Simple oven-baked apples are comfort food of the best and most classic sort. And I don’t know about you, but these days I need comfort food morning, noon, and night.
Great for 1 or a whole crowd, baked apples are delicious on their own, or dressed up with ice cream, whipped cream or yogurt. I love them for dessert, but they also make good snacks or brunch food, served with wedges of cheddar or other hard cheese.
This recipe is calculated for one apple/one serving. For more servings, just do the math – multiply the quantity of each ingredient by the number of servings you want to make. (The photo of the ingredients below is for six apples.) It doesn’t get any easier.
Apples are generally in good supply at the grocery or a farmer’s market. In most places, they are available well into the spring. And they keep well too. The other ingredients are easily found too. While I use apple cider for the liquid, you can substitute apple or orange juice.
You don’t need any special equipment to make baked apples. I like to use an apple corer to hollow out the center
but if you do not have one, a small knife and spoon or a grapefruit spoon (with a jagged edge) will do the trick just fine.
After peeling the top and hollowing out the core, you simply mix the dried fruit, nuts, cinnamon, and sugars.
Then spoon the mixture into the hollowed out center of the apple, add the cider or juice and a pat of butter, and they’re ready for the oven.
Bake the apple(s) until soft enough for your taste. There is no food safety concern about how the length of baking, so you can take them out of the oven whenever you like.
What Apple Should You Use for Simple Oven-Baked Apples?
- What apples should you use? Traditionally, bakers used Rome apples for pies, crisps, and baked apples. They stand up well to baking, but they do not have much taste. Now there are many other varieties you can use. Depending on which source you consult, you’ll get a different list of good baking apples. And, of course, you have to consider which apples are available where you shop.
- Bon Appetit likes 6 apples for baking: Jonagold; Honeycrisp; Braeburn; Mutsu or Crispin; Winesap; and Pink Lady or Cripps Pink. Southern Kitchen has a list of 4: Granny Smiths, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, and Jonagold. Food writer Nancy Baggett did a taste test of baking apples with Guy Raz of NPR. They liked Honeycrisp the best for baked apples. Their conclusions are a bit surprising, in that they did not like Granny Smiths, even though they are tart and have a good reputation as a cooking apple. Baggett and Raz found that Granny Smiths “collapsed, turned olive drab and lacked a rounded, ‘appley’ taste and aroma.” Baggett did a more involved explanation on her blog and there she recommended Honeycrisp, Jonathan, Rome, and Braeburn.
- My favorite? I have not done a side-by-side comparison, so I cannot give a true ranking. However, I do like Rome apples for simple oven-baked apples (even though their flavor is not so complex), Honeycrisp and Jonagold. I like Braeburn for eating and expect that they would work well too.
- Which type should you not use for baked apples? Macintosh. Why? It falls apart
Whichever type you use, if you are making simple oven-baked apples for more than 1 person, try to get apples of approximately the same size. That way they cook at the same rate, look nice, and the single apple portions are similar.
Simple Oven-Baked Apple(s)
This is the ultimate comfort food. Simple to make and great straight out of the oven or the next day after being refrigerated, a baked apple is delicious for breakfast, brunch, dinner, or a snack.
- 1 apple
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar 4.5 g
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar (either light or dark) 3.5 g
- 1 tablespoon chopped nuts Walnuts or pecans are my choice. 8 g
- 1 tablespoon dried fruit cut into small pieces Raisins, cranberries, and/or apricots. 12 g
- 1/4 cup cider or juice
- 1/2 tablespoon butter Small pat
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F/190 degrees C.
Wash the apple(s). Peel just the top 1-1 & 1/2 inches of skin, then hollow out the core. Make sure not to pierce a hole in the bottom of the apple
Mix the cinnamon and sugars. Then add the nuts and fruit into that mixture.
Place the apple into the baking dish or ramekin. Spoon the fruit and nut mixture into the hollowed-out center of the apple. Then pour in the cider or juice and add the pat of butter on top.
Bake for 30-45 minutes until a knife goes through the apple skin without much resistance.
Let the apple cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. If eating a few hours later or the next day, refrigerate. For serving, bring back up to room temperature.