12 Apple Desserts to Enjoy this Fall

Apples aren't just for pie. They're also for crisps and crostatas. They are for grating and adding to a bundt cake, too! We've got 12 of our favorite ways to enjoy apples this fall.

Fall Apple Desserts

Apple picking is an annual ritual in my family. I take the boys picking every year and thankfully, since apples are a cold storage crop, they keep well in the fridge if I store them properly.

That means you’ve got apples for pie, cake, crisp, sauce, tarts, and so forth. For days and days.

Which Apples Should You Buy for Your Recipe?

Although I think there are some general guidelines that are useful, people often worry a bit more than I think is necessary about which apples are good for which particular dessert. You’ll notice that many of the recipes in this round-up specifically call for using a variety that will provide a more complex flavor. I can get behind that!

Of course, certain apples are harder (such as Granny Smith) or softer than others (McIntosh), and that is worth considering when making an apple dessert. For example, you’d want a more tender apple for something like applesauce, while something firmer and more tart holds up better in apple pie.

Paleo and Gluten-Free Apple Tart
Photo by Sabrina Modelle.

But there’s a wide gamut of flavors and textures you can choose from. I like to use my favorites from a local orchard (Honeycrisp, Evercrisp, Pink Lady, and Fuji) all of which are crispy and have a good balance of sweet and tart.

But in general, I like to tell people in recipes or in cooking classes (when I teach them) that whatever apple you like to eat out of hand is worth considering for a baking project.

How to Store Apples

You want to keep apples in the coldest part of your refrigerator. Some people like to keep apples on the countertop—and that’s certainly fine if you want a visual reminder to eat them—but if you’re looking to keep them for anything longer than a few days, refrigeration is your friend.

What are your favorite apple desserts to make this time of year?

  • Mile High Deep Dish Apple Pie

    mile high apple pie on serving plate
    Elise Bauer

    Everyone should have a recipe like this in their repertoire for the simple presentation factor alone—but the taste, of course, delivers.

  • Apple Cobbler

    Apple Cobbler hot from oven
    Elise Bauer

    Want something with nice puffs of dough but don’t want to make a crust? Cobbler is the answer to your apple dessert prayers.

  • Caramel Apples

    How to Make Caramel Apples caramel apples finished product
    Elise Bauer

    The sticky-sweet appeal of these treats is eternal. Here’s an easy way to make them with your own caramel, from scratch.

  • Applesauce Spice Cake

    Applesauce cake, frosted and with a piece removed.
    Sally Vargas

    This is one of those simple-looking cakes that may not initially seem all that interesting, but the applesauce and the array of fall spices make it hard to resist once it's out of the oven.

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • Apple Crostata

    Apple Crostata served with whipped cream
    Elise Bauer

    Crostata is just a fancy word for a rustic tart! Use a simple butter crust or your favorite store-bought crust. A mix of apples makes for a more complex taste.

  • Caramel Apple Monkey Bread

    Caramel Apple Monkey Bread
    Cindy Rahe

    I suppose this treat gets its name from the fact that you can pull pieces off this bundt-like cake, as though you were a monkey eating with your fingers. Whatever the case, layers of fresh apples are nestled into this bread and drizzled with an apple cider caramel.

  • Gluten-Free Apple Tart

    Paleo and Gluten-Free Apple Tart
    Sabrina Modelle

    Never fear. You have the skills to make these apples look like an edible flower. Plus, it’s gluten free, too!

  • Best Fresh Apple Bundt Cake

    Best Fresh Apple bundt cake
    Elise Bauer

    Ooh, here’s something interesting. Fresh apples, grated coconut, and walnuts or pecans, all in one cake. Mix up the apple types so you’ve got a more complex taste.

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • Baked Apples

    Baked Apples
    Elise Bauer

    Core ‘em and fill ‘em with pecans, raisins, and brown sugar. What could be bad about that?

  • Apple Upside Down Cake

    Apple Upside Down Cake
    Elise Bauer

    Yes, it’s like an apple version of the beloved upside down pineapple cake, but this one is made with caramel sauce and a cornmeal batter.

  • Apple Crisp

    Apple crisp recipe topped with vanilla ice cream.
    Alison Bickel

    Every fall fruit deserves a crisp, and this is so easy that you can make it after work and have it ready for dessert. Just add vanilla ice cream.

  • Apple Slab Pie

    Apple Slab Pie
    Cindy Rahe; Pie crust photos: Elise Bauer

    Turn a typical pie into a rectangle, layer the crust on top, and you’ve got a pie that can serve a crowd with a high crust-to-filling ratio. Bonus!