This Swedish apple pie is similar to a crisp and has an amazingly easy topping. It’s my most-requested Thanksgiving dessert and as a bonus, can easily be made gluten-free, vegan and dairy-free. It’s perfect with ice cream, vanilla sauce or custard on top.
When I google Swedish apple pie, I see a lot of recipes that don’t resemble the Swedish pie that I know. They’re all missing oats!
And texture. So here’s my version.
I’ve mentioned this before, but I was an exchange student twice in Sweden and have gone back for lots of visits during the summer. This has resulted in me eating lots of Swedish pies.
And lots of Swedish pancakes, kladdkaka (which is like a dense and fudgy brownie cake!), and pepparkakor (which are thin, crisp ginger cookies popular around Christmas!).
I have so much love and nostalgia for all things Swedish. Whenever I make this pie or the kladdkaka I mentioned above, which I make quite often, I feel all warm and fuzzy.
What is a Swedish apple pie?
The type of pie here is called a smulpaj, or crumb pie and is almost like a crumble or crisp. You can make a traditional version with all-purpose flour or white whole wheat flour, or you can make it gluten-free with oat flour.
Oat flour is just ground up oats, so if you don’t have any, don’t worry – you can make it yourself with oats (see more on that below).
To make this pie, you just have the apples on the bottom and a topping. No fussy crust. It’s really so quick and easy!
Need to make something for gluten-free family or friends?
If you’re not gluten-free but need to make a gluten-free pie for Thanksgiving, this is an awesome option. You don’t need to buy any special ingredients.
You do need gluten-free oats + gluten-free oat flour, but the GF oats can be found in most grocery stores. And once you’re done with this pie, you can use the oats up however you normally use oats instead of having a bag of gluten-free flour around.
Or you can make this gluten-free apple crisp, which also uses oats and oat flour. These healthy banana muffins also look fantastic!
Traditional version vs. a healthier one
You’ve got several options when making this pie!
- Flour: all-purpose flour, oat flour, or whole wheat flour
- Fat: butter or coconut oil
- Sugar: granulated sugar or coconut sugar
Note that if you use coconut sugar, the pie will be quite a bit darker in color.
What makes this pie better than regular pies
Pie crusts are kind of my nemesis. They often fail, they’re messy, and I find that unless they’re a cookie crust, they usually don’t even taste good.
And when it comes to gluten-free pie crusts, a lot are soggy. No, thanks! These caramel apple pies are an exception. Their oatmeal cookie crust is amazing!
So I am all about this crustless apple pie. You just combine the apples with the spices and sugar, put them in the pie pan, and then pour the topping over the apples.
Most Swedish fruit pies I’ve had didn’t have any spice but because I’m me, I added cinnamon and cardamom. Scandinavians love their cardamom and so do I! It belongs in this pie.
If apples aren’t your thing, any kind of fruit can likely be used, though you’ll probably want to adjust the amount of sugar and spices! Part of the beauty of this recipe is that it’s really hard to mess up.
A great make-ahead pie
A lot of recipes, especially gluten-free pie recipes, are best when served on the same day. If you make them ahead of time, the pie crusts can be soggy when it’s time to serve them.
This paleo vegan pumpkin pie is, by far, my favorite pumpkin pie, but it can only be made 1 day ahead of time.
That’s not a problem with this apple pie. This is one pie that’s actually better after it’s sat for a bit. So this is a great option for Thanksgiving!
You can absolutely make it on Tuesday and let it sit on the counter until Thursday.
How to serve this pie
Instead of ice cream, Swedish fruit pies are usually topped with vanilla sauce (that usually comes from a box, I might add!). At least it did in the families I stayed with.
What you see in the pictures is this vegan custard. It is so thick, creamy and flavorful!
The sauce you see in the video is this paleo vegan vanilla sauce.
If you try out this pie, I’d love to hear what you think!
Questions about this pie?
- Can I use different fruit?
I haven’t tried it but any kind of fruit can be used, although you’ll likely need to adjust the amount of sugar and spices!
Luckily, its way more forgiving than a regular pie. You don’t have to worry about the filling making the bottom crust soggy because there is no bottom crust!
