Classic apple crisp is delicious but the addition of tart cranberries makes it a perfect winter dessert. This Weight Watchers dessert is brimming with fruit and just the right amount of sweetness and topping to make it a favorite for all.
This easy Apple Cranberry Crisp is a great dessert recipe for Thanksgiving, Christmas as well as any time of year. The sweet crisp apples combined with tartness of the cranberries in this fruit crisp is so good! It's an easy dessert and the warm fruit with fall spices is cozy and soul-warming.
When baked the juicy fruit is warm and delicious making a fantastic crisp dessert without loads of sugar. It's a guilt-free dessert recipe and no one will know this delicious cranberry apple crisp has slimmed down calories.
This delicious Apple Cranberry Crisp recipe is an old Weight Watchers recipe that has certainly stood the test of time. it's a classic and an exciting upgrade to traditional apple crisp thanks to the addition of cranberries.
What makes this skinny?
It's a Weight Watchers recipe that's almost two decades old that starts off with loads of fruit, and far less sugar, butter and oats than traditional apple crisp. Using sweet apples with strong apple flavor is key (don't use Red Delicious apples for this).
As the apples and cranberries bake, the apples release juices making the perfect dessert. The fruit filling with warm spices and crumble topping make this a great option for the holiday season.
Whether you follow Weight Watchers plans or not, you'll love this dessert recipe!
Recipe Ingredient Notes
Quick Cooking Oats. Quick oats, not rolled oats or old-fashioned oats, are used in this recipe. They give the topping to desired crispiness after baking.
Light brown sugar.
All purpose flour. Regular or gluten-free measure-for-measure flour blend can be used.
Unsalted Butter. You'll use 1 tablespoons COLD unsalted butter. It really needs to be cold for the topping to come together properly. I cut the butter into smaller pieces to help with the step of combining the topping ingredients.
Honeycrisp apples. Use 6 medium size honeycrisp apples. Honeycrisp apples can be very large; if medium size apples aren't available use four large apples.
Cranberries. Fresh cranberries or frozen and thawed cranberries can be used. Do not use dried cranberries.
Lemon juice. Freshly squeezed lemon juice should be used. Only one tablespoon is needed.
Spices. Cinnamon and nutmeg give this apple-cranberry crisp the perfect fall spices.
Best Apples for Apple Crisp
The original recipe called for Empire apples which I had not even heard of before. They predate many of the current apple varieties but had a combination of sweet and tart flavors, as well as held their shape when baked.
The best apples for an apple crisp are those that will hold their shape with baking. Unlike the type that easily pulverize for recipes like homemade applesauce, you want structure in the apples for the best crisp recipe results.
Honeycrisp is our star pick for this recipe but there are others that would do well too:
- Golden delicious
- Granny Smith. Granny Smith apples with their signature bright green skin stand up well for baking though are more on the tart apples versus sweet. Because this is a lower sugar recipe the sweetness of the apples is important to the overall sweetness of the dessert. They would be great mixed with another sweeter variety apple.
How to make Apple Cranberry Crisp
STEP 1. Preparation
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch by 8-inch square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray (photo 1).
STEP 2. Make topping
In a small bowl combine the oats, flour and 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar. Add the cold butter pieces and using a pastry blender or two dull knives mix the butter into the the dry mixture until combined and crumbly (photos 2-3).
STEP 3. Make apple cranberry mixture
In a large mixing bowl combine apples, cranberries, remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg (photo 4). Toss to combine and coat apples (photo 5) .
Spoon the fruit mixture into the prepared baking dish (it may be higher than the top of the pan) (photo 6). Sprinkle on the oat topping evenly over the apple cranberry mixture (photo 7).
STEP 4. Bake
Bake for 35-45 minutes until filling is bubbling and topping has become golden brown (photo 8).
STEP 5. Serve
Serve as is or with a scoop of fat-free frozen vanilla yogurt (seen in the photos) or non-fat honey Greek yogurt.
Use pears instead of apples, or a combination.
Topping browning too fast? Place foil over the top if it begins to over brown. Remove it in the last minutes of baking so it will crisp.
Loads of apple mixture? When you spoon the apple-cranberry mixture into the baking dish you may think it's way too much. Don't worry! Pile it in there and as it bakes the fruit softens, relaxes and takes up less room.
Buy cranberries and freeze them. Cranberries are only available in the stores (in the U.S.) in the fall. Buy some extra bags to store in your freezer so you can make this recipe any time!
How to store
Store leftover apple cranberry crisp in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. The topping will soften when stored. Serve warm or at room temperature for best results.
Frequently Asked Questions
It comes down to the topping. Both have a sweetened fruit layer. A crumble is topped with a brown sugar, butter and flour topping that becomes crumbly when baked. A crisp topping includes oats which crisp up when baked.
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