Homemade caramelized apples make a great topping for breakfast pancakes and French toasts, desserts (such as crepes), and ice cream. They are also a great addition to brie cheese, goat cheese, and even meats, such as pork chops and chicken. The apples are sauteed in butter, lemon juice, cinnamon, brown sugar and finished with just a touch of honey! This recipe provides detailed tips and step-by-step instructions for sauteed apples. They are delicious, easy-to-make, vegetarian, and gluten-free!
Holiday dessert made in 30 minutes!
Caramelized apples are a festive Fall dessert that will make a great addition to any holiday menu. It's a really easy recipe that takes only 30 minutes and requires one pan - perfect to make for Thanksgiving and Christmas when we are already overwhelmed in the kitchen. These apples are completely homemade from scratch: they are sauteed in butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, and honey. When caramelized, the apples acquire a beautiful "roasted" look, have a soft texture, and are buttery and sweet. This delicious and easy-to-make 30-minute recipe is vegetarian and gluten-free!
Use them as a holiday dessert, breakfast toppings, or even in a side dish as in these acorn squash stuffed with apples.
Caramelized apples - how to use them
Caramelized apples are an incredibly versatile recipe in the sense that they can be added to so many dishes! Let's take a look at some of the ways you can use the apples sauteed in butter, lemon juice, cinnamon, brown sugar, and honey:
- Breakfast. Top your favorite waffles, pancakes, or French toast with caramelized apples to take your breakfast to the next level. The apples can be made for up to 2 days in advance. It is also a great way to dress up your holiday breakfast for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve!
- Yogurt. Add them as a topping to all varieties of regular yogurt or Greek yogurt.
- Dessert. Sauteed apples can be used as a filling or topping for crepes. Take a look at these homemade crepes with creamy ricotta cheese filling and caramelized apples.
- Ice cream. Just picture topping cold ice cream with warm and sizzling sliced apples. You can dress up any simple ice cream this way!
- Meats. Caramelized apples make a great addition to seared or grilled meats, such as these pork chops with apples.
- Apples. I used 2 green apples (Granny Smith) and 2 red apples (Gala or Fuji). This is done for presentation purposes as the apples are not peeled, and the green and red colors certainly add vibrancy! You can use any other variety of apples. The key here is the texture. The apples should have a firm texture and not be soft.
- Brown sugar. Use only 3 or 4 tablespoons. It's best to use dark brown sugar.
- Cinnamon. You only need ½ teaspoon of cinnamon to get the flavor. Feel free to add more if you like!
- Lemon juice. Add 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice to sliced apples.
- Butter. I like to use salted butter for sauteeing the apples to add just a touch of saltiness.
- Honey. Add the honey at the very end, off heat, to sizzle the apples and caramelize them even more.
- Fresh thyme. Snipped fresh thyme adds savory flavor. You can also use fresh oregano.
How to make caramelized apples (step-by-step photos)
Prepare the apples. I used 4 apples (2 red and 2 green for presentation purposes). Core the apples and slice each one length-wise.
Place sliced apples into a large bowl, add brown sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, and mix. Let apples sit for about 15 minutes to release juices.
In a large pan, heat 2 tablespoons of butter on high heat. Add sliced apples (without juice at the bottom of the pan) cook on high heat for about 3 or 5 minutes, checking periodically. After 3 or 5 minutes, flip sliced apples to the other side and let them cook on medium-high heat for another 3 or 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Depending on how hot your stove gets, it might take you less or more time to cook apples, the key is to brown them or even get a slightly “burned” effect. But don’t overdo it.
Right after you remove the pan with roasted sliced apples from the heat, immediately add honey – it will make apples sizzle and will caramelize them beautifully, off the heat.
Tips and recipe notes
- Use both green and red apples. This makes sauteed apples look much more appealing. I used Gala apples for red and Granny Smith for green.
- Texture. Pick apples that have a firm texture and are not soft. Those work the best for sauteeing.
- Don't peel them. Keep the apples' skin on. It creates a beautiful presentation and keeps the fiber in your food! Also, since you are caramelizing the apples, the skin softens and tastes amazing!
- Use fresh herbs. Top cooked apples with fresh herbs, such as thyme or oregano to add some savory flavor. Fresh herbs also look pretty.
- Saute apples in batches. To get that beautiful "roasted look", make sure to saute apples in a single layer, in batches. Do not overcrowd the pan or skillet.
What to serve with sauteed apples
- Pork Chops with Apples - sauteed apples make a perfect topping for seared or grilled meats and create a beautiful dinner presentation!
- Acorn Squash Stuffed with Apples - this versatile recipe is a perfect side dish for the holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas).
- Baked Brie with Apples - the apples are caramelized with brown sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, and honey and then added on top of the melting brie cheese.
- Crepes with Creamy Ricotta Cheese Filling and Caramelized Apples - a perfect Fall dessert!
Other ways to cook apples
- Easy apple squares are made with cinnamon and brown sugar. These delicious cake bars are very moist, thanks to the vegetable oil and the plain Greek yogurt.
- Apple Pumpkin Bundt Cake is topped with dulce de leche and chopped pecans and is the best and the easiest Autumn cake. Great holiday recipe for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
- Cranberry Apple Pecan Bundt Cake - vanilla, cranberries, apples, and pecans give the bundt cake lots of holiday flavor and crunch!
- Apple Cinnamon Greek Yogurt Pancakes are stuffed with shredded apples and made with Greek Yogurt instead of milk. Delicious breakfast recipe!
- 4 apples 2 green (Granny Smith), 2 red (Gala or Fuji)
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons honey
- fresh thyme
- Prepare the apples. I used 4 apples (2 red and 2 green for presentation purposes). Core the apples and slice each one length-wise.
- Place sliced apples into a large bowl, add brown sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, and mix. Let apples sit for about 15 minutes to release juices.
- In a large pan, heat 2 tablespoons of butter on high heat. Add sliced apples (without juice at the bottom of the pan) cook on high heat for about 3 or 5 minutes, checking periodically. After 3 or 5 minutes, flip sliced apples to the other side and let them cook on medium-high heat for another 3 or 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Depending on how hot your stove gets, it might take you less or more time to cook apples, the key is to brown them or even get a slightly “burned” effect. But don’t overdo it, once the apples have this “roasted” appearance.
- Right after you remove the pan with roasted sliced apples from the heat, immediately add honey – it will make apples sizzle and will caramelize them beautifully, off the heat.
- Sprinkle with the fresh thyme, if desired. You can also, optionally, pour the delicious juices from the bowl that you used for apples over the cooked apples.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.