Best Apple Crisp Recipe Ever with Cheddar Cheese (Refined sugar-free)


This Best Apple Crisp Recipe combines rolled oats, cheddar cheese, apples, cinnamon, and coconut sugar! Serve warm with a dollop of sour cream. Refined sugar-free and can easily be made gluten-free! 

a bowl of refined sugar free apple crisp with cheddar topped with a dollop of cream and caramel sauce

This Apple Cheddar Crisp is seriously the best Apple Crisp Recipe EVER! 

Guys, this apple crisp recipe is perfect for fall and winter! I also call it the friend maker crisp because, well, it will make you so many many new friends. 

But wait a minute, Apple and Cheese – in a dessert? I know, weird – but please bear with me.

 I was completely new to the whole cheese with apple thing until I had a Cheddar Apple Pie at a cafe in Canada. Back home, I made this apple crisp recipe because, you know, pie is hard.

And guys, it was SO GOOD! I named this one the BEST apple crisp recipe for a reason.

The grated cheddar cheese in the oat crumble topping elevates this classic apple dessert to a whole new level, and makes it even more comforting. Because cheese, right? 

side view of a bowl of apple crisp with cheddar oats crumble topping

Why you will love this refined sugar-free apple crisp recipe: 

The apple crisp topping has just the right crunch, and the sliced apples and juicy, plump cranberries melt in your mouth. This apple crisp recipe isn’t overly sweet because of the added lemon juice, the salty cheese and the reduced amount of sugar it calls for. 

While we talk about sugar, this apple crisp clearly isn’t the healthiest fall dessert, but it does have some pretty amazing things going for it.

For one, it’s naturally sweetened with coconut sugar. 

It can also be made gluten-free optional if you use gluten-free flour in lieu of the unbleached all-purpose. 

Trust me, the combination of savory and sweet will leave you and your guests asking for seconds! Serve it for breakfast, brunch, dessert – there is no inappropriate time for apple crisp. 

close-up of a bowl of apple crisp topped with sour cream and cheddar cheese

How to make the Best Apple Crisp: 

All the flavors of apple pie but none of the fuss. That’s what we love about making apple crisp, right? 

Let’s start with the apple crisp filling:

Yes, you should peel the apples. The skin doesn’t break down during baking and can make for a tougher texture.

close-up of a bowl of apple crisp with cheddar oat crumble topping

How to make a sugar-free and gluten-free topping for apple crisp: 

Coconut sugar adds a caramelly sweetness, while Ceylon cinnamon adds warmth and heaps of cozy autumnal flavor.

My secret for the best apple crisp topping: Grate the frozen butter!

There is nothing harder than trying to use a pastry cutter to cut cubed or diced cold butter into flour. It takes time and is kind of a workout, so I created a lazy girl’s shortcut: I grate the butter using a box grater.

a spoon of the best ever apple crisp with cheddar oat crumble topping served with sour cream

For extra crisp crumble topping, bake the topping separately: 

You can spread the whole topping on the crisp and bake it. It will be crispy on top and chewier toward the bottom. Sometimes I want a more granola-like crunchy topping. 

Then, I only spread 1/2 of the crisp topping on the apple filling and bake the rest on a baking sheet. I bake it with the apple crisp, for 10 minutes, then I stir it once and bake it for another 8 minutes. Simply spread that crumble layer on top of the apple crisp and you have yourself a double crunch apple crisp! You’re welcome! 

side view of a bowl of the best sugar-free apple crisp ever with cheddar cheese topping

Which apples are best for making apple crisp? 

 All Apples are generally delicious and healthy. When it comes to baking with apples, however, not every apple is created equal.

The best apples for baking keep their structure even if cooked. Apple sauce is delicious but not as a base for an apple crisp.

I recommend using a mixture of 1) a firm “sweet” apples and 2)  firm “tart” apples for the ultimate depth of flavor. 

