These healthy Baked Apples are topped with a low sugar Crumble Topping for a sweet nutty flavor. This simple recipe is a perfect replacement for higher calorie apple desserts like apple pie or apple crisp!
There is nothing more soul-warming than a baked apple dessert especially during apple season in the fall. This recipe uses simple ingredients and a perfect way to transform raw apples into a delicious dessert with warm spices.
This healthy dessert recipe uses sweet apples and prepared low sugar oatmeal for a maple syrup brown sugar crumble topping. The center of the apple is piled high with the sweet oat, butter and pecan mixture than baked for classic dessert flavor.
The apples hold their shape and the topping becomes crisp and oh-so-delicious! You can pick the type of apples you love, either sweet or tart flavor. It's a great dessert and a fall favorite. Try our Baked Pears and Cranberry Apple Crisp too!
What makes this skinny?
- This healthy baked apple recipe is a perfect replacement for higher calorie apple desserts like apple crisp. The crumble topping is made with packaged low sugar maple & brown sugar oatmeal. You get all the ingredients in a crumble topping perfectly blended (no prep work from you) and using a lower sugar sweetener instead of loads of refined sugar.
- Unlike regular crumble topping which has a good amount of butter we've reduced it to just enough to blend with the oat mixture for a crunchy topping after baking.
- Only 2 tablespoons of pecans are used to give some nutty flavor and crunch but to keep the calories lower.
- No crust or other added sugar ingredients are used. Just whole fresh apples!
Recipe Ingredient Notes
Apples. Use fully ripe large size apples for this recipe. Avoid apples with bruises or soft spots. Need apple variety selection ideas? See the section below for the kind of apples we recommend.
Low Sugar Maple and Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal. This is our secret ingredient! A perfectly seasoned blend of oats, sweeteners and spices for a crumble type topping. It also has 50% less sugar than the regular version. We love Quaker version both for the lower calorie amount and sweetening with monk fruit (a natural sugar-free sweetener). Any low sugar brand will work.
Cinnamon. A classic warming spice to go with apples.
Unsalted Butter. Melted butter mixes into the topping to hold it together and give a rich flavor. We only use 3 tablespoons which is enough to coat all the topping ingredients.
Pecans. Chopped pecans or pecan pieces can be used. I prefer pecan pieces which tend to be smaller and mix well with the other topping ingredients.
Best Apples for Baking
For this healthy baked apple recipe this is what we want in an apple:
- Firm, crisp apples that keep their form after baking
- Firm consistency after baking and aren't soft in texture
- Strong apple flavor
There are many different types of apples that will work. Here are some great choices for tart apples and sweet apples:
Honeycrisp. This firm, sweet apple retains a wonderful texture when baking. The skin is thin and the flavor delivers a strong, sweet apple taste. Honeycrisp's are often larger in size which is perfect for this recipe.
Granny Smith. This bright green beauty is tart! It's a classic in apple pie for instance. The combination of the tart Granny Smith apples flavor with the sweet topping is so good.
Braeburn. Another crisp apple that bakes wonderfully. It's juicy without being mushy and has strong apple flavor.
Jonagold. These are tart with a mix of sweetness. They are a cross between Golden Delicious and Jonathan Gold apples. Jonagold's smell wonderful when baking. They are the apple to slice and bake when selling your house.
No one can resist the homey aroma. Jonagold's tend to be larger apples making them a great choice for baked apples.
Pink Lady. Also known as a Cripps Pink, this apple is a delicious mix of sweet and tart.
Winesap. Deeply flavorful and slightly larger apples, Winesap's are another tart variety. They are a great choice to provide contrast to the sweet topping in this recipe.
Winesaps are delicious for homemade applesauce. They have a slightly thicker skin.
How to Bake Apples with Crumble Topping
Printable recipe card at the end of this post.
STEP 1. Preparation
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Set aside an 8-inch or 9-inch baking dish square or layer cake pan) for baking the apples.
STEP 2. Prepare the apples and crumble topping
Remove the stem and stigma (brown vegetation on the bottom of the apple). Scoop out the core with seeds using a spoon or melon baller (works great)! Photo 1.
In a medium bowl combine the packets of low sugar maple & brown sugar instant oatmeal, cinnamon, melted butter and pecan pieces. Stir to fully combine (photo 2).
STEP 3. Bake
Pour ½ cup of hot water in the baking pan (photo 3).
Divide the topping evenly between the apples, filling the cavity in the middle of the apple halves and layering on top (photo 4). Place the filled apples in the pan with water (photo 5).
Place foil on top of the pan and seal around the sides (photo 6).
NOTE: the foil may need to be tented over the topped apples to not smash the filling. Be sure to secure it around the sides for a good seal so the apples will steam while baking.
Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 25 minutes. The apples will be fully cooked but still with a good structure (depending on the type of apple used).
Allow to cool slightly before serving.
Use a melon baller. After slicing the apple in half, use a melon baller to scoop out the core area. It's fast and easy.
How to Serve
The baked apples can be served as is or with a drizzle of low calories caramel sauce, a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side or low sugar or low fat whipped topping.
How to store
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. The topping will soften after chilling but will still taste good!
Frequently Asked Questions
You can but do not use the type that also slices the apple when coring it. We like using a melon baller to better control the amount of the core that's removed as well as the stem section but a traditional apple corer will also work well.
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Baked Apples with Crumble Topping
- 2 large apples rinsed and halved (stem to bottom)
- 2 individual packages low-sugar maple and brown sugar oatmeal
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
- ½ cup hot water
- Optional: Caramel sauce & vanilla ice cream for topping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Have an 8-inch or 9-inch inch baking pan ready for baking the apples.
- Using a spoon, or melon baller scoop (preferred) out the core of each apple including the stigma (the small brown vegetation) on bottom and remove the stem.2 large apples
- In a small bowl, combine both of the oatmeal packages, cinnamon, melted butter and pecans and mix with a spatula until combined.2 individual packages low-sugar maple and brown sugar oatmeal, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
- Pour the hot water into the baking pan. Take an apple half and spoon heaping amounts of the filling into the well (you'll divide the filling evenly between the four apple halves).½ cup hot water
- Place each of the filled apples (cut side up) into the prepared baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and then bake for another 25 minutes.
- Best served warm. If desired add some low calorie caramel sauce on top and a side of vanilla ice cream.
- Nutrition facts may vary depending on which oatmeal version is used.
- Any brand of low sugar maple & brown sugar instant oatmeal will work. We like Quaker brand which has 120 calories per packet and uses monk fruit as a natural sweetener.
Sheila G says
We loved this so much!! It tastes like apple pie but even better!
This is fantastic! What a great idea to use maple instant oatmeal.
This is really an amazing way to enjoy apples!!
Using Maple and brown sugar oatmeal is truly genius! it made this recipe even easier and so delicious!
Aimee Mars says
Reminds me of the apple crumb cake my mom made when I was growing up but this recipe is so much easier and by far more delicious.
Wow, this sounds amazing! Sweet oat and pecans stuffed in an apple. I can't wait to dig into this deliciousness!