Fall is arguably the best season, with its cozy sweaters, gorgeous leaves, hot drinks, and comfort food. While pumpkin spice is delicious in its own right, apples reign as one of the best, most versatile fall-festive ingredients out there. With the last month of fall upon us, now is the chance to get your apple fix before gingerbread takes over. Enter: paleo apple crisp.

Naturally vegan, this paleo apple crisp comes together in under an hour (most of that time spent hands-off baking) and results in a sweet, warm bowl of happiness that won’t cause a sugar-hangover the next day. 

While paleo baking may sound intimidating, it is much less of a science than conventional baking. Paleo recipes are substitution-friendly, so you can use a variety of different ingredients and still get amazing results. Here are some common ingredient-switches for this paleo apple crisp:

Kendall Stern

The Base

Used in many paleo desserts, almond flour is sturdy, won’t dry out easily, and has a neutral but rich flavor that provides a perfect base for apple crisp. However, any nut flour can be substituted into this recipe in a 1:1 ratio. If you are fine deviating from paleo ingredients, rolled oats can also make up the base.

The Crunch

Chopped pecans and unsweetened coconut shavings add texture and visual appeal to this apple crisp, but any combination of chopped nuts will work. We used pecans for their #fallvibes.

The Binder

Coconut oil is used in this recipe to bind the crumble top together and to prevent dryness while baking. If you're not strictly paleo, feel free to use butter. 

The Sweetener

We used a mix of coconut sugar and dates. Both have a gorgeous, natural caramel-like flavor that pairs perfectly with apples. Plus, using a solid sweetener helps combat the moisture released when the apples cook. However, liquid sweeteners can also be used for equally-tasty results. Honey and maple syrup are common subs— just make sure it's 100% pure maple syrup for a paleo creation. If you want guidance, this article gives substitution ratios.

The Filling

We used Granny Smith apples because they keep a good texture when baked in this paleo apple crisp. They are also the least sweet variety, which gives you more control over the sweetness of the dessert. However, many apple varieties will taste great, so feel free to use your favorite.

We also used coconut flour in the filling to prevent the apples from getting too liquid-y. If you don’t have access to coconut flour, don’t worry! Cornstarch will also work in a 1:1 ratio (if you are not strictly paleo).

The Spices

We kept it simple with cinnamon and nutmeg, but feel free to experiment here. Baking should be fun, so try playing with different spice combos! 

Let's get baking!

Paleo and Vegan Apple Crisp

  • Prep Time:15 mins
  • Cook Time:40 mins
  • Total Time:55 mins
  • Servings:6
  • Medium


  • 4 Granny Smith apples
  • 1/2 cup and 1/8 cup coconut sugar -- divided
  • 1 heaping cup almond flour
  • 4 tablespoons coconut flour -- divided
  • 1/2 cup hardened coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 3 mashed medjool dates
  • 1 tablespoon and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon -- divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg -- divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: vanilla coconut milk ice cream or whipped coconut cream for serving
Kendall Stern
  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 350°. While the oven is heating up, make the crisp top. In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, 3 tablespoons of coconut flour, 1/8 cup of coconut sugar, coconut flakes, chopped pecans, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, and salt.

    Kendall Stern
  • Step 2

    Add the mashed dates and coconut oil. Using a fork or your (clean!) hands, incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry until the mixture resembles a crumble topping. This doesn't have to be perfect-- it's actually better if there are large pieces and varying textures. Place the bowl in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

    Kendall Stern
  • Step 3

    Peel the apples, and slice them into 2 millimeter-thick slices.

    Kendall Stern
  • Step 4

    In another large bowl, combine the apples slices, 1/2 cup of coconut sugar, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, and vanilla. Mix until the apples are well-coated, and then transfer them to a 8x8 baking pan. Other dimensions of pans will work, too, as long as the apples form roughly a 1 1/2 inch layer on the bottom.

    Kendall Stern
  • Step 5

    Remove the topping from the fridge and crumble it evenly over the apples.

    Kendall Stern
  • Step 6

    Covering the top with foil for the first 20 minutes to prevent it from burning, bake the apple crisp for 40 minutes. Once it is ready, the apples should be tender, and the top should be golden brown. Let the paleo apple crisp rest on the counter for 5-10 minutes (this is the hardest part) before serving it with coconut milk ice cream, whipped coconut cream, or on its own as the star of the show!

    Kendall Stern

See? Easy as pie! Grab some apples and enjoy!