19 Best Ways To Use Up Leftover Apples

Fall is the season of football, pumpkin patches, and our favorite: apples. If you can go to an apple orchard during the cool fall months, you may come back home with more apples than you bargained for. Or, you may find that buying a bulk bag of apples at the grocery store is cheaper than the three individual ones you need for a recipe. So what do you do with the bushels of apples that are crowding your kitchen counters — especially when you have a couple of apples that aren't winning the blue ribbon for most beautiful fruit?

There are many sweet and savory ways to use apples to elevate every meal. Plus, many of these options are novice-cook-friendly and require very few supplies. With just an ounce of creativity, you'll be well on your way to making a delicious, apple-inspired dish bound to impress anyone. Here are some of our favorite ways to use up your surplus apple harvest this fall.

Make it into applesauce

Applesauce is the perfect way to use up leftover utility apples that may be a bit too bruised to eat out of hand. You can make hands-off Instant Pot apple sauce by combining roughly chopped apples, water, lemon zest, cinnamon, and salt. We recommend using a blend of apples for making applesauce; you'll want to look for some sweet varieties and others that provide a tart undertone, such as Granny Smiths and Honeycrisp. Your apples will only need about eight minutes in the pressure cooker to be soft, but you can use an immersion blender to purée the mixture even more if desired.

There is a lot of room to play with homemade applesauce. You can add some granulated sugar if you only have tart varieties available, or stick to a spice-heavy recipe if you love autumnal flavors.

Use it as a topping on your oatmeal

If you're trying to use up leftover apples, the best way is to use this ingredient for all meals of the day: breakfast, lunch, dinner — and dessert. We recommend starting your morning off with a fiber-forward bowl of oatmeal topped with fresh apples. You'll get more of an apple-forward flavor than if you used the pre-packaged "apple cinnamon" flavor (if you can even call it that).

We recommend softening your apples on the stovetop with some cinnamon, nutmeg, and sweetener before adding your oats and liquid of choice. Apple oatmeal pairs well with other additions, like pecans or walnuts, as well as some extra fiber boosts from chia or flax seeds. We guarantee your gut and tastebuds will be pleased with this breakfast.

Pull out the slow cooker and make apple butter

Apple butter is one of those foods that everyone needs to experience at least once in their lives. This fruity concoction can be spread on toast or muffins or swirled into your ice cream. The ideal kinds of apples to use for your apple butter include Fuji, Golden Delicious, Corland, and Braeburn because of their soft texture and mildly sweet taste.

If you're looking for a sweeter addition, try a Gala or a mealy McIntosh, or stick with a tart apple like a Granny Smith. Once you've spiced your apple butter with a mixture of autumnal flavors and sweeteners (like brown sugar and honey) and cooked it down adequately, you can store it safely in a container and use it for several months.

Add it to a soup

Fall isn't just apple season, it's also the best time of year for making deliciously creamy soups. Butternut squash soup is one of our favorite soups to add leftover apples. This creamy soup variety is made for those of us who have a sweet tooth — and the apples help the dish reach soup nirvana. We recommend using a tart Granny Smith apple for this soup because it helps bring both the tanginess and sweetness to the soup.

Besides butternut squash, apple is a solid flavor pairing for other soup varieties too, including curry powder, cauliflower, carrots, and chicken. Since apples tend to have a mealy texture, we recommend sticking with it for blended soups rather than ones with chunks of apple floating around.

Stuff pork chops or tenderloin

Savory meets sweet with apple-stuffed meats and tenderloins. The sweet, soft texture of the apples is perfect for almost any cut of pork. You can add the chopped, peeled apples directly to your stuffing mixture or go the extra mile with an apple chutney-stuffed pork recipe. The chutney combines any apple you have in your kitchen with soft onions, garlic, spices, and brown sugar. The resulting filling is flavorful, sweet, and brimming with autumnal essence. It's the perfect date night dish to enjoy after you've spent the morning picking apples at the orchard.

You don't have to stick with stuffing, either. Our recipe for pan-seared pork chops with a parsnip-apple purée pairs a crusted cut of pork with the smoothness of a sweet, sublime sauce.

