This gluten-free recipe for Skillet Cranberry Apple Crisp with Pecan Oat Topping has sugar-free options. Tender apples, tart cranberries and a sweet crunchy topping makes this a stellar dessert.
Skillet Cranberry Apple Crisp, Skillet Cranberry Apple Crumble, whatever you choose to call it, it’s delicious. I hope you’ll make this recipe today!
It’s sweet (but not too sweet) with tender apples and a crispy, crunchy topping made with wholesome rolled oats and pecans. Best of all, it’s gluten-free and you can make it sugar-free, too.
I adapted this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen. I wanted a reliable apple crisp recipe to use as a basis for making substitutions for my family’s special diets. Who better to trust than America’s Test Kitchen?!
I reduced the amount of sugar, added cranberries, substituted a gluten-free flour blend for wheat flour, and have given you the option to use a 0-calorie sweetener. The result? A healthy family-style dessert that’s special enough for a dinner party, too.
Let’s make this gluten-free Cranberry Apple Crisp for today’s dessert!
- gluten-free flour blend: I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour
- pecans: this crisp is delicious with hazelnuts, too.
- oats: old-fashioned rolled oats are best, but you can substitute quick-cooking oats
- sugar: light brown sugar or Lacanto Golden Monkfruit all natural sugar substitute
- cinnamon: adds flavour and will make your kitchen smell wonderful!
- salt: for a little balance of flavour
- butter: unsalted
- apples: about 8 or 9 medium apples. A sweet variety is best.
- apple cider: (soft, non-alcoholic) You can substitute unsweetened apple juice.
- lemon juice
Tips for Making Gluten-Free Cranberry Apple Crisp
- You’ll start by making the crisp topping. Mix together gluten-free flour, chopped pecans, rolled oats, sugar or sugar substitute, cinnamon, salt and melted butter.
- Next you’ll heat apple cider (or apple juice) until it has been reduced by half to concentrate the flavour. Add lemon juice to this mixture and set aside.
- And finally, you’ll partially cook the apples in a skillet until slightly softened, add fresh cranberries, toss with the apple cider lemon mixture and top with the crisp topping. Bake at a high heat (450°F) for only 15 – 18 minutes and you’ll have a superb, nutritious dessert ready to serve your family and friends.
Why make Apple Crisp in a skillet?
One of the problems with making apple crisp using the traditional method is the fruit cooks unevenly. Softening the apples in a skillet on the stove top first prevents this problem and results in apples that are slightly browned and caramelized, heightening their flavour.
I’ve made more fruit crisps in my lifetime than I could ever begin to count. You’ll find recipes here on Flavour and Savour for
and more. I usually make a crisp topping, flavour the filling with spices or liqueurs, and add a thickener like cornstarch to thicken the filling. I bake it in the oven for 45 minutes or longer.
While I love these fruit crisp recipes, and make them often, this Skillet Cranberry Apple Crisp is definitely my new favourite!
Is it a crisp or a crumble? What’s the difference?
Crisps and crumbles are part of the same family of cooked fruit desserts that include cobblers, brown betties, grunts, pandowdies, and slumps. All involve cooking fruit with some type of crust (on top, on the bottom or both) or dumpling.
They’re popular desserts because they are simple to make, quicker to prepare than pie, but equally as delicious. Crisps and crumbles are unpretentious desserts that showcase fresh seasonal fruit like apples, berries, peaches and more.
While the two terms are often used interchangeably, some people do make a distinction between the two. A crisp, like this Skillet Cranberry Apple Crisp, includes a crunchy topping make with butter, flour, sugar, oats and sometime nuts and spices.
A crumble, on the other hand, is generally made with a streusel like topping that rarely includes nuts or oats. However, often the two terms are used to refer to the same thing: a wholesome, delicious dessert!
What kind of apples are best to use in Cranberry Apple Crisp?
I used Honeycrisp apples in this recipe, but any sweet, crisp apple like Braeburn, Gala, or Fuji can be substituted. Stay away from Granny Smith apples this time; they’re too tart when combined with fresh cranberries.
Do I have to use a cast iron pan?
No, any 12-inch ovenproof skillet will work. If your skillet is not oven safe, prepare the recipe through step 4 (below), then transfer the apples to a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.
Double the recipe for the Pecan Oat Crisp Topping, store half in a zipper-lock bag in the freezer. To calculate the ingredient amounts, click on the number of servings in the recipe card below. A little slider will appear. Move it to 16 to double the recipe. Next time you want a quick dessert, you’ll be ahead of the game!
Skillet Cranberry Apple Crisp
- 12 inch ovensafe skillet
- 1 large bowl
- 1 medium bowl
- kitchen scale
Pecan-Oat Crisp Topping
- 3/4 cup gluten-free flour blend ( I used Bob's Red Mill 1-1 Gluten Free Baking Flour)
- 3/4 cup pecans finely chopped
- 3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats gluten-free, if necessary
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar, or Lacanto Golden Monkfruit all natural sugar substitute
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 3 pounds apples peeled, cored, halved and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges (about 9 medium apples)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon, optional
- 1 cup apple cider, or unsweetened apple juice
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
- Heat oven to 450°F.
- In a medium bowl, combine gluten-free flour, pecans, oats, sugar (or sugar substitute), cinnamon and salt. Add melted butter and stir until mixture is moistened and crumbly. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, toss apples with cinnamon and sugar or sugar substitute. Set aside.
- Heat apple cider in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 - 7 minutes. Transfer apple cider to a measuring cup or small bowl and add 2 teaspoons lemon juice.
- Heat butter in the same (empty) skillet over medium heat. Add apple mixture. It will seem like the pan is too full, but once the apples cook, they will reduce in size. Cook, turning the apples frequently until they begin to soften, about 12 - 14 minutes. Don't fully cook.
- Add 1/2 cup fresh cranberries to the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the apple cider-lemon mixture until apples are fully coated.
- Sprinkle the topping mixture over the apples and cranberries, covering completely. If making ahead of time, cover and refrigerate until ready to bake.
- Place skillet on a baking sheet to prevent spills in the oven. Bake at 450°F for 15 to 20 minutes until apples are tender and topping is golden brown. Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes before serving. Delicious with a scoop of ice cream, whipped cream or whipped coconut milk!
Try these other Fruit Crisp recipes.
Kitchen items I recommend to make this recipe
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