I’m thinking that a different fruit would make the pie harder to cut. I was able to get neat pieces pretty easily but think using berries would be messier.
- Do I have to peel the apples?
Yes. I just made this pie again, to test it with unpeeled apples, for people who are in a hurry this Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, you can taste the peel and it tastes a bit funny.
- What type of apples should I use?
To be honest, I usually make this with whatever we have sitting around. But if you’re going shopping, anyway, you might as well pick up some proper baking apples!
According to this article, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious, Rome, Jonathan or Jonagold, Braeburn or Northern Spy are best for baking.
I’ve never tried Northern Spy but I’m intrigued and wish we had them where we live!
- Can I omit the cinnamon and cardamom?
I mean, if you have to, sure. But if you’re not allergic to or don’t hate cinnamon, please at least just that.
The cardamom adds an amazing touch so I highly recommend it but know that most people don’t have cardamom at home.
- Can I use a different fat?
So far I’ve just made it with coconut oil and butter, so I’m really not sure. If you try something else out, let us know in the comments how it worked out!
- Can I use a different sweetener?
I haven’t tried it but think anything you usually use as a sub for granulated sugar would work here.
If you use coconut sugar, the crust will be much darker and have a darker taste, which I think isn’t a bad thing for the flavors in this pie.
- Can I reduce the sweetener?
I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s not a lot of sweetener for a whole pie and it’s needed to keep the crust together.
Feel free to omit the 1 tablespoon of sugar in the filling, if you don’t want the filling to be sweet.
- Can I use something other than maple syrup?
Honey or agave would almost definitely work, though I haven’t tried it.
- Do I have to use oats / oat flour?
Yes, sorry, there’s not a good sub for either one. See below for how to make oat flour!
- How do I make oat flour?
You can whirl some quick or rolled oats in a food processor, high-powered blender like a Blendtec or Vitamix or an electric coffee grinder until it’s very fine and powdery.
My favorite way for small amounts is the coffee grinder. Then the high-powered blender. Those both get the oat flour really fine.
If you have a large food processor, you’ll probably need to grind more oats than you need for this recipe to get it to grind the oats finely enough. And even then, the oat flour won’t be as fine as with the other two methods. But it’ll still work!
I have a large food processor and need at least a cup or two of oats to even get it over the blade.
Photos updated 10/2020. Here’s an old one! You’ll find the recipe for that sauce in the notes section, below the recipe. That sauce is not vegan. There are links to the two vegan sauces in the recipe.
Swedish Apple Pie (gluten-free, vegan options)
- Prep Time:
- Cook Time:
- Ready in:
- Yield: 8 slices
This Swedish apple pie is almost like a crisp and is as easy as one, too.
- 4 cups firm baking apples, peeled, cored and chopped to 1/4" chunks (this was about 4 medium apples or 492 grams of chopped apples)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 tablespoon raw sugar or granulated sugar
- 9 tablespoons (126 grams) refined coconut oil1, melted and still warm or 9.5 tablespoons (133 grams) butter for non-vegan, non-dairy-free, melted and still warm2
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) raw sugar or granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) maple syrup
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups (113 grams) rolled oats (if GF, use GF oats)
- 3/4 cup + 1.5 tablespoons (78 grams) oat flour (if GF, use GF oat flour) OR for non-GF, use 3/4 cup + 2.5 tablespoons (113 grams) all-purpose flour or white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- click here for the → vegan custard you see in the photos or use this cashew-based paleo vegan vanilla sauce or see the recipe in the notes section below for a non-vegan vanilla sauce3
For the filling:
For the topping:
For the vanilla sauce:
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C) and grease a 9" pie pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the filling ingredients. Spread the apples evenly over the bottom of the prepared pie pan.
- In another large mixing bowl, stir together the the topping ingredients, just until combined. Spread the topping over the apples.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the apples are bubbly and the topping is firm.
- Serve warm, room temperature or cold. I recommend letting it sit for about 3-4 hours or until it's cooled. This allows the flavors to come together better and it's much easier to cut. When still warm, it's more like a crumble and you won't get clean slices.
