These warm, juicy baked apples are the best EASY, GLUTEN-FREE fall dessert!

Unlike other recipes I prefer peeling the apples before baking. The filling also has some extra special ingredients. Read on for all my tips!

A baked apple with filling and a scoop of ice cream on a plate


 

Hello, apple season! This is one of my favorite times of the year, when we always have an abundance of apples ready to be turned into a delicious dessert.

I love apple cobbler, apple pie, apple crisp, and a slew of other apple recipes. But sometimes, a healthy baked apple is the light and easy dessert that really hits the spot. This recipe doesn’t require you to make a crust, dough, or batter. Just peel and core the apples, stuff them with a delicious filling of brown sugar, oats, and pecans, and bake.

Thanks to a bit of butter, orange zest, and spices, these apples taste amazing all on their own. But you can really take this dessert to the next level by filling them with a scoop of ice cream and drizzle of caramel sauce.

This is the perfect dessert for fall dinner parties or family gatherings. Everyone will be impressed with the presentation!

Plus, this dessert is naturally gluten-free, making it a great dessert for people with food allergies.

Table of Contents

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Quick and easy recipe
  • Lower in sugar and calories
  • Perfect for dinner parties
  • Delicious fall dessert

You also might like this recipe for apple compote or gluten-free apple crisp.

For more gluten-free apple recipes, try this gluten-free apple crumble recipegluten-free apple cake and gluten-free apple muffins.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Baked apple filling ingredients on a countertop
  • Brown sugar: Brown sugar is a key ingredient for sweetening these apples. It provides a subtle molasses flavor that pairs perfectly with the fall flavors.
  • Butter: I like to use salted butter for this recipe, since it has more depth of flavor than unsalted butter.
  • Pecans: It’s important to toast and finely chop the pecans. This brings out the nutty flavor and gives them a nice crisp texture. To save time, you can buy chopped toasted pecans at the grocery store.
  • Spices: Spices like cinnamon and nutmeg give these apples a classic fall flavor profile that is the perfect complement to the tart Granny Smith apples.
  • Cranberries: I love adding finely chopped dried cranberries to these apples. Use unsweetened dried cranberries if you want to reduce the sugar. You also might like these gluten-free white chocolate cranberry cookies.
  • Orange zest: Orange zest gives this recipe a nice bright, citrusy flavor that balances well with the spices.
  • Oats: Be sure to use gluten-free oats if you want to keep this recipe gluten-free!

You also might like these recipes for gluten-free applesauce cake, gluten-free apple cider donuts and gluten-free apple pie recipe.

How to Make Baked Apples

  • Preheat the oven to 375F. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish, or any dish that can fit 6 apples without them touching.
Apples peeled and cored in a dish

Prepare the Apples

  • Shave a thin slice off the bottom (blossom end) of 6 apples to allow them to sit flat. Cut top 1/2 inch off the stem end and set aside for topping the apples later.
  • Peel the apples.
  • Core the apples using a melon baller, apple corer, or small paring knife. (I find a melon baller works best!) Be careful not to cut all the way through. The opening should be about 1½-inches. Place the apples in the baking dish. 
Baked apple filling in a bowl

Make the Filling

  • In a small bowl or medium bowl, mix together the ingredients for the filling until well combined. 
Baked apple sauce in a bowl
  • Spoon the brown sugar mixture inside the apples, mounding any extra on top. Top with reserved apple caps.

Bake the Apples

Baked apples with filling inside
  • Whisk together the caramel sauce ingredients and pour into the baking dish. 
Baked apples with tops on them in a baking dish
  • Bake time typically ranges between 35 and 40 minutes. Baste the whole apples with the sauce every 10 minutes. The apples are done when they can easily be poked with a toothpick. (Add a few tablespoons of cider to the sauce if it gets too thick.)
Baked apples in a dish
  • Add a spoonful of sauce to the top of the apple and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

Storage Instructions

Store leftover baked apples in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.

