Legit ‘Apple’ Pie 🍏 gluten free & keto

This (mock!) low carb and keto apple pie is absolutely legit! Think our suuuper flaky pie crust with an unbelievable zucchini filling, that might just give apples a run for their money!

Mock keto apple pie with zucchini
(Mock!) Gluten Free, Low Carb & Keto Apple Pie with Zucchini

Low Carb & Keto ‘Apple’ Pie

The Real Deal!

This guy right here is surely top 5 of my favorite recipes on the site. Could also be because apple pie was my favorite dessert pre-keto… but this is honestly an exceptional ‘apple’ pie in whatever light you view it. More than happy to provide friends and family references for the skeptics amongst you!

The filling is essentially a less spiced-up version of the keto ‘apple’ muffins (from Keto Speedy Comfort Food eCookbook!), where it became clear that zucchini might just give apples a run for their money!

And it turns out that the texture of the zucchini might be even more suitable than apples for pie! You see, the tricky thing about a terrific apple pie is getting the apples to the perfect point: soft, but with a bite.

Meanwhile, zucchini seem to hold on to their bite even after and hour-and-something cooking time (stovetop + oven). So it’s honestly pretty much fool-proof.

So I cannot recommend enough that you whip it up (asap!). Enjoy as is, or top with our vanilla ice cream and while you’re at it don’t skip the gooey keto caramel!

Drizzling sugar free caramel onto a slice of keto apple pie with vanilla ice cream
(Mock!) Gluten Free, Low Carb & Keto Apple Pie with Zucchini

The Brown-Butter ‘Apple’ i.e. Zucchini!

As I said in the book, my (keto) life will never be the same guys! I’ve always been a big time apple lover and this is just too ideal. Zucchini just became my favorite veggie! #applepieforlife

The essential trick? The acidity punch! You need to be sure to add enough lemon and give the zucchini ample time to absorb the brown-butter lemony juices.

And yup, zucchini impersonating apples isn’t a new thing… but with a few solid tips and tricks you won’t even need the help of an apple extract! (Which is for instance needed in our apple ‘chayote’ crumble).

Filling up a keto pie crust with the mock apple filling
(Mock!) Gluten Free, Low Carb & Keto Apple Pie with Zucchini
Making the lattice of the keto apple pie
(Mock!) Gluten Free, Low Carb & Keto Apple Pie with Zucchini
Unbaked gluten free and keto mocked apple pie
(Mock!) Gluten Free, Low Carb & Keto Apple Pie with Zucchini

The Sweetener

You’ve got good options here.  Lakanto Golden and Xylitol (non-corn though to avoid tummy troubles!) are my top choices (no aftertaste at all!). I haven’t tried with allulose, but I bet it works great too (very similar behavior to xylitol).

Oh, and if not restricted by sugars, simply sub 1-to-1 with coconut or regular sugar.

And if using xylitol, make sure to be careful if you have a pup (or kitty!) around the house, as it’s highly toxic to the little guys!

The Deets

When rolling out the pie crust, you may want to use parchment or wax paper. Given the lack of gluten, the crust is more fragile and it will break easily if not handled with care. So I suggest rolling it out between two sheets of parchment paper. Easy peasy.

And talking about lack of gluten, this is the reason why the dough will crack slightly when baked. I’ve noticed that the cracking can be lessened by allowing the dough to rest overnight (rather than for an hour), though note that taste and texture will be the same. I also noted that by increasing the xanthan gum you can get a silky smooth crust, but at the cost of losing quite a bit of flakiness. So I most definitely sacrificed some aesthetics for the sake of taste and texture.

Some of you have reported back that it’s difficult to handle, be sure to check that your cream cheese has xanthan gum. And if you still can’t make it work, you’ll have to up the xanthan gum to 1/2 teaspoon.

One last thing. Like with any pastry dough, make sure not to over-process the dough. The mixture ought to resemble coarse breadcrumbs rather than cookie dough.

