This easy-to-make cherry apple crisp combines a sweet fruit filling and a crispy buttery oat topping. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or vegan custard for the ultimate treat! Makes for a simple fruit dessert everyone can make, plus it is completely vegan and dairy-free.
I have a few vegan crisp recipes on my website, but this might be my favorite one so far!
I LOVE making crumbles or crisps for dessert: they are such a great way to eat more fruit, plus they usually come together in minutes and without a fuss. They are also mostly fail-proof, such a fun baking recipe to try if you are a beginner.
And the other day I was going to make a more classic apple crumble using my topping recipe from this pear crumble. But I decided to throw in a bag of frozen cherries too to experiment and change things up a bit. Wow, it was so delicious!
The combination of flavors from the apples and cherries is a new discovery for me and I urge you to try it too. The bag of cherries that I used was a mix of sweet and sour cherries (easy to find everywhere), which made the crumble perfectly sweet vs tart. It was truly a treat.
The fruit compote is flavored with cinnamon, although you can add many other flavoring ingredients, such as vanilla or almond extract. The crisp topping is so easy and crisps beautifully in the oven, which contrasts well with the soft fruit.
I like using frozen cherries most of the year for convenience, but swap for juicy fresh ripe cherries in the summer. Such a treat!
Let me know if you gave it a try! ❤️
Why you will love this recipe
- Quick, easy and forgiving comforting dessert recipe
- Combines a soft sweet fruit filling with a crispy one-bowl crisp topping
- Versatile and can be made gluten-free
- Great for dessert or snacking, but healthy enough for breakfast!
- High fiber, rich in antioxidants and packed with vitamin C
- Delicious crowd-pleasing rustic treat
- Vegan and dairy-free (and made without butter)
Crisp vs crumble
Both crisps and crumbles feature a fruit filling that's garnished with a crispy topping.
What makes them different are the ingredients used to make the garnish layer: a fruit crisp usually includes butter (or some sort of fat), flour, oats, sugar and sometimes nuts while a fruit crumble usually has a more cakey topping (or streusel-like topping) made with flour, sugar and butter.
That being said, both terms are now used interchangeably and you will see both kinds of dessert using the same ingredients.
Ingredients you will need
See below in the recipe card for the measurements.
- Cherries: I like using frozen cherries for their convenience (no need to pit the cherries!) and availability all year round. I used a 12 oz bag of mixed sour and sweet cherries, but you can also use sweet cherries only, depending on what you can find. In the summer, feel free to use fresh cherries instead!
- Apple: "cooking" apples such as Fuji, Cortland or Honeycrisp work well for making crumbles since they retain their shape well and do not tend to turn mushy while baking. I used Honeycrisp apples for their great balance of sweet vs tart flavor, they also give this crisp a nice texture. But, you can use any kind of apples that you have. Also, using a combination of different apples is great for baking!
- Cornstarch: will be used for slightly thickening the juice from cooking the fruit.
- Maple syrup: sweetener of choice. It adds a delicious caramel-like flavor, and works well for making crumbles.
- Cinnamon: used to flavor the crumble.
- Rolled oats: try using thick rolled oats, such as old-fashioned, for the best texture. In a pinch, quick-cooking oats would work too.
- Flour: I used an all-purpose flour, but you can swap for a gluten-free flour, such as oat flour, if necessary.
- Baking powder: helps lighten up the crumble topping.
- Coconut oil: this vegan crumble uses coconut oil instead of butter. I recommend using refined coconut oil so there is no coconut flavor, although unrefined will work too.
- Almonds: optional, but adding nuts creates more texture and adds a little crunch.
How to make a cherry apple crisp
See below in the recipe card for the full recipe.
Preheat the oven to 350º.
Prepare the fruit filling
Thaw the frozen cherries: you can place them in a bowl and leave them in the fridge overnight or use the microwave. If using the microwave, warm them up just enough to thaw them, not cook them, about 1-2 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel and dice the apple. In a large bowl, combine the thawed cherries (with the fruit juices), apple, maple syrup, cornstarch and cinnamon.
Transfer the fruit mixture into your baking dish and set aside.
Make the crisp topping mixture
In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients (oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt).
Add the maple syrup and coconut oil (solid). Use a fork to crush the oil in the mixture until mostly uniform (you should end up with coarse crumbs).
Combine and bake
Use your hand to scatter the crumble topping over the fruit (do not press) and then, bake in the oven until the fruits are soft and bubbly and the topping golden brown.
Let the crumble rest for 5 minutes, then serve. Enjoy!