Firm sweet apples are Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, Jazz and Jonagold. Firm tart apples are Granny Smith, Pink Pear, Idared and Northern Spy.

a bowl of best apple crisp with cheddar oat crumble topping served with a dollop of sour cream

Can I make this Sugar-free Apple Crisp Recipe ahead of time? 

Yes! Make the apple crisp filling. You can add tiny bit more lemon juice so the apples don’t brown.  On the other hand, it is not really that important should they brown. They will look rather brown thanks to the generous amount the added cinnamon anyway. Store the apple filling in an air-tight container, in the fridge, for up to one day.

Then make the oat crumble topping and store it in a ziplock bag in the fridge. When ready to bake, remove the bag from the fridge, and sprinkle the topping on top. Bake as directed

Tips for making the best apple crisp ever: 

  •  Once you’ve tossed the apples into the baking dish, use the same bowl to mix up the cheddar oat crumble topping. Fewer dishes = always a win! 
  • Simply grate the frozen stick of butter on the large side of a box grater and you’ll be able to make your topping in just minutes.
  • It’s important to give a crisp ample time to bake. I bake it for about 30 to 45 minutes depending on the pan to give the apple slices time to soften and release their juices. Those juices will thicken as they cook, thanks to the added cornstarch. The apple crisp should be bubbling when you take it out of the oven. And not just around the edges, but also in the center.
  • You should not need to cover the apple crisp while it bakes!  If the topping gets overly brown, you could cover it with tin foil until it finishes baking.  
  • Allow the baked apple crisp to rest for at least 10-15 minutes before serving it. This will give the juices in the pan a chance to thicken a little more and the flavor is actually best when eaten lukewarm.
  • Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or sour cream.

For more delicious fall baking recipes with apples, make sure to check out these recipes: 

Did you make and love this apple crisp recipe? Give it your review below! And make sure to share your creations by tagging me on Instagram!

Best Apple Crisp Recipe with Cheddar Cheese

Course Breakfast, brunch, Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword apple cheddar crisp, apple crisp with oat crumble, best apple crisp recipe
Servings 4 people
Calories 450 kcal
Author Kiki Johnson

Ingredients

  • 4 cups apples heaping, 600 g
  • 1/3 cups dried cranberries 60 g
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar, packed 60 g
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cornstarch

Crisp Topping

  • 3/4 cups rolled oats 60 g
  • 3 tbsp flour 1/4 cup
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar 100 g
  • 1 stick butter frozen in one piece - 113 g
  • 3/4 cups grated cheddar 70 g

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F/ 180C. Mix apple slices and cranberries with lemon juice.

  2. Mix coconut sugar with cinnamon, nutmeg and cornstarch and add the salt. Toss with the apples and mix using your hands. Add to a square brownie pan (20 cm by 20 cm - 8 x 8 inches).

  3. Mix the first 6 ingredients of the crumble topping. Grate frozen butter directly into the dry mix. Simply grate the butter on the large side of a box grater.

  4. Combine topping ingredients with a fork or pastry blender until it resembles small crumbs, then add the cheese. Refrigerate until using.

  5. Top apple filling with crisp topping and bake for 30 minutes until the apple juice is bubbling up the sides and in the center and the topping is nice and crisp. 

Recipe Notes

  • Once you’ve tossed the apples into the baking dish, use the same bowl to mix up the cheddar oat crumble topping. Less dishes = always a win! 
  • Simply grate the frozen stick of butter on the large side of a box grater and you’ll be able to make your topping in just minutes.
  • It’s important to give a crisp ample time to bake. I bake it for about 30 to 45 minutes depending on the pan to give the apple slices time to soften and release their juices. Those juices will thicken as they cook, thanks to the added cornstarch. The apple crisp should be bubbling when you take it out of the oven. And not just around the edges, but also in the center.
  • You should not need to cover the apple crisp while it bakes!  If the topping gets overly brown, you could cover it with tin foil until it finishes baking.  
  • Allow the baked apple crisp to rest for at least 10-15 minutes before serving it. This will give the juices in the pan a chance to thicken a little more and the flavor is actually best when eaten lukewarm.
  • Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or sour cream.

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