon Rolls
The Best Vegan Apple Crumble
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- 6 cups apples, granny smith (5-8 apples) ~2 ½ pounds
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 ½ tablespoons flour or cornstarch
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon (to taste)
- pinch salt
Vegan Crumble Topping
- ½ cup non-dairy butter (melted)
- ¾ cup rolled oats
- 1 cup flour (ap, oat or gluten-free)
- ¾ cup brown sugar, loose pack*
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt (to taste)
- Preheat oven to 350º F with rack in middle position. Butter a 10X6" oval or rectangle dish, 9x9" square baking pan (~2 quarts oven safe pan) on the bottom and sides.
Cinnamon Apple Filling
- Peel, core, and cut apples into ~½" cubes or slices and place in a large mixing bowl.
- Toss the apples with the lemon juice. Sprinkle the flour (cornstarch), cinnamon, sugar, and a pinch of salt over the apples. Toss together until the apples are coated with sticky syrup.
- Spread evenly in the prepared baking dish.
- Melt the butter.
- Measure topping ingredients into a bowl. Pour in the melted butter. Using a fork or your hands, mix the ingredients together until clumps form and all the flour is moist.*Pro Tip: don't break up all the clumps into small pieces, a variety of sizes creates the crumble texture.
- Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the apples. Place in the oven until golden brown and bubbling. This will take ~35-45 minutes depending on the type of apple, how large the dice is, and your oven temperature.
- Let cool for 10 minutes while the apple filling sets, then serve warm with vegan ice cream or dairy-free whipped cream and vegan salted caramel sauce.
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