Easy Baked Apples Recipe is the perfect combination of simple and flavorful…plus it’s got just three main ingredients.
Best of all, there’s no complicated, time-consuming crust to make and no expensive gluten-free flours.
Y’all, I don’t know about you, but it’s enough work to put nutritious meals on the table every day despite a busy schedule. Pie is just not in my daily repertoire. Remember my motto: Keep It Super Simple.
Sure, this Easy Baked Apples Recipe looks a little fancier than your standard whole baked apple, but I promise you, the flavor that you’ll get as a result is worth the extra time to slice the apples thinly.
As the apples bake, the edges of each slice simultaneously caramelize and soften. The intense flavor of rich cinnamon and sweet-tart apples will absolutely pop on your palate. I promise, you won’t even miss the pie dough.
If you’re on the hunt for a more traditional stuffed baked apple, I’ve got a really killer recipe for Baked Coconut Chocolate Apples in The Performance Paleo Cookbook (p. 195).
Now, there are about a hundred and one ways to customize this Easy Baked Apples Recipe, so don’t fret if you can’t find the kind of apples I used or there’s no apple pie spice at your local grocery store.
Use this recipe as a template, and feel free to riff on it. (I think this would be incredible with some toasted pecans or walnuts sprinkled on top!)
Here are some other suggestions for modifying this Easy Baked Apples Recipe:
- I used pink lady apples because I love love love the sweet-tart flavor and crispness, but feel free to use any apples you have on hand. Some apples do break down more when they bake – for example, McIntosh – so they might not keep their shape super well. They’ll still be tasty though. Other favorites for pie: Braeburn and Golden Delicious.
- Instead of pre-mixed apple pie spice, you can dust with a generous couple pinches of cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg, and a very small pinch of ground ginger. Pumpkin pie spice could be used, but it tends to be a little heavy on the cloves. I really like the Apple Pie Spice from Primal Palate.
- If you don’t have ghee or can’t use it, any kind of solid fat will do. I really love ghee for its buttery flavor and lack of dairy proteins. (Read more about ghee here.) If you choose an oil, pick one that’s pretty neutral in flavor. A peppery olive oil might be great in a salad but it’ll overwhelm the delicate flavor of the apples.
- If you’re avoiding all added sugars, you can certainly omit the honey altogether – this will make it Whole30-friendly. No raw, local honey? Try something like maple syrup drizzled on top for an extra fall-like touch.
- You could sprinkle on toasted nuts – walnuts or pecans would be fantastic – or chopped raisins once it’s done baking.
- I used a small cast iron serving dish like this to make this Easy Baked Apples Recipe. Don’t have one handy? A small cast iron skillet will work, too. Or, you could certainly use a glass baking dish, though you may want to double the recipe to fill it based on size.
It will take a little extra time to slice the apples thinly, but the result is super pretty and worth the effort!
Easy Baked Apples Recipe
Preheat the oven to 350°F (171°C). Melt 1 teaspoon of ghee: I put it in the cast iron dish and gently warmed it on the stovetop until the ghee was liquid, then turned the heat off and set the dish aside until I was ready to use it.
Halve, core, and thinly slice the apples. You want the slices to be somewhere around 1/16-inch thick. More than ⅛-inch and they will take a long time to soften. Use a sharp knife, and get in the zone! Your patience and precision will be rewarded.
Start laying the apple slices into the dish, slightly overlapping them. I did the outside circumference of the dish first, then did another circle inside that. You may have apple slices leftover…bonus snack!
Sprinkle the apple pie spice on top of the apples and dot the extra teaspoon of ghee over the top of the apples. You don’t really need to do that, but I think it adds a nice buttery touch.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the apples have softened and begun to brown slightly at the edges.
Drizzle with honey (optional) and serve warm.
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