Freshly baked gluten free and keto pie crust lattice
(Mock!) Gluten Free, Low Carb & Keto Apple Pie with Zucchini

Just One Rule

Make sure the filling is completely chilled before filling up the pie. Otherwise you will (quite literally) see the pastry melt before your very eyes.

And remember that, like with any pastry dough, you need to work quickly and over a cool surface. Though do note that if the dough becomes too hard to manage, you can always pop it back in the fridge for 15 minutes before carrying on!

Freshly baked low carb and keto apple pie with zucchini
(Mock!) Gluten Free, Low Carb & Keto Apple Pie with Zucchini
A slice of keto apple pie with vanilla ice cream and caramel
(Mock!) Gluten Free, Low Carb & Keto Apple Pie with Zucchini

The Recipe Video

Mock keto apple pie with zucchini

Low Carb & Keto ‘Apple’ Pie (i.e. Zucchini!)

Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: gluten free, grain free, keto, low carb
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Chilling Time: 1 hour
Servings: 10 slices
Calories: 361 kcal

This (mock!) low carb and keto apple pie is absolutely legit! Think our suuuper flaky pie crust with an unbelievable zucchini filling, that might just give apples a run for their money!

Oh, and if baking with cups rather than grams is your thing, just click on US Cups for an instant conversion.

Print

Ingredients

For the keto pie crust

For the 'apple' filling

Instructions

For the keto pie crust

  1. See recipe video for guidance on the pie crust, and whip up a double batch! You can make it three days ahead, or even freeze it for a couple months (simply thaw it out in your fridge overnight and roll it out per usual!). 

For the brown-butter 'apple'

  1. Heat up the butter in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium/low heat. Continue to simmer the butter, stirring once in a while, until fully browned (about 4-6 minutes).

  2. Add in the zucchini, spices, salt and mix everything together. Add in the lower amounts of sweetener and lemon juice, cover, lower heat to low, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove lid and taste for sweetness and acidity; you’ll most likely need to add more of both (don’t be afraid of the lemon juice, as it’s acidity is what will give it that apple kick once it’s thoroughly absorbed).

  3. Cover once again and cook for 10 more minutes. Remove the lid, taste again, and allow to cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes longer to thicken up the juices. Allow to cool completely before filling up the pie! 

To assemble the pie

  1. Preheat oven to 390°F/200°C. Lightly butter a 9 inch pie pan. Roll out 1 batch of pie crust into a roughly 13-inch circle, between two sheets of parchment paper. Feel free to lightly dust with coconut flour as needed. Transfer to the pie dish, using the parchment paper as an aid. Refrigerate while you prepare the rest. 

  2. Roll out the second pie crust and trim to desired width for lattice (roughly 1 1/2 inch). Take your pie dish out of the fridge, fill up with chilled 'apple-zucchini' and weave the lattice, crimping the edges to seal. You'll have leftover pie crust, which I simply re-roll and turn into crackers!

  3. Brush with egg wash and bake for 15 minutes. To get a shiny finish, take your pie out of the oven and brush it quickly and lightly again with more egg wash (grain free baking beautifying hack!). Return to oven and bake until fully golden (20-25 minutes longer). Allow to cool completely to allow the filling to set... or honestly try a slice lightly warm after roughly 20 mins (won't be fully set but oh-so-good!)!

Recipe Notes

*I find that you need to add waaay more apple pie spices when zucchini is involved... but the beauty of cooking your zucchini on the stovetop is that you can add them little by little to taste!

Please note that nutrition facts were estimated per very large slice (obviously more carb-y than other desserts on the site... but honestly one slice is a full meal!). Or you could always make it into (more diet-friendly!) hand pies... or do a single crust and shave off about 2g net. 

