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.

Brown sugar sauce being drizzled over baked apples

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.

Side look at stuffed apples with cinnamon, brown sugar and nuts

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).
One apple cored on a cutting board

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 apples in their blue baking dish with another small dish of extra nuts to the side

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.

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4.93 from 14 votes

Baked Apples Recipe (Two Ways)

Suzy Karadsheh
Brown sugar sauce being drizzled over baked apples
You can use this recipe to make stuffed baked apples with my delicious cinnamon and brown sugar mixture and nuts of your choice, or you can make baked sliced apples, tossed with the same delicious brown sugar mixture. Either way, serve your baked apples warm. This recipe is vegan and gluten free, but if you like, you can serve the cooked apples with a good scoop of your favorite ice cream!
Prep – 10 mins
Cook – 40 mins
Total – 50 mins
Cuisine:
American, Mediterranean Diet
Serves – 6 people
Course:
Dessert

Ingredients
  

  • 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 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil, a milder and fruity olive oil such as Italian Nocellara EVOO

Instructions
 

  • 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).

To Serve

  • 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)!

Notes

  • 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.
  • Visit Our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including extra virgin olive oils and spices 

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5 appleCalories: 157.1kcalCarbohydrates: 28.4gProtein: 2.3gFat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.1gSodium: 5.3mgPotassium: 224.5mgFiber: 3.8gSugar: 18.7gVitamin A: 49.7IUVitamin C: 4.5mgCalcium: 40.5mgIron: 0.7mg
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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. Hi,
    I am making a ton of these recipes for my wife and she loves them! ( so do I). Anyway going to give the baked apples a whirl.

    What does it mean to pour 3/4 cup of water to side? Do I put water in the pan with the apples or a separate pan with water in it and you put in oven next pan holding apples?

    Thank you in advance for the help 🙂

    1. Hi, Patrick. That just means to pour the water in the bowl with the apples, but don't pour the water directly on top of the apples.

  2. 5 stars
    Oh, this was so delicious! I tried it using the honeycrisp apples and a mixture of dried apricots, dates and raisins for the fruit. I've never used honeycrisp apples before, and these might just now become my favorite baking apples. It really did have that homemade fresh apple pie flavor. This is a keeper!

  3. 5 stars
    Cardamom is one of the most under-appreciated spices on the rack. I love what it does for these baked apples - they are absolutely delicious!

  4. 5 stars
    What a perfect recipe to utilize some apples this Fall. Can't wait to make soon and enjoy with some ice cream!

  5. Hi Suzy - I'm adding this to my "Lightened-Up Thanksgiving dinner" menu. We're hosting Thanksgiving this year but we're all so tired of being over stuffed so looking for items to make that are reminiscent of Thanksgiving flavors without ALL THE CARBS! Would love to hear any other recipes you think would work - seasonings I'm having trouble with are poultry seasoning and sage - how to create "stuffing" without all the carbs. Any recipes you have that would lean in those directions? Thank you for all your work to help us eat healthier!

  6. 5 stars
    Made this for dessert last night and topped with just a bit of vanilla ice cream. So simple and to-die-for! Now I know what to do with all those apple we pick every fall!