Low Carb ‘Apple’ Crumble (i.e. Chayote Squash) 🍏 gluten free & keto

Gluten Free & Keto Apple Crumble (i.e. Chayote Crumble) 🍏
Gluten Free & Keto Apple Crumble (i.e. Chayote Crumble) 🍏 #keto #ketodessert #lowcarbdessert

Keto Apple Crumble 🍏

i.e. Chayote Squash Crumble

If you’ve been doing keto for a while, odds are you’ve heard of chayote squash subbing in for all things apple. From a classic apple pie, to keto apple crumble, and even English minced pies. So we decided to take this traditionally Mexican veggie for a ride.

So how well can chayote squash impersonate an apple?Β πŸ”

The Background

Chayote, crisp and mostly taste-less, is an interesting veggie. Related to melons, cucumber and squash, it’s traditionally used in savory dishes in Mexican cuisine.

And aside from being low carb (think 2.8g net carbs/100g serving), chayote is rich in dietary fiber, iron, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, potassium, copper, vitamins B1, B2, B6 and C. Not to mention a bunch of antioxidants.


And living in Mexico and all, we couldn’t wait to give it a shot given that we adore all things apple come fall.

The Results

We were oddly divided by this keto mock apple crumble. It’s very yummy, don’t get us wrong (we wouldn’t be posting it if it weren’t!). But during tasting, it seemed that the apple-ness factor varied from taste bud to taste bud.

But does it really taste like apples?

Nope, not quite. But it seems that to some people it tastes almost like apples, and to others it simply doesn’t quite do it. So we suggest you still give them a go, in case you’re one of the lucky few to whom chayote tastes like apples.

But don’t despair, as there are some things you can do to make it more apple-like.

And is it worth the 7g net carbs?

Well, this definitely depends on how much you miss (and love!) apples.

The Extract 🍏

This apple extract is a real wonder. It helps to up the apple factor up quite a notch. So if whipping anything apple/chayote this fall, make sure to get hold of this extract.

The AcidityΒ πŸ‹

Apples, unlike chayote, are rather acidic. So you really need to up your acid factor via lemon juice here. We suggest starting with 1 tablespoon, and adding more as needed to taste.

Gluten Free & Keto Apple Crumble (i.e. Chayote Crumble) 🍏
Gluten Free & Keto Apple Crumble (i.e. Chayote Crumble) 🍏 #keto #ketodessert #lowcarbdessert

The Thickener

In all our tests with chayote, we found that a thickener (i.e. arrowroot etc) is not really needed. You see, chayote has a funny quality in that it releases some water at the beginning of cooking and after 15 minutes or so it soaks it all back in.

So when we added arrowroot (or even tapioca) during testing, the crumble came out all dry and clumpy. But when we let it do it’s own thing, the texture came out just right after 30 minutes of baking. Slightly crunchy, yet nice and tender.

If you’re planning on making a mock apple pie with chayote, this poses a slight problem. Unless you’re doing a skillet pie with just a crust on top (which is what we would suggest), the chayote will make your bottom crust all soggy. You may want to sprinkle some arrowroot on the bottom crust to try and soak up some of the liquid, but it’s not really ideal. And in all honesty, we have not been very successful in whipping up a perfect keto ‘apple’ pie with chayote (i.e. a flakey crust top and bottom, with a perfectly set center).

The Sweetener 🍯

Apples are clearly much sweeter than chayote. As in, chayote is not sweet at all. So you’ll have to do some tasting here, to cater to your sweet tooth.

And in terms of brands, pick your poison.

Though do note that we like Swerve best here. No funky aftertaste at all.

PyureΒ also works, just note that it’s not our top choice here. It seems that it leaves behind a slight stevia trace when the crumbles are warm, though it might just be us.

Fun fact: it might also be our taste buds here, but we’ve noticed that stevia-based sweeteners (such as Pyure) work best when allowed to cool completely. Or even after a thorough chilling. i.e. when we made test batches with Pyure (stevia & erythitrol) and Sweetleaf (stevia), the stevia taste was very prevalent when warm (particularly with Sweetleaf). But after allowing them to cool completely, the stevia taste was barely discernible. If at all.

Feel free to read up on our picks for the 10 best low-carb natural sweeteners.

But whatever you decide, you really don’t want to miss out on a scoop of ourΒ suuuper creamy keto vanilla ice cream. 🍦

Gluten Free & Keto Apple Crumble (i.e. Chayote Crumble) 🍏
Gluten Free & Keto Apple Crumble (i.e. Chayote Crumble) 🍏 #keto #ketodessert #lowcarbdessert
Low Carb & Keto Vanilla Ice cream 🍦 1g net carbs
Low Carb & Keto Vanilla Ice cream 🍦 1g net carbs #keto #ketoicecream #lowcarbicecream
Gluten Free & Keto Apple Crumble (i.e. Chayote Crumble) 🍏
Gluten Free & Keto Apple Crumble (i.e. Chayote Crumble) 🍏 #keto #ketodessert #lowcarbdessert
Low Carb & Keto Vanilla Ice cream 🍦 1g net carbs
Low Carb & Keto Vanilla Ice cream 🍦 1g net carbs #keto #ketoicecream #lowcarbicecream
Gluten Free & Keto Apple Crumble (i.e. Chayote Crumble) 🍏
Gluten Free & Keto Apple Crumble (i.e. Chayote Crumble) 🍏 #keto #ketodessert #lowcarbdessert
Gluten Free & Keto Apple Crumble (i.e. Chayote Crumble) 🍏

Keto Apple Crumble (i.e. Chayote Squash) 🍏 Sweet & Crunchy

Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American, European, Gluten Free, Ketogenic, Paleo
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 371 kcal

Crisp, sweet, and quite apple-like, chayote makes for a great substitute if missing apples come fall! But before whipping up an entire pie, we suggest giving these keto apple crumble a try. 



