Baked Apples

Craving a dessert where fresh apples shine? These juicy baked apples highlight fall’s favorite fruit. Core your apples, fill with a buttery brown sugar cinnamon crumble, then bake until slightly soft. Enjoy warm from the oven and for a little extra pizazz, serve with salted caramel or vanilla ice cream. This is a relatively quick dessert that kids AND adults both love.

baked apple with brown sugar oat filling

Whenever I take my first bite of a freshly baked apple, I always ask myself why I don’t make them more often. It’s a classic and comforting treat that tastes unbelievable right out of the oven, especially on chilly nights. No-fuss and quick, baked apples are the solution when you need a guaranteed delicious dessert without putting in a ton of effort.

Hold onto this recipe. I promise it will come in handy!

What Are Baked Apples?

The term baked apples can refer to sliced, chopped, or whole apples that are baked until slightly softened and juicy. Baked apples usually include sugar, butter, and/or cinnamon. This recipe is for whole baked apples, cored and stuffed with buttery brown sugar and cinnamon-spiced oats, and baked until warm and juicy. We’re doing it big today.


You’ll Love These Baked Apples Because They’re:

  • Great for a small family and you easily can halve or double the recipe as needed
  • Like individually portioned apple crisp
  • Made with only 6 simple ingredients
  • Free from common allergens– no eggs, no gluten, no nuts (nuts are optional)
  • The perfect way to use freshly picked apples

baked apples

baked apple with brown sugar oat filling

Baked Apples Video Tutorial


Overview: How to Make Baked Apples

  1. Mix all of the filling ingredients together. You need soft butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and oats. Craving a little flavor? Add some raisins, dried cranberries, or chopped pecans. You could also add the zest from 1 orange or a pinch of ground ginger, too.
  2. Core the apples. This step is the trickiest part of the recipe, but if you use a little arm muscle and have patience, you’ll be fine. I recommend using a sharp paring knife and a spoon. (Or an apple corer.) I find cookie scoops can easily break or crack the apples. Once the core is out, use a spoon to dig out any more seeds.
  3. Place the apples into your baking dish. I recommend an 8 or 9-inch round or square pan. Once the apples are in the dish, fill them with the brown sugar oat mixture.
  4. Add warm liquid. To keep the apples moistened and to prevent them from burning, fill the pan with a little warm water. Like when we bake flourless chocolate cake, we want a steamy and humid oven for baked apples. For something different, use warm apple cider instead! (You can even spike the water or apple cider with a couple Tablespoons of bourbon or whiskey. Cheers.)
  5. Bake. The baked apples take about 40-45 minutes to become pleasantly soft and tender. Bake longer for softer, mushier baked apples.
  6. Serve. Remove the baked apples from the oven and let them sit for about 5 minutes before serving. If you crave a little extra juiciness, spoon some of the hot liquid from the pan onto each. Serve with whipped cream, salted caramel, and/or vanilla ice cream.

coring out apples before baking

brown sugar oat crumble in apples

What About a Version with Pie Crust?

While these baked apples are like individual apple crisps, my apple pie baked apples are like individual apple pies. (Another fun fall baking project adults & kids will both enjoy!) If you’re more of a pie crust aficionado, try that version instead. Plus, it’s hard to ignore how adorable that little lattice topping is!


Are They Soft & Mushy?

Yes, they’re slightly soft but no, they aren’t mushy. The best part of this recipe, besides all the flavors, is that you have total control over the texture. Bake for only about 40-45 minutes for slightly soft apples that hold their shape but can still be eaten with a spoon. Add a few more minutes if you like them extra soft or mushy.


Best Apples to Use

The best apples to use for whole baked apples are firm and perfectly round. I usually use Granny Smith, Fuji, Pink Lady, or Honeycrisp. Select apples that stand up straight because you don’t want them to topple over in the oven. If you favor pears, you’ll love my maple vanilla baked pears instead.

My advice: The larger the apple, the more brown sugar crumble you can stuff inside!

spoon drizzling caramel on baked apples

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baked apples

Baked Apples

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This recipe is for whole baked apples stuffed with buttery brown sugar oat crumble. For extra flavor, feel free to swap the water with warm apple cider.


Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons (43g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (extra soft, so it’s easy to mash)
  • 1/4 cup (50g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup (20g) old-fashioned whole rolled oats
  • 4 large apples (see note), rinsed and patted dry
  • optional: 2 Tablespoons raisins, dried cranberries, or chopped nuts

For Baking

  • 3/4 cup (180ml) warm water

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (191°C).
  2. Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or simply using a fork or spoon, beat/mash the butter, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg together until combined. Stir in the oats, then the raisins/dried cranberries/nuts, if using. Set aside.
  3. Core the apples: This can be tricky, but I recommend using a sharp paring knife and a spoon. (Or an apple corer.) I find cookie scoops can easily break or crack the apples. Using a sharp paring knife, cut around the core, about halfway or 3/4 down into the apple. Use a spoon to carefully dig out the core. Takes a bit of patience and arm muscle. Once the core is out, use a spoon to dig out any more seeds.
  4. Place cored apples in an 8-inch or 9-inch baking pan, cake pan, or pie dish. Spoon filling into each apple, filling all the way to the top. Pour warm water into the pan around the apples. The water helps prevent the apples from drying out and burning.
  5. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until apples appear slightly soft. Bake longer for softer, mushier baked apples. The time depends on how firm your apples were and how soft you want them to be.
  6. Remove apples from the oven and, if desired, baste the outside of the apples with juices from the pan. This adds a little moisture to the skin, but it’s completely optional.
  7. Serve warm with salted caramel, whipped cream, or ice cream. Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: I don’t recommend preparing the baked apples ahead of time to serve later. They brown and become mushy, fast. Instead, prepare the filling in advance, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 days before spooning into the apples and baking. I don’t recommend freezing these baked apples because they’re overly mushy when thawed.
  2. Best Apples to Use: Choose perfectly round apples that are on the firmer side. I usually use Granny Smith, Fuji, Pink Lady, or Honeycrisp. Make sure they stand up straight on their bottom, so they don’t tip over in the oven.
  3. Sugar: Brown sugar adds moisture, as well as the best flavor. Feel free to use regular granulated sugar or even coconut sugar if needed. I don’t recommend any liquid sweeteners or sugar replacements.
  4. Oats: Oats add wonderful texture. You can use the same amount of quick oats instead. I don’t recommend leaving out the oats but if you need to, you can try replacing with finely chopped nuts. I don’t recommend replacing with oat flour or any flour.

Keywords: apples, baked apples

How to Join Sally's Baking Challenge

Make the Baked Apples recipe. You can also make Apple Pie Baked Apples, which is a similar concept. Both variations count for this month’s challenge. If you’re not into this recipe, here is the alternate October Baking Challenge:

  1. any previous challenge recipe OR
  2. Pavlova

After you make the apples or alternate recipe, email me your recipe photo. Feel free to also share it on social media using #sallysbakingchallenge. For a bonus entry, leave a review on the recipe below!

By emailing your photo to us, you are automatically entered in the baking challenge for the $250 Amazon gift card prize. We keep track of your photos and randomly select 1 winner at the end of the month. The challenge is open to the whole world. Challenge ends on October 30th 2020 at 5pm ET. The winner will be selected at random and posted in the November Baking Challenge blog post on October 31st 2020.

baked apple with brown sugar oat filling

214 Comments

  1. Alina Kizilbash says:

    A simple and delicious fall recipe! My family ate these with vanilla ice cream and it tasted just like apple pie!

  2. This recipe is amazing and requires so little effort! It was Thanksgiving in Canada this past weekend, and, where I live, we were just put back into lockdown. With only 2 people for dinner, it didn’t seem worth it to bake an entire pie. Then I remembered this months baking challenge and knew it was the dessert to make!! My partner was very skeptical saying “are we really having an apple for dessert?”. But I stuck to my guns and didn’t listen to his negativity, knowing it would be amazing. And, of course, it was!! My partner has now asked twice when I’m going to make it again because he’s addicted!! Thanks, Sally, for another amazing recipe!!

    1. So glad this recipe was the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving, Jennifer – thank you for participating in this challenge!

  3. Michelle Harvey says:

    I followed your recipe pretty closely with a few additions. First for my baking liquid I simmered oranges and cinnamon sticks with the cores of the apples. Using some of that liquid I plumped my dried fruit. I used golden raisins, dried cherries and craisins. I also added walnuts to the oat filling. I added the rest of my simmered fruity liquid to the bottom of the dish as suggested. These are amazing. They taste like the happiness of fall. Thank you for the recipe.

    1. Wow! That sounds absolutely incredible, Michelle. The “happiness of fall” is such a perfect way to describe these 🙂 Thank you for making this challenge recipe!

  4. One of those recipes that looks complex in theory, but in execution its simple, sweet and delicious! This recipes was PERFECT for using up some apples we had kicking around, and my twin cousins kept coming back for seconds! Did this in my instant pot, and it came out clean and GORGEOUS! Its a great recipe to tweak and play around with too, and I haven’t found an iteration of these that hasn’t turned out well! It’s all of fall packed into one scrumptious dessert!

    1. I’m thrilled that these were such a hit, Jada! Great to know that they worked in your instant pot, too. Thanks so much for the positive feedback!

  5. These were really tasty and easy to throw together! I served them with some vanilla ice cream. They were kind of challenging to eat so I’m not sure I would make them again over apple crisp, but it was nice to get the same flavors without peeling and slicing all those apples!

