In the winter, I suddenly find all of my favorite fruit desserts—smoothies, sorbets, frozen yogurts—completely unappealing; just the thought makes my teeth hurt and makes me want to curl up in a blanket. So besides just eating fruit as nature intended, well-rinsed and with a napkin to catch all the juices, I rely on a few simple recipes to transform plain fruit into warm, healthy desserts. Of these, nothing is simpler or easier than apples baked in the microwave.
I’ve been baking apples in the microwave ever since I saw the recipe in Adventures in Microwave Cooking, the book that came with my first Montgomery Ward microwave. (Yes, I just needlessly dated myself.) The original recipe called for only three ingredients besides apples: cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter. Over the years I’ve found that only the cinnamon is necessary; there are better-tasting sweeteners than brown sugar and absolutely no reason to use butter or margarine.
My standard recipe contains raisins, cinnamon, maple or date syrup, and sometimes chopped nuts, but lately I’ve come to love filling the apples with frozen berries, especially blueberries. Using frozen rather than fresh ensures that the berries won’t become overcooked before the apple is done. To retain juices and keep the apple as moist as possible, I remove most of the core from the apple, creating a cavity but leaving the bottom intact; the aroma and flavor of the berries permeates the apple from the inside out.
My favorite apples for baking are the same as my favorite for eating, Honeycrisp, which are very sweet and hold their shape well when cooked. Granny Smiths are too tart, and other red apples I’ve tried dissolve too easily into mush. If you can’t find Honeycrisp, use the crispest type of apple you can find.
And remember, microwaves vary in strength, so you may have to experiment to find the time that is right for yours. But when your experiments fill your kitchen with the scent of apples and cinnamon and you get to sit down to a sweet, tender baked apple in a matter of minutes, you probably won’t mind testing a few apples to get it just right.
Raisin-Filled Baked Apple
- 1 medium apple
- 1 tablespoon raisins
- about 1/16 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup (or other sweetener)
- Place raisins in a heat-proof bowl and pour boiling water over them. Allow them to soak until plump (time will depend upon the age of your raisins) and remain in soaking liquid until you are ready to cook.
- Wash an apple and remove most of the core, leaving about 1/4-inch at the bottom. Remove a thin strip of peel from around the cavity. Place the apple into a deep microwave-safe baking dish or bowl. Sprinkle the inside with a little cinnamon and fill with drained raisins. Pour a teaspoon of the soaking water over the raisins and drizzle the syrup over the raisins and top of the apple.
- Microwave, uncovered, on high power until apple is tender, 3-5 minutes, testing with a fork after 3 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. (Caution: Inside can be very hot, so do let them cool before eating.)
Nutritional info is approximate.
Blueberry-Filled Baked Apple
- 1 medium apple
- 2 tablespoons frozen unsweetened blueberries (not thawed)
- about 1/16 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons agave nectar (or other sweetener)
- Wash an apple and remove most of the core, leaving about 1/4-inch at the bottom. Remove a thin strip of peel from around the cavity. Place the apple into a deep microwave-safe baking dish or bowl. Sprinkle the inside with a little cinnamon and fill with frozen blueberries. Drizzle the syrup over the filling and top of the apple.
- Cover the dish with lid or plastic wrap. Microwave until apple is tender, 3-5 minutes, testing with a fork after 3 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. (Caution: Inside can be very hot, so do let them cool before eating.)
Nutritional info is approximate.
Note: You can cook these in the microwave in about 5 minutes, but if that’s not an option, place them in a baking dish, add enough water to cover the bottom, and bake at 375F for about 45 minutes.
More Fat-Free Desserts
Find more oil-free desserts, such as my new favorite, Vegan Snickerdoodles, and old favorite, Applesauce Ginger Cake with Maple Glaze, in my Desserts Index.
HeatherJanuary 27, 2010 at 10:16 am
I literally just woke up, saw your post, and made this for breakfast using a gala apple and a mixture of green and red raisins. It was *amazing*. This is a new favorite. (And it was ridiculously easy.) Thank you!!
JacquelineJanuary 27, 2010 at 10:18 am
Thanks for the recipe Susan. I had forgotten all about the joy of baked apples and this is a lovely simple way of cooking them.
Heather (Where's the Beach)January 27, 2010 at 10:18 am
Oh wow, those look unbelievable! I am definitely going to have to try the blueberry filling this weekend.
