Best Ever Apple Crisp (Sugar-free and 21DSD Approved)

Best Ever Apple Crisp (Paleo) | South Beach Primal

I’m going to go on record right now and say that this Paleo Apple Crisp recipe is THE BEST I’ve ever had. And not just because I made it, I swear. The best part about this recipe is that it’s totally 21-Day Sugar Detox approved. Yep! Which means I get to eat the entire thing in one sitting without feeling guilty.

Erm, ok maybe not.

In January I completed my second successful 21DSD. During this time I was invited to a potluck party with “normal” people (Glutenites) and I knew I was going to be in trouble because someone was bringing cake. That’s practically a sugar relapse waiting to happen.

So instead I decided to make a Paleo apple crisp with no added sugars. I’ve made apple crisps and cobblers before, but usually Paleo crisps tend to have dry apple filling and a sawdust topping.

So you want to know my stroke of genius? Add some coconut milk to the filling to cut the tartness of the green apples, which adds a creamyness to the whole dessert. Then add some tapioca flour to make the apple filling thicker. The result? THE BEST APPLE CRISP EVER OMFG.

Ok, I’ll admit that I ate a full serving right before bed the night before the party and almost died from pure bliss. I remember rolling around on the couch while dry humping the air and yelling “YUMMM!!!” to my boyfriend.

Then the next day I ate another serving after photographing it before the party. But I smoothed things over so that you couldn’t even tell I was dippin’ into the pan. Muahaha.  But THEN at the party I kept sneaking off during dinner to hide in the kitchen while feverishly eating 2nd, 3rd, and 4th helpings. Hey, I’m a baking genius but I didn’t say I was right in the head. Clearly I have problems sharing my treats.

Best Ever Apple Crisp (Sugar-free and 21DSD Approved)

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 10 servings

Best Ever Apple Crisp (Sugar-free and 21DSD Approved)


  • 6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil OR Kerrygold butter, melted (plus extra for greasing the baking dish)
  • 1 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • Dash salt
  • Topping:
  • ¾ cup sliced almonds
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • ¼ cup cashew flour (or any nut flour)
  • 1 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 5 tbsp Kerrygold butter, cold cubed


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease a 9x11” glass baking disk with pastured butter and set aside.
  3. Mix all of the filling ingredients together in a large bowl. In a separate smaller bowl mix together all of the topping ingredients. Use your hands to cut the butter evenly into the topping so it becomes crumbly.
  4. Dump the wet apple filling into the greased baking dish. Spoon the crumble nut topping evenly over the apples. It doesn’t have to be perfect, I think a rustic look works better.
  5. Bake for about 45 minutes until bubbly and golden on top.
  6. Serve warm or cold with coconut whipped cream.


    • says

      It is a nut heavy recipe, so I’m not sure how it would turn out but you might want to try to double the amount of coconut flakes, do half a cup of pumpkin seeds (and maybe sunflower seeds) and then substitute ground flax seed instead of the nut flour. Or maybe coconut flour would work but half the amount. Hope that helps!

  1. Lisa says

    I am GF and now Diabetic. This dessert looks wonderful and I would love to try it. I am wondering if you have the nutritional information available? I just need to know the carbs and the fiber. I would really appreciate any info you can give me. Thanks!

  2. Tasha says

    I’m in my final week of the 21DSD, and the apple crisp recipe in the 21DSD cookbook has been my savior – but it always felt like it was missing something. Your recipe seems much more satisfying! I am going home and making this tonight. Can I substitute arrowroot for tapioca? Both are thickeners, I believe.

    • says

      Hey Julia, actually I specifically researched if tapioca flour was 21DSD approved. Officially whole/floured yuca or tapioca is not allowed, but on the 21DSD Fb page Diane’s team say’s that it is allowed in “limited amounts”. This recipe has only 2 tablespoons in the entire recipe (10 servings) and is totally acceptable. It makes a great binder for the crisp topping and thickens the apple mixture. What wouldn’t be allowed is to eat, say, a grain-free yuca bread roll while on the detox.

      • Julia says

        Oh OK awesome, great to know! Thank you for the clarification and for the speedy response! :-) I made the apple crisp per the regular recipe last week, and it was good but yes, a little tart. It had me wishing I could put ice cream on top like the rest of my family was! I will have to try it with the coconut milk (and the tapioca flour)! Thanks again.

    • says

      Sorry Denise, I fixed that in the blog post. I meant to just write “Paleo” not dairy-free. Coconut oil is an easy sub for butter though. :]

  3. Mary says

    I made this over the weekend. It was AMAZING and DELICIOUS!!!! So yummy! I didn’t miss the sugar at all.
    I just emailed my sister and said we could replace the apple pie at Thanksgiving with this recipe instead!!
    Thank you, Rachel for a great recipe!!!

    • says

      That’s coconut whipped cream actually. Place a can of coconut milk overnight in the fridge. When you take it out the next morning, just skim the thick layer of coconut cream off the top (discarding the remaining coco water or use it in smoothies), and whip the cream with raw honey and vanilla extract.

  4. Leigh says

    I made this today and it was really good warm out of the oven. The whole family loved it. But hours later I pulled it out of the fridge for another nibble, and it was FANTASTIC! It seemed to get sweeter and even more yummy after several hours. I’ll definitely be making this again!

  5. Erin says

    When you say “1/2 cup coconut milk,” are you referring to canned coconut milk or the refrigerated coconut milk (Soy Delicious/Silk type brands)? Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Erin. I’m referring to the real coconut milk that either come in a can or that you make yourself, not the “coconut milk beverage” sold in the dairy section.

  6. betty says

    The best apple crisp ever. I used gala apples and topped it with home made Greek yogurt and honey, It was awesome,Thankyou so much for adding another keeper to my smorgasboard of gourmet Paleo foods.

    • says

      Arrowroot starch would be the best sub, if not then I’d just leave it out. The tapioca flour acts as a binder here, so coconut flour would dry it out too much.

    • says

      I think coconut flour would dry it out too much. Dry crisps tastes like sawdust! I would just leave out the tapioca flour rather than substituting it…

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