This sugar-free Apple Crisp with Oats, Pears, Cranberries, & Pumpkin is the epitome of fall in a bite. Treat yourself to a delicious guilt-free dessert: Apple Pumpkin Crisp loaded with nutritious pears, tangy cranberries, and fall-inspired flavors. So good!
This healthy apple crisp recipe is for my Trim Healthy Mama readers. It is an E (or energizing) recipe which means it has a healthy amount of carbs and is low in fat. I tend to lean on S recipes (low carb) here at Joy Filled Eats but I still love fruit which is one of the reasons why I do Trim Healthy Mama instead of a low carb diet.
Trim Healthy Mama balances all the food groups and all the nutrients your body needs. I'm still nursing my baby so I like to get in my healthy carbs when I can. Most of the time my E meals are rolled up turkey plus a piece of fruit at lunchtime. I need to branch out a little more and this delicious sugar free apple crisp with oats is a great way to try to do this.
Apples - Apples come in various colors and flavors. Most types work well in baked recipes. I like to use a combination of soft and firm apples.
Pears - Pears are a delicious and unexpected addition to apple crisp. The combination of the sweet and juicy pears with the tartness of the apples creates a unique and delightful flavor profile. The pears add a soft and tender texture that perfectly complements apples. This twist on a classic dessert is sure to impress both apple and pear lovers alike, making it a must-try recipe for anyone looking to elevate their apple crisp game.
Pumpkin Puree - Adding pumpkin puree to apple crisp is a delicious twist on a classic dessert. The natural creamy texture of the pumpkin adds depth and richness to the crisp, while still allowing the tartness of the apples to shine through.
Cranberries - The tartness of the cranberries perfectly complements the sweetness of the apples, creating a harmonious blend of flavors.
Lemon Zest - Another way to elevate the apple crisp is by incorporating lemon zest, which adds a refreshing and citrusy note.
Sweetener - I use a combination of granular sweeteners and stevia. There is a link to my blend in the recipe card as well as alternatives. If you do not need this to be sugar free you can just use brown sugar.
Oats - For those looking for a healthier twist, using oats as the primary ingredient in the topping provides a wholesome and satisfying crunch.
Butter - Incorporating butter in the topping adds richness and depth to every bite.
Cottage Cheese - Lastly, cottage cheese can be an unexpected yet delightful addition to the apple crisp topping, lending its creamy texture and subtle tang to moisten the oats.
How to Make Apple Pumpkin Crisp
Apple crisp is one of the easiest desserts to make. Really! My 9-year-old can make this healthy apple crisp almost entirely on her own. You just need to peel and cut the apples (a thin slice apple cutter helps with this) and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Dump in a baking dish, stir together the oat crisp ingredients and then sprinkle them on top. Bake and enjoy!
Step One: Preheat the oven. Mix together the filling ingredients. Add to a casserole dish.
Step Two: Mix together the topping ingredients.
Step Three: Add on top of the filling.
Step Four: Bake the pumpkin apple crisp until hot and bubbly. Serve with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Spices - I really wanted to be able to taste all the different fruits in this so I skipped adding spices and just enhanced their flavor with lemon zest. But you can add pumpkin pie spice, apple pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, or your favorite blend. I like how pumpkin spice enhances the pumpkin flavor when it is added since this flavors naturally remind you of pumpkin pie.
Slow Cooker Pumpkin Apple Crisp - If you want to make this in a crock pot or slow cooker simply add the filling ingredients and cook on low for 2-3 hours. I like to them saute the topping ingredients so the crumble topping gets crisp. Spread on top and serve right from the slow cooker.
Sweeteners - You can use the sweetener of your choice. A sugar-free sweetener, maple syrup, brown sugar, honey, or white sugar will all work.
Why put Pumpkin in Apple Crisp?
I figured why not incorporate all the best flavors of the fall into one dessert. Pumpkin, pears, apples, cranberries, and a little cinnamon all at once. One of my favorite cookbooks is called Apple Pie Perfect. I have read it cover to cover (I love cookbooks) and one of the recipes uses cubed sugar pumpkin. I decided to use pumpkin puree in this adaptation to keep things simpler but there is still a nice pumpkin pie flavor in the apple crisp.
How do I make a Low Fat Apple Crisp Topping?
One of the requirements for a Trim Healthy Mama E meal is that it needs to have less than 5 grams of fat per serving. When making an oat crisp topping I traditionally use a whole stick of butter. To keep this within the guidelines I cut back on the butter and added a little cottage cheese in its place. Cottage cheese in apple crisp? I promise you cannot taste it a bit!
What are the Best Apples for Apple Crisp?
I like to use an assortment of firm and soft apples in my apple crisp with oat topping. My family went apple picking a couple weeks ago and we picked Fuji, Empire, Macoun, and some more heirloom varieties. To be honest, once we got home I forgot which was which. I just took a random assortment and began baking. It worked! As long as you don't use all soft apples, like Macintosh, you should be good!
- 4 apples about 1.5 lb, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
- 2 pears about .5lb, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- ½ cup pumpkin
- ⅓ cup Joy Filled Eats Sweetener (or see alternatives in recipe notes)
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon glucomannan or xanthan gum
Oat Crisp Topping:
- 2 cups oats
- ½ cup Joy Filled Eats Sweetener (or see alternatives in recipe notes)
- ⅓ cup cottage cheese
- 2 tablespoon butter softened
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Stir together all the apple filling ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Dump into the prepared baking dish.
- Add the oat crisp topping to the large bowl. Mix with your fingers, breaking up the curds of cottage cheese until they are incorporated into the topping. Sprinkle on top of the apple filling.
- Bake for 45 min until golden brown with the juices thickened and bubbling along the edges.
Originally Published October 16, 2018. Revised and Republished July 16, 2023.