- Cover and store at room temperature for up to 2 days. Refrigerate after that. This is great made a day or 2 ahead of time!
For the pie:
- I prefer refined because it has no coconut taste. You can use unrefined if you don't mind some coconut flavor.
- It's easier to get the topping over the apples if the topping is pourable. That's why I recommend using still warm melted fat. If your topping firms up, put it in the microwave at half power for a few seconds. Mix and pour over the apples.
- This is the recipe for the non-vegan vanilla sauce.
– 1 1/2 cups (355 milliliters) milk of choice (just not canned coconut milk)
– 3 tablespoons raw sugar or granulated sugar
– 1 tablespoon cornstarch
– pinch of salt
– 1 large egg
– 1 vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the milk, sugar, cornstarch and salt. Whisk in the egg. Slice the vanilla bean open and scrape out the seeds. Add them to the pan along with the scraped-out bean.
Bring to an almost simmer while stirring constantly. It should thicken quite a bit and coat the back of a spoon. It's okay if it simmers briefly, but do not let it boil. It'll likely take 5-10 minutes. If using vanilla extract instead of a vanilla bean, add it now. It will continue to thicken a little as it cools. Remove the vanilla bean before serving. Once cooled, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
126 comments on “Swedish Apple Pie (super quick, easy, amazing flavor)” — Add one!
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The pie looks delicious! I love that vanilla cream on top too! I’m no fan of apples, but apple pies, yes ma’am! I haven’t tried Swedish apple pie before, but I will soon thank you to your recipe.
I’m glad to hear that! I hope you’ll love it as much as I do!
This is to me the first gluten free and dairy free dessert that is sooooo delicious! Thanks for sharing this ! Can’t wait to try other recipes!
Hi there! You’re welcome. :) I’m happy that you finally had a successful GF / DF treat. I have loads more and hope that you’ll enjoy them just as much. Thanks for your comment!
It looks delicious, but I can’t use oats. Is there a gf flour substitute?
Hi there! I’m sorry for just now seeing your question. Unfortunately there’s not a good sub for oat flour (I’ve tried several). Sorry about that!
TexanErin does it again! I served it, about 20 minutes out of the oven (we couldn’t wait) with a coconut milk almond sauce and non-dairy whip. My husband said: “that one is a keeper!” I even replaced the granulated sugar with 1/4 c monk fruit sugar and 1/4 c Eryithol. I used coconut sugar in the apples and glycerite stevia in the sauce. So yummy, homey, and palate pleasing. Nothing but happiness here!!
Oooh! Thanks for sharing your lower-carb version. :) What a great tip! I’m really happy that you enjoyed it. Thanks a bunch for your comment!
Hey Erin! I made this pie and my vegan friend said it was, “the tastiest pie she’s ever had” and my non-vegan friend, who loves to bake, said the pie was, “the bomb.” This is the first recipe I’ve tried of yours and I’m SO excited to try others! I made this pie again today with the non-vegan vanilla sauce to bring home to my family for Christmas– I know they’ll love it =D
Aww, yay! I’m so very happy that you and your friends enjoyed the pie. I hope that your family will like it just as much! And I hope that you’ll love the other recipes. :) Thanks for your comment!
I’m wondering if I can make this a day before we plan to eat it? I’m assuming it would be fine in the fridge overnight? What about the vanilla sauce? Everyone is so excited to try this!
Sorry for the slow reply! I’m 6 hours ahead of ET so your comment came in while I was already sleeping. For the pie, cover and store at room temperature for up to 2 days. Refrigerate after that. Vanilla sauce can be made a few days in advance and refrigerated. :)
This pie is delicious!! I can’t eat gluten or dairy, but everyone else in my family has no restrictions. This recipe got a big thumbs up from everyone!
That’s awesome that everyone enjoyed it! Thanks a bunch for your comment. :)
My husband can’t have coconut oil. Will the taste change too much if I use canola or olive oil? And probably leave sauce off too. Poor guys diet is restricted.
Sorry for the slow reply! Have been in the hospital giving birth. :) Don’t think it’ll change the taste but it may affect the texture a little since coconut oil is solid at room temp and those oils aren’t. Butter would work if he can have that!