Nutrition Facts
Low Carb & Keto ‘Apple’ Pie (i.e. Zucchini!)
Amount Per Serving (1 slice)
Calories 361 Calories from Fat 270
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 30g 46%
Saturated Fat 15g 75%
Cholesterol 12mg 4%
Sodium 56mg 2%
Potassium 534mg 15%
Total Carbohydrates 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
Sugars 5g
Protein 6.5g 13%
Vitamin A 10.8%
Vitamin C 49.1%
Calcium 4.1%
Iron 4.5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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44 comments

  1. Lynda says:

    I don’t have a scale. How many cups of zucchini would this be?
    I saw that somebody wrote they used 12 ….

      • Lynda says:

        Ummm….well …. no….that didn’t seem to do it, to pull up measurements in cups … however… I later managed to re-activate my old broken scale! 😀
        So… I made it….. just the filling, not the crust. (I was just curious about zucchini being made to taste like apples.)
        I was quite impressed with the results.
        My husband … he was actually blown away!
        It wasn’t, to me, 100% like apple….I’m not fooled easily with “imitation food”….
        ….. but it was close enough!
        I didn’t have apple extract. Maybe that would help….and I already used the maximum of suggested amounts of lemon juice and sweetener. But I could try using more…
        I will definitely make this again. I don ‘t think I will bother with the crust…seems too time consuming and I have never been happy with any coconut or almond flour baking. Too gritty. Never fools me.
        I think I will just serve the filling warm with keto vanilla ice cream. Keep things simple.

  2. Jani Chayut says:

    Oh my gosh! Made this for turkey day. Tastes just like apples, and I hate zucchini! Loved this. Didn’t read the comments first and screwed up the crust with too much liquid but it was still fantastic!
    Now I’m going toi try zoodles next. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    PS. Just got your new cookbook. The PB pancakes look killer. Brunch this weekend 😀

    Update, just found the stars! I’d double it if I could.

    • Paola says:

      Thank you for your support Jani!! SO happy to hear this was a hit (and yup on the liquid, you always want to keep that in check as there’s no sweetener- but I’ll add a note to the recipe!). Hope you love the pancakes (they’re a fav of mine!) xo!!

  3. Jani Chayut says:

    Oh my gosh! Made this for turkey day. Tastes just like apples, and I hate zucchini! Loved this. Didn’t read the comments first and screwed up the crust with too much liquid but it was still fantastic!
    Now I’m going toi try zoodles next. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    PS. Just got your new cookbook. The PB pancakes look killer. Brunch this weekend 😀

    • Lisa says:

      I’m perplexed. Why use cornstarch in a keto recipe? Why not just use apples if cornstarch is okay for you?

  4. Colleen says:

    I am planning on making this recipe in hand pie using your crust recipe. Can I make them (not bake them) and put them in the fridge overnight or will the moisture from the zucchini ruin the pie dough?

  5. Emily says:

    This apple pie truely is legit, especially with your vanilla ice cream on top! I’ll have to try the caramel sauce as well next time! The only problem I had was my bottom crust didn’t seem to cook at all so the pie didn’t come out in slices, more of a crumble, but still delicious. Do you think I didn’t roll it thin enough? The filling was quiet watery going in as well so that may have been the issue. I’ll be making this again soon so any tips to make it work better next time is greatly appreciated! I love all your recipes!

    • Paola says:

      Hi Emily! The watery filling was the thing (it kept the crust from cooking). You want to reduce your zucchini on the stove-top until it’s no longer watery (you may need to turn up the heat for about 5 minutes at the end to push the evaporation). That will do the trick ;)! so happy to hear you enjoyed the taste though!!

    • Lynda says:

      Oh my word. The caramel sauce was just awesome. Not in the least fake tasting. And I don’t fool easily.
      But when it cooled, it went all granular.
      It must be the erythritol.

    • Paola says:

      Did it break for you? Honestly I was surprised it didn’t break, I just laid the pieces over one another and hoped for the best. If you are having a few issues (check that your cream cheese has xanthan gum), otherwise you can always double the xanthan gum and it should help (lose a bit of flakiness, but will barely be noticeable here) xo!

