This Mock Apple Crisp Is Made From Zucchini—And Tastes Just Like The Real Thing

When life hands you a crap ton of zucchini, make this.

October 11, 2017
zucchini crisp
Karen Shimizu

When you’re elbow deep in zucchini—or a sneaky neighbor left a bunch on your porch—and the apple trees have yet to proffer up their sweet holdings, try making this mock apple crisp, which uses zucchini instead of apples. (Here’s how to grow zucchini—loads of it!—at home.)

It turns out that when zucchini is cooked down with sugar, it’s extremely hard to tell it apart from apples, making this cheap and abundant vegetable an convincing stand-in for fruit in a cinnamon-spiced skillet zucchini “apple” crisp. (It’s also a great way to use up that zucchini, when you can’t face making one more loaf of zucchini bread.)


(Brag your love of gardening with the Organic Life 2018 Wall Calendar, featuring gorgeous photographs, cooking tips and recipes, plus how to eat more—and waste less—of what's in season.)

This zucchini mock apple crisp recipe comes together in a flash. In the time it takes to peel and core a single apple, you can have all of your zucchini sliced and ready to go. Starting the mock apple crisp on the stove thickens the lightly spiced sauce and jumpstarts the softening of the zucchini.

Related: This Is The Apple Crisp Recipe That Made Me Ditch My Mom's

As the zucchini slices release their water, they add just enough moisture to make a sauce—what we call the good “gusz.” Then it’s as simple as sprinkling on the topping ingredients and transferring the whole skillet crisp into the oven, where the liquid bubbles up and over some of the sugary oats to create a magical, sweet crunch.

zucchini crisp
Karen Shimizu


Serve the zucchini mock apple crisp right in the skillet, à la mode, and we’re pretty sure no one will know it isn’t apple.

Try topping your crisp with easy homemade whipped cream—you can make it in a mason jar, like so:

Skillet Zucchini Mock Apple Crisp

Serves 6

For the topping:
½ cup rolled oats
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter

For the filling:
2 medium zucchini, peeled, halved lengthwise, sliced into ¼” thick half moons (4 cups)
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. Make the topping: In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt. Using your fingers, add the butter and combine until it resembles a crumble. Refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Make the filling: Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium skillet, combine the zucchini, lemon juice, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the juices have thickened, about 3 minutes.

3. Assemble the crisp: Sprinkle the topping over the zucchini and bake until golden and the filling is bubbling, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool about 15 minutes before serving.