  6. Pamela Malone says:

    This was my first attempt at baked apples. They were easy to make yet looked like a lot of effort was put into them, made the house smell wonderful, and were so delicious. I used granny smith apples and loved the tartness. I’m looking forward to making them again and adding some additions.

  7. This has to be the simplest recipe ever! And so tasty. Next time I’ll make more than enough of the oat mixture so I can add more as needed.

  8. After I cored the apples, my 3 year old took over making this recipe. It’s that simple. She was really proud of her creation and gobbled up the apples including their peels (a first!).

    1. So sweet! Love to hear that it was a success, Alexandra – thank you both for participating!

  9. My son, age 12, was eager to bake these. They were really easy to make, sweet, and delicious. Even my husband who claims, he HATES baked apples, gobbled one up Served with so delicious vanilla ice cream and some caramel sauce! YUMMM! The filling…OM goodness. The skin on my apples were a bit tough…but what a scrumptious treat!

  10. Delicious! Made the salted caramel to go with it and I am so happy I did, because it was perfection! I made it with 2 Honey Crisp and 2 Granny Smith and the Honey Crisp was the winner for us. Not only because they help up better, but the flavor of the apple came through more! This will be something we make more because it is so easy!

  11. This was super easy and delicious. I needed to cook my apples longer but this did not stop people from eating them.

  12. A great way to use up some of my apples from picking! Simple and taste great thanks for the recipe!

  13. This was really good! And it smelled delicious! The smell was perfect for autumn and it was warm and moist. I didn’t add raisins, cranberries, or nuts. But I did make homemade salted caramel sauce to go with it!

  14. Loved this recipe! It was such a great opportunity to have my 6 year old son make something all on his own (minus coring the apples of course). Easy enough for him to read the recipe and measure and mix everything. He was very excited to do these and they were delicious with some vanilla ice cream and your salted caramel sauce!

    1. What a fun baking project for your son – and great choice to add ice cream and salted caramel! Thank you both for participating.

  15. Cynthia Hibbard says:

    The baked apples were delicious and very easy to make. I used 3 different varieties of apples and baked them 5 minutes longer to have them mushy. This makes a healthier option to apple crisp. I felt it was a lot of apple with just a bit of crumble. Honestly, I prefer a crisp even though this was easy and tasty.

  16. My family and I absolutely loved this recipe. My husband and kids ate it with ice cream and I had it with some salted caramel. I used honey crisp apples. So easy and so delicious. We will definitely be making this again!

  17. Delicious and easy to make. Thanks Sally

  18. Super simple recipe that’s the perfect start for baking all things apple and fall. I added raisins and used both honeycrisp and fuiji apples. Topped with whipped cream this dessert was a hit! I will definitely make these again.

  19. Julianne Johnson says:

    I made these with Honeycrisp apples, and they were delicious served with homemade caramel. My parents and husband gobbled them up quickly!

  20. A quick easy fall recipe! Perfect amount of spice and sweetness

  21. Delicious! I can’t believe how easy these are to whip up. They are the perfect fall dessert!

  22. Loved these so much!! They were super easy to make and made my kitchen smell like fall. Can’t wait to make these over and over again!

  23. These were super simple to put together and was such a nice dessert. We had ours with vanilla ice cream… my husband said the apples tasted like apple pie.
    This is a great quick dessert, perfect for the fall.
    Thanks Sally!

  24. This is a great and simple recipe! I do feel like it is lacking in flavor though.

  25. These baked apples were easy and tasty. I served them with your homemade salted caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream and those were definitely a must! I did crave more of the filling though-it’s just so good. Also the butter leaked and was very liquidy in each of my apples 🙁 Not sure why that happened. I double checked the ratios several times and chilled my filling prior to stuffing and baking.

  26. Such a simple yet delicious recipe. With the cinnamon and nutmeg it tastes like Fall. I topped mine with homemade vanilla custard and chopped toasted pecans.

  27. Jenni Wertman says:

    I did enjoy making this recipe – only I learned a valuable lesson. Use the apples that are listed!! I used Gala – what I had on hand. They did not cook well. We served it with vanilla ice cream! Yummy!

  28. Delicious and super easy to make! I accidentally cored through to the bottom on a couple but it didn’t seem to matter.

  29. We loved this recipe! So quick, easy, and super yummy!
    I would wholeheartedly suggest adding Sally’s homemade salted caramel on top – it was delicious.

  30. What a surprise! I was skeptical that this recipe would be much fun or exciting to eat, but I needed something for a gluten-free friend. (Be sure and buy gluten-free oats if you need TRUE gluten-free, as many oats oftentimes are processed right alongside grains with gluten.) But they LOVED this recipe. So delicious, perfect for fall, perfect for a gathering (everyone loved cutting them open to see the filling). I served them with whipped cream, and they were surprisingly filling too! Highly recommend.

    1. Thank you for giving this recipe a try, Kelsey – I’m glad it was a delicious surprise for you and your friends!

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