This is an easy, amazing and delicious recipe for Low Carb “Apple Crisp” not using apples…That’s right. You make this with zucchini squash or yellow squash or a combination of both. When you add “apple pie spices” and lemon juice you can’t tell the difference.
Believe it or not, this easy, delicious Keto Apple Crisp is not made from apples. instead, it’s made from yellow or green squash or a combination of both. They both work just as good.
When we decided that we had to make a Low Carb version of Apple Crisp I was excited. I love apples. I thought low carb meant to just take out the white sugar and the white flour, and you’re all set. I was wrong. It was also important to take out the apples if you want to cut the carb count even more.
At first I was really disappointed and really negative about using squash instead of apples. But I knew we had to give it a try because people are looking for low carb options and this was what it had to be.
So the best substitute for apples is yellow or green squash, and the best ones to use are the small squash if possible. The reason why is that the smaller the seeds, the firmer the flesh and as a result the more it will resemble apples.
You can still use larger squash but you may have to cut out the seeds so that your apple crisp is not full of big squash seeds. We have made this apple crisp so many times now and so far, no one has figured out it isn’t apples.
What makes this “Apple Crisp” so Healthy?
Zucchini and yellow squash are 2 vegetables that are packed with so many vitamins and are both low in carbs, 2.7 carbs per cup of cooked squash. The squash is loaded with B vitamins, vitamin C, Zinc, Potassium, and fiber, all of which make squash a good healthy choice.
Real Apples also have a lot of vitamins and fiber too, which make them healthy too, as we have always heard that “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but the only thing is they are higher in carbs (14 carbs per cup) than squash.
So if you are on Keto or a strict low carb diet, you may not have enough carbs in a day to include apples. You will have to be the judge of that.
Apple Crisp, Cobbler or Crumble?
Is Apple crisp the same as apple crumble or cobbler? Crisp and Crumble both originate from England and are so similar, that they have become interchangeable. Here’s a quick breakdown of the 3 desserts.
Crisps and crumbles both contain fresh fruit with a streusel-like topping that gets baked until the fruit is cooked. The main difference between the 2 is the topping.
In a true apple or blueberry crisp, the crisp topping is usually made with butter, sugar, oats. Whereas a crumble topping will typically be made from butter, sugar, flour. Both though can have nuts and spices added to either of them as a nice addition.
A fruit cobbler has a thick biscuit topping. It gets its name because the dollops of biscuit dough or batter are dropped on top of the fruit mixture, and they puff up looking like cobbled roads.
What Ingredients are in Keto Apple Crisp?
Yellow or Green Squash – I prefer using small green zucchini’s. I know it sounds odd, but zucchini can have the same taste of apples by adding some lemon juice, the right spices, and some low carb sweetener. This way you get the taste you love without adding all the carbs.
Lemon Juice – I find this to be absolutely a key ingredient to making this mock apple crisp. Apples, unlike zucchini, are rather acidic so adding some fresh lemon juice gives you the added acidity that you need, from leaving out the apples.
Butter – I don’t just melt the butter, but I find that browning it first gives it a really nice flavor.
Golden Monk Fruit – This is a new low carb sweetener I started using for this recipe. It’s a raw cane sugar replacement. Used for the filling, it’s mixed with the browned butter. But I also used it for the crisp topping as well.
Cinnamon & Nutmeg – Essential seasonings to making this zucchini apple crisp right on point. Anytime you add these classic seasonings to a fall dessert it’s perfect.
Xanthan Gum – This is used to help thicken up the filling. The general rule of thumb with xanthan gum is less is more. You only need a small amount to thicken the filling.
Pecans – This is for the topping since I don’t add oats like what you would find in a typical crisp topping. The chopped nuts help to add some bulk to the flour and they crisp up as the oats would.
Almond Flour – So typically you would add flour to a crumble topping, but I decided to add it to my crisp topping. It’s a good binder and adds some volume to the crisp.
What do I Use for the Apple Crisp Topping?
We use butter, pecans, golden monk fruit, almond flour, and cinnamon.
Butter is an essential ingredient for any crisp topping, whether it’s a low carb or not. It’s the foundation ingredient in which you build on after that but make sure that your butter is softened. It makes it much easier to work with.
Of course, 2 other ingredients that are in most crisp toppings are flour to give it some volume and sugar for the sweetness.
So if it’s going to be low carb, then we replaced the flour with almond flour and the sugar with monk fruit which is a great sugar replacement that converts 1 to 1 as far as sweetness so there’s no guessing game as to the quantity to put into your apple crisp topping.
Unlike regular sugar, monk fruit in most cases does not raise your glycemic index.
The pecans replace the oats and add so much flavor and crunch and are lower in carbs. Oats have about 46 net carbs in 1 cup whereas Pecans have 4 net carbs per cup. Quite a large difference right?!
