Ways to Use Old, Mushy, or Bruised Apples

updated Oct 4, 2019
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(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

If you find yourself with a less-than-stellar bunch of apples, or extra-soft apples that have been sitting around for a few too many days, don’t worry — it happens to the best of us. But don’t toss them away! Not even the ones with the nasty bruises.

Apples that are past their prime might not be great for biting into as an afternoon snack, but they’ve still got some life left in them. Older apples are great for cooking! As the apples break down during cooking, the remaining liquid is released and the natural sugars concentrate, transforming them into something remarkably delicious. Here are 11 smart uses for your not-so-great apples.

This homemade version of the packaged breakfast treat is surprisingly easy to make, thanks to store-bought frozen puff pastry.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

It doesn’t get much more simple or classic than apple crisp — it’s the first thing that comes to mind when I have a handful of bumped-up apples on hand. Just don’t forget the vanilla ice cream!

(Image credit: Izy Hossack)

The apples get grated for these soft and chewy granola bars so there’s no need to worry if they are less than stellar.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

I like to think of baked apples as inside-out apple crisp. They’re a simple, weeknight-worthy dessert with just a few ingredients. The apple core is scooped out and filled with a mixture of oats, brown sugar, and warm spices, then baked to warm perfection.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Even if your apples are old and starting to get a little mealy, that’s OK! Cut away the bruised areas and get cooking. Once the apples cook down, they’ll be totally delicious.

(Image credit: Tessa Huff)

If you think applesauce is great, just wait until you try apple butter. It’s absolutely amazing! Apple butter is made by slow cooking apples past the point of applesauce, until it becomes a thick, glossy, glorious spread.

(Image credit: Naomi Robinson)

Fry just about anything and it will be infinitely improved — and that includes apples. Deep-fried, glazed apple fritters are the best kind of weekend project.

(Image credit: Megan Gordon)

Stirring chunks of apple into oatmeal as it cooks is a nice way to add some extra flavor to your breakfast. Bonus: The apple acts as a natural sweetener. If you’re feeling motivated, we recommend roasting the apples beforehand!

(Image credit: Nealey Dozier)

Fall is not complete without apple pie! This just might be my personal favorite way to use up old apples.

(Image credit: Tessa Huff)

Grating apples into muffin batter adds texture to them as well as makes them incredibly moist and tender.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

Apples pair well with so many different kinds of soups and stews. They play especially nice with parsnips, butternut squash, and even kale. This savory pork stew gets a moment of sweetness from apples.

What’s your favorite way to use up less-than-perfect apples?

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