How to Bake Apples for an Awe-Inspiring Seasonal Treat
Try one of our favorite ways to cook apples: baking them whole. Follow these step-by-step instructions on how to make baked apples so you'll always have an easy dessert ready to serve the family.
Whether you've just returned from the orchard or scored a bunch of apples from the farmers market, baked whole apples is an excellent way to showcase the seasonal fruit. Making baked apples in the oven is an easy, healthy dessert that is also a stunning finish to your fall dinner menus. You'll love the smell, too—baking apples brings irresistible aromas throughout your kitchen that will have everyone's mouths watering. Use our Test Kitchen's easy steps for how to bake apples in the oven as well as the best apples to use for baking. We'll also share some delicious stuffing ideas for baked apples as well as how to cook apple slices for an even quicker sweet treat.
How to Bake Apples
When it comes to making baked apples, you can stuff them with nuts, brown sugar, or delicious maple syrup-and-butter combo. If you've never baked whole apples before or you don't have a recipe, get started with the ingredients for our easy baked whole apples:
- ¼ cup apple juice or apple cider
- Dash ground cinnamon
- 2 small baking apples
- 2 Tbsp. pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- Dash ground cinnamon
- Stick cinnamon, if desired for garnish (remove before serving—do not eat)
Step 1: Core the Apples
If desired, start by cutting a slice from the stem end of the apple. If you prefer more of a whole apple look, skip slicing off the top. Using an apple corer ($10, Target) or a melon baller, remove the apple core, leaving the base intact so it can contain the filling. Then peel a strip around the top of each apple.
Best Apples for Baked Apples
Choosing the right variety for whole-baked apples is important. Some of the best apples for baking are Braeburn, Jonagold, Granny Smith, or Jonathan.
Step 2: Set Apples in Baking Dish or Custard Cups
Place cored apples in a baking dish ($6, Walmart) or in individual custard cups. (If necessary, remove a thin slice from the bottom of each apple so it sits flat.) If using custard cups ($6, Bed Bath & Beyond), place individual cups in a baking dish.
Step 3: Spoon Filling Mixture into Apples
Combine the filling mixture (the pecans, brown sugar, and dash cinnamon if using the recipe above) and sprinkle into the apples. Combine apple juice with a dash of cinnamon. Divide the mixture between two 6-ounce custard cups.
If using another recipe (or creating your own), spoon cooked fruit or your favorite filling into the center of each apple. Then pour a liquid such as apple juice, orange juice, or fruit nectar around the apples to help soak up flavor during baking. You only need enough liquid to cover the bottom of your pan or each custard cup. Don't have juice? Water will do.
Step 4: Bake Apples
Bake, covered, in a 350°F oven 30 to 40 minutes or until apples are tender, basting occasionally with juice or water from the baking dish. Modify the bake time for the recipe you're using. Cool slightly. Serve baked apples warm with a scoop of ice cream, if desired. Try our slow-cooked baked apples recipe featuring five-spice powder and honey.
How to Cook Apple Slices
Looking to enjoy warm apple slices instead of baked whole apples? Simply sauté sliced apples on top of the stove. In much less time than it takes to bake apple slices, you can skillet-cook our wonderful apple slices in brown sugar for a quick apple dessert. Here’s how:
- In a medium saucepan combine 1 cup apple juice, ½ cup golden raisins, ⅛ tsp. ground nutmeg, and ⅛ tsp. ground cinnamon. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until raisins are plump and tender and apple juice is reduced by half. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, core three red cooking apples (such as Jonathan or Rome Beauty) and cut the apples into wedges.
- In a large skillet, melt 2 Tbsp. butter over medium heat. Add apple wedges; cook and stir about 5 minutes or until tender but not mushy. Stir in raisin mixture, 2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar, and 2 Tbsp. honey. Cook and stir for 3 to 5 minutes more or until apples are glazed and syrup thickens slightly. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
Use these glazed apple slices in all kinds of apple desserts, including tucked into crêpes, spooned atop ice cream, or served alongside pound cake.