We love grilling fruit. When the fire and smoke hit the flesh of a sturdy fruit the natural sugars are caramelized and concentrated. Grilled fruit is delicious as is and it also makes for a great dessert base.
Some of my favorite fruits to grill are apples, peaches, pineapples, pears, and watermelon. I think apples are at the top of the list, which we will focus on for this tutorial. When choosing apples for grilling, go for the sturdier varieties. Some of these include:
- Granny Smith
Pro tip: Softer apples generally turn mushy when grilled. These include Macintosh and Golden Delicious.
There are different methods to achieving great grilled apples. The simplest method is to core the apples, slice them into rounds, and cook directly on the grill grate. There are also grilled apples in foil that will produce a softer flesh that is great for making applesauce or for topping a bowl of ice cream. Grilled stuffed apples make for a complete dessert. You can stuff them with a combination of maple syrup, butter, raisins, and nuts. I like to cook stuffed apples in my smoker.
Grilled Apples Dessert Ideas
We will start with the simplest method for grilling apple slices and then finish them off with cinnamon and honey. Once you have your apples grilled you can assemble them into a variety of sweet and decadent desserts that everyone will enjoy. Here are a few of my favorite grilled apple desserts.
- Place a grilled apple slice at the bottom of a bowl. Dust with cinnamon and drizzle with honey. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and top with crunchy granola.
- Take 3 grilled apple slices and place one on a plate. Dust with cinnamon. Add a spoonful of thick Greek yogurt. Drizzle the honey over the yogurt and place another apple slice on top with cinnamon. Add another spoonful of yogurt and another drizzle of honey. Top with one more grilled apple slice and a dusting of cinnamon. Gently press this down to form a little stack or mini tower. This is really delicious with a steaming cup of espresso.
- Cut your cinnamon and honey infused grilled apple slices into quarters and place them in a serving bowl. Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a sauté pan. Add a shot of dark rum and light it with a long match or lighter. Allow the alcohol to burn off. Pour the butter and rum mixture over the apple slices and you have a quick version of Apples Foster.
Grilled Cinnamon Apple Slices Drizzled with Honey: A Step-By-Step Guide
This recipe for grilled apples should be adequate for 6 people, depending on the size of the apples. Preparation time is approximately 10 minutes. Grilling time is also about 10 minutes. This is a super easy recipe for a quick dessert. It is a no-brainer if you have just cooked a nice meal and the grill is still fired up or the coals are just hot enough to give the apples nice grill marks and some heat.
- Grill and fuel source
- Sharp knife
- Apple corer
- Small pot for melting better
- Medium bowl*
- Platter for serving
- 3 fresh Fuji or Honeycrisp apples
- 3/4 cup filtered water*
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice*
- 3 tablespoons melted salted butter
- 3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons of a runny honey
Pro tip: The salt in the butter will actually help the apples to taste sweeter. A pinch of salt is a trick many bakers use when making desserts. If you only have unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt to it while it is melting.
Step 1: Prepare your gas or charcoal grill. Bring the gas grill to a medium/high temperature. Allow the coals on your charcoal grill to become fully gray and glowing and the flames have died down. You can also use a pellet grill.
Step 2: In a medium bowl, combine the water and lemon juice.
*Pro tip: The water and lemon juice are to prevent the apple slices from oxidizing and turning brown while your grill is coming up to temperature. You can skip these ingredients if the slices are going directly on the grill after slicing and buttering.
Step 3: Cut the tops and bottoms off of the apples. Core the apples to remove the seeds with either an apple corer, a melon baller, or a sharp paring knife. Leave the skin on. Slice the apples into 1/2” thick rounds. If you need more time, place the apple slices in the water and lemon bath. Otherwise, proceed to step 4. If you do soak the apples, make sure you pat them dry with paper towels before grilling them.
Step 4: Brush both sides of the apple slices with the melted butter. Grill the apples for approximately 4 to 5 minutes per side with the top of the grill open. You want some nice grill marks, but not charred apples. So, keep an eye on them. If using a pellet grill, the timing might be longer.
Step 5: Remove the grilled apples to a platter and immediately dust them with cinnamon and drizzle them with honey.
Pro tip: Make sure you dust and drizzle the apples as soon as they come off the grill. The warmth will help the cinnamon and honey to melt into the apples.
Step 5: Serve the grilled apples as they are, with a scoop of ice cream, or assembled into some of the dessert suggestions.
Leftover grilled apples: If you decided to double or triple this recipe, you may end up with leftovers. That is a bonus. You can make applesauce or apple butter with grilled apples. You can also bake them into an apple crisp or a pie. And, if you are very adventurous, you can use grilled apples in cocktails, such as an apple martini.
Now that wasn’t so hard. Grilling fruit, especially apples, is one of the easiest and immediately rewarding outdoor cooking experiences. There are just a few tips for success. First, you really want to shop for fresh and firm apples. If you are lucky enough to live near an orchard, go pick them yourself when they are at the peak of their season. If buying from a supermarket, feel the apples for a firm texture.
Next, don’t cut your apples too far ahead of grilling them. Apples have a tendency to discolor when sliced and exposed to air. If you have to, soak them in an acidic bath of water with lemon for a few minutes until the grill is ready. Remember to drain and pat the slices dry.
Finally, keep an eye on the apples so that you don’t burn or overcook. Every grill is different.
Hopefully, this post has given you the confidence to explore grilling fruit. I guarantee this will become a go-to dessert staple every time you fire up your grill.