25 Creative Ways to Enjoy Apples This Season

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HOW DO YOU LIKE THESE APPLES?

Though not indigenous to North America, apples have become a symbol of American cuisine, hospitality, and prosperity. Before sugar was cheap and widely available, apples were a primary source of sweetness, and considered a special delicacy. Fall is apple season, an ideal time to stock up at low prices and indulge in all things apple, from do-it-yourself cider to cheese-crusted pies and nouveau apple nachos. Check out these 25 apple recipes to make the most of apple season.

Photo credit: Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

APPLE CHEDDAR PIE

This popular twist on an American favorite is quickly becoming a classic in its own right. The cheese goes right into crust to enhance the savory butteriness that envelopes the sweet-tart apple filling. It's just a small amount of cheese (6 ounces), which means you can spend a little extra on a high-quality sharp cheddar to make sure the flavor comes through.

Recipe: Martha Stewart

Photo credit: Derek Hatfield/shutterstock

CARAMEL APPLES

A simple recipe for caramel apples can become a fun group activity for people of all ages. The ingredients are basic household staples, and the only special equipment needed is a candy thermometer (starting at $5) for gauging precise temperature, helping ensure smooth and luscious caramel.

Recipe: Chowhound

Photo credit: Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

APPLE FRITTERS

A cousin of the doughnut and a welcome addition to any pastry spread, apple fritters are an often overlooked seasonal treat. This takes the venerable fritter to the next level with a maple glaze, but even without it, the combination of a sweet yeast dough and apple filling infused with vanilla and butter is one of the best ways to enjoy apples.

Recipe: Half Baked Harvest

Photo credit: Claire Fraser Photography/shutterstock

APPLE TART TATIN

A French pastry classic, this elegant tart makes an impressive statement at parties. The key here is to cut the apples evenly and layer them in an appealing way, since the ingredients themselves are rather basic.

Recipe: The New York Times

Photo credit: EQRoy/shutterstock

APPLE OATMEAL MUFFINS

Apples and oatmeal are a naturally delicious and nutritious combination, and these muffins make a satisfying grab-and-go breakfast or anytime snack -- not to mention an easily adaptable one that yields delicious muffins with any type of flour or milk, so there's no need to buy extra ingredients if you have a similar substitution.

Recipe: Cookie + Kate

Photo credit: Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

APPLE BUTTER

A luscious apple butter with warm spices, a deep color, and concentrated flavor is one of the easiest things to make with apples -- owing to the use of a slow cooker. This inexpensive and delicious condiment has a ton of uses, and can be canned in decorative jars to make homemade holiday gifts.

Recipe: Food.com

Photo credit: Marie C Fields/shutterstock

APPLE TURNOVERS

Turnovers are essentially hand pies, tasty single-serving treats that are easy to pack in a lunch or grab on the go. Using store-bought puff pastry reduces prep time. Just add apples, spices, and butter, and bake.

Recipe: Betty Crocker

Photo credit: Charles Brutlag/shutterstock

APPLE CREAM CHEESE COFFEE CAKE

Tangy and sweet, this breakfast and snack bread is a welcome twist on classic coffee cake and apple cake. It's a rich and indulgent crowd-pleaser, and an easy choice when craving something both sweet and savory.

Recipe: Allrecipes

Photo credit: Agnes Kantaruk/shutterstock

APPLE CINNAMON ROLLS

Adding apples makes ooey-gooey homemade cinnamon rolls an even more special treat. The basic yeast dough is simple but does take a few hours to come together. The apples add a bit of fiber and nutrients to each serving.

Recipe: Midwest Living

Photo credit: Elena Shashkina/shutterstock

APPLE NACHOS

The trend of dressing up apple slices with sweet and savory toppings and serving them nacho-style can be taken in virtually any direction. A chocolate-and-peanut-butter-topped version is particularly appealing for its simplicity, classic flavor combination, and visual appeal, but options are limited only by imagination.

Recipe: Trial and Eater

Photo credit: Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

APPLE CHIPS

Crunchy and sweet, baked apple chips can be enjoyed solo or added to trail mix and granola for a pop of natural sweetness. The key to getting them crisp is to slice them very thinly and evenly, making use of a mandoline slicer (starting at $10) a good idea.

Recipe: Sally's Baking Addiction

Photo credit: Elena Veselova/shutterstock

APPLE PIE SMOOTHIE

For those who enjoy a regular morning smoothie or occasional afternoon refreshment, an apple-pie smoothie is a must-try this season. Bursting with all the flavor of apple pie without the fattening butter and crust, this guilt-free indulgence makes a nutritional breakfast or decadent dessert.

