Cinnamon Cranberry Apple Crisp

This Cranberry Apple Crisp is the perfect holiday dessert made with fresh cranberries, apples, cinnamon, and oats. It's a great twist on a classic apple crisp.

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There is almost nothing better than a classic apple crisp with its crumbly, sweet topping and melt in your mouth apples. However sometimes it is fun to put a spin on a classic, and this Apple Cranberry Crisp is just that. All the flavors you expect with a delicious pop of cranberries.  

One of my closest friends is a vegan and a hard-core sweets addict. This combination makes the holidays especially difficult. Between Thanksgiving and the December holidays, there are always cookies, cakes, and reats galore.

Unfortunately for her, almost every time she inquires about ingredients, she is faced with a laundry list of butter, eggs, milk, chocolate, and other non-vegan-friendly products. It's hard. So this year, we set out to do things a little differently so she would have something delicious to enjoy as well. 

Being someone who loves butter, I wanted to try swapping in vegan butter in a recipe where I feel like the butter makes a big difference - Apple Crisp. To my surprise, the vegan buttery spread, was a perfect replacement. You still got the caramel notes you want from the butter and brown sugar. It added just enough richness and the crust still got nice and golden brown. Seriously, not one person suspected that we had made a swap. It was delicious.

Key Ingredients for a Perfect Cranberry Apple Crisp

Here is everything you'll need to make this delicious fruit crisp.

  • Fresh apples: When it comes to choosing apples for crisp, always look for crisp, somewhat tart options. Favorites include Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, and Pink Lady. Generally speaking, I don't recommend replacing apples with canned apples or apple pie filling. The texture and taste just won't be the same.
  • Fresh cranberries: Cranberries add a delicious pop of flavor to a traditional apple crisp. Opt for fresh cranberries if you can find them. Frozen cranberries will work as well, just defrost them first. In a pinch, you could swap in dried cranberries but it will change the texture. 
  • Rolled oats: Make sure to use rolled old-fashioned oats for the crisp topping. Instant oats and steel-cut oats will not work. 
  • Brown sugar and maple syrup: Add sweetness to the apple filling with a combination of brown sugar and maple syrup. The maple syrup adds a delicious flavor note, but you could use all brown sugar if you prefer.
  • Cinnamon: It can't be apple crisp without a good dose of cinnamon. Make sure to use high-quality cinnamon with good flavor.
  • Butter: This recipe uses vegan butter but you could also use regular butter for it. Make sure to use unsalted butter. 
For serving this tasty crisp, reach for fresh whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or frozen yogurt. 

Make-Ahead Tips and Storage

Apple Cranberry Crisp is a great dish to make in advance and simply cook while you are eating dinner. Assemble the crisp and store it covered in the fridge. Take it out about an hour before you will be cooking it so it can come to room temperature. Then bake. It can be made 2-3 days in advance.

Once your crisp is cooked, you can store leftovers in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat in the oven, a toaster oven, or microwave. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most common questions about making this apple and cranberry crisp.

Frozen cranberries will work great in this recipe. For the best results and to ensure the crisp doesn't get soggy, defrost the cranberries before using them.

When making apple crisp it is best to use a crisp, somewhat tart apple that won't be overly mushy when baked. Try using Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Fuji, Jonagold, or Pink Lady. With that said, almost any apple can work in an apple crisp.

Many times apple crisp comes out watery because the apples weren't cooked long enough. The apples need to cook and then the juice needs to bubble and reduce to create that thick, delicious apple filling. Also, it is important to toss the apples with cornstarch or flour to help the mixture become thick and delicious. 

Generally speaking, apple crisp does not need to be covered as it cooks. However, if you find the top is becoming too brown and the filling isn't ready yet, you can tent the crisp with foil to prevent the top from burning. Don't fully cover the dish or the topping will become soft from the steam that is released from the apples. 

If you find the topping on the crisp is getting browned and crisped the way you would like, consider placing the crispy under the broiler for 2-3 minutes. For extra crispiness, drizzle with a touch of melted butter and demerara sugar before broiling.

The Recipe
Cranberry apple crisp with a oatmeal crumble topping in a baking dish.

Cinnamon Cranberry Apple Crisp

COOK TIME: 1 Hours
TOTAL TIME: 1 Hours, 10 Min
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  • 4 apples, peeled and cored (I used McIntosh)
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1.5 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (plus 3 tbsp)
  • 3 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (or almond meal for gluten-free)
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance buttery spread, melted (or regular butter)

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


Toss the apples and cranberries with lemon juice. Add the cornstarch, 3 tbsp. brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir until well combined.


Stir together the oatmeal, almond meal, whole wheat flour, and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Break up any clumps. Add the Earth Balance and stir until well combined.


Pour the apples and cranberries into a prepared 8 X 8 baking dish. Top with oatmeal mixture.


Bake for 45-60 minutes until bubbling up. Apples should be tender and crisp should be browned. Let rest 30 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1 square
Amount Per Serving
Calories 237
Calories from Fat 74
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
Saturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 140mg
Total Carbohydrate 40g
Dietary Fiber 5g
Sugars 24g
Protein 3g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the authorMeet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
† We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.
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