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30 sweet and savory apple recipes — from pie to pork

You know what they say: "An apple a day ..."
/ Source: TODAY

Apples get a lot of stage time during the fall season, but the crunchy, sweet, sometimes tangy fruit really deserves a place in the spotlight year round.

We may keep spiced apple pie flavors aplenty when the weather turns a bit chilly, but we're all about this ingredient as a perennial staple in the kitchen. That's right: We want moist apple muffins and apple-scented Dutch babies in the springtime, and crunchy apple slaws and oozing apple crumbles topped with creamy vanilla ice cream in summer. And when it comes to brunch, lunch or dinner, apples make great additions to a variety of side dishes, from pilafs to salads. And roasted with meats like pork or chicken, they're heavenly.

Before we dive into this recipe inspiration for different ways to eat, cook and enjoy apples any day of the week, below is a quick guide to some of the tastiest apples out there. Because we can't just opt for Gala and call it a day (although, really, who doesn't a love a good Gala apple?).

  • Empire: sweet, crisp and extra crunchy
  • Cortland: crisp, juicy, tart, sweet and browns slowly
  • Crispin: sweet, notes of honey
  • Fuji: a crossbreed of Red Delicious and Ralls Genet, great for snacking
  • Gala: can be found in larger or smaller sizes (great for snacking and kids' lunch boxes)
  • McIntosh: sweet, rich, hints of berry
  • Macoun: flesh is snow white, juicy, hints of berry
  • Rome: mild, not very sweet, tangy and floral
  • Ruby Frost: balance of sweet and tart, crunchy
  • Idared: juicy, crisp, yellow to pink hues of flesh with long storage potential
  • Jonagold: very large, honey-like scent, sweet with tangy aftertaste

Sweet apple recipes

Honey and Apple Cake

The secret ingredient in this sweet cake is olive oil. This healthy, nondairy fat keeps the cake light and flavorful. Just make sure to use a great quality extra-virgin olive oil.

Applesauce makes the best, most scrumptious muffins that don't dry out in a couple of days like other muffins do. This recipe offers a great opportunity to incorporate some other healthy ingredients while leaving the kids thinking that they're simply being spoiled with a sweet treat.

Skip the griddle and make a puffed pancake, or Dutch baby, in the oven for a super easy and satisfying breakfast that's worthy of company. This recipe is extra easy because the batter can be made ahead and held for a few days in the fridge.

A crumble is a go-to dessert for many, regardless of what fruit a recipe uses. But this decadent apple crumble cake takes that classic and transforms it to a true showstopper and centerpiece for special occasions.

Spiced Applesauce

Spiced Applesauce

Anthony Contrino

"I love applesauce, but the store-bought kind is often watery and one-note. Braising the apples allows the flavors to deepen and gives the spices time to steep," Anthony Contrino says about this delicious homemade version.

Al Roker's Apple Crisp

Nothing quite beats the smell of cinnamon and apples in the oven. This sweet crisp also incorporates Chinese five-spice powder that gives it an extra kick.

Individual apple pies topped with golden, flaky crust are the perfect finale after dinner. Store-bought puff pastry (all butter, please!) makes them easy; a boozy apple filling (we used bourbon, but another whiskey or even rum works, too) makes them totally decadent.

Big Apple Dumplings

Big Apple Dumplings

Better Homes & Gardens

These apple dumplings may be a labor of love, but there's a reason the recipe from Better Homes & Gardens has become one of Dylan Dreyer's favorites. Crisped, doughy shells form around tender apple, all sitting in a gently spiced, caramelized juice.

Apple Cider Pitcher

Apple Cider Pitcher

Garvey Alexander

The homemade spiced syrup in this spiced apple cider pitcher elevates and adds the complexity needed to wow guests. Served over ice, it's great for any occasion and is non-alcoholic so everyone in the family can enjoy a sip of appley bliss.

Perfect Apple Pie

Perfect Apple Pie

Maya-Camille Broussard

There isn't a soul that doesn't love a good slice of classic apple pie. Making an apple pie very well is the difference between a good baker and a great baker; this pie will help you remain great.

