This post and recipe may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please see the Disclosure Policy for details.
Impressive and easy Hasselback apples showcase crisp apples sliced to fan out and hold the buttery oat streusel topping, while the apples bake in a bubbly apple cider sauce. Top the warm baked apples with a scoop of ice cream and a drizzle of homemade caramel sauce for your new favorite fall dessert!
Hasselback Apples Dessert
When apple harvest season is upon us, the number of apple recipes seems almost infinite. The crisp apple is sneaky in that it can go sweet or savory, and works almost like a staple ingredient in any fall dessert.
Hasselback is a term that has been widely adopted to define the technique of slicing and fanning a fruit or vegetable – originally, and most notably, the potato. This method for slicing the veggie almost all the way through so it could fan out and hold buttery flavor goodness was introduced by a creative chef in Stockholm.
Since then, we have taken that technique to use on other produce, like the apple.
Everything To Love About This Baked Apples Recipe
- Fancy – To be clear, the dessert looks and tastes impressive, but you’ll be surprised how straightforward it is!
- Effortless – Slicing the apples may be the hardest part, but other than that, this is one of the easiest apple desserts to make.
- Warm fall flavors – Think of everything you love about apple pie – minus the flaky crust – and that is what these baked apples taste like!
- Easy to make ahead – If you’re planning your holiday get-togethers, give yourself a little break the day of and prepare the apples the day before. Bake during dinner to let the aroma fill the air!
- Gluten Free – The oat streusel topping combines rolled oats and oat flour to make this fall dessert gluten free friendly!
Here’s What You Need To Make Hasselback Apples
- Crisp Apples – I love Honeycrisp apples for their flavor and texture. Pink Lady and Fuji will also work. Anything softer will fall apart when baked.
- Apple Cider – The apple cider is a tasty surprise. In lieu of butter, we use it to coat the bottom of the baking dish so the Hasselback apples don’t stick.
- Brown Sugar – Brown sugar is present in the butter wash before baking and in the streusel. I use light brown sugar, but dark will also work.
- Butter – Also in the butter wash and streusel. I recommend unsalted butter since we add our own to the streusel.
- Cinnamon, Ginger, and Cardamom – My favorite spices to pair with apples because they are natural flavor compliments! The spices go in the butter wash to infuse the apples with flavor.
- Oats – I recommend old fashioned, rolled oats. They have a nice texture when baked – not too hard, not too soft.
- Oat Flour – For the streusel, the oat flour acts as a binder, gives the topping more structure, and pairs with the oats. All-purpose flour can be substituted.
- Salt – Just a little salt to balance the flavors in the streusel.
- Walnuts – I like the apple and walnut combo, but you can certainly substitute pecans. Or any nut you prefer!
- 8×8 Baking Dish – I’ve linked the dish I use in the recipe card.
- Melon Baller – Or you can use the end of a vegetable peeler to core the apple.
- Sharp Paring Knife – Use a smaller knife to give you more control when slicing the apple.
- Mixing Bowl – Only one for the streusel!
- Pastry Brush – We use the pastry brush to apply the butter-sugar wash evenly.
How To Slice The Apples
How exactly do you Hasselback an apple? I’ve seen tricks where people set the apple between two chopsticks so the knife doesn’t go all the way through. But, with a little patience, you can slice the apple free-hand.
- Core the apple – And remove the stem and bottom calyx.
- Start at the outermost edge with your slices – I start here simply because it is the hardest part to slice since you’re going at an angle!
- Slice almost all the way through – Remember, we want the apple to fan out when baked. Go too far, and you’ll end up with a bunch of apple slices!
- Make the slices about 1/4 inch – This is a good thickness to ensure the apple slices bake soft, but still hold their shape.
The oat streusel topping comes together easily to create the perfect crumb topping. As it bakes, the butter and sugar will melt, and combine with the apple cider to create a delicious bubbly caramel!
How To Make Hasselback Apples
- Prepare the streusel – I like to do this first so it can refrigerate until ready. The butter should be cold to keep the streusel crumbs intact.
- Slice and core the apples – Remove all the parts you don’t want to eat!
- Make your Hasselback slices – 1/4 inch slices that go almost all the way through the apple.
- First bake of the apples – Set your sliced apples in the baking dish with the apple cider. Cover with foil and bake for 23 minutes.
- Cool the apples – So the streusel doesn’t just melt when you put it on. And so the apples are cool to handle!
- Top with streusel – Sneak the streusel in between the apple slices, and pile on top!
- Second bake of the apples – Bake uncovered for another 20 minutes or so. For a softer apple, go to 20 minutes. For a crisper apple, bake for 18 minutes.
- Serve warm – And top with ice cream and caramel!