Craft an autumnal apple pie or crisp

We couldn't do a list of things to do with leftover apples and not mention making a pie or a cobbler. While this is one of the most intuitive uses for the fruit, there are tons of ways you can elevate your apple dessert with novel flavors and textures. Some of the best ingredients to elevate homemade apple pie include swapping out your plain crust with one made from sugar cookies or cinnamon buns. You can also add MSG (yes, you read that right) to your pie crust to help bring an umami flavor and amplify the buttery notes.

Apple crisp also opens up room for interpretation. Adding a hint of cardamom to your crisp is an easy way to create complexity without straying too far from the classic flavors.

Slice up an apple and add it to your salad

Apple dishes don't always have to weigh you down. For a light take on this fall fruit, try chopping one up into thin slivers and adding it to your salad. Apple tends to pair well with arugula and spinach, which have a unique sharp flavor to them, as well as pungent toppings like chopped red onion and goat cheese.

The best apple varieties to add to your salad include apples that taste great when eaten out of hand. These include snappy, sweet varieties like Fuji, Honeycrisps, Pink Lady, Jazz, and Empire apples. We recommend leaving the skin on these apples for the perfect crisp or trying to roast them before adding them to your salad for a softer take.

DIY Cracker Barrel fried apples

If you go to a Cracker Barrel, the only type of side dish you should be ordering is the fried apples. These fruits are coated in a sweet slather of cinnamon and sugar and taste absolutely divine after a long road trip. The best type of apples for your warm, spiced Southern fried apples recipe is relatively hard and tart, so they can hold up well to being cooked and stand alone when enveloped in buttery sugar syrup. Try using Pink Lady or the classic Granny Smith for this recipe.

Add the peeled slices to a pan with butter (don't skimp on it, either), sugar, and spices to cook your apples. Simmer the apples in the butter for about 15 minutes or when they are soft to the touch. This fruit dessert is best served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Add them to your sandwiches

The last time you made a sandwich for lunch, you probably didn't think about how you could add apples to it to make it better. Apple slices deserve a place on your next ham sandwich because the crunchy consistency and sweet taste of the apples will complement your deli meat well. We also love adding apple slices to any sandwich with melty cheese, like Brie, Gruyere, or plain sharp cheddar. Granny Smith apples are the crème de la crème of sandwich apples because of their thick skin, crisp texture, and tangy flavor.

You can add apple slices to more than just ham sandwiches, we love pairing thinly sliced apples with a turkey sandwich, too. Or, you can stick to a meatless option and use this ingredient to upgrade your next grilled cheese.

Incorporate them into your pancake batter

Move over blueberries, there's a new perfect pancake pairing in town. Try adding your leftover apples to the batter for a homestyle way to integrate apples into your breakfast routine. It's important to note that whole chunks of apples won't work here since they're far too large and hard to add to a quick-cooked breakfast like pancakes. Instead, you'll want to grate your apple of choice, peel it, and grate it before mixing it into the batter. This method will give you tiny flecks of apple interspersed in the batter, allowing it to cook quickly and providing a tinge of apple flavor to every bite.

There are many different types of apples that are perfect for this breakfast dish. If your batter has minimal added sugar, consider mixing in a sweet apple, like a Braeburn or a Jonagold.

Add a few slices to your pizza or flatbread

Apple... on a pizza? Although it's likely not a popular topping at your local slice joint, apples, and pizza are a match made in heaven. The trick with adding apples to your pizza is to do one of two things. You can thinly slice the apples and add them fresh after the pie is finished baking for optimal crispness, or stick to adding them before popping your pie in the oven.

Regardless of your choice, we recommend pairing this fruity addition with toppings like chopped fennel, squash, bacon, sausage, or fresh arugula. You can also finish your pie or flatbread out with a drizzle of hot honey or maple syrup to round out your autumnal pizza.

Make a summer slaw

How do we feel about coleslaw? Not great at all. It's a wet, slimy topping that really shouldn't be enjoyed by anyone with working tastebuds. But if you are a fan of coleslaw, especially on a pulled pork sandwich, we recommend adding apples to the mix. Like other coleslaw ingredients, apples are relatively wet and crunchy even if some of the water has been removed. These characteristics make apples a good addition to coleslaw for folks who don't like the peppery taste of cabbage.

Fuji apples are a good selection for coleslaw because they'll hold up well to your dressing and provide some sweet flavor undercurrents. For maximum flavor, refrigerate your slaw for at least an hour before adding more dressing and serving.