A baked apple in a bowl with a fork and the top off the apple

FAQs

What kind of apple is best baked?

It’s important to use a firm, sweet apple for baking. Some of the best apples include tart apples like Granny Smith. Pink Lady, Jonagold, or Honeycrisp apples also work well. Avoid a softer variety of apple like McIntosh, Red Delicious, or Gala apples.

Is it good to eat baked apples?

Yes, baked apples are a healthy and favorite fall dessert for many. Baked apples are typically low-calorie and require little to no added sugar, thanks to the natural sugars that are released as the apples bake. They are traditionally made with apples, oats, warm spices, and a bit of brown sugar.

Do you have to peel apples to bake?

You don’t technically have to peel apples before baking. Apple skins are full of nutrients and will soften as they back. However, most people prefer the texture of a peeled apple for recipes like apple pie, apple cobbler, applesauce, or baked apples.

A baked apple with filling and a scoop of ice cream on a plate

Expert Tips & Tricks

  • I like to use Granny Smith apples for this recipe, since they have a bold, tart flavor and firm texture that can hold up to baking. However, you can use another type of apple if you prefer. I recommend a firm variety like Honeycrisp or Pink Lady.
  • While you don’t have to peel these apples before baking, I think it makes these easy baked apples more enjoyable to eat.
  • Be sure to use gluten-free rolled oats to keep this recipe gluten-free!

MORE APPLE RECIPES

I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! If you try these baked apples, be sure to leave me a comment/rating below. I’d love to hear from you! 

A baked apple with filling and a scoop of ice cream on a plate
5 from 4 votes

Baked Apples (Gluten-Free!)

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 servings
These warm, juicy baked apples are filled with brown sugar pecan filling, then topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. It's the perfect EASY fall dessert!

Ingredients

  • 6 large Granny Smith apples

For the Filling:

  • 4 tablespoons butter softened
  • cup brown sugar
  • cup dried cranberries finely chopped
  • cup toasted pecans finely chopped
  • cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons butter melted
  • cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup apple cider

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 375F. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish, or any dish that can fit 6 apples without them touching.

PREPARE THE APPLES

  • Shave a thin slice off the bottom (blossom end) of 6 apples to allow them to sit flat. Cut top 1/2 inch off the stem end and set aside for topping the apples later.
  • Peel the apples.
  • Core the apples using a melon baller, or small paring knife. (I find a melon baller works best!) Be careful not to cut all the way through. The opening should be about 1½-inches. Place the apples in the baking dish.

MAKE THE FILLING

  • Mix together the ingredients for the filling until well combined.
  • Spoon the filling inside the apples, mounding any extra on top. Top with reserved apple caps.

BAKE THE APPLES

  • Whisk together the sauce ingredients and pour into the baking dish.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, basting with the sauce every 10 minutes. The apples are done when they can easily be poked with a toothpick. (Add a few tablespoons of cider to the sauce if it gets too thick.)
  • Serve the apples topped with a spoonful of sauce and a scoop of ice cream. Enjoy!

Notes

RECIPE NOTES
    • I like to use Granny Smith apples for this recipe, since they have a bold, tart flavor and firm texture that can hold up to baking. However, you can use another type of apple if you prefer. I recommend a firm variety like Honeycrisp or Pink Lady.
    • While you don’t have to peel these apples before baking, I think it makes these baked apples more enjoyable to eat.

Nutrition

Calories: 376kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 292mg | Potassium: 318mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 49g | Vitamin A: 453IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 1mg

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Hi, I’m Erin!

BS Food Science,

MS Nutrition

I believe you can make amazing, gluten-free food with everyday ingredients that everyone will enjoy. I’m here to share my tried-and-true recipes with you!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These were absolutely fantastic and I cannot thank you enough for sharing your expert tips and tricks! I loved these apples so much!

  2. 5 stars
    Comforting, warm, & delicious!! This recipe is so yummy! There is nothing better than baked apples & toppings! We make these for our families every year!

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