Baked apples are a healthy dessert the entire family will enjoy. Make easy this apple dessert in your slow cooker or Instant Pot.
What Are Baked Apples?
Baked apples are literally apples that are baked until soft, usually with the cavity of the apples hollowed out and stuffed with a sweet filling. Or in this case slow cooked or pressurized since I’m not actually baking my apples in the oven. When the weather starts to cool down as fall really gets into full effect, I start looking for meals that are hearty and warm to make me feel cozy. These slow cooker or Instant Pot baked apples are one of my go-to fall favorites that checks all those boxes. I feel like the flavors of apples, cinnamon, and maple syrup are almost the official flavors of fall, and I love that I get to incorporate all of them into this one dessert. This recipe for baked apples is a healthy dessert option that gets most of its sweetness from the natural sugars found in the apples themselves. It’s also vegan and paleo diet friendly, too, so you don’t have to feel guilty about satisfying your sweet tooth!
A Healthy Dessert
When you taste just how delicious these baked apples are you will never believe that this dessert is actually healthy. When you are looking for something sweet but don’t want all the sugar in most other desserts, my baked apples will be your savior since this version uses all-natural ingredients instead of over processed, bleached, or refined ingredients. There’s no oats or granola; the main ingredient here is the apples stuffing that was hollowed out the cavity. The maple syrup in this recipe adds a natural sweetness to the crisp flavor of the ripe apples, and the nuts add a healthy crunch that really sends this dessert over the top. The sweet flavors of cinnamon or apple pie spice are the perfect finishes to this delicious dessert, and they don’t add any extra fat or sugar, keeping this dish on your list of “diet” desserts! My recipe for baked apples also leaves out butter, which removes a large amount of fat as compared to many other traditional recipes. When you combine that with the fact that the only sweeteners used in this baked apples recipe are all natural maple syrup (or honey), you have a dessert that will satisfy your sugar cravings without you needing to use a cheat day or break your diet.
Which Type of Apples to Use
Your preferred apple! Use whatever type of apple you want to use in this baked apples recipe whether they be sweet or tart. I tend to use small, sweet apples like gala apples or red delicious. One thing to keep in mind when you’re selecting your apples is the size of your slow cooker or Instant Pot. You will want to choose apples that properly fit. My 6-quart slow cooker and 3.5-quart Crock-Pot Casserole Crock Slow Cooker can hold 6 medium-size apples. When I use my oval shaped 3.5-quart slow cooker or my 6-quart Instant Pot, I can only fit 4 apples.
Make This Recipe Work For You
When it comes to the filling for these baked apples, you can make this recipe work for you. For example, if you don’t like raisins omit them or use a different dried fruit like dried cranberries or something like dates. I used chopped walnuts. What’s your favorite nut? You should use the your preferred nut. I sometimes like to use almonds or pecans. Honey isn’t vegan but you can use it in place of the maple syrup if you’re not following a vegan lifestyle.
Prepping The Apples
To make baked apples you will need to core & hollow out majority of the inside of the apples. The apple flesh is removed and mixed together with the other filling ingredients and then stuffed back into the apples. There are several ways to remove the inside cavity from the apples. The instructions listed in the recipe box is my preferred way. You may find that another way works better for you. That’s okay! Do what works for you. I like to cut the top off the apples with a small pairing knife. I then use a small melon baller to core & scoop the insides of the apples out. Whatever method you use, be sure to leave enough of the cavity and skin in the apples so they remain in-tact during the long cooking process.
I used a for this recipe 3.5-quart Crock-Pot Casserole Crock Slow Cooker.
Other apple recipes you might enjoy:
- 4–6 apples (depending on the size of your appliance)
- 1/3 cup water for slow cooker, 1 cup water for Instant Pot
- 1/2 cup nuts, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice + 1 /2 teaspoon cinnamon OR 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
Prepare the apples:
- Using a small pairing knife, cut a whole around the top of each apple. Using a small melon baller or spoon, core & scoop out the inside of the apples, leaving a couple centimeters around the edges in tact. Add the removed apple flesh to a medium-size bowl. Add the remaining filling ingredients to the bowl and mix until well combined. You can also pulse everything together in a food processor. Spoon the filling mixture evenly into each of the hollowed out apples. Continue to steps below.
- Pour the water into the bottom of the slow cooker. Add the prepared apples.
- Cook HIGH 2-3 hours or LOW 4-6.
- Use tongs to remove the apples, they will be hot.
- Place the trivet into the bottom the pressure cooker. Pour in the water. Be sure to use 1 full cup of water.
- Add the prepared apples on top of the trivet.
- Close lid and seal valve. Set high pressure for 5 minutes. When done, natural release for 5 minutes then quick release the remaining pressure.
- Use tongs to remove the apples, they will be hot.
Instant Pot: If your apples are still firm when they’re done cooking, add 2 more minutes of cook time.
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