Apple Compote

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Spiced apple compote is a delicious sweet-savory topping for pork, chicken, or even turkey. Tart apples combine with warm autumn spices for a wonderful taste.

Apple season makes everyone in my family so excited.

My kids love going to the apple orchard and picking as many apples as possible. My husband doesn’t let a day go by without eating an apple (or two). And I can’t resist transforming the apples into all sorts of dishes.

Jar of apple compote with ingredients behind.

This apple compote recipe is the latest thing I’ve added to my autumn recipe rotation. 

It’s meant to be served with dishes like pork chops and turkey, but to be honest, I’ve been eating it with a spoon.

Apple compote is a great alternative to traditional cranberry sauce. It comes together just as easily, too!

What is compote?

While compote is similar to preserves and jams, it’s not quite the same.

Traditionally, a compote is fresh or dried fruit that has been slowly cooked in a sugar syrup. It can also be quickly cooked on the stove, like this apple compote.

Compote can be sweet or savory as well, depending on what spices or other ingredients are added.

Apple compote in a jar from above.

Fruit in compotes keeps its shape, unlike jams where the fruit is mashed or pureed while cooking. 

Apples are a great candidate for compotes, because apple varieties like Granny Smith or Jonathan do not completely soften while being cooked or baked.

Ingredients for spiced apple compote

With just a few ingredients, you can have this apple compote ready in minutes — you might even already have everything on hand.

Ingredients for apple compote on a tile surface with labels.

Granny Smith apples – These tart apples are perfect for compote, as they hold up well while cooking and pair wonderfully with a variety of spices. 

In place of Granny Smith, look for other tart firm apples, like Jonathan, Cortland, Empire, or Braeburn.

Shallot – For a savory component, shallot is sauteed before adding the apple. Shallots are great for cooking with and are somewhat between garlic and onions in flavor.

If you want to keep your compote recipe sweet, leave out the shallot.

Butter – Just a bit of fat is needed to saute the ingredients. You can swap in oil or plant-based butter if you prefer.

Brown sugar – Because the fruit is so tart, a bit of sugar is added to sweeten the compote.

Spices – A combination of cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt is added to the compote. Adjust the flavors as you prefer, using more or less of each. 

Lemon – Lemon zest and lemon juice brightens the flavor. Be sure to taste your apples before adding the lemon juice; if your apples are particularly tart you might want to omit the juice.

How to make apple compote

First, peel, core, and chop your apples. I cut mine into small pieces about the size of a blueberry. You’ll use about 2 cups of chopped apples.

In a saucepan or skillet, melt the butter, then add the chopped shallot and cook over medium-low heat until softened. 

This should take about 5 minutes. If the shallots are browning too quickly, reduce the heat.

Add the spices and stir to coat the shallots. Cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the chopped apples, brown sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice, and stir well. Cover and cook 8-10 minutes.

The apples should be tender but not mushy, with the mixture somewhat thickened.

Scoop into a bowl to serve immediately, or into a resealable container to cool.

Compote can be served warm or cold. 

It will thicken as it stands, so if you want a thinner compote, simply add a few tablespoons of water while gently warming on the stove.

Recipe variations

Because this is not a canned recipe, it’s easy to vary the flavor of apple compote.

Add dried fruits like dried cranberries, cherries, or golden raisins. Soak them in warm water for about 30 minutes to soften, if you like. Then add them to the compote with the apples.

Add chopped nuts like walnuts or pecans. Toasting them in a dry pan first adds lots of wonderful flavor.

Use maple syrup along with, or in place of, the brown sugar. 

Close up of a spoonful of apple compote.

What to serve with apple compote

Spiced apple compote is versatile and can be served with sweet and savory dishes, so there’s practically no limit to what you can dish it up with!

It’s wonderful on top of vanilla ice cream or pumpkin ice cream.

Try it along with a pork tenderloin, pork chops, roast chicken, or turkey breast.

Serve as part of a cheese plate alongside cranberry mustard.

Skip the shallots and use it as a filling for thumbprint cookies or a layer cake.

Top pancakes or waffles with it, or tuck it into buttermilk biscuits.

Whip up a batch of this apple compote today!

Jar of apple compote with ingredients behind.

Apple Compote

Spiced apple compote is a delicious sweet-savory topping for pork, chicken, or even turkey. Tart apples combine with warm autumn spices for a wonderful taste.
5 from 12 votes
Print Pin Save
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Condiments
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 55 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

Instructions

  • Peel, core, and dice apples into small chunks. Set aside.
  • Melt butter in a shallow saute pan over medium-low heat. Peel and finely chop shallot and add to the butter. Cook for about 5 minutes, until softened.
  • Stir in cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Add apples, brown sugar, and zest from lemon. Add lemon juice if desired. Stir well, then cover and cook for about 10 minutes, until apples are tender but not mushy.
  • Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container, let cool, and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Notes

If compote is too thick, add a small amount of water and heat gently.

Nutrition

Calories: 55 kcalCarbohydrates: 11 gProtein: 0.4 gFat: 2 gSaturated Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 4 mgSodium: 13 mgPotassium: 85 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 8 gIron: 0.2 mg
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7 Comments

  1. I’ve always loved pork chops and apple sauce but this apple compote is so much better than the sauce. It will be my first choice from now on.

    1. Oh, that’s so interesting! I’ve never heard of it as a drink before. I will have to try that. Thanks for sharing!

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