My pie is in the oven now! Can I use ener-g egg replacer or another egg alternative for the topping sauce? The vegan version has nuts in it and my kid is allergic to nuts, eggs, dairy! Side note, they enjoyed making the pie and “tasting it” before baking it!!
Sorry for just now replying! I’m 6 hours ahead of ET so I was already sleeping. I really don’t think that an egg replacer will work for that sauce, but I could be wrong! And I unfortunately don’t have a third vanilla sauce suggestion. Sorry about that! I’m happy they had fun making it and I hope they enjoyed it, too. :)
hi, i wish you include nutrition facts and calories per serving to the recipes
I don’t have that info but you can copy and paste the recipe here for the nutritional profile, if you’d like. :)
I’m Norwegian and remember my grandma making this. Tomorrow is a trip to the farm stand for apples. Thanx so much.
I hope you get a chance to try it out and that it brings back some nice memories for you. The cardamom taste always takes me back to Scandinavia. :)
Great recipe, Erin! I made this for my office’s Apple Bake-off, and it won Audience Favorite! I used the vegan version of the sauce, and everyone was RAVING about it. Thanks for this wonderful vegan recipe – I’ll be keeping it in my recipe box for a long time.
Oh, wow! This comment made my week. I don’t think anyone has ever told me about one of my recipes winning a bake-off. How fun! :) And that’s awesome that people enjoyed vegan sauce, too! Thanks a bunch for your nice comment.
Loved this recipe. We cut sugar in half and was still phenomenal!
Wow, that’s awesome! So happy it came out well with just half the sugar. :) Thanks for your feedback!
Best recipe I’ve found this year
Woohoo! So happy to hear that. Thanks for your comment!
This is amazing! My husband, who has no dietary restrictions, has declared this his new favorite!! And I’m so thankful to have a new, delicious recipe for my son who has multiple food allergies. He loved it. Thank you! I’ll be making this again and again.
I’m so happy your family liked it! Especially your son – it’s hard to find good recipes when you have so many allergies to deal with. And awesome that your husband liked it, too. Thanks for your comment (and sorry for the slow reply!). :)
Hi! This looks so yummy! Question about the sauce. Is it supposed to be served warm or cold? Thanks!
Hi! Thanks. :) Either works! I prefer chilled.
This looks amazing! I’m a Swede in Australia and I loove my smulpaj. I will definitely give this vegan version a go!
If you’re ever back in Sweden you can find vanilla powder in jars at ICA or Hemköp, which is 100% ground vanilla and free from sugar, alcohol and preservatives :)
Perfect for raw food and sugar free desserts!
I hope you’ll enjoy the pie! Thanks for the tip on ground vanilla powder. :) We also now have that in Germany! Still having issues with the extract but doesn’t matter since I make it myself. I actually have about 5 liters sitting around. :D Thanks for your comment and sorry for the slow reply! I’m in the process of moving and haven’t had internet since Sunday.
O-M-G it is absolutely perfect, thank you so much for this amazing recipe!
Have a nice day! <3
I’m so happy you liked it! Thanks a bunch for your comment and I hope you’re having a great day, too. :)
This looks delicious. I was wondering if it was possible to make this recipe with pears instead of apples?
Thanks! I’ve never actually baked with pears so I’m not sure how they’d hold up. They’re a lot juicier than apples, right? That’s what would worry me. Sorry I don’t have a better answer for you!
I plan on baking this tomorrow for my mom’s birthday! I’m curious what kind of apples you chose to use?
I believe I used whatever I had laying around but I’d recommend a mix of Granny Smith and something sweeter! Here’s a great list of apples good for baking. I hope your mother has a great birthday. I’d love to hear how the pie comes out!
Vanilla is most definitely a thing in Europe and the ‘real’ thing is readily available in all supermarkets.
