Soft apples, brown sugar, oats and butter – campfire baked apples are one of our favorite dessert memories from camp when we were kids.
Written in collaboration with Eddie Bauer
If you’re feeling burnt out on s’mores and looking for new ones camping dessert, we highly recommend giving baked apples a try! They combine an element of craft (carving apples), interaction with the fire (always a plus) and it has fruit in it! So it’s healthy, right?
We have great memories of making these at summer camp when we were younger. They were always one of the highlights of the trip. And while we loved them as kids, we’re happy to report that they taste just as great as we remembered as adults.
The warm and soft apple goes perfectly with the caramelized brown sugar and buttery oats. Top it all off with a dollop of whipped cream and it has all the makings of a classic camping dessert!
In this recipe, we provide instructions for making them in a dutch oven as well as wrapped in foil. So no matter what equipment you have, this recipe will work for you. So let’s get to it!
Apples: Any kind of baking apple will work for making campfire baked apples, so you can use whatever you have on hand. However, we find that Honeycrisp retains its color the best, and the sweet and sour taste is perfect in this recipe!
Oatmeal: Avoid steel cut or instant and go with the old fashioned rolled oats plan.
Brown sugar: You can also use white sugar, but we really like the flavor combination of apple, cinnamon and brown sugar.
Butter: You want your butter to be quite soft to mix it into the other ingredients. If it is still difficult, you can place it in an enameled camp bowl near the fire.
Cinnamon: The primary flavoring agent that really makes the apple flavor pop!
Salt: Just a pinch.
Whipped cream (optional): Whipped cream is our favorite camping-friendly ice substitute. Adding a blob to the top of the finished apples is one excellent idea.
Dutch oven: One of the ways you can make baked apples is to place your stuffed apples inside one dutch oven and cover with hot coals and/or embers. You can use this method to bake any number of baked apples – but it makes the most sense if you’re baking more than a few.
Tin foil: If you are just baking a few apples, you can also use the aluminum foil method. Just wrap the apples first in parchment paper and then in aluminum foil (the parchment helps keep the aluminum foil clean so it can be reused).
Heat resistant gloves: Using a pair heat resistant gloves is a good idea for both cooking methods.
Long-handled pliers: Long-handled tongs are the best way to safely move individually foil-wrapped apples.
How to make fire-baked apples
Here is an overview of the recipe with tips & tricks and step by step pictures! The full recipe with measurements and a printable recipe card can be found at the bottom of the post.
Prepare your fire / charcoal
You can make baked apples using either embers from a wood stove or charcoal. Be sure to prepare your fire well in advance so that the larger pieces of wood can burn down to usable embers. For more information on food preparation, check out our Campfire 101 Article.
Make the filling
While the fire and/or coals are getting ready, you can start making the filling for the apples. In a small bowl, mix the oats, brown sugar, salt and butter together.
It is best if the butter is soft, or even melted. If your butter is still too cold, place the bowl near the fire to warm it up.
Cut out the apples
It’s time to cut your apples! The best (and safest) method of doing this is to use a regular metal spoon. Start from the top of the apple and cut down to the core.
You want to remove the entire core, plus a little extra. Remember, the more you cut out, the more room there is to fill!
IMPORTANT: The most important things to remember when cutting your apple are: do not cut through to the bottom! If you have a hole in the bottom, all the butter and sugar will drip out, leaving the filling dry and your dutch oven a sticky mess.
Add the filling
Fill the apples with the oat and sugar mixture. Pack as much as you can. It’s okay to leave a bit of a mound on top.
If you cut off the top of your apple before you started slicing, resist the urge to place it back on top like a little hat. We thought it would be sweet, but realized that it prevents the filling from setting and forming the crispy layer on top.
Dutch oven preparation (30 minutes)
Place your apples in the dutch oven and place them over a bed of hot charcoal. Make sure all the apples are standing upright. Put the lid on top and cover it with hot coals.
Ideally, you’re aiming to bake the apples at 350 F. If you’re using a 10″ 4 quart dutch oven, that would be 7 coals on the bottom and 14 on the top. Depending on the coals and outside temperature, you may need to adjust this number.
Foil preparation (20 minutes)
Tear off a square of aluminum foil and place your apple in the middle. Lift the corners towards the center and pack them together. You want the seam at the top and full coverage at the bottom.
Using long-handled tongs, place the individually foil-wrapped apples, refill, into a base of charcoal or embers. Try putting them down in a divot to help the top and bottom cook more evenly.
How to serve
The apples must be soft and the filling must be crisp on top and soft in the middle.
One of the best ways to serve this is by putting the apple in a bowl, as eating them can get a bit messy.
While we love the idea of serving these with some vanilla ice cream, properly storing ice cream at a campsite can be nearly impossible.
So the next best thing is to give them a shot or two of whipped cream!
Avoid your screen going dark
Start the coals: You can make baked apples using either embers from a wood stove or charcoal. Be sure to prepare your fire well in advance so that the larger pieces of wood can burn down to usable embers.
Make the filling: While the fire or coal is getting ready, you make the filling for the apples. In a small bowl, mix the oats, brown sugar, softened butter, butter and salt together.
Cut out the apples: Cut out the center of the apples with a small spoon. Starting from the top of the apple, cut down into the core, removing the core and all the cores. The most important thing here is not to cut through to the bottom! (Otherwise, all the butter and brown sugar will drip out, leaving the filling dry and your Dutch oven a sticky mess.)
Stuff the apples: Fill the apples with the oat and sugar mixture and pack it down with your spoon.
Bake the applesDutch oven method: Put the apples in the dutch oven and place them over a layer of hot charcoal. Make sure all the apples are standing upright. Put the lid on top and cover it with hot coals. Ideally, you aim to bake the apples at 350 F. If you are using a 10” 4 quart dutch oven, that would be 7 coals on the bottom and 14 on the top. Depending on the coals and outside temperature, you may need to adjust this number.Foil method: Tear off a square of aluminum foil and place your apple in the middle. Lift the corners towards the center and pack them together. You want the seam at the top and full coverage at the bottom. Using long-handled tongs, place the individually foil-wrapped apples, refill, on a base of charcoal or embers.
Bake the apples for about 30 minutes, until the apples are soft and the filling is crispy on top.
Serve in a bowl, topped with whipped cream. Enjoy!
Make it vegan: Use Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, vegan-friendly brown sugar and coconut whipped cream.
Serves: 1apple | Calories: 309kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 1g | fat: 12g | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 40g
*Nutrition is an estimate based on information from a third party nutrition calculator