Apple Streusel Muffins

Apple Streusel Muffins

Anthony Contrino

The base of these muffins is lightly sweetened with some brown sugar and applesauce to allow the apple butter to shine through. But the real hero is the sweet, crispy streusel topping which balances the flavor and adds some texture.

Heartwarming Apple Crumble

Heartwarming Apple Crumble

Madeline and Anna Zakarian

Well-suited for a group, apple crumble can lovingly end a meal in a way that no other dessert can. To save time, make the filling and topping ahead and store separately in the fridge for up to 1 day. Or you can completely assemble and bake the crumble, then freeze to serve at a later date.

Baked Oats 2 Ways

This recipe could not be easier: All you need is a blender and some creativity. Get the kids involved and they can have it for breakfast or dessert. Chocolate chips, dried or fresh fruit, even a little whipped cream make this TikTok-favorite dish shine.

Dylan's apple crisp recipe hits all the right notes of a classic, heartwarming dessert that goes perfectly with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It's a winner for any occasion.

 Muesli-Stuffed Baked Apples

Most muesli is just sugar-coated oats. In this recipe, you get the heartiness of the classic breakfast but it’s not cloyingly sweet. The result is apple pie for breakfast.

These mini, individual tarts are classically delicious with juicy apples and hints of warm cinnamon and nutmeg. They are not overly sweet, so the salted caramel sauce provides the perfect touch and gives them a modern twist.

Make quick work of a simple apple crostata by using a sheet of store-bought puff pastry as the base. To give the apples a little boost of flavor, toss them with lemon juice and fresh ginger, then brush the finished tart with apricot preserves.

Mickey D's-Style Fried Apple Pies

Relive the flaky, crispy glory of McDonald's fried apple pie with chef Dale Talde's genius copycat recipe.

This apple cider will warm you from the inside out, and it's just boozy enough for those who want a more adult version of the seasonal beverage. Making it in a slow cooker not only makes it effortless, but also slowly infuses the seasonings into the cider. Plus, your house will smell amazing while you make this recipe!

Maple-Apple Tarte Tatin

There's no arguing with centuries of French diners, but to Bill Yosses' taste, the flavor of the apples in the standard brasserie tarte tatin is overpowered by sugar and butter. Cutting down on those two ingredients makes the apples more assertive and brings their inherent sweetness forward.

Savory apple recipes

Savory herbs and sweet apples perfectly compliment the delicate flavor of pork tenderloin. This easy roast is impressive enough to serve at a dinner party but easy enough to make for a weeknight meal.

The combination of sweet and heat is an irresistible one. This dish hits those satisfying notes with the sweet apple salsa and spicy salmon all wrapped up in an easy-to-eat tortilla.

This is a great special occasion dish, though it's so satisfying it's well worth a spot in your meal rotation. Roulades, according to Jet Tila, are a "cheffy way" to serve pork loin with stuffing, and it keeps the pork loin from drying out. You can substitute any apples for pears and throw in your favorite herbs and spices.

Sunny Anderson's Easy Apple Slaw

Dress up slaw with unexpected ingredients like raisins, apples, nuts and fresh herbs. They add loads of flavor and add a ton of wonderful textures to this classic crunchy side.

This is a healthy version of a classic dish we all know and love, and it utilizes a part of the broccoli and kale that most people throw away. The gochujang-buttermilk ranch takes it to the next level.

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more delicious centerpiece for your holiday table than this tender, crispy, savory and succulent porchetta.

Warm Kale Salad with Apples and Pancetta

This warm salad is wonderful all year long, but especially this time of year during the colder months. It is packed with flavor and a perfect start to any winter or spring meal.

Apple, Cranberry and Pecan Wild Rice Pilaf

The nutty rice, sweet cranberries, savory herbs and crunchy pecans create a well balanced, earthy and slightly sweet pilaf that accompanies a myriad of dishes.

Sausage, Spinach, and Apple Strata

Eggs, sausage and apples may not be the obvious choice, but in this luscious strata, Giada De Laurentiis proves it's a flavor combination made in heaven, worthy of dinner or brunch.

What's up, buttercup? Just this vibrant, warm, plant-based dish! The natural sugars in buttercup squash caramelize in the oven when roasted, making it even sweeter and more delicious.