Old fashioned red hot cinnamon apples are a classic side dish or simple dessert. My great-grandma served them with pork chops but they are also wonderful with a scoop of ice cream or dollop of whipped cream.
This vintage recipe only takes three ingredients to make. The candy gives these stewed apples there bright red color, cinnamon flavor and cozy nostalgic feel.
We recently hosted an apple cook-off for our family and friends. Two times a year we get everyone together and have them make something around a theme.
After much debate, my grandma settled on making these red hot apples as her entry. She said her mom used to make them to serve with pork chops.
I instantly fell in love with them. Something about the the bright red color and the vintage feel really drew me in.
In fact, my grandma recently gave me some of her recipe boxes so there are likely to be quite a few old fashioned recipes headed your way over the next several months. If there is something in particular you would like to see, you can always let me know about it in the comments below and I will do my best to make it for you.
Anyway, these apples were a fun way to connect to the cooks who came before me. Little Dude loved them as well, which is a surprise because I would have told you he doesn’t like the red hot candies.
So if you are looking for a fun way to make cinnamon apples, this recipe is for you. Their bright color and sweet spicy taste are sure to add some variety to your plate.
Tips for Making Red Hot Apples
Red Hots are also known as Cinnamon Imperials, so you may find them other either name at the grocery store. Around Christmas time they usually have little tubs of them in the cake decorating section, but this time of year they were in a bag in the candy aisle.
It is best to use an apple that can stand up to cooking in this recipe. That way you won’t end up with bright red applesauce.
Jonathan, Jonagold, Braeburn and honeycrisp are all good options for cooking. They hold their shape wile cooking and have great flavor.
My grandma tried several varieties in her recipe testing and decided she liked Pink Ladies the best. I used a combination of several apples that I happened to have in my refrigerator fruit drawer.
You can leave the skins on if you prefer. In fact, I usually do in these types of recipes. However, they do look nicer if you peel the apples.
My great-grandma served these cinnamon apples in rings. My grandma made chunks, and I settled on slices.
I’ve even seen them served as apple halves, which is a really pretty presentation as well. You can use whichever preparation you would like, it doesn’t change the directions much other than larger chunks will take a little bit longer to cook through.
If the apples aren’t bright red enough for you, add a couple of drops of red food coloring.
Once the apples are cooked to your liking, remove them from the heat but let them sit in the syrup as they cool. They will absorb more color and flavor as they come towards room temperature.
They would be great served warm as a side dish with pork chops or ham. Or chill them in some of the liquid for later.
How do you store red hot apples?
Store your stewed apples in the refrigerator for up to a week. When you transfer them to the storage container, keep them in the red juice. They will become more vibrant and flavorful as they sit.
Where can you buy Red Hots?
Look for them in the candy aisle of the grocery store. Sometimes they also have tubs of cinnamon imperials in the baking aisle with the cake decorating supplies.
More Great Apple Recipes
If you like your cinnamon apples without the red, I have a couple of other options for you to try. Crockpot cinnamon apples are a great choice or you can make Instant Pot cinnamon apples if you prefer. Both are similar to Cracker Barrel’s fried apples.
My great-grandma’s apple pie may be another option if you have a bunch of fresh apples to use up. She was famous for her pies and her apple pie with lard pie crust is the stuff of legends in my mom’s eyes.
Did you make this great recipe? Please leave a review in the recipe card below!
Red Hot Cinnamon Apples
- 3 lbs. apples
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup Red Hot candies
- Wash apples. Remove cores and peel if desired. Cut into your preferred shape. Rings, chunks or slices work.
- In a large saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the water over medium heat.
- Add the prepared apples and red hot candies. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Drop the heat to medium-low and simmer until the apples are cooked to your preferred tenderness. Add a couple of drops of red food coloring if you would like a deeper red color.
- Allow to cool then serve or transfer to a storage container and refrigerate until ready to enjoy.
- The apples are great served warm or chilled as a side dish, snack or simple dessert.