Looking for some ideas to savor the fall apple crop? When apple season is in full swing, this collection of healthy apple recipes is perfect for cooking with your abundance.
On the apple farm
Apples are one of my favorite fruits to bake with. These are (mostly) healthy apple recipes made from whole food ingredients. The best apple recipes start with flavorful, fresh apples. My favorite, bar none? The Gravenstein apple. When I was a young girl, our first apple crop was the Gravenstein apple, usually in their prime by early August. My dad’s birthday was in July though, so every year Mom made his favorite apple pie with apples still on the green side. It was our first pie of the season, the first taste of the harvest to come.
These are the apples I grew up with and one of the first apple varieties to ripen every season. Their flavor is slightly spicy and a bit tangy. They are a tender apple with thin skin and cook up beautifully when they are ripe. A perfectly ripe Gravenstein has green skin with a slight yellow tinge and red stripes.
(There is also a Red Gravenstein apple; they are sweeter than the standard variety and tend toward mushiness, though the flavor is good.)
Gravensteins are only in their prime for a few weeks, though. Overripe Gravensteins will become a bit mushy in a pie. Not to worry — Gravensteins are also the best apple for making applesauce; if you find yourself with some very ripe Gravs, they make a wonderful sugar free applesauce.
Finding Gravenstein apples will be the most difficult trick. They don’t ship well, so unless you know someone who has a tree or live in an area where farmers grow Gravensteins, you might be out of luck.
The best apple recipes
Grandma’s apple pie recipe is (in my opinion) one of the best apple recipes out there. Learn how to make a pie crust and serve this up to your loved ones. They’ll be so happy.
Healthy apple recipes galore!
Start with fresh apples, add some whole food ingredients, and you’ve got yourself a collection of healthy apple recipes. Now, these aren’t sugar free. Some of these recipes definitely fall in the dessert category. But they’re homemade with real food ingredients. In my mind, that qualifies these as healthy apple recipes.
When it’s harvest time in the orchard and apples are abundant, bake some up into a pie, crisp, or cobbler for dessert. Or can them for a pantry staple you can enjoy year round.
Whether you have a handful or a bushel full of fresh apples, here are some healthy apple recipes to use them.
Apples for breakfast!
A crisp apple fresh out of hand is a healthy way to start the day. But with a little extra work you can turn those apples into healthy muffins or stir them into a pancake recipe.
Made with rolled oats, these easy apple cinnamon muffins are perfect for breakfast or after school snacking.
This is a vintage recipe that dates to the 1700s. It’s gluten free and perfect for a healthy, apple-y breakfast.
If you’re missing muffins because you’re limiting wheat, these gluten free muffins might be just what you’ve been looking for.
Savory apple recipes
Apples pair beautifully with savory ingredients. This salad is no exception and it’s an easy (easy) way to fancy up dinner when you’re short on time.
A sweet and spicy salsa made with tomatillos and apples.
This one’s a gluten free, vegan option for using up those fresh apples.
Portable and perfect for a snack on the run, these savory apple cheese muffins are a snap to make.
Healthy apple drink recipes
Gather around for a mug of uplifting, magical hawthorn mulled apple cider!
Nothing says autumn like a freshly squeezed glass of apple juice. Or maybe that’s just me — I did grow up on an apple farm, after all! This DIY cider press is something that most people can accomplish at home on a budget.
Fresh pressed apple juice can be fermented and turned into an adults-only drink! Learn how to make hard apple cider here.
Canning and preserving apples
From my favorite apple sauce recipe to pie filling, apple cider jelly, and fruit leather, these healthy apple recipes will help you enjoy apples year round.
If you’re lucky enough to have access to apples measured by the bushel rather than by the pound, you’ll want to preserve that bounty. There is nothing so sweet as home-canned applesauce in the dead of winter. I like mine warmed and sprinkled with cinnamon.
Once you’ve made that apple cider, there are plenty of ways to use it. Like this jelly recipe. It’s a fun twist on your standard apple jelly.
This one’s for the kids! Fruit leather is easy to make and a great portable way to preserve the harvest. Definitely one of those healthy apple recipes you should try!
Keep this apple pie filling on hand for when you need a shortcut to dessert.
A perfect traveling snack, these dried apple chips are a great way to preserve the apple harvest. Snack on them as they are, or use the apple chips in baking by rehydrating them.
Apple butter is a treat on crispy toast. This recipe calls for crab apples, but feel free to substitute your favorite apple. (Have you planted a crab apple tree yet? Here’s why you might want to.)
Do you know what’s in your apple cider vinegar? Maybe not apples if you’re buying it at the store. Happily, making apple cider vinegar is more about setting it aside and letting it ferment than actively doing anything. In other words, it’s simple.
That’s right. A sweetener made from apples. If you’re trying to cut out processed sugar, this is a great alternative.
You know what’s abundant about the same time as apples? Pears. Here’s a way to combine the two flavors in a jar.
How’s this for an unexpected way to preserve some of your apples? Homegrown fruit with a probiotic boost!
Healthy(ish) apple dessert recipes
Is there anything better than pie? Maybe pie and ice cream? This apple pie recipe comes straight off the farm — it’s the real deal and one of my favorite apple recipes
Made in a cast iron skillet with a rustic lattice-top, this apple pie is swoon-worthy.
This recipe is one of my husband’s favorite homemade apple recipes. It comes from a community cookbook featuring apple recipes from apple farm country where I grew up.
Top this apple spice cake with caramel sauce for an indulgent dessert or serve it plain for breakfast. Pie is the hands down favorite way to turn apples into dessert, right? But don’t limit yourself to just pie!
These sweet treats would be perfect for Halloween parties! With only five all-natural ingredients, these are a healthier option than store-bought caramels.
Two of your favorite flavors in one dish and ice cream?? That’s what I’m talking about!
Originally published in September 2014; this post has been updated.