For the almond & pecan crumble:

For the chayote filling:

  • 300 g chayote squash peeled, cored & diced
  • 1-2 tablespoons Swerve *to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon apple extract
  • 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350Β°F/180Β°C.

  2. Whisk thoroughly together in a bowl almond flour, coconut flour, Swerve, cinnamon and pinch of salt. Add in butter and rub the mixture with your hands until it resembles coarse bread crumbs. Incorporate pecans and set aside.

  3. Mix together, in a rimmed baking tray or dish, chayote, Swerve, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and lemon juice (starting with 1 tablespoon, tasting and adding more as needed). Add in apple extract, starting with just 1/2 teaspoon, adding more to taste. 

  4. Top with crumble mixture and bake for 25 to 27 minutes, covering the crumble with foil after 10 minutes to avoid excessive browning.

  5. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle, or store refrigerated for up to 3 days. Note that the 'apple' taste intensifies once thoroughly cooled. 

Nutrition Facts
Keto Apple Crumble (i.e. Chayote Squash) 🍏 Sweet & Crunchy
Amount Per Serving
Calories 371 Calories from Fat 315
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 35g 54%
Saturated Fat 14g 70%
Cholesterol 55mg 18%
Sodium 196mg 8%
Potassium 218mg 6%
Total Carbohydrates 13g 4%
Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
Sugars 3g
Protein 6g 12%
Vitamin A 13%
Vitamin C 14%
Calcium 6.4%
Iron 7.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.



  1. Chrissie says:

    Love love love your recipes, gal! Keep β€˜em coming! ^_^

    Just a couple of things – when do you add the butter for the filling (is it melted?), and how do you taste whether there’s enough lemon juice etc. do you suck on a piece of chayote? ;P

    • Paola says:

      That’s awesome to hear Chrissie! You can just add the butter diced, it’ll melt in the oven. And yup on the tasting (tasting as you go is the best way to yield best results!). A reader above you gave her method about cooking the chayote before, and that would give you the easiest taste-as-you-go results xo!

  2. Diana says:

    I have been following you for awhile and I love your recipes! Every one I’ve tried has turned out well and I have a list I want to go through and try.

    I have a suggestion for this recipe, though. I’ve been using chayotes to replace apples in pies, crumbles, and muffins for awhile now, and I have found that it is necessary to simmer them for at least 30-40 minutes (depending on how thickly they are sliced) to soften them and develop the texture of cooked apples before using them in a pie or muffin recipe. I do like you do, add lemon juice, sweetener, cinnamon, and apple flavoring.

    I’ve even taste-tested these with several people, simmering separate batches of apples, chayotes, and zucchini, all sliced the same way and sweetened and lemon juiced to match the sweet-tartness of the apples. Then I cooked all three to the same degree of softness, which took 5-10 minutes for the apples and zucchini and about 40 minutes for the chayotes. Then I had people taste and pick which they thought were squash and which were apples. Every single person has identified the prepared chayotes, along with the apples, as the β€œapples”, and the zucchini as the β€œsquash”. I’m thinking that if you do the precooking of the chayotes, they might taste more β€œapple-y” in your pie or crisp.

    • Paola says:

      Hi Diana! So happy to hear you’re enjoying the recipes so much. And THANK YOU for your thorough tip, I’ll definitely be trying it when I next bake with chayote πŸ™‚ xo and thanks again for sharing!

    • Jenny says:

      I was thinking the exact same thing….precook the chayotes to get rid of the excess moisture and “let it do it’s thing” and blind bake the bottom crust and do a “french/dutch” crumble on top.

  3. Cindy says:

    Even when I make regular apple pie, I sometimes bake the crust first, baking a pie shell, and then either a circular piece of pie crust, prepared, or little pieces of baked crust, then I cook the filling on top of the stove, cool a bit, then put the filling in the baked shell and put the cooked pastry pieces on top. That will solve the soggy crust problem. I have ordered sugar free apple spiced cider drink mix to season the chayote “apple” pie, too.

    • Paola says:

      Hi Monika, it’s after peeling… but feel free to play around with the chayote to crumble ratio to your liking!

  4. Courtney says:

    Thanks for sharing this! I miss living in the US, where getting my hands on something like chayote squash would’ve been really easy. Here in the UK, it’s a bit more complicated. Boo. However, I’m going to steal your recipe for the crumble topping and use it over blackberries and maybe softened jicama to make a good crisp!

    • Paola says:

      HA! I actually lived in the UK for 7 years… remember exactly what you can get! I remember I did see jicama a couple times, and it’s also a fairly good sub for apple (and even French fries!).

  5. soraya miller says:

    this is true, i’ve tried using chayote as apples and surprisingly my kids absolutely loved it… me not so much!

    • Paola says:

      Exactly! It’s definitely a taste thing, and also worth trying in case you’re one of the lucky few!

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