- If using sweet cherries only (not a mix of sweet and sour), then you can add a tablespoon of lemon juice or some lemon zest to the fruit filling. Or, make it using Granny Smith apples!
- If using fresh cherries, then don't forget to pit them (you can use a cherry pitter) and also, use only 1 tablespoon of cornstarch as opposed to 2.
- If you have a bag of sour cherries only, then try to compensate by using super sweet apples, such as Fuji or add a little extra maple syrup.
- If your crisp topping has turned golden brown, but you would like to cook it a little longer for the fruit to soften more, then simply cover the dish with aluminum foil and keep cooking until done to your liking.
- It is important not to overmix the topping ingredients. You are looking for a very crumbly mixture that's still pretty coarse with some mini chunks of coconut oil intact.
This healthy apple cherry crisp is amazing served warm and "a la mode" with a big scoop of ice cream. We love this Oatly vanilla ice cream.
If you enjoy it for breakfast, then add some vegan yogurt over it for a healthy and filling meal to start the day, such a delight with a cup of coffee.
Crisps and crumbles are so versatile and the perfect easy dessert recipe to customize, it is usually pretty forgiving!
Here are a few variation ideas:
- Fruit: you can use different fruits if you prefer, such as peaches, pears, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.
- Nuts: adding nuts to the crisp toppings adds a nice crunch. I like almonds with cherries, but feel free to swap for walnuts, pumpkin seeds, pecans or hazelnuts.
- Flavoring ingredients: you can add some vanilla extract, nutmeg, cardamom, ground ginger and cloves. Also, cherries go well with almonds, so add a few drops of almond extract to the fruit filling if you have any!
Storage and reheating tips
This crisp recipe stores well at room temperature for up to 24 hours. Once completely cooled down, you can also cover it well and transfer it to the fridge for longer storage (for up to 4 days).
You can also freeze it for 3 months!
While storing, the crisp topping will turn softer. If you want to revive the crispiness when serving leftovers, then reheat in the oven at 350º until heating through. Small toaster ovens are great for that!
Can I make this recipe gluten-free?
Yes, you can easily make this recipe gluten-free by using certified GF rolled oats and swapping the regular flour for GF flour.
Do I have to peel the apples?
No, you don't have to peel them. Keeping the peel would give your crisp more texture. Just be sure to clean your apples well first.
Similar recipes to try
- Single-serving baked oats
- Pear crumble
- Vegan blueberry cobbler
- Vegan buttermilk rhubarb cake
- Vegan apple turnovers
- Vegan plum cake
- Easy cherry pie
- Vegan date scones
- Pineapple upside-down cake
- Vegan rhubarb crumble
I hope you like this cherry apple crisp recipe as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Cherry Apple Crisp
- 12 oz frozen cherries - or about 2 cups, see notes if using fresh cherries
- 4 large apples (I used Honeycrisp apples) - peeled, cored and chopped in cubes
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
For the crisp topping
- 1½ cup rolled oats
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour - can also use oat flour for a gluten-free recipe
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅓ cup refined coconut oil - solid
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- ⅓ cup sliced or chopped almonds - pecans or walnuts work too
- Preheat the oven to 350º.
- Thaw the cherries overnight in the fridge or at room temperature for 3-4 hours using a medium-sized bowl (keep the juice!). You can also thaw them in the microwave, but try not to overheat them so they keep their shape. Then, add the chopped apples, maple syrup, cinnamon and cornstarch to the cherries and stir to combine.
- Pour the fruit mixture into a 9 x 13 inches baking dish (a slightly different dish works too).
- In a medium bowl, add the rolled oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and sliced/chopped almonds, then stir to combine. Pour the maple syrup over, then add the solid coconut oil. Use a fork or a spoon to crush the oil within the ingredients and keep stirring until mostly uniform but still coarse.
- Use your hands to scatter the crisp topping mixture over the fruit in an even layer (do not press on it). Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the fruit mixture is soft and bubbly and the top golden brown. If the top gets too browned before the fruit is done, then you can cover the dish with aluminum foil and keep baking until done.
- In the summer, you can also make this recipe using fresh cherries. Just make sure to remove their pit and also, use only 1 tablespoon of cornstarch instead of 2 in the fruit mixture.
- If using a bag of sweet cherries (not a mix of sweet and tart cherries), then you can add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (or some lemon zest) to the fruit base to balance the sweetness.
- Storage: keep the crisp at room temperature for up to 24 hours. Then, transfer in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can also freeze it!
- Reheat: the crisp topping tends to turn softer while storing in the fridge. To revive the crispiness, then you can reheat using the oven (350º until heated through).
- Crisp are usually pretty forgiving, so be sure to check out the blog post for some variation ideas!