JennJanuary 27, 2010 at 10:29 am
So funny! I've been creating/craving warm and fruity desserts lately too- this is a great idea! Will try tonight. I'll send you a link to my idea later today after I post it – I think you'll love it!
eggplantexecutrixJanuary 27, 2010 at 10:33 am
I love your blog, and I am glad to know I'm not the only one who enjoys microwaved baked apples (although I use golden raisins)!
Literate veganJanuary 27, 2010 at 10:58 am
Yum! I too have a huge aversion to anything cold in winter… I usually have baked apples sprinkled with cinnamon the wrapped in puff pastry and baked in the oven, but this sounds like a wonderful treat I can have at work when I need something sweet but without the guilt!
LayoneeJanuary 27, 2010 at 10:37 am
I just made the blueberry filled one with a braeburn apple and used a bit of date-sweetner (powdered). It was a delicious afternoon snack 🙂 Thanks for the recipe!!
AllisonJanuary 27, 2010 at 11:46 am
Hi there….this recipe looks amazing, but do you think it would work just as well in a regular oven? And, if so, how long for the baking time? Would love to try this as a yummy warm breakfast! 🙂
necaJanuary 27, 2010 at 11:54 am
I've done apples in the microwave before – why didn't I remember this??? THANK YOU! I've been looking for a dessert and have loads of fruit, but want something warm. Perfect!
herbstsonneJanuary 27, 2010 at 12:13 pm
Oh, YUM! Making these TONIGHT!
Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy QueenJanuary 27, 2010 at 12:16 pm
I am with you on craving the fruit, but when I eat it during the winter I end up freezing to death! I normally drink a hot cup of tea while I eat my fruit…it goes well together and I am not freezing by the end! We do love baked apples around here. I will have to try the apple blueberry combo in the microwave…I have been having strange cravings for blueberries lately.
KatieJanuary 27, 2010 at 12:21 pm
Fruit is my favorite dessert, and it doesn't get much better than baked apples. Sometimes I get too lazy to wait for them to cook in the oven, but this method sounds perfect!
noraJanuary 27, 2010 at 12:28 pm
now here's something i can make in my dorm room!
moonwatcherJanuary 27, 2010 at 1:03 pm
This looks great–I have huckleberries in the freezer that would work well. Don't have a microwave anymore though–gave it to my son when he was in college–it was from Sears, same era as yours!! So I will try it in the oven sometime. . I'm thinking a temp of 350, and that it would take at least about 35 minutes, like a crisp, but maybe longer, up to an hour, because the apples are more intact? And honey crisp apples are great, I agree!
The photos are beautiful, too!!
eatingtolivehealthyJanuary 27, 2010 at 9:23 pm
Just made this with blueberries and it was so yummy and pretty!
Allison, The Busy (Happy!) VeganJanuary 27, 2010 at 8:35 pm
I found this recipe at the perfect time. I was CRAVING sweets, but definitely not in the mood to bake. I actually filled mine with a mixture of blueberries and raspberries. They were delicious, quick, and dynamite! Thanks so much for posting!
LizzieJanuary 27, 2010 at 9:38 pm
Yay Honeycrisps! They are my absolute favorite apples in the whole wide world so I can't wait to try this!
CherieJanuary 27, 2010 at 10:54 pm
These look delicious, I'm tempted to try them in the toaster oven.
SallyJanuary 28, 2010 at 12:31 am
I haven't told you lately how much I enjoy your recipes, wonderful and seasonal, and I LOOOOOve baked apples! I have pears over ripe right now and will be baking them today! Thank you !
CharlotteJanuary 28, 2010 at 9:58 am
thank you so much for this recipe! it's snowing in NY; perfect weather for a warm, delicious dessert. AND, on top of that, it's healthy. i can't wait to make this later 🙂
NICOLE MJanuary 28, 2010 at 11:36 am
amazing recipe! you could do it so many ways both in the oven or in the mic….thanks for the warm treat idea, it is absolutely freezing here so its perfect
Health and HappinessJanuary 28, 2010 at 12:55 pm
These look delicious! Thanks so much for sharing!
