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Growing Good Food at Home

Crunchy Whole Wheat Apple Crisp

Let’s make apple crisp the healthy—and no less delicious—way. Whole wheat flour adds a nutritional kick to this classic apple crisp recipe.

When autumn approaches, apple crisp is on the menu. The heavenly aroma of baked apples and cinnamon fills the kitchen, and we can’t wait to let it cool slightly before serving with a big scoop of ice cream. A sugar coma ensues.

Traditional apple crisp boasts fresh, peeled apples topped with the “crisp,” topping made of primarily white flour, butter, sugar, cinnamon, and sometimes oats. We try to fool ourselves into thinking the apples and oats make this a healthier dessert than, say, chocolate cake, but is it?

It’s fine to indulge in the traditional crisp, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a recipe in your repertoire that maintains all the fall flavors—and scents—but packs a more nutritional, less sugary, punch.

This healthier apple crisp recipe starts by ramping up the fiber, starting with keeping the peel on the apples and substituting whole wheat flour for white. Walnuts and oats add texture, flavor, and more fiber. With less butter and somewhat less sugar than typical crisps, plus the added fiber, the topping comes out crunchier. That crunchiness will slow you down as you savor this dessert, encouraging fullness and reducing the chance of a sugar coma. Plus it’s nutritious and tastes delicious!

If you want to add a creamy element, how about some frozen yogurt or a light whipped cream instead of ice cream? With or without topping, you and your family will enjoy this healthier version of apple crisp from the fall of the first leaf through the end of Thanksgiving weekend—and beyond.

Crunchy Whole Wheat Apple Crisp

Crunchy Whole Wheat Apple Crisp

Packed with vitamins and fiber, this apple crisp recipe will sweetly top off any meal, and you’ll get requests for seconds. The nuts, wheat flour, and apple skins make this favorite fall dessert extra crunchy and flavorful.

  • Author: Norann Oleson
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 12 1x
  • Category: Bakery


  • 10 cups unpeeled, cored, and sliced baking apples, such as Cortland or Granny Smith
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the sliced apples in a 9 x 13-inch pan.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the white sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, and ground cinnamon together, and sprinkle over apples. Pour water evenly over all.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the oats, 1 cup flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, walnuts, and melted butter together. Crumble evenly over the apple mixture.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes, until golden brown on the top and the apples are bubbling around the edges.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool about 5 minutes. Serve warm and add frozen yogurt, ice cream, or whipped cream if desired.


  • For an even healthier version, you could substitute the quick cooking oats for old fashioned (rolled) oats, and experiment with more or less water in the recipe based on your preference.

Have you tried this recipe? It’s so easy and delicious when you crave something sweet but healthy—please tell us how it turned out for you.


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