Apple Crisp (Absolutely) Anytime

It’s rare I go a day in the fall without eating a crisp, juicy, locally harvested apple. McIntosh apples are my favorite, but sweet Honeycrisp and tart Zestar are close runners up. Perhaps my strong affinity for apples stems from growing up in Massachusetts, where the delicious apple season stretches from late summer through the cooler months of fall. I have fond memories of apple season events, like apple picking with friends and family, fresh apple cider, gooey caramel apples, and tractor rides through the local apple orchards. Lately I’ve been stocking up at my local farmers’ market, walking home with heavy bags of farm fresh apples, barely making it through my front door without devouring one.

When it comes to apples, I enjoy them simply. They taste so perfectly on their own with skin that snaps as you bite into it and juice rolling down your wrist, that I don’t usually like to adulterate them with a slather of peanut butter or baked into a pie. But every fall, I crave the warm, comforting dish of Apple Crisp.

Baking is not my forte, but Apple Crisp is one of those dishes that doesn’t require following the recipe perfectly. It invites you to tweak things to your liking. Prefer more spice? Add a heaping scoop of cinnamon and dash of nutmeg. Want some crunch? Toss in toasted walnuts. Like apple crisp for breakfast? Go for it. Seriously. I’m a dietitian, trust me.

My Breakfast Apple Crisp highlights the sweet flavor of baked apples by significantly reducing the amount of sugar usually added to crisps. By using oats and whole wheat flour, we’re getting a healthy dose of whole grains, and coconut oil is my favorite non-dairy alternative to butter. Top this dish with a scoop of plain Greek yogurt or sprinkling of walnuts for some added protein, and you’ve got yourself a nutritious, well-rounded breakfast that will make you feel like you’re eating dessert.

Breakfast Apple Crisp

Recipe by Janel Funk, MS, RD, LDN

1½ pounds of apples, peeled, cored and diced into large chunks
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. cinnamon

3 Tbsp coconut oil plus more to grease the baking dish
½ cup oats
½ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
3 Tbsp. brown sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Grease an 8-by-8 glass baking dish with coconut oil. Place cut apples in the dish, and sprinkle on lemon juice, cornstarch and cinnamon. Toss to coat the apples.
  2. In a saucepan on medium heat, combine coconut oil, oats, whole wheat flour, coconut and brown sugar. Mix to combine and stir until the coconut oil has melted and moistened the dry ingredients. Remove from heat and distribute the crumble evenly over the apples. Top with a few dashes of cinnamon.
  3. Bake covered for 20 minutes. Then, remove the cover and bake for 15 more minutes or until the top begins to brown. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
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Janel Funk
Janel Funk, MS, RD, LDN, is a Boston-based registered dietitian who enjoys helping people reach their nutrition goals, one bite at a time. Follow her food adventures on her blog, Eat Well with Janel, Facebook page, or on Twitter @DietitianJanel.