Beginner, Fall and Winter, Side Dishes

Red Hot Cinnamon Apples

An old fashioned treat, spicy cinnamon candies give these Red Hot cinnamon apples their bright red color and sweet flavor.

red hot cinnamon apples

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My paternal grandmother’s name was Bess. Bess was a tough woman. I remember once when I was about 19 or 20 years old, I was moon-eyed over some boy. During a visit, I was waxing poetically to her about my Prince Charming when she looked me dead in the eye and said, “You better not get serious with that boy. I’ll kick your ass.”

That’s just the kind of person she was — never one to sugarcoat. And she was right about that boy. He didn’t deserve my heart.

Bess often liked to refer to herself in the third person. Getting out of bed in the morning, getting off the couch, or heading out the door was often preceded with, “Come on Bessie, old girl.”

I don’t have a lot of memories of Bessie’s cooking. Not like my other grandmother. Except for this. Bess didn’t just make these at Christmas. She made them every time I came for a visit, probably because she knew I liked them.

Not long ago, my eyes passed over a display of cinnamon imperials in the grocery store and instantly the image of the kitchen in her 1900’s bungalow on Douglas Street in Joliet, Ill., flashed across my memory. I can see myself as a grade schooler, sitting at her formica kitchen table with chairs that creaked whenever you moved. Church bells from the cathedral one block away waft through the open window. There are blue and yellow glass globes hanging over the kitchen sink.

The memory of these apples was almost palatable, and without thinking I grabbed a bag of cinnamon imperials and went in search of apples. I had no idea what else was required to make these, but I knew I would figure it out.

Red Hot Cinnamon Apples

How to Make Red Hot Cinnamon Apples

Turns out, making Red Hot Cinnamon Apples is easy as … apple pie? Before you get started, go ahead and peel, core, and chop your apples. You can leave them in large segments like I did in the photos, or dice them into bite sized pieces like my grandma used to do. Set aside.

Combine two cups of water, 3/4 cup of red hots and 1/3 cup of sugar in a large saucepan. Bring the pan to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the candy and sugar is completely dissolved.

Add the apples to the saucepan. Continue to simmer until the apples are tender, which is about 30 minutes. Remove the apples from the heat and allow them to cool. The longer they sit in the Red Hot mixture, the deeper the red color will be.

I love how food can evoke such strong emotion, don’t you? It’s not just about tasting good. Or that it can provide comfort at times when you are sick or sad or happy. Or that it can be eaten alone or shared with friends. I love that for a brief moment it can take you back to a long forgotten time when life was simple and sweet.

red hot cinnamon apples

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4.72 from 14 votes

Red Hot Cinnamon Apples

An old fashioned treat, spicy cinnamon candies give these Red Hot cinnamon apples their bright red color and sweet flavor.
Course Sides
Cuisine American
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 180kcal
Author Lisa B.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup cinnamon imperials Red Hots candies
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 6 medium tart apples peeled and quartered

Instructions

  • Bring first three ingredients to a boil in a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until candy has dissolved.
  • Add apples. Simmer uncovered until apples are tender, about 20-30 minutes. Remove apples from heat and allow to cool slightly before serving. For a deeper red color, let apples continue to soak in the syrup for a few hours.
  • Remove apples with a slotted spoon into serving dishes. Drizzle any remaining syrup over top.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 180kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Sodium: 5mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 39g | Vitamin A: 15IU | Calcium: 3mg

 

37 Comments

  1. My grandmother made these thanksgiving and Christmas every year. Wonderful

  2. 5 stars
    My grandmother made these too, but she did it in microwave. You can just cut up a granny smith apple, place in a microwave safe container, sprinkle red hots over the apple, cover with saran wrap, microwave for 3 to 4 minutes until red hots liquify.

    But your recipe looks way nicer in terms of presentation

  3. 5 stars
    One of ny favorite recipes. Very good with a sprinkling of chopped walnuts or pecans.

  4. Cindy Wheatley

    I have a instant pot would love to make the cinamon red hot apples. Can I make them in my instant pot?

    • Cindy, I don’t see why not. I have never tried making these an instant pot, so I don’t have any tips to share. But you’ve inspired me to give it a try. If you try it before I do, let me know how it turns out!

