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These sauteed apples are the perfect easy dessert! They take just minutes to make: serve topped with melty vanilla ice cream.

Sauteed apples
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Want an easy dessert? Look no further than these sauteed apples! There’s no baking necessary, and no advanced preparation. Just slice up some apples, saute them in butter and spices, and bam! Eat it warm topped with vanilla ice cream, and there’s really not much better. In fact, why even make apple crisp or apple pie at all? Here’s more about how to make this healthy dessert, and a few more topping ideas.

Best apples for sauteed apples

What variety of apple is best for sauteed apples? First off, please do not cook with red delicious apples. (Or perhaps, just stop buying them.) The ideal variety for sauteed apples is a firm, crisp tart apple. Crisp tart apples cook well and the tangy tartness accents the sweetness that’s naturally present. Here are some of the best apples for baking and cooking:

  • Honey Crisp
  • Pink Lady
  • Jonathon or Jonagold
  • Granny Smith
  • Fuji
Sauteed apples

To peel or not to peel?

Many people make sauteed apples with peeled apples. But we prefer leaving the skin on! Why?

  • Skin on apples look prettier. The light blush shade makes the apples look lovely, instead of just brown mushy mounds.
  • The apple skin adds texture. Sauteeing the apple with the skin gives a nice texture when you bite into it, instead of turning into mush.
  • The apple skin has lots of nutrients. Not that you’re looking for nutrients in a dessert recipe! But the apple skin has lots of vitamins like Vitamin K, Vitamin A and Vitamin C that you’re throwing away with the skin.

How to cut apples…the fast way!

You’ll need to cut the apples into 1/4-inch slices for this sauteed apples recipe. We recently learned a trick to how to cut apples the fast way. Yes, this one is a lifesaver, and we use it on a daily basis. Here’s the method or check out the video below!

  1. Holding the core of the apple, use a large chef’s knife to slice off four sides of the apple, cutting as close to the core as possible.
  2. Take one of the quarters and place it flat side down on the cutting board. Then cut it into thin slices.
  3. Repeat with the remaining quarters!

How to slice apples

How to make sauteed apples: a few tips

Outside of slicing the apples, there’s not too much to know about sauteed apples! But here are a few things to note before proceeding to the recipe below:

  • Heat the butter until it’s just starting to brown. It’s like making browned butter, but you’ll add the apples right after it browns. This technique infuses a bit of nutty flavor into the apples.
  • Cook until just tender. Some recipes for sauteed apples you cook them until they’re mush. Not here! We like our sauteed apples on the crisp tender side: this takes only 5 minutes.
  • Ice cream is required! These sauteed apples are just sweet enough on their own: they’re customized to serve a la mode! The ice cream adds the remaining necessary sweetness. A great vegan option is this Cinnamon Ice Cream. Or, try them with silky crème anglaise.
How to make sauteed apples

Topping ideas for sauteed apples

What other toppings are great for sauteed apples? This fall dessert is perfect with so many things. Add your own flair to this easy recipe by topping with whatever tasty crunchy bits or drizzles that you’d like. Here are some ideas:

More apple recipes

There are so many great ways to use apples, from breakfast to dessert. Here are some of our favorite apple recipes:

This sauteed apples recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, use coconut oil and vegan ice cream.

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Sauteed apples

Sauteed Apples (a la Mode!)

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


These sauteed apples are the perfect easy dessert! They take just minutes to make: serve topped with melty vanilla ice cream.


  • 3 firm large tart-sweet apples (like Honey Crisp, Jonathon, Granny Smith, Gala, Fuji, etc) — enough for 5 to 6 cups sliced
  • 1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 /2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons butter (or coconut oil for vegan)
  • ½ tablespoon Cointreau, optional
  • Vanilla ice cream or vegan cinnamon ice cream, for serving


  1. Cut the apples into 1/4” slices (no need to peel unless you want to). In a medium bowl, stir together the apples with the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
  2. In a large skillet heat the butter over medium heat until the butter is just starting to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the apples and saute 4 to 5 minutes until crisp tender. Add Cointreau if using and cook for additional 20 seconds. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Sauteed
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Lutgart Seawell says:

    This looks yummy! Can I use Grand Marnier instead of Cointreau, you think? Only have GM on hand.

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Yes! That would work great.