- Use a crisp variety apple – Otherwise, the Hasselback apples will fall apart when baked.
- A small, sharp knife makes slicing easy – A small paring knife is easy to handle when making the precision slices.
- Use your fingers to mix the streusel – It is such a small quantity that your fingers will be the most effective tool to combine the streusel ingredients.
- Tent the apples if the streusel is browning too fast – The walnuts will want to bake faster. To avoid a super crisp (burned!) streusel, loosely cover the apples with foil while they bake.
- The apple cider imparts flavor – And it is a delicious alternative to butter to keep the apples from sticking to the pan.
- Enjoy the same day – The apples are delightful the day they are baked. And while they are still tasty the next day, there is nothing like the fresh-from-the-oven taste!
- Serve warm – I may not need to convince you that when ice cream tops a fresh baked apple dessert, it is nothing short of heaven when the ice cream gets all melty!
Any crisp variety will work. I use Honeycrisp, but Pink Lady and Fuji are also good options.
That is your preference. I keep the skin on because I like the different textures of the apple.
If only a few of your slices went all the way through, that’s fine. Just keep them in place. If all the slices went all the way through, arrange the apples in the dish and just make an apple crisp!
Cover the apples and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave for a couple of minutes.
I don’t recommend it. The texture won’t be the same given the moisture in the apples.
Hasselback Baked Apples
Oat Streusel Topping
- 2 apples (a crisp variety, like Honeycrisp)
- ⅓ cup apple cider
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
Oat Streusel Topping
- In a small mixing bowl, stir together the oats, oat flour, brown sugar, and salt. Add the butter cubes and using your fingers, or a fork, cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Mix until the flour and oats are moistened by the butter and you have large crumble pieces. Tip – I find using my fingers to make the streusel is more efficient, give the small quantity of ingredients.2 tablespoons rolled oats, 1 tablespoon gluten free oat flour, 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, ⅛ teaspoon salt, 1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
- Stir in the chopped walnuts. Set the streusel aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.2 tablespoons walnuts, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 400F degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position.
- Slice the apples in half. Use a melon baller, or even the tip of a vegetable peeler, and core the apples. Note – Peeling the apples is totally optional. I opt to not because I like the different textures of the apple.2 apples
- Place the apples cut side down on a cutting board. Using a sharp paring knife, slice the apples – almost all the way through, but not all the way – into 1/4 inch slices. I find it easier to start the slices at the outside edges of the apple.
- Place the apples cut side down in the baking dish. Pour the apple cider into the bottom of the baking dish.⅓ cup apple cider
- In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter, brown sugar, and spices. Brush evenly over the tops of the apples.1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger, ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
- Cover the baking dish with foil, and bake the apples for 23 minutes. Remove from the oven, uncover, and cool the apples in the baking dish for at least 10 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 425F degrees.
- Using a knife or a spoon, fan open the apple slices and work some of the streusel in between the slices, and sprinkle streusel on top.
- Return the baking dish to oven, uncovered, and bake the apples for an additional 18 to 20 minutes. The apples should be firm to the touch, but fork tender. Note – If the streusel topping is browning too quickly, loosely tent foil over the top of the apples.
- Cool the apples in the baking dish for a few minutes before serving. To serve, top the warm apples with ice cream and drizzle of caramel. Enjoy!
- Best Apples – Use a crisp apple, like Honeycrisp (what I use!), Pink Lady, or Fuji.
- Serving Size – This recipe is easily doubled.
- Caramel Sauce for Serving – My apple cider caramel sauce or maple syrup caramel sauce are delicious to drizzle over the apples!
- Substitutions – Swap the oat flour with all-purpose flour 1:1. The light brown sugar with dark brown sugar 1:1. Or the unsalted butter with a vegan butter spread 1:1.
- Apple Cider – I recommend apple cider because it is unfiltered and adds extra flavor to the baked apples. You can use apple juice. Or omit all together – just grease the bottom of the baking dish with butter so the apples don’t stick.
- Slicing the Apples – You’ll want to go as close to the edge of the apple, but not all the way through. This way, the apples fan out when baked.
- Bake Time – I prefer a softer baked apple that can be cut with a fork. If you prefer a crisp baked apple, remove the apples from the oven at 18 minutes.
- Make Ahead – Prepare the apples and streusel ahead of time and place the apples in the baking dish with the cider. Keep covered in the refrigerator. When ready to bake, prepare the butter-sugar mix and follow the baking instructions.
- Storing – Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat for 2 to 3 minutes in the microwave.
about the author ...
I'm Erin and I'm all about desserts - and a little bit of butter!
I've tested, written, and photographed hundreds of recipes on my website. Here you'll find the tastiest small batch gluten free and traditional desserts - all homemade, all simple, and all for you!