As summer winds down and autumn takes over, apple season comes into full swing. Giving pumpkin everything a run for its money, the start of cooler weather means that nutrition-rich apples become ubiquitous, with different varieties gracing farmers markets and supermarkets.
With all those gorgeous apples available at rock-bottom prices, one of my favorite things to do is get creative and whip up apple desserts. Unfortunately, so many recipes that are available are loaded with gobs of sugar and processed ingredients, turning a healthy fruit into a frankenfood. Luckily, there are some delicious recipes apple desserts that are just naughty enough to feel like a treat but won’t leave you feeling regretful.
18 Apple Desserts
Fries always taste pretty good. But when they’re made from apples? Even better. The apple slices are fried, drained then coated in a cinnamon-sugar mixture. I love that the dip is made from coconut cream, keeping these vegan. Substitute coconut sugar for the refined version and enjoy.
Photo: The Veg Life
These apple oat muffins are sweet enough to enjoy as a dessert but not so decadent that you can’t have them for breakfast. Greek yogurt adds protein and a moist texture. The raisins lend some extra texture but if you’re not a fan, feel free to leave them out.
This apple dessert doesn’t just look good — it tastes great, too. The crust comes together with walnut chunks and a minimal amount of added sugar, while the maple custard uses pure maple syrup and eggs for a silky smooth pastry. Topped with apple “roses,” this tart is sure to impress.
Photo: Baking a Moment
These caramel apple slices are genius. They’re a no-muss, no-fuss way to eat one of fall’s best treats without making a mess. They’re make-ahead and you can add your favorite toppings or enjoy as is. Best of all, you don’t need any exotic ingredients. Pack these as a treat in your kids’ lunchboxes — or your own!
Photo: Domestically Blissful
A dessert that’ll give you an energy boost? Yes, please! These apple energy bites will satisfy a sweet tooth guilt-free. They taste like apple pie, with medjool dates, apples and maple syrup sweetening things up and almonds and oats adding texture.
Photo: Recipe Runner
Have you tried apple butter? It’s often sold this time of year at astonishingly high prices. But you can make your own right in the crockpot with this crazy easy recipe. Just two ingredients turn apple slices into a creamy “butter” you can use to top toast, spoon onto yogurt or use as a condiment.
We’ve all seen those sticky caramel apples sold at local fairs, but who knows what’s in those shells?! Yes, some apple desserts are downright unhealthy. Luckily, you can make your own right at home and keep them totally dairy-free! While you’ll have to plan ahead for this apple dessert — it requires at least 8 hours of chilling time — it’s totally worth it. Coconut milk, honey, coconut sugar and vanilla come together for a yummy treat.
Photo: Dr. Axe
Bakery-worthy scones will come out of your kitchen when you prepare these scones. More of a coffee pastry than a straight dessert, you won’t believe how good this apple dessert tastes. While the recipe seems like a lot of steps, the instructions are just quite detailed — that’s a good thing here! Your friends won’t believe these didn’t come from the store.
Easier than apple pie, apple crisp has always been a favorite at my house, so I love sharing my recipe. Made with gluten-free flours, this crisp is ready in under 40 minutes and is a cinch to make. You can whip this one up tonight.
Do apple desserts include bread? Well, similar to a banana bread, this apple version does double duty as a breakfast or dessert. I love that you’ll get cinnamony-sweet flavor in each bite. And the walnut-oatmeal streusel on top is to die for — crunchy with just enough sweetness. Make this one soon!
Photo: Kristine’s Kitchen
Granola bars always sound like a healthy option, but they’re often filled with so many weird ingredients that you might as well just eat a cake. Well, these apple bars are the best of both worlds. The puffed rice and honey add flavor and sweetness, while the flaxseeds, nuts and oats add staying power and nutrition. Enjoy these as a dessert after lunch — they’re easy to take on the go to work or school.
Who needs potato chips when you can have apple chips? Using just a mandolin slicer on the apples makes them super thin, perfect for crisping up as they bake with cinnamon. Replace your movie night snack with these.
For a dessert recipe without any white flour, sugar, butter or oil, these apple pie blondies manage to be soft, fudgy and absolutely delicious. Made with your choice of nut butter, applesauce, maple syrup and coconut flour, they’re also super easy to make. Prepare a second batch because these won’t last long!
Photo: The Big Man’s World
A fun take on traditional apple crumble, this version uses natural peanut butter, coconut oil, maple syrup and oats for a crunchy, peanut topping. Finished off with a peanut butter maple syrup — yes, you read that correctly — this is one apple dessert you won’t be able to stop eating.
Quinoa and cake aren’t two words you hear together very often, but this recipe might change your mind. Because quinoa is so good at soaking up flavors, you wind up with a cake that has a ton of protein and staying power and gets baked right in a cast iron skillet. How’s that for double duty?
Greek yogurt is the magic ingredient in this cake, which uses just one tablespoon of butter. The rest of the fluffiness and light texture — plus protein — comes from using the yogurt. With a variety of spices and topped with fresh apple slices, this dessert just screams autumn.
Photo: Amy’s Healthy Baking
Forget buying sweetened applesauce at the store. Make your own for a tasty treat that’s a hit amongst kids and adults alike! I like leaving mine chunky to enjoy as a snack, but you can also make this applesauce to use in other recipes; in that case, you’ll want to puree it smooth.
The type of apples you use in apple desserts are key. Here, opt for a sweeter variety, like Pink Lady or Fuji. You’ll shred them and combine with whole wheat flour, pecans, maple syrup and a few other yummy seasonings for a naturally delicious muffin that’s the perfect way to finish off a meal. These freeze nicely, so make extra and freeze to enjoy later!