It wasn’t until I moved to Washington state that I discovered the euphoria of biting into a crisp, juicy apple. The Red Delicious apples of my youth became a distant memory as I discovered an array of sweet and tart apples. I especially love Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, and the new Cosmic Crisp.
Apples are harvested in the fall, making it the perfect time of year to indulge in apple desserts. You can bake chopped apples into a cake, slice apples for a pie, coat a juicy apple in caramel, or mash into a sauce. Below are recipes for these desserts, plus so many more!
Once you decide what to make, next you need to decide which apples to buy. With so many varieties to choose from, you can check out our guide to apples for help narrowing down the options. My advice is to pick a couple different varieties that are recommended for your dessert and eat a slice or two so that you can taste the differences in each.
In the event that you end up with too many apples, you can always freeze them for later.
Homemade Apple Pie
A classic all-butter crust piled high with sliced apples with a hint of cinnamon and fall spices (allspice and nutmeg). Bake until juices are bubbling up through the slits in the top crust. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream.
3-Ingredient Apple Crisp
Noone will guess that this buttery dessert starts with a couple packets of instant oatmeal. The oatmeal already contains sugar and seasonings, so all you need to do is add butter and chopped apples. Use a combination of sweet and tart apples that will hold up to sauteing and baking, such as Honeycrisp and Pink Lady.
Apple Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnamon rolls are always a welcome guest at the breakfast table and these studded with apples is even more so. Chopped apples are scattered over the cinnamon and sugar mixture before being rolled up and baked. You can let the rolls rise overnight in the refrigerator and then bake in the morning.
Apple Fritter Bread
Skip the donut shop and make apple fritters, in bread form, at home, no frying required. This bread is full of chopped apples and has a tendril of streusel running through the middle of it, as well as scattered on top. The vanilla glaze adds the sweetness that you’d expect from an apple fritter. Look for tart apples, such as Granny Smith, that hold up well to baking.
Caramel Apple Nachos
Forget awkwardly eating an apple on a stick and make a platter of decadently topped sliced apples instead. This is a fun way to use up extra Halloween candy (or a good excuse to buy some). It’s best to assemble the apple nachos right before serving to keep them from turning brown.
Caramel Apple Monkey Bread
Instead of biscuit dough, this monkey bread is made from scratch with yeast. Cooked apples are sprinkled around the dough balls and then covered in a homemade caramel sauce. A bundt pan provides the classic shape but any cake pan would work.
This apple bread effortlessly goes from breakfast to dessert. The streusel topping makes this quick bread extra-special with minimal work. Use a mixer to make sure that the batter is smooth but don’t over-mix.
This iconic apple dessert is a must every fall. Making the caramel from scratch tastes incredible and you probably already have all the ingredients. Look for small to medium-sized tart apples and wash and dry them thoroughly.
Apple Bread Pudding
If you haven’t had bread pudding before, now is the time to give it a go. The filling of chopped apples, butter, and sugar add a caramel apple flavor to the tender bread pudding. The bread only soaks for 15 minutes so you don’t have to plan ahead if you don’t want to.
Apple Pie Bars with Crumble Topping
Apple pie bars are the handheld version of pie I want with my afternoon tea. This recipe is both easy and delicious. The crust mixture doubles as the crumb topping and a sprinkle of apple cider vinegar adds a touch more apple flavor to the bars.
Gluten-Free Apple Tart
The layered apple slices resemble flower petals and create an eye-catching apple dessert. The crust is gluten-free and paleo. You can substitute an all-butter pie crust if desired. Either way, your guests will be ooohhhing and aaahhhhing when you bring it to the table.
Dutch Apple Pie
Apple pie comes in many forms but the crumb-topped Dutch apple pie is the top of my list of favorites. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and store leftovers covered on the counter for three days.
Apple Carrot Cupcakes
These easy cupcakes will be a hit at the next bake sale. It makes a whopping 24 cupcakes that can be made ahead of time and frozen before thawing and frosting. You can substitute the nuts with pepitas, raisins, or leave out altogether.
Apple Coffee Cake
You don’t need a barrel of apples to make a delicious apple dessert. For this coffee cake you only need one apple. The apple is sliced and layered on top of the cake batter and then topped with a streusel.
Easy Apple Crisp
Seven simple ingredients is all it takes to create a dessert worth making again and again. The sliced apples go into a 9 x 13 baking dish and then are topped with a streusel made with oats, spices, and butter. You could add chopped pecans or leave the peels on the apples if you’d like.
Fresh Apple Bundt Cake
Swap out the round cake pan for a quietly luxurious bundt pan. This cake doesn’t require any special equipment or lots of bowls. Just stir it together and bake. You could jazz up the glaze with bourbon or apple brandy if so inclined.
Apple Slab Pie
Slab pies are the sane way to feed a large crowd at the holidays. The pie is baked in a sheet pan and feeds 12 to 15 people. Chopping instead of slicing the apples makes the prep work even easier than usual.
Apple Snack Cake
This easy cake is for the true apple lover. Apple flavor is infused into the cake through applesauce, chopped apples, and apple cider. It doesn’t stop there! The cake is topped with a simple apple cider glaze.
Cobbler refers to the biscuit-like topping on this dessert. You could describe it as cobbled together because it’s hastily done or you could say that it resembles cobblestones from days of yore. Regardless, this rustic apple dessert is a fall classic and is worth a spot on the dessert rotation.
Sour Cream Apple Pie
You know the frozen pie shell you bought on a whim? This is the recipe you’ve been waiting for. This slightly tangy, custard-ish, apple pie topped with a crispy streusel will leave you swooning. For the crispiest crust, bake on the lower rack of the oven for the first half of the baking time.
Making applesauce is a highlight of apple season. I love the simple task of simmering sliced apples in sugar, water, and spices. Adding a strip of lemon peel brightens the flavor. Four pounds of apples makes 1 ½ – 2 quarts applesauce. Or you can take it even further and keep reducing the sauce until it becomes apple butter!
What’s a crostata you ask? Think of it like a rustic galette. Sliced apples are piled in the center of the pie crust and then the edges are folded over to hold the apples in. It’s baked on a sheet pan and then sliced and served with whipped cream.
Buttery Apple Torte
Hailing from Italy, this simple cake is made by cooking sliced apples in butter and then stirring them into a slightly sweetened cake batter. If needed, you can substitute a gluten-free baking flour mix for the flour.
Apple Cranberry Pie
Liven up the Thanksgiving pie routine with a fresh take on apple pie. Blanched almonds add a slight nuttiness to the buttery crust and dried cranberries plump as the apples bake and release liquid.
Apple Upside Down Cake
I love upside down cakes and the allure of a fruit-studded, tender cake, that needs no decorating. In this cake, the apples are cooked on the stove with butter and sugar before being spread across the bottom of the pan. Make sure to use apples that don’t release too much liquid. Opt for Braeburn, Jonagold, or Golden Delicious.
Microwave Baked Apple Slices
Slightly sweetened sliced apples take mere minutes to soften in the microwave. You could serve it with a scoop of ice cream, over oatmeal, or eat straight from the bowl.