All the apple pie vibes with less work and fewer calories! Stuffed or sliced, this baked apple recipe with cinnamon, brown sugar and nuts is the perfect dessert to make any night of the week.
Baked apples for when you don't have time for apple pie!
I'm all for homemade apple pie or warm apple strudel, but if you're looking for something easy that will give you all the apple pie vibes with less work (and fewer calories), I give you: baked apples!
Warm and tender baked apples with cinnamon, brown sugar, and any nuts you have will taste and feel as delicious as apple pie. I love that you can make them any night of the week for a simple dessert with very little planning. Serve them as is or add your favorite vanilla ice cream (or even a dollop of homemade labneh).
I wrote this recipe for baked apples that you can make two ways--stuffed with the cinnamon and brown sugar mixture, or sliced up and tossed in the same delicious mixture.
The stuffed baked apples will take just 10 to 15 minutes longer, but they do deliver on the wow factor in every way! I highly recommend you try the stuffed apple method.
Which apples are best for baked apples?
There are many apples to choose from, but when it comes to baking, select ones that are large and firm. The best apples for baking are ones that can hold up under the heat and won't turn mushy when cooked. Depending on how tart or sweet you like your apples, here are a few good options for baking:
- Granny smith. Known as go-to baking apples, Granny Smith apples are green and quite tart (I prefer them in a salad)
- Pink lady. These are crisp and balanced in flavor between sweet and tart, although can be more on the tart side.
- Jonagold. These are a cross between golden delicious and a Johnathan. They are juicy with a honey-sweet taste and a hint of tartness
- Honeycrsip apples. These are perfect raw, but because of their firm, super crisp structure, they are also great for baking. Honeycrisp apples are also balanced in flavor, although more on the sweeter side. (I love using them in this baked stuffed apple recipe).
How to core an apple without an apple corer?
If you have an apple corer, you can simply stand the apple straight with the stem facing you and push the corer into the center, then carefully pull upward. But for this recipe, I will recommend using a small pairing knife and a spoon instead of a corer, which will allow you to make a wider whole to hold the filling. Here is how to core an apple without a corer:
- Stand your apple on a clean cutting surface with the stem facing you.
- Using a small pairing knife, cut around the stem and remove the core, creating a whole that’s about 1-inch or so wide. Then, using a small spoon, scoop out the seeds. If you are filling the apple with something like my brown sugar filling, make sure to keep the bottom ½ of the apple intact.
- Pro tip: if your apple is too hard to core, microwave it for just a few minutes.
How long does it take apples to cook in the oven?
Cooked apples can be whole or chopped or sliced. You'll need an oven set to 375 degrees F. Sliced apples will take about 25 to 30 minutes, and stuffed baked apples will take about 45 minutes or so. Both methods are listed in detail below.
Don't leave them in the oven too long or they become mushy, baked apples are ready when they are tender but still have a little bite to them. To be sure, carefully use a fork to check for doneness. It should slide through easily.
How to make baked apples
This easy baked apple recipe uses 3 whole large apples and takes
- Core the apples. You can use an apple corer or a small pairing knife to cut around the stem and scoop out the seeds, but be sure to keep the bottom ½-inch of the apple intact for this recipe. (As I mentioned earlier, if your apple is too hard to core using a knife, stick the apple in the microwave for a few seconds to help soften it).
- Stuff the apples with the brown sugar and nut mixture. Mix ¼ cup of brown sugar with lightly crushed nuts, cinnamon, cardamom, and raisins (or other chopped fruit). Stuff the apple cavity with the brown sugar mixture all the way to the top.
- Bake. Arrange the stuffed apples in a baking dish. Drizzle with a couple teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil, and pour ¾ cup of boiling water from the side of the dish. Bake on the center rack of your oven at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes or until the apples are tender and cooked through
Baked sliced apples (option)
Here's a variation on this recipe using sliced apples instead:
- Slice the apples. Peel and slice your apples into ½-inch thick slices
- Toss with brown sugar mixture. Arrange the apple slices in a baking dish and toss with a mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and chopped nuts and raisins, if you like. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of good olive oil and a little hot water (or orange juice)
- Bake! Bake in a 375 degree heated oven for about 25 to 30 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the apples are tender.
More apple recipes
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Baked Apples Recipe (Two Ways)
- 3 to 4 large baking apples, such as honeycrisp, jonagold, or pink lady
Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Mixture
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup lightly crushed nuts, I used ¼ walnuts and ¼ cup pistachios
- ¼ cup raisins, cranberries, or other chopped dried fruit of your choice
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom
- 1 to 2 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil, a milder and fruity olive oil such as Italian Nocellara EVOO
- Heat the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and adjust a rack in the center
- Make the cinnamon and brown sugar mixture. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, nuts, raisins or dried fruit of your choice. Add the cinnamon and cardamom. Mix well.
Stuffed Baked Apples
- Core the apples. Using an apple corer or a sharp pairing knife, remove the core being careful to leave the bottom ½ inch of the apples intact. I like using a pairing knife to cut around and remove the core, creating a whole that’s about 1-inch or so wide. Then, using a small spoon, scoop out the seeds and make room for the brown sugar filling.
- Stuff the apples. Arrange the apples, cavity side up, in a baking dish. Spoon the brown sugar and nut mixture into the apple cavities to fill them up all the way.
- Add the EVOO and hot water. Pour about 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil all over the stuffed apples. Pour 1 cup of boiling water from the side of the dish.
- Bake! Place the baking dish on the center rack of your heated oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the apples are fully cooked through and tender (be careful not to over-bake them, you do not want the apples to be mushy).
Sliced Baked Apples
- Peel and slice the apples. Core, peel and slice your apples into ½-inch slices. And arrange the apple slices on a baking dish or pan.
- Sprinkle with the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture, and drizzle with 2 tablespoon olive oil and a little hot water (start with ¼ cup). You can also add a little orange juice in place of the water. Toss to combine.
- Bake. Place the baking dish on the center rack of your heated oven and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes (it helps to carefully toss the apples part-way through).
- Remove the baked apples from the oven and baste them with the brown sugar sauce from the bottom of the pan. Serve as is for a vegan dessert or add your favorite vanilla ice cream (or even a dollop of labneh)!
- Do not overcook the apples or they may turn too mushy. Baked apples are ready when they are tender but still have a nice bite to them. Use a fork to determine doneness, you should be able to slide the fork through easily.
- This recipe will serve up to 6 people, assuming ½ apple serving per person with the cinnamon brown sugar mixture included.
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