These perfectly healthy baked apples are filled with a sweet, cinnamon-spiced oat mixture and walnuts. They are a tender, sweet, and delicious fall/winter treat.
This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here. The recipe and photos in this post were updated November 2021.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane. It was about 10 years ago I devoured my first really good baked apples. I probably had them before, but this one stood out in terms of flavor. It’s so interesting to see that food can bring back such fond memories. It was a cold winter day and my father-in-law told me he made a special dessert for me. He opened the oven and presented proudly his ‘’healthy baked apples’’. The scent of baked apples welcomed me along with his big smile. He told me how healthy the baked version of apples is. ‘’Good for the stomach and the appetite’’, he said.
While this is a simple recipe, there are a few things to keep in mind. I have shared the initial recipe about 6 years ago and have been updating it to make the perfect recipe.
When fully baked until tender and delicious, they don’t look like anything special, but after that first bite you don’t care about how your baked apple is looking.
WHAT YOU NEED FOR HEALTHY BAKED APPLES
Apples. You don’t need to be super specific, but I find Gala apples to be the best. But also, Fuji apples are a great option.
Rolled oats: Old-fashioned rolled oats are your best friend for this recipe to give the filling a bite.
Sweet: There are two types of sugar you need for this recipe. A liquid syrup and regular sugar, such as coconut sugar or brown sugar. If you skip the refined sugars this recipe is a delicious naturally sweetened treat.
Warming spices: To create a beautiful warming filling I’m using cinnamon, nutmeg, and (optionally) pumpkin spice.
Nuts: For this recipe, you can technically speaking use any kind of nuts, or a mixture of nuts and seeds. I can highly recommend sticking to walnuts or pecans for this recipe though.
Flavor: A quality vanilla is a delicious way to flavor these baked apples.
Coconut oil: I make these baked apples often with and without coconut oil. In the recipe notes, you can read how to make this recipe oil-free. With coconut oil, the taste is a bit more rich.
Salt: Just a pinch to make all the flavors pop.
HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY BAKED APPLES
Step 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.
Step 2. Rinse the apples and scoop out the inside. You can also cut them in half and then scoop out the inside. There are super handy tools for this, but a knife and a spoon will also do the trick. Just be careful.
Step 3. In a medium bowl combine the filling and mix until you have a mixed and slightly moist mixture.
Step 4. Fill the apples with the mixture and place them in a baking dish or cast iron pan. Add hot water to the pan and place it in the oven to bake until the apples are soft.
HOW TO SERVE BAKED APPLES
You can serve baked apples straight out of the oven. I like to do this for breakfast. But for a fancy breakfast or dessert, serve your baked apples with (soy) yogurt or ice cream. So good! I have a thing for combining hot and cold food. Baked apples are perfect to combine with cold yogurt or a scoop of ice cream.
Whipped coconut cream is also a delicious option. Anything cool and/or creamy is delicious with baked apples.
BAKED APPLES SUBSTITUTES
Besides the basics, this recipe leaves room to experiment. The basics are apples, oats, sugar, and oil. But the spices and nuts can be substituted/added.
Together or instead of nutmeg and cinnamon, try adding pumpkin spice, ginger, cloves, or anise.
Instead of walnuts or pecans, you can experiment with a lot of different nuts and seeds. Maybe pine nuts and Brazil nuts are not a good idea for this recipe, but feel free to experiment. Think of slivered almonds, chopped walnuts, sunflower seeds, pistachios, chopped hazelnuts, or pumpkin seeds.
HOW TO MAKE OIL-FREE BAKED APPLES
It’s very well possible to make oil-free baked apples or make them even more buttery.
If you are looking for a deep flavor and coconut oil is too light for you, you can replace the coconut oil with vegan butter.
But if coconut oil is too oily for you, you can omit it. Instead, add one tablespoon of a nut- or seed butter, such as tahini or runny almond butter together with a tablespoon of maple syrup. This will create a sticky addition to the mixture without having to use oil.