Recipe: Family Fresh Meals

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APPLE ROASTED CHICKEN

Infusing a simple roasted chicken with apples and herbs lends seasonal flair to a household staple. Those who prefer less sweetness in a savory main dish can opt to use tart apples and dry hard apple cider.

Recipe: Chef Michael Smith

Photo credit: Elena Veselova/shutterstock

APPLE QUESADILLA

Apple quesadillas come in all flavors, from savory barbecue chicken and smoked cheese to sweet cinnamon and cream cheese versions. A gouda and apple version caters to those looking for a simple way to add apples to quesadillas. To dream up other creations, think of classic grilled cheese combinations to fill tortillas.

Recipe: Allrecipes

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APPLES WITH BRUSSELS SPROUTS

Brussels sprouts have a natural sweetness that is drawn out when caramelized by roasting or sautéing, and apples -- an easy addition to roasted or sautéed Brussels sprouts -- help to draw that out while highlighting also earthy flavors. Crumbled bacon adds even more flavor.

Recipe: Southern Living

Photo credit: pearl7/shutterstock

ROASTED APPLE BREAD

A slightly unconventional but refreshing departure from the same old apple-flavored baked goods, this is ideal for those who don't have much of a sweet tooth. The process is straightforward but does take a while, which makes this a project for a leisurely weekend at home.

Recipe: The Kitchen Prep

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APPLE SQUASH SOUP

Adding apples to a classic squash soup enhances the sweetness and tartness, adding dimension and flavor as well as volume and nutrition. Spices typically used in squash soup, such as cumin and ginger, complement apples too, so it's easy to simply add apples to a favorite squash soup recipe.

Recipe: Martha Stewart

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APPLES WITH PORK CHOPS

Pork and apples have been a favorite combination throughout Europe and the Americas for centuries, if not longer. A simple one-dish meal is baked in the oven to tenderize the meat and the apples while combining flavors into a flavorful gravy that is soaked up by the onions. Use hearty apples such as Mutsu or Honeycrisp so the slices retain shape while cooking.

Recipe: Cooking Light

Photo credit: Nataliya Arzamasova/shutterstock

APPLE QUINOA SALAD

Quinoa can be enjoyed year-round as a base for salads with the addition of fresh seasonal ingredients. An apple quinoa salad is full of freshness and crunch. Toss with a curry dressing for added heat during chilly weather, although any basic dressing works.

Recipe: Martha Stewart

Photo credit: Brent Hofacker/shutterstock

APPLE ARUGULA SALAD

Even those who aren't wild about the addition of sweet fruits to savory dishes can get on board with apples and arugula tossed with a mustardy vinaigrette. Adding nuts and cheese raises the bar, but neither is necessary.

Recipe: Baker by Nature

Photo credit: Elena M. Tarasova/shutterstock

APPLE SLAW

An apple and cabbage slaw takes advantage of the delicious flavor and crispness of uncooked apples, and makes a healthy and filling snack or condiment alongside heavy barbecued meats and roasts. Consider using a mandoline or food processor (starting at $14) to make chopping quick and uniform.

Recipe: Picture the Recipe

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APPLE GOAT CHEESE FLATBREAD

Flatbread is a trendy alternative to crackers for serving enticing combinations of food to guests. Scattered over any kind of flatbread, apples and goat cheese make a tangy, sweet, and crisp dish. Serve it as a seasonal appetizer for a crowd or an elegant lunch. Other soft cheeses, such as ricotta or burrata, can be substituted for goat cheese.

Recipe: A Saucy Kitchen

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APPLE PANINI

Ham and cheese is a popular combination that seemingly can't be improved -- except perhaps with the addition of caramelized apples. Their sweet earthiness bolsters the natural savory and salty flavors.

Recipe: Giada De Laurentiis

Photo credit: Oleksandra Naumenko/shutterstock

APPLE SAUSAGE

Making this popular breakfast meat is a simple process with simple ingredients, including fresh local apples, and results in a cheaper and more delicious apple sausage than store-bought. Ground turkey can easily be subsituted for the recommended ground chicken.

Recipe: EatingWell

Photo credit: pilipphoto/shutterstock

APPLE CIDER

A cool-weather treat, apple cider can be expensive when bought from a market. Making it at home is cheap and easy. The only special equipment needed: jars and pots to sanitize, which are basic canning supplies (available on Amazon) that can be reused again and again.

Recipe: PickYourOwn.org