  6. Denise says:

    Wow, this looks so good and beautiful too! I would like to have it for Thanksgiving. How is it the second day? Does the bottom crust get soggy easily? I really don’t want to be making it on the big day. Thank you, thank you for all you do!

    • Paola says:

      Honestly barely any difference! My house is quite cool, so I have just covered it with cling film and let it sit out overnight (no difference really)… then for third and fourth days I popped it in the fridge and it was still delicious! So up, make it ahead ( I did so for Friendsgiving!) xo!

  7. texasgirlfarfromhome says:

    Paola, I lived in the Philippines for some years, and a friend of mine had worked at McDonalds. He said their apple pies were not made with apples but with chayote, so your hand pies surprised me not at all. Is there a special reason you switched to zucchini instead of chayote in the pie recipe?? What would be your opinion on adding a teaspoon of apple extract or flavoring? I am interested in keto more than the gluten free or paleo. Keep up the good work, I love what you are doing.

    • Paola says:

      Whaaaaat?! Trust Mickey D to always find the cheapest local alternative 😂 but yeah, chayote and zucchini can both impersonate apples to the t! I just have a preference for zucchini here as it keeps a nice bite and doesn’t turn into mush!

      And thank you for your sweet comment! How kind of you to say!

  8. Debbie says:

    I’m not so much n apple pie eater, but I do love me some apple crisp. Any ideas for a keto topping for that, and I totally eat it with vanilla ice cream, so you recipe for that will be a dream.

  9. Lisa says:

    O-M-to the G!!! This is a thing of beauty!!! I got a single tear in my eye when I saw the pic of the pie a la mode… with caramel sauce no less! WOW! WOW! WOW! To think I can now eat like this virtually guilt free and maintain my health goals is overwhelming.

    And don’t get me started on the pics of the crust. That lattice is gorgeous… Both raw and baked! I am mesmerized.

    Btw… Just days before I learned of your zucchini trick, I had used your pop tart recipe to make mock apple pop tarts with chayote. The filling recipe called for cream of tartar to mimic the acidity in apples. I liked the idea because it didn’t require more liquid. I think I still added a little lemon juice for good measure and feel it should be in every apple pie, real or mock.

    • Paola says:

      It’s wonderful what you can still enjoy on the keto diet right?! Silly of me when I think back, but I literally burst into tears when my doctor told me I would have to be grain free and hopefully I could manage a keto diet… I surely eat better now and keep my autoimmune in check 🙂 Totally get you!

      And a big ‘OOOOH’ on the cream of tartar! But of course! it ads acidity in baked goods.. say snickerdoodle cookies and the yeast bread! It could prob even lower the carbs a bit (no idea on its carbs, but prob less than lemon juice!). How brilliant Lisa thanks for sharing xo!

    • Paola says:

      I actually think it’s probably one of the least scary baking recipes on the site Gina! You see, you cook the zucchini prior (i.e. you can make sure it tastes good before putting it in the oven!)… unlike cakes in general were you cross your fingers and hope for the best 😂

      You can also just do a trial with one zucchini, no need to whip up the entire batch! 😉

    • Paola says:

      The crazy thing is that it doesn’t at all (this is written in the intro). I was afraid I had overcooked it as I left it covered too long (forgot to set my alarm!) BUT the final pie had an awesome bite!

  10. Maddy Avena says:

    You people are just amazing. Thank you for all the given away knowledge, hacks, recipes, enthusiasm. Wow. I am a big fan 🙂

  11. Jess says:

    Your mock apple zucchini is absolutely incredible!! I made the muffins just this weekend, didn’t tell the fam they were zucchini, and no one questioned they weren’t apples LOL!

    • Paola says:

      Jess how awesome to hear you were able to fool the fam!! I totally did it with friends over Friendsgiving this past weekend 😜

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