Honestly, I sometimes don’t even taste the difference whether I made baked apples with or without oil/butter.
HOW TO STORE BAKED APPLES
Freshly baked out of the oven is best, but you can make baked apples in advance.
Once out of the oven, let the apples cool and keep them in the fridge in an airtight container for about 1-2 days. All you need to do before serving is reheat the apples. Place the apples in the oven until warm or in the microwave. Stand by because they should not fall apart.
Again, add a bit of water to the pan so the apples don’t dry out.
- Some recipes will show you the half-baked version (those look more photogenic), but I feel baked apples should really be baked. So, bake until they are soft, but don’t fall apart.
- Speaking of falling apart, if you pick the wrong kind of apples for this recipe, your baked apples might fall apart. Red delicious apples (the mealy apples) will fall apart.
- This version is my favorite recipe which I created and updated over the years, but feel free to experiment with the filling. My first recipe was with goji berries and seeds. You can also add raisins, cranberries, or chopped dates.
- It’s important to add water to the pan. This helps keep the apples from drying out. For even warmer or sweeter flavors, add apple juice, orange juice, or apple cider instead. You can drizzle a bit of the juice over the baked apples before serving.
The flavors are truly amazing for such a simple recipe. And the smell! These soft apples are a true winner for dessert when you’re having guests or when you would like to enjoy a morning with a different breakfast than your usual porridge or smoothie.
If you are going to make these tender baked apples, I would love to see your delicious creations. Tag me on Instagram #thegreencreator so I share your baked apples.Print
These perfectly healthy baked apples are filled with a sweet, cinnamon-spiced mixture and walnuts. They are a quick, healthy, and delicious fall/winter treat.
- 4 medium gala apples or 6 small ones, cored and/or halved
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) hot water
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon (50 gr) rolled oats
- 1/3 cup (65 gr) coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup plus more for serving
- 1 teaspoon (15 ml) vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup (30 gr) chopped walnuts or pecans*
- 2 tablespoons ( 30 gr) firm coconut oil*
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin spice (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
FOR SERVING (optional)
- a few tablespoons (soy yogurt) per baked apple
- a scoop of (vegan vanilla) ice cream per baked apple
Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C.
Rinse and core the apples. Try to avoid cutting through the apple. I like to cut the apple in half and scoop out the inside to create open baked apples. Start with a knife around the core and continue with a spoon to scoop out the center of the apple. You can also use a melon baller scoop to dig out the core, or an apple core tool. See the video for a demonstration.
In a medium bowl, combine rolled oats, chopped walnuts, coconut sugar, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The filling should be a sticky slight moist mixture. If the mixture doesn’t stick, add 2 tablespoons water (or more) until all the oats stick together.
Spoon mixture into the cavity of each apple.
Place the apples into a baking dish or cast-iron pan and carefully pour the hot water into the dish.
Bake apples at 350°F / 180°C for about 50 minutes. After 30 minutes drizzle the liquid in the dish over the apples so they don’t dry out. The apples should be tender (soft) but not fall apart. The oat mixture should be browned.
Drizzle with a bit of maple syrup before serving. Serve as is or with yogurt or ice cream.
- Choose the right type of apple for this recipe. Gala apples are great but mealy apples (such as red delicious) will fall apart in the oven.
- Be creative with this recipe. You can add raisins, lemon zest, cranberries, or chopped dates.
- Baked apples can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for about 1-2 days. All you need to do before serving is reheat the apples. Place the apples in the oven until warm or in the microwave. Stand by because they should not fall apart.
- The liquid in the baking dish /pan is to prevent the apples from drying out or sticking to the bottom.
- Instead of coconut oil, you can use vegan butter for a deeper flavor.
- You can make this recipe oil-free if you wish. Instead of the coconut oil add one tablespoon of a nut- or seed butter, such as tahini or runny almond butter, and a tablespoon of maple syrup.
- Serving Size: 4
Keywords: baked apples, sweet, dessert, breakfast, dairy free, gluten free
photos by the green creator (c) (copyright)