Warm skillet apples cooked in a buttery brown sugar and cinnamon glaze. These fragrant spiced apples are perfect served as a side dish, over oats for breakfast or with a dollop of cream for a healthy-ish dessert.
Spiced apples are one of the easiest fall recipes you can make. This slightly sweet yet satisfying recipe is versatile and takes just 20 minutes to prepare. Leave the on apple peels for ease and an extra boost of fiber and nutrition.
To make this recipe: gather apples, cinnamon and nutmeg, sugar or your favorite sweetener, butter or vegan butter and a pinch of salt.
The key to cooking skillet apples perfectly every time is slicing the fruit into the same sized pieces – both shape and thickness. This ensures even cooking and a perfectly tender texture!
Making healthy cinnamon apples
Choose sweet apples. This is the absolute key to help reduce the amount of sugar you’ll need or want to use to sweeten the recipe. Instead of Granny Smith, I am using Honeycrisp apples. Cameo and Envy ones are also crisp and sweet.
Add spice. Cinnamon adds a subtle warm and a big boost of flavor. This focus on flavor is key for enjoying healthier dishes.
Use less sugar or a sugar alternative. Using less sugar makes this a healthier recipe. I am using brown sugar but you can absolutely swap in an equivalent amount of your favorite alternative sweetener such as monk fruit.
Note: If you omit the sugar, your apples will not have a syrupy glaze and many people will not find them sweet enough.
For an even easier recipe that doesn’t requiring peeling apples, try my No-Sugar Added Slow Cooker Applesauce. The slow cooked apples break down into a sweet and delicious sauce. And you won’t miss the sugar!
Best type of apple for stovetop cooking
Choose firm, sweet apples that will hold their shape during the cooking process. A few of the best options include these or similar varieties:
- Fuji or Braeburn
- Granny Smith (especially good for a tart flavor)
I don’t recommend grainy or soft apples such as Red Delicious.
TIP: Be sure to slice your apples to the same size and thickness to ensure even cooking.
Need vegan cinnamon apples? To make this recipe 100% plant based, use an equal amount of vegan butter.
Arrowroot powder can be swapped for an equal amount of cornstarch.
Don’t have cinnamon? Cinnamon is a natural fit but you can use other warm spices like cardamom or homemade apple pie spice for more depth of flavor.
Swapping brown sugar. Brown sugar adds a rich, molasses-like flavor to the apples. You can use coconut sugar or date sugar if you prefer. Coconut sugar will take a little longer to dissolve and taste less sweet in my opinion.
- Enjoy the cooked apples as a side dish.
- Top oatmeal with the warm cinnamon apples or make apple overnight oats.
- Serve warm with a crumble of granola for a quick apple crisp!
- Muddle the cooked apples into a drink for a fall mocktail or cocktail.
- Use leftover cooked apples to make healthy apple cinnamon muffins.
Easy Cinnamon Apples
- 4 large apples (I like Honeycrisp)
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter or vegan butter
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- pinch salt
- ½ cup water (up to)
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
- Cut the apples into ¼ inch thick slices. Set aside. Melt the butter (or vegan butter) in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the skillet. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and the sugar starts to dissolve.
- Add the sliced apples to the skillet. Toss to coat them in the cinnamon mixture. Add ¼ cup water to the skillet and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover the skillet. Cook the apples for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are just tender (easily pierced with a fork but not soft).
- In a small bowl, make a slurry by whisking the arrowroot powder and 1 tablespoon of water until smooth. Pour the slurry into the skillet and stir until the sauce thickens and coats the apples. Serve the cinnamon apples warm, topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream if desired.
- I left the peels on to enjoy the added fiber benefit. You can peel your apples if you’d like. The cook time will be slightly shorter.