  5. My mother used to make this red cooked apples at every Thanksgiving & Christmas.
    Hers were made in a large saucepan with sugar, red color, lime juice and some Light corn syrup. She past a few years ago and I have been looking for this recipe for a long time to learn about quantities. Every recipe was for candied apples. Thank you for the recipe and the beautiful memories!

  6. 5 stars
    My grandma passed away in 2014. She made cinnamon apples every Christmas. I never got the recipe from her. She would often make them for my son. He will be thrilled that I can carry on her tradition now that I have the recipe!

  7. Your recipe is identical to the one that my grandma used to make every Thanksgiving and Christmas with the exception that she would core out the center of the apple, leaving it whole. Then after cooking in the cinnamon syrup and cooling, she would stuff the center with a mixture of cream cheese and walnuts….they are absolutely delicious and I cannot wait to make them for Thanksgiving this year. Happy holidays to everyone.

    • Oh my goodness, Diane! The addition of the cream cheese sounds amazing!!

      • Barbara C Lockyer

        That is how my mother made them and it is delicious. I was looking for her recipe and since I couldn’t find it, will follow yours. The cored out center filled with the cream cheese mixture is a tasty addition! Everyone gets their own apple! I think I might add some white raisins, too. I can’t remember if Mother used them or not.

  8. Can these be refrigerated and served the next day?

  9. ???? Can these apples be kept in the fridge?

  10. How far ahead can you make these and keep them refrigerated.

  11. 5 stars
    Just started these! My husband loves them!

  12. 5 stars
    This recipe and the story behind it took me right back to my gram’s farm! And all the memories, smells, tastes and treats from my younger years! You have a gift foe recreating the story behind the recipe! Well done and thank you!

  13. My cousin used to have an orchard next to us and often gave us Red Delicious apples which were delicious when they were crisp. But when they got old and mealy, no one ate them, so instead of throwing them away, my grandmother made cinnamon apples for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I made cinnamon apples today, but they didn’t taste right, so I looked up your recipe and found that you need to add a third cup sugar. Thanks for the recipe, Next time they will be perfect!

  14. Edna Stewart

    This is a wonderful recipe to use with the apple rings. I have made this every Christmas breakfast for 50 years. This year, not one single grocery store has these prepared apple rings, so I am thankful to find your recipe.
    Sausage Wheel
    Brown in heavy 10″ oven proof skillet 1- 8 oz package Brown and Serve Sausage and
    1 tablespoon oil
    Arrange sausage in spoke fashion in skillet – do not pour off fat.
    Drain and 1- 14 oz. Spiced crabapple rings (about 7 rings)
    reserve juice
    Place one ring in center of skillet making hub for spokes. Set aside
    Mix 1 beaten egg
    ½ cup oil
    1 cup buttermilk
    1 cup self rising flour
    ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
    1 cup quick cooking rolled oats (uncooked)
    Spread ½ batter evenly over sausage and apple ring. Arrange remaining rings over batter and cover with remaining batter.
    Bake 25 minutes at 400 degrees or until brown.
    Invert on serving plate and serve with spicy syrup
    Spicy Syrup
    Add water to reserved crabapple juice to make 1 cup.
    Add 1 cup sugar.
    Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
    Stir in 2 tablespoons butter.

  15. Jo Lynne Bruce

    I too remember my mother making these delicious apples. She made them in the microwave. My apples got a little over cooked. But must say they make an amazing applesauce. And taste great on the Christmas ham. Thank you for posting your recipe.

  16. Sandra McKee

    Can you can these red hot apples? Thank you for the recipe.

    • Hi Sandra! I’m sure you can, I’ve just never done it so I can’t offer any tips. I plan on revisiting this recipe in the spring once traffic for this post starts to die down to update the pictures and add more info to the post. That is a great suggestion. I will see if I can get back to you with some info on canning.

  17. 5 stars
    They tasted delicious. Not as red color as the picture here. I might try one cup of water next time or add more red hots to get the dark red color.. would make them again

  18. Millie Uzarek

    My grandmother use to make these we always had them with Roast beef and for the holidays but she canned them because she always had them on the pantry shelf the other thing is she always had cloves in the jars. I always loved the flavor of the cloves in the apples

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