This easy Gluten-Free Apple Cranberry Crisp recipe is the perfect dessert for the holiday season. You’ll love the tartness of the cranberries with the sweet apples, buttery oatmeal topping, and a scoop of ice cream!
We’ve made Strawberry Crisp, Blueberry Crisp, and Caramel Apple Crisp, but have you ever had Cranberry Crisp? You can do so much more with cranberries than make cranberry sauce! From cookies, cakes and mocktails, to fruit crisp and more, this yummy fruit is more versatile than you’d think.
This easy apple cranberry crisp recipe is a perfect holiday dessert, especially for Thanksgiving and Christmas time. This time of year, it’s both apple season AND cranberry season, so combining the flavor of sweet apples with the addition of tart cranberries is a match made in heaven.
Between the sweet-tart flavor of the apple cranberry filling, the crisp golden brown oatmeal crumble topping, and a scoop of ice cream on top, it feels like the perfect balance of flavors and textures!
The best part is that it’s super easy to make–so much easier than pie! Here’s all you need to get started on this easy recipe…
Our Easy Gluten-Free Cranberry Crisp Recipe, At A Glance:
Simple Ingredients For Gluten-Free Cranberry Crisp:
- Fresh Cranberries. One 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries will be exactly 3 cups!
- Apples. We usually use Granny Smith Apples or Honeycrisp apples (two of the best apples for baking!), but you can absolutely mix and match from your favorites. (Pink Lady apples & Gala apples are other good choices!)
- Brown Sugar & White Sugar. Since cranberries are quite tart, you’ll need a little more sugar than you would for a typical apple crisp. I like to use half brown sugar and half granulated sugar for a great balance of flavors.
- Cornstarch. To thicken the filling.
- Fresh Orange Zest & Orange Juice. This makes all the difference! I love the way orange complements the cranberry flavor!
- Warm Spices. Then, I love some ground cinnamon and vanilla extract.
- Our Easy Crisp Topping. I’m using the same crispy crumble topping I love on our Strawberry Crisp and Blueberry Crisp recipes. It’s made with cold butter, brown sugar, gluten-free oats, gluten-free flour, vanilla, and salt. Easy! (PS – you can absolutely use dairy-free butter here, but don’t try substituting the flour for almond flour, almond meal, or coconut flour. It wont’ work!)
- Vanilla Ice Cream, For Serving. A cold scoop of vanilla ice cream is always a good idea with fruit crisps and crumbles!
Fresh VS Frozen
If you can’t find fresh cranberries at the grocery store, or frozen cranberries are easier for you to use, you can absolutely use frozen cranberries for cranberry crisp. If using frozen cranberries, I recommend thawing them first, so they blend well with the cornstarch and other filling ingredients. You may also want to add an additional 1 teaspoon cornstarch to the filling to account for the extra liquid.
How To Make Gluten-Free Apple Cranberry Crisp, Step By Step:
- Preheat The Oven & Prep The Pan. Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. Set out a 9×9″ square baking pan and place it on a sheet pan. (You can also use a round or oval 2-quart baking dish)
- Mix Up The Filling. In a large mixing bowl, combine fresh cranberries, diced apples, brown sugar, sugar, cornstarch, orange zest, orange juice, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Stir to combine well. Pour the cranberry mixture into the baking dish.
- Mix Up The Topping. In the same bowl (no need for a separate bowl), combine butter cubes, brown sugar, gluten-free oats, gluten-free flour, vanilla, and salt. Mix with a fork, a pastry cutter, or your hands (my pick!), until the butter is well distributed, the oat mixture is forming clumps and clusters and no dry patches remain. Sprinkle the oat topping over the apple mixture. It will be generous!
- Bake The Crisp. Make sure the 9×9 pan is on top of the cookie sheet to catch any potential drips or spills. Place the apple cranberry crisp in the oven and bake 50-60 minutes or until the filling is bubbling around the edges and the top is golden brown. If the top starts to brown too quickly, you can loosely tent the pan with foil, but you don’t want to pull it out until the sides are bubbling. (This boiling will help thicken the filling and ensure the fruit is cooked through.)
- Cool Properly Before Serving. Remove crisp from the oven and cool at LEAST 20-30 minutes before serving. This will allow the filling to thicken and set. If you scoop into it right away, the filling will be more more liquid and thin.
- Serve & Store. Enjoy bowls of cranberry crisp with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. Store leftover cranberry crisp covered with foil or plastic wrap in the refrigerator up to 3 days. (I don’t like transferring leftovers to an airtight container because it usually scrambles up the filling and topping)
Make It In Advance!
You can absolutely make this Gluten-Free Cranberry Crumble in advance and store in the freezer. This is a GREAT option for Thanksgiving or the holidays, when you might need to make things in advance or you have a lot going on in the kitchen. To freeze cranberry crisp, follow these instructions:
- Use a flexible metal pan, like a disposable foil pan. This will help you avoid warping or shattering later. Assemble the cranberry crisp as directed, but DO NOT bake.
- Instead, cover the pan tightly with two layers of foil and freeze on a level surface in the freezer up to 2 months.
- When you’re ready to bake, place pan in a COLD oven (rather than preheated, which can warp the pan or cause your pan to shatter). Turn the oven on to 350 degrees, keeping the pan covered with foil for the first 10 minutes. Remove the foil and add an extra 5-10 minutes to the bake time.
FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The BEst Cranberry Crisp
Make Peeling A Breeze! This inexpensive peeler makes peeling all kinds of fruits and veggies SO easy. I love it so much I bought two, so my husband and I can both peel to get some meal prep done on the weekends or work together when making desserts and meals at the holidays. They work great for this delicious dessert!
Do You Have To Peel Apples For Cranberry Apple Crisp? This is definitely a matter of preference. It’s not strictly necessary, but some apple skins can feel tough or look unattractive when cooked, so I usually peel my apples for best results when making this easy cranberry apple crisp recipe.
How To Warm Up Leftover Apple Cranberry Crisp. You can absolutely re-heat cranberry crisp in the microwave, but if you want the top to get crispy again, popping it in the oven or a toaster oven can help! I usually put the whole pan in the oven loosely covered at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or so, until heated through.
Go Dairy-Free. This apple-cranberry crisp is easily vegan if you use vegan sugar and vegan butter (I like the vegan buttery sticks, like Earth Balance)
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