This paleo-friendly berry crisp is the perfect way to use up extra berries in the fridge! The nutty, crunchy, and perfectly sweet topping is oat-free, gluten-free, and grain-free. Just add a dollop of whipped coconut cream and you’ve got the ultimate summer dessert!
Berry crisp is the best way to use up extra fruit!
I don’t know about you, but when summer produce starts appearing at the market, I always buy too much. It’s classic Michelle behavior; since I was a child, I’ve been told that my eyes are bigger than my stomach. But hey: I simply can’t pass up a good deal on a flat of ripe, juicy berries—especially when it’s just a few dollars pricier than a 3-pack.
So what do I do with the extra berries? You’re looking at it!
Paleo, Vegan-Friendly, and Oat-Free Crisp
This easy berry crisp satisfies my deepest cravings for a juicy, fruit-filled treat topped with a crunchy and nutty topping. While many crisp recipes use oats as the main component of the streusel topping, I’ve found that replacing them with more nuts and coconut yields a tastier, crisper top and a more delicious dessert. Plus, if you substitute chilled coconut oil for the ghee, you can serve this berry crisp to your vegan and dairy-free pals!
Make ahead tips
If you’re anything like me, you love berry crisp and want to be able to eat it at a moment’s notice. So make a big batch of crisp topping and freeze it for up to 6 months in an airtight container! With this secret weapon in your freezer, you can make a crisp anytime you’re in the mood for one or if unexpected company drops by.
I don’t recommend making the entire berry crisp ahead of time because it really does taste best still warm from the oven. However, I’m happy to report that leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days and you can warm them up in the microwave or oven—this grain-free topping doesn’t get all mushy because it’s mostly comprised of nuts and coconut!
The straightforward ingredients for my berry crisp are simple to find and can easily transform a humble bowl of fruit into something spectacular!
- Almond flour: replaces all-purpose flour and adds even more nuttiness to the topping.
- Maple sugar or coconut sugar: both work in this recipe and add the right amount of sweetness!
- Diamond Crystal kosher salt: IMHO, a little bit of salt always balances out sweet desserts.
- Ground cinnamon + cardamom: I love the combination of cinnamon and cardamom together, but you can use all cinnamon or a mix of cinnamon and nutmeg if you prefer.
- Chilled ghee or refined coconut oil: the chilled fat helps bind the streusel topping together. I throw the ghee or coconut oil in the freezer for 20 minutes if I forget to chill it ahead of time.
- Whole raw pecans and almonds: feel free to mix and match the nuts in the topping, but pecans + almonds is my favorite.
- Unsweetened coconut flakes: make sure you buy unsweetened flakes! Also, I find that the large flakes offer a better texture than finely shredded coconut.
- Mixed berries: you’ll need about 6 cups of mixed berries for this recipe. If your strawberries are super big, cut them to be about the same size as your other berries. Frozen berries also work, just thaw and drain before using. You can definitely substitute other fruit in place of berries (e.g. cut up stone fruit, cherries, etc.) for variation!
- Maple sugar or coconut sugar: adds a little extra sweetness and helps macerate (break down) the berries.
- Tapioca starch: a grain-free thickener for the filling.
- Zest and juice from 1 lime: adds some zing to the filling. Make sure you zest the lime before you juice it, because it’s freaking hard to zest a cut up lime, people.
How to make berry crisp
First, make the topping for the crisp! Put the almond flour, maple sugar, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom in a food processor work bowl fitted with a steel blade.
Plop in the chilled ghee or coconut oil. Pulse the mixture 5 to 7 times until the mixture has a coarse cornmeal texture.
Toss in the nuts and coconut flakes.
Pulse until the mixture looks like nubbly wet sand with some nutty bits—don’t overdo it because you don’t want to form a dough.
Transfer the topping to a bowl and chill it in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
While the topping is chilling, heat the oven to 375°F with the rack in the middle position.
Time to make the berry filling! Toss together the berries, maple sugar, and tapioca starch in a medium bowl.
Add the lime zest and juice and mix gently with a silicone spatula.
Transfer the berries to a 2-quart baking pan (8-inch square or 9-inch round), spreading them out to form an even layer.
Grab the chilled topping from the fridge and distribute it evenly over the berry filling.
Bake the berry crisp for about 25 to 30 minutes…
…or until the berries are bubbly and the top turns golden brown.
Serve warm or at room temperature, topped with whipped coconut cream if desired.
Craving more summer berry desserts?
Here are some of my favorite paleo fruit desserts:
- Strawberry Muffins
- Strawberry Banana Ice Cream
- Berry Snack Cake
- Lava Flow Ice Pops
- Vanilla Pudding Parfaits
Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPhone and iPad app, and in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013), Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017), and Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2021).
PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE CARD
Berry Crisp (Paleo, Vegan, Gluten Free)
- ½ cup finely ground almond flour
- ⅓ cup maple sugar or coconut sugar
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 5 tablespoons chilled ghee or coconut oil, cut into bite-sized pieces
- ⅓ cup whole raw pecans
- ⅓ cup whole raw almonds
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 6 cups mixed berries cut-up strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.
- 2 tablespoons maple sugar or coconut sugar
- 2 teaspoons tapioca starch
- 2 teaspoons lime zest
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Make the crisp topping
- Put the almond flour, maple sugar, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom in a food processor work bowl fitted with a steel blade.
- Add the chilled ghee or coconut oil . Pulse the mixture 5 to 7 times until the mixture has a coarse cornmeal texture.
- Toss in the nuts and coconut flakes. Pulse until the mixture looks like nubbly wet sand with some nutty bits—don’t overdo it because you don’t want to form a dough.
- Transfer the topping to a bowl and chill it in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
Make the filling
- While the topping is chilling, heat the oven to 375°F with the rack in the middle position.
- Toss together the berries, maple sugar, and tapioca starch in a medium bowl.
- Add the lime zest and juice and mix gently with a silicone spatula.
- Transfer the berries to a 2-quart baking pan (8-inch square or 9-inch round) and make an even layer.
- Evenly distribute the chilled topping over the berries.
- Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the berries are bubbly and the top turns golden brown.
- Cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, topped with whipped coconut cream or ice cream if desired.