Thanksgiving Recipes for Everyone (Gluten-Free Apple Crisp Recipe)

Girl scouts cooking for a Try It Badge

Cooking with kids makes me happy. How could it not? Kids are playing with food, getting excited about creating something from scratch, and then feeling so proud when people enjoy the fruits of their labor. But more and more, I am noticing children with food allergies or dietary restrictions. Kids at class parties are feeling left out when they can’t eat the treat that another child brought in, and family members don’t feel included when they are served an alternate dessert to what everyone else is enjoying. Perhaps this is on my mind more than usual because we are in the midst of doing a dairy elimination diet for our 8 year old son. We have been struggling with his unpredictable behavior for years, and are seeing if this makes a difference. I digress…

My goal in writing this post? I want people to feel loved by food. Instead of feeling like they are settling for a crummy substitute, I want people to eat everyday meals and special holiday feasts with confidence that they are getting the very best. For some of us, that means we have to step outside of our comfort zone and try some new ingredients. It might mean using new recipes and setting aside the ones that are tried and true.

When I need inspiration for adapting recipes and having an excellent attitude about it, I always look to Shauna from Gluten Free Girl. She has embraced her diagnosis with celiac disease and has learned to create foods that never feel like a compromise. While I wait for her new book, Gluten Free Girl and the Chef, to arrive in the mail, I thought I’d adapt an apple crisp recipe on my own. In our case, I am going to make it dairy free…but I am also going to go gluten free for the first time. Since I wasn’t ready to buy a variety of alternative flours and mix them on my own, I thought I’d start with a blend from Bob’s Red Mill that was already prepared. Baby steps, right?

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I made this apple crisp yesterday with a Girl Scout Troop as part of their Try It badge. And today, I will adapt it, using a dairy substitute and my new flour mix.


Apple Crisp

8 tart apples
2 tablespoons sugar, more or less, to taste

1/3 cup butter (or Earth Balance)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour (or a mix of GF flours)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Peel and slice the apples into a large pie plate or a 9×9 inch pan, layering with sugar. Or, you can wedge the apples with an apple wedger. Then, chop the pieces with a knife or a food chopper.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the topping ingredients. Use a pastry blender to cut in the butter. Work the ingredients together until they become crumbly.
  3. Distribute the topping evenly over the top of the apples.
  4. Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the cover and bake an additional 15 minutes.
  6. Serve warm.


empty pie pan

They Loved It!

The verdict? Pictures say a thousand words, don’t you think?

If you’d like to see other fantastic Gluten-Free recipes for Thanksgiving (or any time!), check out the round-up on the Gluten Free Girl website.

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38 Responses to Thanksgiving Recipes for Everyone (Gluten-Free Apple Crisp Recipe)

  1. Mrs. Q says:

    Love the recipe and the cute photo! Gotta try it sometime!

  2. naomi says:

    Great GF recipe!

    Food allergies are hard for kids and the parents, especially during social functions and events.

    I love that you can embrace the philosophy people should be loved by food!

  3. Looks like it was a hit!!! 😉


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  6. Kristen says:

    That dish looks licked clean! Obviously it was a hit!

  7. Robyn says:

    YUM, Michelle! It looks like that recipe was a huge hit!

  8. Hahaha. I LOVE that photo. Nothing much better than warm apple crisp.

  9. Pingback: More Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Dishes « Glugle Gluten-Free

  10. Renee says:

    My daughter has a peanut/tree-nut allergy (the kind that kills, diagnosed through a visit to the ER after eating a peanut butter cracker, and we now carry an epi-pen), and my husband has food sensitivities to all things in the onion family, bell peppers, and oregano. My husband ends up feeling pretty miserable if he eats any of the above so I cook without them. This can be challenging (I miss onions in my spaghetti sauce, and I miss leeks just in general) but at least I don’t have to worry about him dying from accidentally eating these things.

    However, school treats have been a real challenge for my daughter. At 10, she’s now used to feeling a little left out when she has to have an alternate treat or just no treat at all. Luckily she has great teachers, who supplement an alternate treat with empathy, which helps so much. This past weekend she received a packet of very pretty chocolate covered sesame seeds as part of a birthday present –unfortunately, they were made in a plant that processes peanuts, so she can’t eat them. It makes me sad, especially because the parent who chose them probably did so because she thought they would be safe.

    I’m also so, so, so, grateful that more and more parents are aware of food allergies –it’s incredibly scary to have a child who could die from eating nuts, and it helps so much to have communities like her school help me keep her alive by being equally aware of the problem.

    There was an article on NPR yesterday about how parents of food-allergic kids are over-reacting. When it’s your child, it doesn’t feel like an over-reaction.

  11. jackhonky says:

    I LOVE that picture of the kids helping out! There’s something so great about having kids in the kitchen, learning where the food is coming from!

    Your recipe sounds wonderful! The sort of no frills crisp that would really let the flavor of the apples shine through and easy enough for everyone to help out in making. And when it’s gluten, dairy, egg, nut free it’s apparently also something that most everyone can partake of!

    And clearly they did. That pan is licked clean!

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  13. Semicrunchy says:

    I make a crisp topping simpley without any flour to make it gluten free. I also like to add sliced almonds to it.

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  15. Jessie says:

    “I want people to feel loved by food.” 🙂 Good line, I LOVE IT!

    I do hope you have some success with your little guy. I went throught the same thing with my oldest. He had serious behavior problems but they came and went not like someone who is just plain difficult (if you know what I mean). I used to think it was lack of sleep or illness but then I did the elimination diet. He ended up off of milk for approx 6mo then I discovered that celiac often disguises itself as a milk allergy because the protein is so close to that of gluten that an effected person’s body can’t tell the difference at first. Even though he wasn’t having any milk products his symptoms started to return. Along with behaviour symptoms he had asthma. I finally took him off of gluten and this was the beginning of me eventually getting diagnosed too. We can both now have milk.

    Of course, this may or may not be your case but I thought I’d pass it along so you have something else to look into. 🙂

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  18. Rebecca Bochenek says:

    I used sorghum flour, Earth balance soy free butter, Organic brown sugar, and cinnamon/stevia blend with Granny smith apples and this was so yummy!!!!

  19. Karen Ski says:

    my mixture did not come out crumbly for the topping. It was more spreadable than crumbly, what am I doing wrong?

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