What goes well with apples? Learn the best ingredient pairings, meal ideas, popular flavor combinations, and other helpful tips.
Have you ever wondered why caramel and apples work so well together?
It’s because they have similar flavor profiles making them great flavor pairings or matches.
Knowing what goes well with apples will help you come up with endless possibilities to keep your tastebuds happy and your meals exciting and varied.
How to Choose Which Apples to Use
There are over 7,500 varieties of apples. Many of the less well-known varieties will have to be trial and error as to where they fall on the tart-sweet scale.
The sweeter the apple is, the more water it contains.
This explains why you’re typically going to reach for a Honeycrisp or Fuji apple over a granny smith when eating apples raw. The Honeycrisp and Fuji apples are crunchier, juicier, and sweeter.
Making something sweet?
Using an apple that’s more tart will help to balance out the dish. This is why granny smith apples are often used in apple pies. Sweet apples work really well in savory dishes because again, they help to balance out the flavors.
You can still use sweet apples in sweet dishes but pull back on the added sugars to prevent them from being overly sweet.
Popular American varieties
Fuji – sweet
Gala – sweet
Golden delicious – not too sweet, not too tart
Granny smith – tart
Honeycrisp – sweet-tart
How to Cook Apples
Apples can be baked, caramelized, fried, grilled, poached, sautéed, stewed, or eaten raw.
Best time to buy apples: Apples are in season in autumn. Buying them during this time will ensure they have the best flavor and are at the lowest price.
See what else is in season right now in this seasonal produce guide.
What Goes With Apples?
Beets, cabbage, carrots, celery, celery root, chiles (chipotle, jalapeños), cucumbers, endive, fennel, ginger, horseradish, jicama, kale, onions, parsnips, pumpkin, rhubarb, romaine lettuce, sorrel (leafy greens), spinach, sweet potatoes, watercress, winter squash (acorn, butternut, delicata, etc), and zucchini.
Apricots, bananas, blueberries, cherries, cranberries (dried or fresh), figs, grapes, lemon (juice and zest), oranges, pears, plums (dried or fresh), quince, and raspberries.
Allspice, black pepper, caraway seeds, cardamom, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, fennel seeds, mace, mustard seeds, nutmeg, and sumac.
Lavender, mint, rosemary, and sage.
Nuts & Seeds
Almonds, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pistachios, and walnuts.
Brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, and molasses.
Butter, buttermilk, caramel, cheese, cream, sour cream, and yogurt.
Bacon, beef, chicken, duck, and pork.
Amaranth*, brandy, dried fruit (cranberries, currants, dates, prunes, raisins), farro, kasha* (toasted buckwheat), lentils, millet*, mustard, oats*, peanut butter, phyllo dough, quinoa*, rice*, red wine, sauerkraut, vanilla, apple cider vinegar, and wheat berries.
*Gluten-free. Check out the ultimate guide to gluten-free grains to learn how to cook & use them.
Popular Apple Flavor Pairings
- almonds + caramel (check out my dairy-free caramel sauce)
- apricots + pine nuts + rosemary
- brown sugar + cream (cashew, oat, or coconut cream) + walnuts
- caramel + cinnamon
- caramel + peanuts
- celery + walnuts
- cinnamon + dark chocolate + yams
- ginger + hazelnuts
- red cabbage + cinnamon
- honey + lemon thyme
Apples are a commonly used ingredient in French cuisine as well as in both savory dishes and sweet desserts (pies, crisps, custards, pastries, tarts) alike.
What to Make With Apples
- Simple Baked Apples
- Spiced Oatmeal (just sub out the pears for apples)
- The BEST Coleslaw (No Mayo)
- Make Homemade Trail Mix with dried apples
- Stuff baked winter squash with cooked apples, sausage, a grain, and warm spices