How to Bake Apples in the Microwave

Nearly instant dessert gratification? Sign us up! Follow these quick and easy steps to learn how to microwave a cinnamon baked apple in minutes.

Four microwaved apples in a white serving dish.
Photo: Getty Images

There's something magical about baked apples. They exist in limbo, somewhere between solid and melted (when warmed), firm but giving way with unexpected ease. The comforting scent of baked apples—familiar, lovely, and bringing to mind visions of moms in frilly aprons, playing catch in the street until the lights come on, and family holiday gatherings—fills every corner of the kitchen as it warms the heart. And, as they say, what's more American than apple pie?

The answer? American ingenuity.

Enter microwaved "baked" apples, a simple, no-frills, convenient, and healthier take on a dessert flavor that's—despite originating from the faraway mountains of Kazakhstan—quintessentially home.

Cooking apples in the microwave is an amazing hack to capture that rich, buttery, cinnamon-y flavor without the fuss of making a pie crust, committing to a big portion, or waiting in front of the oven. Microwaving baked apples is more energy-efficient, too, than waiting for a cavernous oven to heat up and letting it run for an hour. Ready in minutes, microwaved baked apples are as close to instant gratification as you can get with a warm, baked-but-not-in-the-traditional-sense dessert. Lower in calories and added sugar—thanks to its natural sweetness—than most conventional sweets courses, a microwave baked apple is a healthy alternative option that won't feel like one. Plus, because it's best baked and served in its own skin with minimal additives and ingredients, it retains more of its heart-healthy fiber.

The best types of apples to microwave are ones whose peel colors won't fade too much and will retain their shapes—typically firm, slightly tart varieties. Even if you choose to halve your baked apples rather than microwaving them whole, you still want them to be structurally sound when finished; because they're cooked in moist heat, you run the risk of your baked apples turning into applesauce otherwise! Look for Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady/Cripps Pink, Braeburn, Crispin, Winesap, Empire, or Rome Beauty apples, whose skin may split but is a fine price to pay for the drama of its size. Gala and Fuji do well, too, but will be milder in flavor. You can combat that with apple cider instead of water (but more on that later).

In general, you want to look for apple types that will stay juicy and bold as the sugars break down under heat. Surprisingly, baking favorite Granny Smith doesn't hold up well to being microwaved, and Granny Smith skins, like that of Golden Delicious apples, lose aesthetic appeal when cooked. McIntosh, Macoun, and Cortlands will also disintegrate under the power of the microwave.

Now that you know which varieties are vying for the starring role of your cinnamon baked apple dessert, let's assemble the cast and crew.


  • firm-fleshed baking apples

  • butter

  • brown or white sugar

  • cinnamon

  • salt

Optional add-in fillings

  • nutmeg, ginger, allspice, raisins, dried cranberries, currants, sultanas, frozen berries

Optional toppings

  • granola, toasted nuts, Greek yogurt, ice cream, heavy cream, custard, maple syrup, date syrup honey, caramel sauce, more cinnamon


  1. Assemble your tools and ingredients. Whether you're preparing one apple or four (typically the max for a casserole dish that will fit in a microwave), you want to make sure your microwave-safe baking dish is deep enough to capture the juices that will come from your microwaved baked apples. You can reduce that into a syrup for topping later, or even use it as-is for dipping or as a light sauce. Otherwise, mix your sugar and cinnamon together in a prep bowl with a teensy pinch of salt to enhance the sweetness. This blend should be to taste, but a good starting point for most apples cooked in a microwave is a tablespoon of sugar per baked apple.

  2. Wash and core your apples. Gently scrub the peels of your apples (our guide to cleaning apples can help if you're unsure how). Decide if you want to bake them whole or as halves. If you're making them as open-face halves, cut a channel out where the fibrous core and seeds are. If you're microwaving a whole apple, remove the core with a corer or paring knife, leaving a quarter to half an inch at the bottom so that the fillings will remain in the apple, infusing it with flavor. For aesthetic, to avoid a wrinkly top, some choose to peel the skin off the top half-inch of the apple, but that's entirely up to you.

  3. Stuff the apples. Spoon your sugar, cinnamon, and salt mixture into the hollow chamber of the apple you're about to microwave, plus any add-ins. Note that this will get soggy, so oats, granola, and nuts are not recommended as fillings, but rather as toppings. Instead, look to additional spices (I love a tiny pinch of nutmeg) and/or dried or frozen fruit, like raisins or blueberries, to punch your apples up from the inside. Pack it down with your spoon, add a tablespoon of water to the cavity, and top with a pat of butter. This will melt and trickle down through the fillings and will even out as you microwave your apples.

  4. Place in baking dish. For baked apple halves, place them skin-side down, filling-side up. If you're microwaving whole apples, stand them up with the cut-side open to the top. Give each apple or portion room to breathe; crowding the pan may cause juices to bubble over. Add just a thin layer of water to the baking dish to keep the apples from sticking or scorching in case you accidentally overcook them. The rising steam will help your apples cook faster, too!

  5. Cover the apples. Cover your apple-filled baking dish. You can use a microwave cover, a clean kitchen towel, or even something as loose and light as a paper towel. Microwave-safe plastic covers are another popular solution; just make sure you leave it cracked open for ventilation.

  6. Microwave on high. Microwave your apples at 100 percent power for 3-5 minutes for one whole apple; add one more minute per extra apple. Stay on the shorter range for halved apples, as they'll cook faster. Cook time will vary based on variety and total weight, so this is just your starting point.

  7. Check and poke. After your first round of microwaving, poke your apple with a fork or paring knife to see if it's reached your desired level of tenderness. If not, zap it again in two-minute increments and check it again. Once it's done, be sure to let it cool before digging in—the inside will be hotter than the outside!

  8. Optional: Top your apples. Add a dollop of dairy like ice cream, Greek yogurt, whipped cream, custard or the like to the top of your apples. Layer on toasted nuts and granola, or drizzle some caramel, honey, or maple syrup on it. You can also use the juices from your microwaved baked apples to make a sauce. Just pour the liquid from the bottom of your baking dish into a saucepan and simmer on low until thickened.

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