Looking for a delicious guilt-free dessert? These Baked Apples with Ricotta Cheese are super simple and insanely delicious. Sweet and juicy baked apples are stuffed with honey-sweetened ricotta cheese to create a healthy sweet treat you will want to make again and again.
There’s no need to wait for special occasions to treat yourself to this perfect dessert because this delectable baked apple recipe is also healthy.
This elegant dessert is made with fresh, wholesome ingredients and comes together in a pinch.
And did I mention your house will smell amazing?
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- These easy baked apples are good for you. Finally, healthy baked apples without refined sugar!
- You’ll only need a handful of simple, whole-food ingredients.
- The ingredients are inherently gluten-free and refined sugar-free.
- This delicious dessert is also kid-friendly.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Apples: Not all apples taste the same, nor do they bake the same, so it’s important to choose firm “baking apples” like Braeburn, Gala, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, or Honey crisp.
- Honey: Honey adds a hint of sweetness to this easy dessert recipe. You can also use maple syrup.
- Lemon Juice: A splash of lemon juice mixed with honey and water adds flavor and keeps the apples from turning brown.
- Warm Spices: Star anise, whole cloves, and cinnamon sticks infuse subtle notes of licorice and aromatic warming flavor.
- Ricotta Cheese: Ricotta cheese is mild with a thick and textured consistency, so it’s perfect for incorporating into healthy desserts.
- Garnish: I like finishing these apples with a sprinkle of allspice. Feel free to use any blend of warming spices here (cinnamon, ginger, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, etc.).
How To Make Baked Apples with Ricotta Cheese
- Preheat the oven and prep the apples: First, get your oven preheating to 400F. Meanwhile, prep your apples. First, cut off the top of each apple. With a sharp paring knife or apple corer remove the core and seeds, creating a divot for the ricotta. Pierce the apples with a fork a few times to allow steam to release.
- Mix the liquid ingredients: Add 1/4 cup of the honey, lemon juice, and water in a medium bowl and mix to combine.
- Assemble the baking dish and bake: Place the bottoms of the apples in a baking dish and pour the lemon juice mixture over the top. Place the apple tops back on top and arrange the star anise, whole clove, and cinnamon sticks around the apples. Bake until the apples are soft and tender (40 to 45 minutes).
- Mix ricotta and honey: In the meantime, mix the ricotta cheese and a tablespoon of honey in a small bowl.
- Plate the apples and serve: Once the apples are cooked and cooled, transfer them onto serving plates. Remove the tops of the apples and fill the centers with the sweetened ricotta (about 1/4 cup per apple). Sprinkle with allspice and about a drizzle of pan juices. Place the apples back on top and serve!
Do you have an odd-shaped apple that won’t stand upright in the baking dish? Slice enough from the bottom to keep it level. You can also place each apple into a ramekin.
There’s no need to peel the apples as the skin will tenderize in the oven. It will also prevent the stuffed baked apples from falling apart.
Be sure to check the apples for doneness, starting around 40 minutes. Baking times will vary based on the type of apple you use.
- Apple slices instead of stuffed apples – Instead of filing the apples, you can cut them into 8 to 10 wedges. Toss the apple wedges with the honey & lemon juice mixture and bake at 400F for 20 to 30 minutes, flipping halfway through. Serve in a bowl with a scoop of sweetened ricotta cheese.
- Skip the ricotta – Feel free to leave out the ricotta cheese entirely and replace it with cottage cheese or mascarpone. Greek yogurt is a good breakfast variation. And if you’re looking for something on the super sweet side, serve your baked apples with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. You can also use creamy nut butter like peanut butter or almond butter.
- Dairy-free/vegan option – Use your favorite dairy-free ricotta cheese or cream cheese and replace the honey with maple syrup.
Check out the list below for ways to enhance your baked apples with some crunch. Stir 2 to 3 tablespoons directly into the ricotta mixture and use more as a garnish:
- Rolled Oats
- Sugar-Free Granola
- Chia Seeds
- Cacao Nibs
- Chopped Nuts (pecans, almonds, or walnuts)
- Dark Chocolate Chips
- Dried Fruit (raisins, dates, pineapple, or mango)
Storing & Reheating
- Storing: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. I don’t recommend freezing this recipe. Baked apples are best served fresh from the oven.
- Reheating: 30 seconds to a minute in the microwave should do the trick.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I substitute cottage cheese for ricotta cheese?
Cottage cheese and ricotta cheese can be used interchangeably in many recipes, including this baked apple dish. Cottage cheese is an excellent lower-calorie option.
Can I make baked apples in an air fryer?
Yes! Assemble the apple halves in the air fryer basket like you would in a baking dish and air fry at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.
More Healthy Apple Recipes You’ll Love
- How to Make Hot Apple Cider from Scratch
- Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
- Fall and Winter Baked Fruit
- Healthy Apple Cake
- 4 medium organic apples (I used Golden Delicious)
- ¼ cup + 1 Tbsp honey
- juice of ½ lemon
- ¼ cup water
- 1 anise star
- 4 whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- allspice for decorating
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Carefully, cut off the top of each apple. With a small knife or a potato peeler, cut out the core scooping out all the seeds. If needed, cut small pieces from the bottom of the apples to level them out. Pierce the apples with a fork in a few places to prevent them from bursting during baking.
- In a mixing bowl, add ¼ cup of honey, lemon juice, and water. Mix to combine.
- Place the apples in a square baking dish. Pour the honey mixture over the apples. Place the apple tops on the apples. Place the anise star, whole cloves and cinnamon sticks on the bottom of the dish.
- Bake the apples until a paring knife easily slips into the centers for about 40 to 45 minutes. Baking time will depend on the apple variety so check the apples every once in a while to make sure they don’t over-bake.
- In the meantime, place the ricotta cheese and 1 tablespoon of honey into a small bowl and mix.
- Once the apples are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes. When cool enough to handle, transfer the apples onto plates. Open the lids and fill the center of each apple with ricotta cheese, about ¼ cup of ricotta cheese per apple. Sprinkle the apples with allspice and drizzle with pan juices, about 1 tablespoon per apple.
- Place the apple tops back on the apples and serve.
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Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1/4 of recipe
Amount Per Serving Calories 236Total Fat 5gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 19mgSodium 101mgCarbohydrates 43gFiber 5gSugar 31gProtein 8g
Nutrition facts provided on this website are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a qualified health care provider for personalized diet advice and make sure that each of the ingredients is allowed in your diet.