Top off your homemade ice cream with them

While it might not be as traditional as chocolate or vanilla ice cream, apple pie ice cream is one treat that gives us all the fall vibes. Not only can you add fried apples to the top of your ice cream as a topping, but you can also add the fruit to your homemade ice cream base as you mix it. Once the ice cream base has thickened to your liking, go ahead and add the apples and a bit of graham cracker to the base, stirring until combined.

While this ice cream tastes totally great, you can add your sundae spin with caramel sauce, chopped nuts, or cookie pieces. We also recommend adding cinnamon to the pie base.

Mix it into your chicken salad

Chicken salad is the king of deli salads. Not only is it a great dose of protein, but it can also be customized easily with different add-ins. Consider adding chopped apple to your next crisp and creamy chicken salad. The crisp apple and chopped crunchy celery are the perfect addition to your new favorite lunch salad. Some people will also add in grape halves or spicy mustard to round out the palate.

Alternatively, apples are a key ingredient for candied walnut Waldorf salad. The walnuts are coated in a layer of melted butter and honey and perfectly paired with an apple's sweetness. Plus, the dressing made with yogurt and seasoning is rich and perfect for bringing the components of your salad together.

Dry out the pieces to save some for later

Sometimes, you just have too many apples lying around to eat them all before they go rotten. If you want to keep your apples for as long as possible, you will need to take the time to dry or dehydrate them into shelf-stable pieces. You won't even need to have a fancy dehydrator to make these apple chips. You can bake the chips in a single layer in the oven for about two hours or until the edges start to brown and curl.

The apples that lend themselves best to drying include non-mealy varieties like Honeycrisps, Jonagolds, Fuji, and Pink Ladys. You should also use a mandolin for perfectly even slices rather than trusting your knife skills.

Craft an infused vodka

We're not talking about the sour apple vodka you'd find at a run-down package store. You can make your own infused vodka with leftover apple pieces, and it's guaranteed to have a less artificial flavor than the bottle on the shelf. You'll want to start by washing and coring a few apples in a glass Mason jar; peeling the fruit is unnecessary. Then, you can cover the fruit in vodka, shaking vigorously to submerge the fruit in the alcohol. Next, place the jar in a cool, dark place and shake at least once daily.

You'll need to allow your vodka to infuse for at least three days, but longer is preferable. Finally, strain out the apple pieces and enjoy your apple vodka in your favorite autumnal cocktails.

Use it to scoop a sweet dip

Apple season also coincides with the best holiday ever: Halloween. Our trick-or-treat apple dip is made with a base of cream cheese, coconut sugar, and toffee garnish, served alongside fresh apple pieces. Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Gala, or Fuji are all some of the best apple varieties to cut up for this dip; just be wary that apples that sit out too long will tend to brown. In addition, the dip is perfect for kids' parties but can also be enhanced with spices for a more adult take. You can stick the apple pieces on skewers or instead slice the apples into wedges for easy handling.

Besides the apple pieces, you can also slice up strawberries, bananas, or pineapple to serve with your dip. Or, add some graham and animal crackers for a little bit of crunch with your dip.

Press it into apple cider

There is no autumnal beverage quite like apple cider. The drink can be served warm with mulling spices, transformed into a slushie, or used in a cold-weather cocktail. The major downside to making your own cider at home is that you're going to need a lot of apples to make your cider. You'll need between 30 and 40 apples to make a gallon of cider and a cider press. But if you love the taste of cider, then you'll want to invest in this machine.

The best apple varieties for cider are McIntosh, Cortlands, Gala, and Fuji. These apples have a moderate flavor with a ton of moisture, which is perfect for making a flavorful cider that isn't particularly sharp.

Add it to muffins or quickbread

It might not be a classic banana or pumpkin bread, but it is flavorful nonetheless. Essentially, apple bread is just apple cake prepared in a loaf pan. It's soft, rich, and filled with small flecks of apple throughout. You'll want to prepare your quick bread recipe like with any other recipe, but this time, you'll want to fold in small pieces of peeled apples in the batter before placing them in the pan.

You can add a swirl of cinnamon sugar strudel to the loaf itself or add it to the top of the loaf as well. We also recommend finishing the loaf with a confectioner's sugar glaze for an added visual effect. Eat a slice straight from the loaf, or cook it in a pan with butter for an unexpected crunch.