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Brown Sugar Zapple Crisp

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This fun recipe turns summer zucchini into a delicious dessert. The brown sugar crisp tastes so good, and it’s just like eating an apple crisp. Top with vanilla ice cream for a perfect summer treat.

Bowl of mock apple crisp made from zucchini slices and brown sugar oat topping served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

This lovely apple crisp doesn’t have a single apple in it.  Instead, it uses some of the glut of zucchini that seems to happen every summer.

I know it is hard to believe, but those zucchini taste just like apples when you follow this recipe.  In fact, this might just be the best apple crisp you’ve ever had, and there isn’t a single apple in it.

Just trust me and make it. Or make it to prove me wrong and see what happens.

Either way, make this zucchini mock apple crisp to try it for yourself!

Zucchini growers know there are phases to zucchini season. Every year, it follows the same cyclic pattern.

  1. Gee, I can’t wait for these zucchini to start producing.
  2. Mmmmm, I sure do love zucchini bread and zoodles.
  3. Won’t my friends love these extra zucchini I have?
  4. My freezer is overflowing with shredded zucchini. I can make a loaf of zucchini bread every other day all winter long!
  5. My friends and family say I’m no longer welcome until zucchini season is over. I just picked zucchini yesterday and there are already new ones the size of my thigh out there!
  6. Man, zucchini season is over. I sure wish I could have made another batch of alfredo zoodles while we had the chance!
  7. I can’t wait to plant zucchini! 

Does that sound familiar? I’m sure it does!

While tasty and fun, there is always a point during the season where you’ve had some sort of zucchini dish every day for 10 straight days and you still have a five gallon bucket of zucchini staring at you.

So it is great to have a wide variety of recipes to use them in. We always sauté them with garlic, salt and pepper and finish them with some Parmesan.

Little Dude loves using the zoodler, so we usually have them with alfredo sauce and shrimp a few times. I’ll be sharing a fun Italian sausage and veggie sheet pan supper recipe with you this week as well. 

More Sweet Zucchini Reciprs

The nice thing about zucchini is that with its mild flavor, it lends itself to sweet recipes as well.  We really enjoy the mini zucchini loaves from Seattle recipe I found while baking from Maida Heatter’s Cakes book with the Cake Slice Bakers.

My brother makes a great zucchini bread too and I’ll share his recipe on Friday. But one of my favorite ways to make zucchini sweet is in Jan’s Almost Apple Pie.

I love how surprising it is to eat zucchini that way. It tastes just like apple pie.

In the comments of that recipe somebody suggested that they love zapple crisp. I instantly fell in love with the idea and knew I had to run with it.

So this is my own take on that idea.

plate of zucchini apple crisp with brown sugar oat topping, ready to eat.

Making Mock Apple Crisp From Zucchini

I started out using the almost apple pie recipe’s filling as a base. We like it so much that it seemed silly to try to reinvent the wheel.

Then, I made a topping that was full of oats and brown sugar.  I pressed the topping into the apples a bit.

That way, it married itself into something extra delicious. 

Let me tell you, this is getting made again! I knew we were going to like it, but those caramelly undertones of the brown sugar and the oatmeal crisp really made it something special.

Of course, a scoop of MiMi’s homemade ice cream didn’t hurt a thing.      

close up plate of zucchini zapple crisp with scoop of vanilla ice cream on it.

Now we are sadly to the point of waiting for next year’s harvest. Those last few zucchini sat around for a few days as I struggled for inspiration, and now I am longing for more!

For another tasty zucchini dessert, try easy chocolate zucchini cake. Or make some strawberry zucchini jam.

What are your favorite zucchini recipes?

Plate of gooey zucchini zapple crisp with scoop of vanilla ice cream, ready to eat.

Brown Sugar Zapple Crisp

Servings: 8 Servings
Author: Carlee
This fun recipe turns summer zucchini into a delicious dessert! The brown sugar crisp tastes so good and it’s just like eating an apple crisp. Top with vanilla ice cream for a perfect summer treat.
4.84 from 18 ratings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


Zucchini Filling

  • 6 cups zucchini
  • teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 dashes nutmeg
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • teaspoons ground cinnamon

Crisp Topping

  • 1 cup light brown sugar packed
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup butter


Zucchini Prep

  • For medium zucchini, peel, slice in half lengthwise, remove seeds and then thinly slice. the slices should resemble apple slices. For small zucchini with tender seeds, I usually just peel and slice.
    6 cups zucchini
  • In a large skillet or saucepan, cook zucchini in a small amount of water for 10 minutes. Begin timing when the water begins to bubble. Remove from heat and drain completely.
  • Mix cream of tartar, salt, flour, lemon juice, nutmeg, sugar and cinnamon with zucchini.
    1½ teaspoons cream of tartar, 1 pinch salt, 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, 2 dashes nutmeg, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Pour into a 9 inch pan or small casserole. I used a deep dish pie plate.

Crisp Topping

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Mix together brown sugar, flour and rolled oats.
    1 cup light brown sugar, ¾ cup all-purpose flour, ¾ cup rolled oats
  • Either cut in the butter using a couple of knives or use your fingers to work it into the flour, sugar and oats. The mixture should be crumbly when finished.
    ½ cup butter
  • Sprinkle over the zucchini, pressing in lightly.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the filling is bubbly and the topping is golden.



Serving: 1ServingCalories: 347kcalCarbohydrates: 61gProtein: 4gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 110mgFiber: 3gSugar: 44g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating


Tuesday 19th of September 2023

This was so delicious my husband took some to work & let his coworker think it was apple crisp & when he said now you’ve tried zucchini, she couldn’t believe it. Next time I will try using a little less sugar in the filling & maybe make only half the topping. Although I thought it was great as is, it was a little too sweet for me.


Tuesday 19th of September 2023

I love that he was able to fool her. Cutting down the sugar should work great.

Barb Costello

Sunday 28th of August 2022

I just whipped up a pan of this Zapple Crisp and WOW!! We loved this so much. Our zucchini has produced abundantly this summer so I was searching for new ways to use it and I found this recipe. My husband said this is definitely a keeper. Thanks, Carlee, for such a delicious and easy dessert.😍


Sunday 28th of August 2022

That makes me so happy! I am really glad you liked it and now you have a fun new way to use all that zucchini!

Larissa S

Thursday 25th of August 2022

Wow! Thank you for this recipe! I made it today and it turned out incredible!! I changed a few things and it worked great for me. I replaced the sugar with monkfruit sugar and the brown sugar with half monkfruit half 0 cal maple syrup. I also saw a comment saying that they cooked the zucchini in apple juice and I had a lot of apple cider in my fridge so I used that instead of water and it turned out fantastic. I tasted it right after cooking it, and it was basically an apple slice! This recipe will definitely become a staple dish in my home!

Thank you so much!


Thursday 25th of August 2022

YAY! I am so glad you were able to make some adjustments to make them work for you.


Monday 1st of August 2022

Love it! But the second time around I first cooked the zucchini in apple juice instead of the water. Turned out amazing!


Monday 1st of August 2022

That's a fun idea! I am glad you liked it.


Sunday 24th of July 2022

My countertop is covered in zucchini so I thought I would give this a try. Delicious! Hubby had two helpings.


Sunday 24th of July 2022

I am so glad you liked it! Isn't it a fun way to use some zucchini?