Learn how to make apple compote in less than 30 minutes! This easy recipe uses fresh apples, brown sugar and spices to create a delicious fruit topping. Serve it with your pancakes, as an ice cream topping or in your overnight oats!

apple compote in a white bowl with a spoon.

With the changing of seasons comes a transition in produce. Apples are abundant in grocery stores and farmers markets this time of year. This easy apple compote is one of my favorite recipes to whip out for fall. This traditional French recipe is so simple, yet elevates almost any dish you are serving!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Pairs with dozens of dishes. Be it pancakes and waffles, homemade ice cream, or savory dishes, such as pork or chicken.
  • Simple to make. All you need is a large pot to simmer the apples down and you have compote! Easy as that!
  • Only 5 ingredients. And you probably already have them in your kitchen.
  • Stores well. Jar the apple compote and it will keep for up to a year. It makes a great holiday gift too!
  • Great use of apples. If you took home pounds of apples from the orchard and have more than you know what to do with, compote is the answer!

Ingredient Notes

bowls of ingredients to make apple compote.
  • Apples: Use crisp apples, such as Granny Smith and Honeycrisp. Peel, core and chop into chunks.
  • Brown sugar: To help sweeten the fruit, add just a couple tablespoons of brown sugar.
  • Lemon juice: A little squeeze of fresh lemon juice brightens the apple flavors.
  • Spices: Check that your spices are fresh and not expired for the best flavor.

Refer to the recipe card for ingredient details and measurements.

Recipe Variations

Try different spices. Swap out the nutmeg for ground ginger, cloves or cardamom.

Add other fruit. Stir in berries, peaches or pears. Cut them into similar size chunks as the apples. Keep in mind soft fruit will cook more quickly so sometimes it’s better to add it after the first 5 minutes of cooking.

Add a citrus twist. Add the juice and zest of one lemon. Alternatively, use an orange for juice and zest.

Make it rum raisin. Add 1/4 cup dark rum and 1/2 cup raisins when stirring in the brown sugar and spices.

Adjust the amount. You can halve the recipe or double it to yield desired amount of servings.

How to Make Apple Compote

photo collage demonstrating how to make apple compote in a saucepan.
  1. Add apples and water to a large saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture is bubbling.
  2. Reduce heat to low and simmer until cooked down, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in sugar, lemon and spices. Simmer another 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and serve warm or cooled.

Expert Tips

Use the right apples. I prefer a variety of Honeycrisp and Granny Smith. However, Braeburn, Northern Spy and Pink Lady are also good options.

Taste along the way. Depending on what apples you choose, you may prefer more sugar to sweeten the compote. Alternatively, you can decrease the sugar for a tarter compote.

Don’t overcook. The apples should be tender and not too soft. If cooked for too long, they will lose their texture and turn out mushy.

Be patient. The apples need time to simmer so they can soften and absorb the flavors.

apple compote in a dutch oven with a large spoon.

Storage Tips

Store compote in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Make sure it’s cooled completely before storing.

Jar the compote for up to 1 year. Be sure to follow canning and jarring instructions for proper storage.

Freeze for up to 3 months. Place in an airtight container in the freezer. Defrost in the refrigerator before serving or reheating.

Reheat compote in a sauce pan over medium-low heat. Alternatively, microwave it in 20 to 30 second increments until warm.

What to Serve with Apple Compote

Apple compote may be served on its own with a dollop of crème fraîche or as a topping on pancakes, waffles and french toast. You can also put it on ice cream and cheesecakes, or use it as a delicious filling for a layered cake.

For a healthy variation, stir it in to your morning yogurt or overnight oats. It also pairs well with savory dishes, such as pork chops, chicken or alongside cheese boards. Truly the possibilities are endless!

Recipe FAQ

How do I make apple compote thicker?

Add 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch or flour to the pot while it’s simmering. You can also cook the mixture longer to help more of the liquid evaporate.

Can I make apple compote without sugar?

Yes, omit the sugar and the apples will naturally sweeten the compote. You can also add maple syrup or honey as an alternative sweetener.

Can I use apple compote as pie filling?

Yes, but you’ll need to add a thickener, such as flour or cornstarch. If the fruit filling is too watery, then the crust will be soggy and the filling won’t set as the pie cools.

Is apple compote the same as applesauce?

Applesauce is cooked until the fruit is soft and puréed until smooth. It’s typically served chilled or room temperature. Meanwhile, apple compote is chunkier and can be served warm or cold.

apple compote in a glass mason jar.

Did you love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below and if you REALLY loved it, consider leaving a comment further down the page.

apple compote in a white bowl with a spoon.

Get the Recipe: Easy Apple Compote with Cinnamon

With only 5 ingredients you can make homemade apple compote in less than 30 minutes! This easy recipe is perfect to have on hand for fall.
5 (12 ratings)


  • 3 pounds crisp apples, such as Granny Smith or Honeycrisp, peeled, cored and cut in chunks (9 cups)
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg


  • Place apples and water in a heavy saucepan and stir over medium-high heat until the mixture is bubbling.
  • Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook, stirring often, until the apples have cooked down but still have some texture, 15 to 20 minutes. Taste as needed to make sure the apples are not overcooked.
  • Add sugar, lemon juice and spices, cover and simmer for another 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool, or serve warm or hot.


Apples: Choose a crisp variety. Braeburn, Pink Lady and Northern Spy are also good options.
The apples will cook down and yield 3 1/2 cups.
Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator before reheating or serving.
Serving: 0.5cup, Calories: 107kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 0.5g, Fat: 0.3g, Saturated Fat: 0.1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.02g, Sodium: 3mg, Potassium: 192mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 22g, Vitamin A: 93IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 17mg, Iron: 0.3mg

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