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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Red Hot Cinnamon Apples -
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4.69 from 16 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.


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


  • 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.


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



  1. You are so welcome, Joyce! I hope you enjoy them.

  2. 5 stars
    You can’t know how happy I am to find your recipe! My Grandmother always made them, but I’m sure she didn’t have a written recipe. I even bought the red hots, and was going to experiment, but never have. Thank you so much!

  3. Yes would love canning info

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

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

  8. 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.

  9. Thank you for the recipe, Edna!

  10. 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.

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