How Many Carbs are in Keto Apple Crisp?
In our Apple Crisp, there are 3.6 NET CARBS in ½ cup serving which is fantastic. When you want a dessert you can make up a batch of Low Carb Apple Crisp which only takes a few minutes to prepare and in a short time, you can be eating this delicious dessert.
If ½ cup is not enough, have a whole cup. It would only be 7.2 NET CARBS.
How to Make Keto Apple Crisp
Making this keto apple crisp is so easy and only takes about 30 minutes to prep.
Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Then peel and cut the zucchini into small chunks. I prefer using small zucchinis, but if your zucchini is on the larger side then you should cut the seeds out first.
In a dutch oven, add the butter and turn heat on medium-high and brown your butter. It only takes a minute or so after the butter has melted to brown. Be careful because you don’t want it to burn, don’t leave it unattended.
Add the zucchini to the browned butter and stir. Now add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and sweetener. Stir until well combined.
Slowly pour in the lemon juice, and sprinkle in the xanthan gum.
Keep on medium heat and cook for about 20 minutes or so. Testing along the way. Add more of the spices or lemon juice if you feel it’s missing something, Stir every couple of minutes, make sure it doesn’t stick to the pan.
While the zucchini is cooking, start making the topping. In a small food processor add your pecans and chop. You don’t want it super fine, just chop until it’s in small pieces.
If you don’t have a food processor then you can chop the nuts using a knife. I personally hate chopping nuts, so I always choose to use a food processor.
Now in a small bowl combine the softened butter, chopped nuts, golden monk fruit sweetener, almond flour, and cinnamon. Mix all the ingredients together. At this point, I find it so much easier to mix it with my hands, to really make sure it’s combined well.
Once the zucchini is cooked transfer it to the baking dish. Sprinkle the topping over the zucchini. You should have plenty of topping to cover the squash completely.
Put in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes.
The top should be crispy and the fruit should be bubbling. You can serve hot or cold, and add some Keto vanilla ice cream to it and enjoy!!
Variations on Low Carb Apple Crisp
So apples are avoided while on a keto and low carb diet because even just 1 cup of sliced apples can have 12 net carbs. So eating too much of it can certainly knock you out of ketosis.
However, if you are still wanting to use apples then what I did for you is I figured out the nutrition facts when using real apples.
Instead of using 4 cups of zucchini, replace it with 4 cups of apples. Keep all the other ingredients the same. For ½ cup, it’s 10 net carbs per serving.
If that’s still too high, then what you can do is cut your portion down to a ¼ cup and now it will only be 5 net carbs. That might be a little more doable for you.
What are some other variations you can make with this a low carb apple crisp? Especially if you’re using real apples, you can also add some other fruit to it.
Blackberries, blueberries, or really any type of berry would work really nicely together. If there are any other fruits that are your favorites, then those could be added as well.
How to Make the Filling Thicker?
Xanthan gum is going to be your go-to ingredient for so many recipes, including this mock apple crisp.
All you need is about ½ tsp added while you’re cooking the squash, let it simmer and it thickens up in no time. The rule of xanthan gum is: Less is More.
Other Diets this Recipe is Good for
This easy low carb apple crisp is also gluten-free. The best part is the topping doesn’t contain any gluten. You can buy gluten-free oats, but not everyone would have that in their cabinet or you might not be able to find it at your grocery store.
So replacing the oats with the pecans makes it an easy way to keep it gluten-free and still give you a nice crunch on top.
What to Serve with Apple Crisp
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of eating apple crisp?? Adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top! Yup, that’s what comes to my mind first too. But what’s even better is adding some Keto Ice Cream or even some keto whipped cream.
See eating low carb, doesn’t have to be as bad as what most people think and you don’t have to give up some of your favorite dishes.
Should Apple Crisp be Refrigerated?
Many people wonder how to store apple crisp after baking it, either this keto version or a normal apple crisp.
For both Keto crisp and regular apple crisp, you can leave it on the counter the day you cook it, but then it needs to be refrigerated after that. Let it completely cool off while sitting on the counter, then wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge.
You can also keep it in an airtight container in the fridge as well. It should last for about 3-4 days.
Can I Freeze Sugar-Free Apple Crisp?
You can freeze the low carb apple crisp if you need to, but what we found to be better is freezing it before cooking it.
Do all your prep work and assemble the apple crisp. Then cover it with plastic wrap and then foil. Place in the freezer until you’re ready to cook it.
To cook the apple crisp, then thaw out on the counter, and then bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Best Way to Reheat Low Carb Apple Pie
If you want to heat the whole baking dish, then stick it back into the oven to reheat it. Put it on low, around 200 degrees so the topping doesn’t burn.