In my 9 years living in Sweden and Germany and travelling during that time, I have never found vanilla extract in any supermarket. I recently found artificial vanilla flavoring in a large German store (like Walmart) but that’s it. I haven’t looked in England, Ireland or anywhere in Eastern Europe so perhaps they have it. :)
You can find vanilla extract in a lot of food stores. I don’t know where you gave a look, but it is quit easily to find :)
I live in the Czech Republic and I have to agree with Erin :) And I thought it was a Czech thing!
Haha. It’s a European thing for sure! I’ve looked in so many full-sized grocery stores in lots of different countries and it doesn’t seem to exist. Unless they’re hiding it somewhere other than the baking aisle… ;)
Can you use another flour besides oat flour. If so which type?
I’ve only tried this with oat flour, sorry! Do you have oats? You can just process them in a food processor / coffee grinder until they’re powdery!
This looks ridiculously good. Dumb question.. but I’m new to cooking.. apples on the bottom and the oats mixture on top? Your pic doesn’t look too layered, does it all mix in while cooking or should the mixture be able to pour and combine through the apples? I’ve never made a pie without a crust before (or a pie in general to be honest!)
Thanks! And it’s not a dumb question. Now that I look at the pictures, it doesn’t look layered, does it? But I made the recipe exactly as written so I guess the mixture seeps down in there! I think this is a great pie to start off with because it’s a lot easier than a regular one. I’d love to hear how it comes out! Good luck. :)
Looks great! However, the recipe uses milk and egg. The milk could be non-dairy, which would make it non-dairy. It also uses an egg. Eggs are not vegan. You should not have it stated in your posting of the recipe that it is vegan. It is misleading. There is nothing naturally vegan in this recipe if you use regular milk and an egg. Please correct that misleading information in your post. Thanks!
The pie is vegan but the sauce isn’t. There’s a link to the vegan alternative for the sauce in the recipe. :)
Could I make an extra one and freeze it?
Hmm. I don’t think it’d freeze very well (but I could be wrong!).
Did you get that Swedish coffee cake recipe from Katerina @diethood? I would really like to try it also.
I am from a Norwegian family,. and we really like
our cardamom too.
I will be making your delicious Swedish apple pie
very soon. Thanks
I found it here! I hope you’ll enjoy the Swedish apple pie. :)
I’m confused. The vegan alternative also includes one large egg. I was under the impression the vegan means no animal products. Like eggs…or milk or cream. Maybe a better title for this post would be WITH vegan alternative recipe (that isn’t really vegan) having a large picture of the pie with vegan written on it is extremely misleading when it’s just a vegan alternative.
There’s no egg in the vegan alternative. You see where it says, “Use this as a vegan alternative”? You have to click on “this” to bring you to the vegan alternative. The vanilla sauce, which contains the egg, was just something extra I threw in because people asked for the recipe. The pie itself (the post is titled Swedish Apple Pie and not Swedish Apple Pie with Vanilla Sauce) is indeed vegan.
I was reading it the same as Brittany. I assumed the pink “this” wasn’t a hyperlink but rather it was saying the pink font words in the alternative recipe were the changes made. Bit confusing. Glad I read this though or I would have never clicked on the “this” : )
Oh! Thanks for explaining that. I couldn’t understand why people were having issues with it. I’ve made it clearer by saying, “please click here for the vegan alternative.” Thanks! :)
I could not find cardamom in the store! Will it taste very different without it?
It’ll be great without! You could add a little more cinnamon if you want. :)
Accidentally used almond extract for the topping instead of vanilla because I hadn’t quite had my coffee yet and it was amazing!! I recommend trying this version too!!
That does sound delicious! I love almond extract, especially paired with cardamom. I’m definitely trying that! Thanks for your tip. :)
I’ve never made a apple pie since going grain free. I bought so many apples, and my son Joe asked me to make a apple pie for tonite. I’ve look at so many but this one really caught my eye, so much that I’m not gonna make it, not until tomorrow anyway. I really want to give this pie a whole day to make sure it comes out right. I’ve read the comments and everyone is so nice and so friendly, I just wanted to say hi, and can’t wait to try this, and I’ll keep you guys posted on how it came out, my son is gonna love that sauce. He works out so much and eats clean most of the time, he really deserves this pie, heck we all do! Thanks, take care!
