This gluten-free cherry crisp is the perfect summer dessert when the cherry season is on. It's made with a few simple ingredients that are naturally vegan, too. You can use sweet or tart cherries according to your preference.
This fruit dessert has a juicy base and a crisp and buttery topping. It's an ultimate crowd-pleaser that you can serve on Sundays or on special occasions.
If you have a sweet tooth and like easy desserts, you may also want to try these gluten-free crepes.
Why you'll love this recipe
- This fruit crisp recipe only requires a few simple ingredients.
- It's incredibly easy to make! No need to be a seasoned baker.
- It's vegan, gluten-free and nut-free (this recipe is made without almond flour or sliced almonds).
Key ingredients and substitutions
- Brown rice flour makes the base of this crisp recipe. It's a gluten-free flour that is easily available in most grocery stores (e.g., from Bob's Red Mill). You can replace it with a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend.
- Gluten-free oat flour prevents the crumble topping from getting brittle. If you can't find it in stores, you can easily make your own by blending gluten-free oats in a blender or food processor.
- Corn starch makes the crumble extra crispy and slightly thickens the cherry mixture when baking.
- Brown sugar caramelizes when baking. It's very important to use moist brown sugar to obtain that perfect crisp texture (see notes below). Do not substitute it with white or coconut sugar as it will alter the texture.
- Vegan block butter is key to making the crumble dough. If not vegan, you can use regular, unsalted butter. Do not replace it with coconut oil.
- Fresh cherries are the best choice if they are in season. You can however also use jarred or frozen (sour) cherries. If using canned or jarred cherries, choose those that are canned in water.
See recipe card for exact quantities.
Notes on brown sugar
- American brown sugar is a sugar with a higher molasses content, higher moisture and a stronger flavor than white sugar.
- International/European brown sugar is usually a dry, crystallized sugar obtained from sugarcane, which has a natural brown color and a low moisture content.
- You should not substitute American brown sugar with European brown sugar as it will give your baked goods a different texture.
- If you're in France you can look for "vergeoise" to replace American brown sugar.
- If you're in Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland or Québec you can buy "cassonade", which has the same consistency as American brown sugar.
You can easily make your own brown sugar by mixing white sugar with molasses. For this recipe, you want very dark brown sugar and should use 2 tablespoons for 1 cup of white sugar.
How to pit cherries
With a cherry pitter: wash the cherries and remove the stems. Then, place a cherry on its side into the cherry pitter. Quickly press the clamp and remove the pit. You can also use this cherry pitter that pits 6 cherries at a time.
With a metal straw (or a chopstick): wash the cherries and remove the stems. Hold a cherry between two fingers, and press the straw through the stem hole until the pit pops out.
Elo's tip: take the vegan butter out of the fridge before you start pitting the cherries. It will then be at room temperature once you start making the topping.
Step-by-step (with pictures)
STEP 1: Add the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
STEP 2: Cut the butter into small cubes and add them to the mix.
STEP 3: Press the butter into the flour with your fingertips. Continue mixing until a wet and crumbly dough forms.
STEP 4: Add the pitted cherries to a baking dish. Sprinkle with cornstarch, vanilla bean powder and fresh lemon juice. Give it a good mix.
About vegan butter: depending on their ingredients, different vegan butter brands can have very different textures. As a result, you may need more or less butter than indicated in the recipe. I recommend starting with slightly less than indicated. You can always add more as needed until you obtain the right texture (see video).
STEP 5: Crumble the dough on top of the cherry mixture with your hands.
STEP 6: Bake for 35-40 minutes until the crisp topping is golden brown. You can eat it warm or let it cool down for a firmer topping. Serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if desired.
Watch the video!
- Apple crisp – replace the cherries with apples or make an apple and cherry crisp.
- Peach crisp – replace the cherries with fresh peaches that you cut into small pieces.
- Berry crisp – replace the cherries with mixed berries such as raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.
Frequently asked questions
Cherry crisps and cherry crumbles have a similar texture. They are both made with sugar, flour and butter. The only difference is that crisps also use oats (or oat flour).
You can definitely make cherry crisps with frozen cherries. No need to let them thaw prior to baking.
You can freeze fresh cherries and the crisp dough separately for up to 3 months. To make the crisp, simply add the frozen cherries to a baking dish with corn starch, lemon juice and vanilla. Add the frozen topping on top and bake it right away.
Don’t forget to join the Cooking With Elo newsletter. You’ll get gluten-free and vegan dinner ideas sent right to your inbox.
Gluten-Free Cherry Crisp
For the cherries
- 3 cups fresh cherries
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon vanilla bean powder or vanilla extract, optional
For the crisp mixture
- ½ cup (60 g) brown rice flour or 1:1 gluten-free flour blend
- ¼ cup (30 g) gluten-free oat flour
- ¼ cup (30 g) corn starch
- ¾ cup (120 g) brown sugar see notes
- 6 tablespoons (90 g) vegan block butter
- Wash and pit the cherries. If you don't have a cherry pitter, push a metal straw or a chopstick through the stem hole until the pit pops out.
- Add the cherries to a baking dish with the cornstarch, lemon juice and vanilla bean powder. Give it a good mix.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Add the brown rice flour, oat flour, cornstarch and brown sugar to a mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Cut the butter into small cubes. Start by adding only ¾ of the butter cubes to the mixing bowl. Mix your hands until you obtain a wet and crumbly dough (see video). Add more butter if needed.
- Crumble the dough onto the cherries.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes until the top is golden brown.
- Let it cool for 10-15 minutes to serve it warm or for 2-3 hours if you prefer it cold.
- To make your own oat flour, simply blend gluten-free rolled oats in a blender until a fine powder forms.
- American vs European brown sugar: In America, brown sugar is moist due to its high molasses content, whereas in Europe it's dry and crystallized. You want to find American brown sugar, also called "vergeoise" in France and "cassonade" in Belgium and Québec, which has the consistency of wet sand. Alternatively, you can make your own (see below).
- To make your own dark brown sugar, mix ¾ cup of white sugar with 1 ½ tablespoons of molasses.
- Vegan butter: depending on the ingredients, the texture of the butter can be very different. As a result, you may need more or less butter than indicated in the recipe.
- Take the vegan butter out of the fridge before you start pitting the cherries. It will then be at room temperature once you start making the crunchy topping.
- Use a scale for precise measurement and best results.
Loved it? Please rate it!
If you tried this recipe or any other recipe from the blog, make sure to let us know how you liked it by leaving a star rating and a comment below! Your feedback really matters! To never miss a recipe, follow me on Instragram, Pinterest and Facebook.