But if you want to heat it up in individual bowls, then simply just scoop out the amount you want into a microwave-safe bowl and pop it into the microwave for about 45 seconds. Then top with some Low Carb Vanilla ice cream and it will just slightly melt on top of your crisp. MMMMM…..
More Keto Desserts Recipes
If you’re in the mood for some other Low Carb Desserts then try our:
Easy and delicious Low Carb “Apple Crisp” while not using apples. Zucchini mixed with apple pie spices and fresh lemon juice, and you can’t tell the difference. I dare you to try!
4 cups chopped zucchini
½ cuplemon juice
½ cupgolden monk fruit
½ tspxanthan gum
1 stick butter
1 cup chopped pecans
½ cupgolden monk fruit
1 cupalmond flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Peel and cut the zucchini. If the zucchini is on the larger side, then make sure to take out some of the seeds.
In a dutch oven, turn heat onto medium-high and add the butter. Once butter is melted let it start to brown, but don’t burn it. Now that the butter is browned add the zucchini to the pan.
Add cinnamon, nutmeg, and sweetener to the zucchini and stir well. Then pour in lemon juice, and add xanthan gum.
Cook on medium heat for at least 20 minutes. Keep stirring mixture to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
While the squash is cooking, start making the topping. In a food processor, chop the pecans. You can chop them by hand, but I find it way easier to use the food processor.
In a small bowl combine the softened butter, chopped pecans, almond flour, and cinnamon together. To really mix it in well, you might need to use your hands.
Once the squash is cooked, transfer it to a baking dish. Sprinkle the topping over the squash, you should have enough to completely cover it.
Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the top is crispy and the fruit is bubbling.
3.6 NET CARBS per serving
Letting your butter brown, is key in making this recipe. Just don’t let it burn.
Using a small amount of xanthan gum will help to thicken the apple mixture.
Fresh lemon juice will give you the acidity you’re missing from using real apples.
Keep crisp refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.
To freeze the crisp it’s better to assemble it and NOT bake it. To thaw it, leave on the counter, then bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
To reheat, either put in the oven at 200 degrees, or place in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
Top with Low Carb Vanilla Ice Cream for lots of yummy goodness
If you want to use real apples instead, use 4 cups of sliced apples, and follow all rest of the ingredients as normal. For ½ cup serving it will be 10 NET CARBS per serving.
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Looks good and smells great while cooking but...topping didn’t crust up. I followed the recipe exactly.
Saturday 30th of January 2021
I would suggest not making the pecans too finely chopped because then they turn powdery. If they are a little bigger you will get more of the crunch from them. Also, make sure the temperature of your oven is hot enough because ovens can vary in temperature slightly. If you feel that is true then crank it up 25 degrees. You could even try sticking it under the broiler for a couple of minutes but keep your eye on it so that it doesn't burn. And make sure not to add more butter than what is called for. WE make this recipe a lot and do not have trouble getting the top crispy, and it is one of our most popular recipes, so give it another try.
Tuesday 19th of January 2021
How much butter is a "stick" of butter? What is that in grams, ounces, cups etc? The actual measurements would be helpful.
Wednesday 20th of January 2021
Hi Donna, 1 stick of butter is 8 Tablespoons which is also 1/2 cup. 1 tablespoon is 14 grams x 8 would be 112 grams for the entire stick.
Hope you enjoy the recipe. It is one of our most popular recipes year round.
Monday 4th of January 2021
This was amazing!!!!! I had a friend try and see if they could guess the secret ingredient and they couldn’t!! I paired it with some homemade keto vanilla ice cream and it hit the spot! Thank you so much for this recipe!
Friday 8th of January 2021
Hi there, it's so funny, we did the exact thing with a few members of our family and friends the first few times that we made it. We loved seeing how much they loved it and had no idea that it wasn't apples. We also paired it with homemade keto vanilla ice cream or also keto whipped cream, both recipes on our blog if you are interested. Thanks for the compliment and keep trying some of our other recipes too.
Monday 7th of December 2020
What size of baking dish works best and glass or metal?
Tuesday 8th of December 2020
Thanks for taking the time to try our apple crisp recipe. The size of the dish will depend on how much crisp that you are making. We usually find that when we make it, a 8 x 8 square glass pan works good or a pie plate also works well too. We have used glass and metal baking dishes.
Monday 30th of November 2020
What a delicious way to lighten up a dessert. I love that it is a small serving size too; perfect for my parent and me:) I can’t wait to give this a try!
Tuesday 1st of December 2020
Hi Karen, Thanks for taking the time to try our apple crisp recipe. It's one of our favorite recipes. It gets a lot of compliments. We hope that you will also enjoy some of our other recipes on our site.