I hope that you and your son will enjoy the pie! But it’s not grain-free (because of the oats) – it’s just gluten-free. I hope that’ll still work for you all! Thanks so much for your nice comment. :)
Erin, I am totally making this tomorrow for Thanksgiving. Wondering though, since I don’t have to make it dairy free, do you think it would be fine with butter?
I’m honored that you want to make this for Thanksgiving. :) Coconut oil is 100% fat and butter is 80% so in certain types of recipes, you have to use a little less coconut oil than butter. I’m guessing you’d need 9.5 tablespoons of butter but it’s just a guess. I hope you’ll enjoy it!
This recipe is mislabeled as vegan, since it contains egg.
The pie doesn’t contain egg. The egg is in the optional vanilla sauce. In the post and in the recipe, I link to a vegan alternative for the vanilla sauce. I hope that helps. :)
You are so right! It’s vanilla sugar everything in Germany. Also, the fake vanilla is horrendous, I absolutely agree! Well, this Swedish apple pie takes the cake (gettit?!) – My mom is visiting and looking for stuff to bake so guess what I’ll be having tomorrow as dessert :)) thanks for another awesome recipe!!
Haha. Good one! :D How long has your mom been visiting?! It feels like it’s been such a long time!
I really wish I lived near you. I would be over every single Monday. Apples all the live long day.
I make my own extracts too. Just so much fun to make, and then you know what’s in them. Always a good thing.
I wish you lived near me, too! We could exchange goodies. :)
Yay for apple season!!!! This looks amazing, I might give a whirl this weekend along with vanilla bean ice cream.
Oh, I hope you will! It’s really yummy. :)
Ooooh ohh! I have heard of swedish apple pie… this looks WONDERFUL!
Thanks, Emma! It really was yummy and so different to American apple pie. :)
I’m so surprised that vanilla isn’t use often in European baking! Who knew?! Once again, you’ve made one stunning apple dessert. I need to make this for my husband.
Thanks! And yeah, they seem to prefer vanilla sugar for whatever reason. I definitely prefer extract. :)
This Swedish pie looks absolutely delicious and that vanilla sauce really tops it off nicely. I love cardamom too, so that’s a really nice touch with apples.
Thanks, Renee! :)
How wonderful you were an exchange student in Sweden and have spent time there. I love Swedish sweets and this is getting added to my list of must-bake!! That vanilla sauce looks fantastic!
I hope you’ll enjoy it! And I love Swedish sweets, too. :D
Looks divine! Also, I should let you know that vanilla extract is totally a thing in the UK – I think it’s more in Continental Europe where it’s harder to find :) x
Oh, neat! I’ll have to look for it the next time I go. Thanks for the tip. :)
I love cardamom too, it’s awesome in cranberry sauce at the holidays! This cake looks like something I need to make ASAP!
I’ve never tried it in cranberry sauce. I’ll have to try that!
I have GOT to try this!! Love the flavors. This looks like perfection!
I hope you’ll enjoy it! :)
Holy moly….I am drooling over here. Thank goodness because you just made my Monday! That sauce, that cake, everything about it has my name on it!
Come and get it! It’s waiting for you. :D
That looks so much better than so many apple cakes I’ve seen around, more dense and lots of apples. But that vanilla sauce looks even better, i’d use that to top on pretty much everything!
Haha. Sounds like a plan! It fits well on practically everything. :)
I love autumn time! This automatically makes me think of all kind of different “wintery” spices I can use in recipes. Love how you have combined them with apples!
Thanks so much, Sarah! And me, too. It’s the best time of the year for baking. :)
These pictures have me drooling! Looks super delicious!
It is, indeed! Thanks. :)
Love the spices that you added and that you made it your own! I have never made Swedish apple pie but it looks too good not to try!
Yes! You have to try it. :)
I think I’m in love with this unique pie! I make a Swedish coffee cake and everyone is always like, what the what?!? It’s totally different than its American counterpart. :-D
Haha. Is the recipe online?! I want to see! :)
That sauce looks amazing topped over all that apple yumminess!
Thanks so much, Amy!
Looks lovely! I love that vanilla sauce!