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Richly flavored with warm spices, vanilla, and a bit of orange, this apple compote is absolutely dreamy on top of everything from pancakes and french toast to ice cream.

Glass jar and white bowl, both filled with apple compote and set on a wooden board next to cinnamon sticks.

Fancy-sounding dishes that are secretly super easy to make are totally my jam.

Whipped cherry butter looks so beautiful on your table but comes together in just minutes. Cranberry brie bites always impress guests but are made with just 3 ingredients. And this apple compote sounds fancy but takes almost no effort to make.

Apple compote over pancakes on a white plate.


The name “apple compote” sure sounds fancy, doesn’t it? It always sounds like something that would be served with a dessert at a fancy restaurant.

But the truth is that fruit compotes are actually really simple!

A compote is simply fruit that has been stewed in sugar or syrup. Compotes can be made with all kinds of fruit – berries, stone fruits, and even dried fruits can be turned into a compote. 

Besides being made from all kinds of fruits, they’re super versatile when it comes to how to serve them. They’re not just for breakfast or dessert; you can serve them alongside savory dishes, too.

Blueberry compote is so good on top of desserts and my friend Brandy makes a dried fruit compote she serves over pork loin.

This apple compote is made with diced apples, a little bit of brown sugar, warm spices, and a bit of orange for some additional depth of flavor. It is so easy to make and you’ll love the way the spices and citrus complement the tartness of the apples. 

Wooden spoon holding up apple compote.

Apple compote vs. applesauce

Wondering what the difference is between apple compote and applesauce?

Although they seem similar, they actually are two different dishes.

In applesauce, water is often added when cooking down the apples, which are later pureed for a smooth texture. It is also common to make unsweetened applesauce, although you can definitely add sugar to it based on your personal preference.

In apple compote, however, water is not added to the apples. The apples are also note pureed, so the compote has a “chunky” texture. And unlike applesauce, sugar is pretty much a requirement for it to be a compote based on the definition of the word.


Like I said before – even though the name “apple compote” sounds fancy, this recipe is super simple to make. In fact, I bet you’ll find yourself looking for reasons to make it on a regular basis!

Ingredients for apple compote arranged on a light-colored countertop.

Ingredients you’ll need

Apple compote is made with just a handful of ingredients.

Apples: I recommend using tart apples. Granny smith, golden delicious, and pink lady apples are all good choices. You’ll need 2 pounds of apples and will need to peel and core them, then dice them into ½-inch pieces.

Light brown sugar: Brown sugar adds some depth of flavor to the compote. We’ll just just ½ cup; we don’t want the compote to be so sweet that we lose the tart flavor of the apples. If you are out of brown sugar, learn how to make a brown sugar substitute.

Apple pie spice: A lot of apple compote recipes just use ground cinnamon, but I like to use my apple pie spice instead. The ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, and allspice all pair well with the flavor of the apples and give the compote that “special something.”

Citrus: A little bit of lemon juice adds some much-needed acidity to the recipe, and orange juice gives the compote some added depth of flavor. I also like to add orange zest, but that is optional.

Vanilla: You know how I feel about vanilla. It is a must in nearly every sweet recipe for me! You can use your favorite store-bought vanilla or homemade vanilla extract

Making this recipe

Add all of the ingredients except for the vanilla to a medium heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat.

Cook, stirring frequently, for about 30-40 minutes. The compote is done cooking when the apples have softened but still retain most of their shape and the juices have thickened and become syrupy.

Remove the apple compote from the heat and stir in the vanilla. 

And that’s it! See, I told you it was easy.

Cooked apple compote in a blue dutch oven being stirred with a wooden spoon.


The best thing about apple compote is how versatile it is. You can serve it warm or cold, so it’s great for making ahead of time. 

You can also serve it with so many different dishes. 

For breakfast, try it on buttermilk pancakes, Bisquick waffles, or french toast. 

For an afternoon snack, serve it over your favorite vanilla yogurt. Add a sprinkle of granola for some crunch!

And for dessert, try it over no-churn ice cream or even on top of cheesecake, similar to my caramel apple cheesecake.

Don’t forget how well apples pair with pork, so you can even serve it on top of pork chops or a roasted pork tenderloin.  

Apple compote on top of yogurt in a white bowl.


Store apple compote in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Since it can be stored for a few days and served cold, you can absolutely make it a day or two ahead of when you plan to serve it.

If you wish to reheat your compote, you can do so for 30-60 seconds in the microwave or over low heat on the stove. 

You can also freeze it for up to 3 months. Just keep in mind that the freezing and thawing process may cause the apples to break down a bit more, so they may not retain as much of their shape after thawing.

No matter how you serve it, apple compote is one delicious kitchen staple that you’ll find yourself making again and again!

Jar filled with apple compote on a wooden board.
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Apple Compote

By: Jamie
No ratings yet
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Servings: 12
Richly flavored with warm spices, vanilla, and a bit of orange, this apple compote is absolutely dreamy on top of everything from pancakes and french toast to ice cream.


  • 2 pounds tart apples peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch chunks
  • ½ cup lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest optional
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • Add the diced apples, brown sugar, apple pie spice, orange juice, orange zest, and lemon juice to a medium heavy-bottomed pot. Place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for 30-40 minutes or until the apples have softened but still retain most of their shape and the juices have thickened into a syrupy consistency.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  • Serve warm or chilled over pancakes, waffles, french toast, yogurt, ice cream, etc.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.



Makes about 3 cups.


Serving: 0.25cup, Calories: 77kcal, Carbohydrates: 20g, Protein: 0.2g, Fat: 0.2g, Saturated Fat: 0.03g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.04g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g, Sodium: 3mg, Potassium: 102mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 17g, Vitamin A: 48IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 14mg, Iron: 0.2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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