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Caramelized apples in a small bowl

Caramelized Apples

  • Author: Liz Madsen
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Soft, sweet, and the perfect addition to any dessert (or breakfast!), these 5-minute caramelized apples are delicious and easy to make.


  • 1 medium apple (about 1 1/4 cups chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice or water (see note 2)
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons coconut sugar or other solid sugar (see note 3)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or more to taste


  1. Note about prep: Because apples oxidize (brown) quickly, I recommend getting all your other ingredients out first.
  2. Note about apple cuts: Depending on how you want to serve your caramelized apples, you can chop them how you like. On top of a cake? Try peeling it and thinly slicing the wedges after coring it. On top of oatmeal or another item in a bowl or jar? Try dicing it. For this I left the skins on, but you can peel if you want to. I would use a sweet, firm apple variety.
  3. Add apples: Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped apples and spread them out in a single layer (but they can be close together) with a spatula.
  4. Add liquid: Pour the lemon juice or water over the apples and stir so they all get coated.
  5. Sprinkle on the sugar and cinnamon, and stir again so all the apple pieces are coated.
  6. Cook over medium heat for around 5 minutes, stirring frequently (at least once a minute, but preferably twice). Depending on the size of the chopped apples, they make take more or less time to cook.
  7. How to know they’re done: Caramelized apples are done when they are soft, browned, and coated with a thick and sticky syrup like sauce.
  8. Serve immediately (best), or let cool slightly if topping a cake.
  9. Storage option: You can store leftover caramelized apples in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 1-2 days, but any more than that and they start to degrade. I recommend eating up the leftovers on oatmeal, apple pie chia pudding, vegan yogurt, or with a spoon as we like to do. If warming the leftovers, I recommend gently microwaving in the dish (uncovered) for 20-30 seconds or in a nonstick skillet over medium low heat.


  • Note 1: I would use a firm (not mealy) and sweet apple. I chose gala apples, however fuji, rave, honeycrisp, etc. are all good options. If your apple is very large you may need more sugar. I think this recipe might be more tart if you use a granny smith apple, however if that’s what you’re going for, be my guest.
  • Note 2: A little liquid helps keep the apples from burning or drying out while they caramelize. The lemon juice really balances out the sweetness of all the sugar without making the caramelized apples taste tart or sour. However, water will also work.
  • Note 3: Depending on how much syrup you want at the end (the sauce around the caramelized apples), you can use between 2 and 4 tablespoons of sugar. I prefer to use coconut sugar for this recipe because the warm and toasty flavor of it goes so well with the caramelized apples. Organic or brown or cane sugar will also work (I recommend brown sugar). Liquid sugars like maple syrup or agave will work but will make your apples less caramelized. Avoid sugar substitutes as I have not tested them and cannot recommend them.
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Topping
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Ingredient

Keywords: Caramelized Apples, Dessert Toppings