This apple compote recipe is the perfect finishing touch for pancakes, waffles, ice cream, and even pork!

Cinnamon apple compote in a white bowl, with apple halves and cinnamon sticks also in the photo.

This amazing apple compote is truly the perfect compliment for such a wide range of dishes. You’ll reach for it over and over again.

It melts perfectly into all the nooks and crannies of a fresh waffle, but can also hold its own atop a fresh biscuit. Dip a few wafer crackers in it for an afternoon snack, or spoon this apple compote–warm or cool–on vanilla ice cream after dinner.

Spoon it over oatmeal or yogurt for a quick and easy breakfast. We love a parfait with yogurt, apple compote and granola. Such a great breakfast!

Two bowls of oatmeal topped with cooked cinnamon apples.

About this recipe

Balanced with cinnamon and just a touch of brown sugar, apple compote can be used for sweet or savory dishes. On the savory side, it pairs nicely with soft cheeses and crackers on a charcuterie board, and it’s great for pork!

You can use it with your favorite baked goodies, like a simple and elegant vanilla cake or pumpkin bars. 

Made with just butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and apples, apple compote cooks together easily and stores for a week in the refrigerator. You can also make this compote ahead and store it for months in the freezer, making it a great hostess gift. Spoon your apple compote into little mason jars and add a festive ribbon. Gift apple compote with your favorite buttermilk pancake recipe or cinnamon pancake recipe, or include it in a little basket with a few other sauces and toppings, like this beautiful blueberry sauce, easy chocolate syrup, strawberry sauce, maple cinnamon butter, and lemon glaze.

Close up of cooked diced apples in a cinnamon syrup.

What you need

You’ll only need four simple ingredients to make this recipe! It’s best the way it is written, but there are some substitutions you can make. See the recipe card for full printable directions and ingredients!

  • Apples: See next section for recommendations regarding apple varieties. We love to leave the peels on our apples, but if you prefer them without peels, feel free to peel them!

Tip! This recipe is a great use for apples that might be getting slightly wrinkly in your fridge. Obviously you don’t want them to be completely rotten, but if they’re a little soft or bruised and not idea for eating fresh, they’ll be great in this recipe.

  • Butter + Brown Sugar: The combination of these two ingredients turns into a quick caramel that coats the chopped apples. Unsalted or salted butter will both be fine in this recipe, but we do not recommend using margarine (ever, to be honest).
  • Cinnamon: Because what are apples without cinnamon? Of course you could leave this out if you wanted to, but it is a warm and flavorful addition to the recipe.
Four bowls filled with ingredients: diced apples, butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon.

What apples are best for apple compote?

Any apple that holds up to cooking is a great choice. A favorite combination is Honeycrisp and Gala, but you can also use Jonagold, Jonathan, Braeburn, Granny Smith, or Cortland. If you prefer a sweeter, softer compote (closer to applesauce, depending on how long you cook it), try using McIntosh apples.

Close up view of cooked apples on top of oatmeal.

How to make it

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples and brown sugar.

Uncooked apples and brown sugar in a pan.

Cook until apples are softened. This takes about 15 minutes but if you like them softer, keep cooking a little longer. If you like them more firm or cut them a little smaller, cook time will be shorter.

Cooked apples in a brown sugar sauce in a stainless steel skillet.

Remove from heat and stir in cinnamon.

Cinnamon apple pieces in a brown sugar sauce, in a saute pan.

How to make this compote your own

  • If you’re looking for a good sugar-free (free of added sugars) option, choose a sweeter apple (like Honeycrisp or McIntosh), and skip the brown sugar altogether. You could also substitute coconut sugar, a little agave nectar, or maple syrup if you prefer those to brown sugar.
  • This apple compote recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, but you can mix up the spices a bit to your tastes. For example, you could try a little nutmeg or allspice. Those are more potent that cinnamon, so start with a pinch and work your way up, tasting as you go.
  • This compote is delicious hot, warm, and cold. Think crepes, English muffins, baked French toast, or use it like an apple chutney with pork
  • Apple compote is great when topped with a few chopped nuts. Try salty or sweet pecans or walnuts.
Close up of apples on oatmeal.

Make Ahead & Storage Suggestions

Apple cinnamon compote can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. 

Freezing Information

To freeze, put in freezer containers and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in refrigerator overnight for best results.

Reheating Tips

Reheat on the stove over medium-low heat or in the microwave in 30 second intervals until warm, if desired.

Apple compote in a white bowl, surrounded by apples and cinnamon sticks.

More apple recipes

Cooked diced apples in a white bowl.

Get the Recipe: Cinnamon Apple Compote Recipe

This apple compote recipe is the perfect finishing touch for pancakes, waffles, ice cream, and even pork!
5 from 3 votes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cups diced apples roughly ½ inch, unpeeled
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  • Melt butter In large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add apples and brown sugar. Continue to cook over medium high heat for 15 minutes, or until apples are softened, stirring occasionally. Stir in cinnamon.
  • Serve over pancakes, cooked oatmeal, vanilla ice cream, or pudding.

Notes

  • This apple cinnamon compote can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  • Reheat on the stove over medium-low heat or in the microwave in 30 second intervals until warm, if desired.
  • To freeze, put in freezer containers and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in refrigerator overnight for best results. Reheat if desired.
  • Apple varieties: I use a combination of Honeycrisp and Gala. Other varieties that would work well are Jonagold, Jonathan, Braeburn, Granny Smith, or Cortland.  If you prefer a sweeter, softer compote (closer to applesauce, depending on how long you cook it), try using McIntosh apples.
Serving: 0.5cup, Calories: 136kcal, Carbohydrates: 27g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 10mg, Sodium: 6mg, Potassium: 94mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 24g, Vitamin A: 151IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 23mg, Iron: 1mg