Alison @ Hospitality HavenJanuary 28, 2010 at 7:28 pm
How ironic! I just posted a recipe for baked apples earlier this week! They are truly delicious. Thanks for your recipe. 🙂
timJanuary 28, 2010 at 7:35 pm
that's new to me, microwave baked apple? I never know microwave can bake fruit
AnonymousJanuary 29, 2010 at 10:47 am
This is just what I am looking for!! I'm kinda smoothied out at the moment – looking for something warm in this frigid weather. Thanks for the recipe!
luckiest1January 29, 2010 at 8:55 pm
Love the idea of blueberries and apple….also totally agree with you about honeycrisps, they are to die for!
Blessed are the MercifulJanuary 30, 2010 at 5:28 am
Sounds amazing! Thanks for the recipe. I am really bad about eating enough fruit, because I'm so picky about it. So any recipe that gets me to eat more fruit is good!
chocolatecupJanuary 30, 2010 at 11:48 am
wish i had a microwave nowwww! haha.
PhoenixJanuary 30, 2010 at 11:17 am
I don't have a microwave, but I just made the raisin-filled baked apple in my oven (40 mins at 375F), and it's so delicious! Thanks for the recipe!
MaddieJanuary 30, 2010 at 6:25 pm
This was delicious! Since you're from Louisiana, and I'm just starting to try out the whole vegan lifestyle, I was wondering if you knew of any vegan king cake recipes? Mardi Gras is right around the corner, and it kills me that everyone around me is eating the stuff while I'm sipping away at my soy milk. Thanks!
SusanVJanuary 30, 2010 at 6:50 pm
Maddie, I haven't made it but here's a link to a vegan king cake recipe by kittee, who until recently lived in N.O. Her blog is great!
Kittee's King Cake
CarolynJanuary 30, 2010 at 9:20 pm
I've done a 'baked' apple in the microwave before but it didn't quite cook all the way through, I think because I didn't core it. Didn't matter, it tasted good anyway. I'm off to make one right now with your method, Susan, thanks!
PhoenixJanuary 31, 2010 at 7:07 am
OMG, I'm addicted! I'm out of raisins, so I used dried cranberries instead. This is baked apple heaven! Also, I realized that my old oven has been acting up, so the correct temperature might actually be closer to 350 than 375.
jess hoffmannJanuary 31, 2010 at 9:25 am
Wow, this was amazing. I made the first recipe, and added chopped pecans to crimson raisins and micro-ed them in a pyrex measuring cup. I used small granny smith apples and 3.5 mins was a perfect for 2 at a time . FANTASTIC. This will be a keeper for a long time, maybe even forever. Thanks Susan!
HollafoodzoneJanuary 31, 2010 at 11:21 am
Apples are the best thing to happen to desert! Thanks for another recipe for me to savor!
moonwatcherJanuary 31, 2010 at 12:33 pm
Like Phoenix suggested, I baked my huckleberry stuffed apple at 375 for about 40 minutes. And, very important for oven baking, I added a little water to the dish, as the link you mentioned suggested (here is that link for those who want to see it):
I happened to use a pink lady apple (no more honey crisps at the co-op) and the results were delicious. I am now intrigued by Phoenix's idea of dried cranberries in the center as well. And, well, of course raisins would be nice, too. . .I will say that I found coring the apple a most frustrating experience (the grapefruit spoon I have was just not the right shape!) so if I keep doing this I might have to go gadget hunting for an apple corer!
Thanks for another great, delicious, and beautiful recipe. This would be a nice thing to serve company even, it's so pretty. And it's great with a dab of your homemade soy yogurt on top with an extra sprinkle of cinnamon!
Sarah @ The Foodie DiariesFebruary 1, 2010 at 11:32 am
Ah my host mom in Spain made me that raisin-stuffed manzana for dessert all the time when I lived there! But I NEED to try that blueberry one!
jessicaFebruary 1, 2010 at 2:00 pm
Sounds like a great recipe. However, I don't think you should suggest to people to microwave things with plastic wrap on them. The plastic definitely leaches chemicals onto the food.
SusanVFebruary 1, 2010 at 2:16 pm
Jessica, the apple should be in a deep enough dish that the plastic wrap (or lid) doesn't touch the apple. No leaching will occur.
Canvas PhotosFebruary 1, 2010 at 3:59 pm
I've never ever heard of this before. It looks great, and from all of these comments, it seems like a hit! Thanks for sharing and making my life easier!