Apples are one of the most nutritious fruits you can enjoy. They're so good for you, they're considered a superfood.

Apples are full of vitamins (especially vitamin C) and phytonutrients, all of which help prevent a variety of diseases. Studies have shown that eating apples may reduce the risk of diabetes, stroke, dementia, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and even a variety of cancers including pancreatic and breast cancers. Apples also contain B-vitamins, which are essential for healthy blood cells, and calcium and potassium, which are necessary for healthy bones and muscles. One thing that has been a surprise to researchers in recent studies is that apples can help reduce the risk of asthma. Though a diet of fruits and vegetables in general helps reduce this risk since it provides the antioxidants needed to reduce asthma, it turns out that apples stand out for providing these benefits.

The fiber found in apples, especially the skin, helps reduce bad cholesterol, which promotes overall heart health. Apples can help you lose weight by consuming fewer calories. According to World's Healthiest Foods, "When healthy adults consumed one medium-sized apple approximately 15 minutes before a meal, their caloric intake at that meal decreased by an average of 15 percent. Since meals in this study averaged 1,240 calories, a reduction of 15 percent meant a reduction of 186 calories, or about 60 more calories than a medium apple. For these researchers, 'getting ahead' in calories with a net reduction of 60 calories was a welcomed outcome of the study, and an extra benefit to their study's primary conclusion — the importance of whole apples (versus other more processed apple forms) in helping us manage our hunger and feeling more satisfied with our food."

You will always get the most nutritional benefits by eating a whole, raw apple. But with that said, there are lots (and lots, and lots) of ways to add apples to meals — from dicing it and adding it to salads, to making fresh applesauce, to baking up the delicious delights in the recipes below. These recipes are great for dinners and desserts, especially during the holiday season when we're all about stuffing, sauces, and of course, pie!

stuffed apples

Stuffed apples are a sweet and savory delight for fall and winter dinners. They're a hit during holiday feasts as well! (Photo: Jaymi Heimbuch)

Baked Apples with Walnut Herb Stuffing

If you've never tried something like this, you're missing out! A sweet, soft bowl of baked apple holds a savory pile of nutty, herby stuffing. It's an elegant side dish, or also works as a filling main for vegetarians.

Apple Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is made so much better with the added sweetness of apples. If you're looking for something outside the standard of cranberry sauce and orange juice, look no further! It will become the new staple sauce for holiday feasts.

Gingery Sweet Potato and Apple Saute with Toasted Almonds

This recipe offers a perfect combination of sweet and spicy. The ginger offers a bite and pairs beautifully with the different sweetness of the diced sweet potato and apple.

apple soup

The complex layers of flavor in this soup make it a wonderful addition to any meal. (Photo: Jaymi Heimbuch)

Southwestern Spiced Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

This soup is probably unlike any you've had before. If you like butternut squash soup, you will love this tangy take on it. Adding in the tart sweetness of apples and the zesty tang of lime, this soup offers up a complex flavor that wakes up your mouth.

Walnut-Apple Stuffing

For a vegetarian stuffing that brings all the best to the table, we recommend this recipe. Instead of using broth, the bread crumbs are moistened with apple juice. The sage and thyme herbs are combined with nutty flavor from the walnuts. Everyone at the table is sure to love it.

Healthy Caramel Apples

With only two minutes of simmering a handful of ingredients on the stove, and about 30 minutes of cooling time, you will have one of the healthiest versions of gooey, sweet caramel apples that you've ever enjoyed. Delicious!

Apple Crisp

A simple apple crisp is a favorite during apple season, and so easy to make. Just a handful of ingredients and about 15 minutes of prep time and you can pop it in the oven. The hardest part is waiting for it to finish baking while smelling all that apple goodness.

Fried Cinnamon Apple Rings

This recipe offers a unique twist to the typical apple dessert dishes. Instead of baking apples, you're battering them up and frying them! It's not exactly a healthy way to eat apples but it sure is tasty.

apple pie

When it comes to apples, apple pie always comes to mind. There are many ways to create new twists for this classic. (Photo: /Shutterstock)

Apple Pie (from scratch)

There's no two ways about it: apple pie from scratch is the best apple pie. It's not hard to make and it's so worth the time that goes into it. Here's everything you need to know, including tips and tricks, for making an amazing apple pie from basic ingredients.

Apple Cranberry Cobbler

Apple cobbler is great. Apple cranberry cobbler is the greatest. The tartness of cranberry brings down the sweetness of the apples just slightly, balancing out the flavors and creating a more complex dish. It's a must-try.

Spiked Apple Cider

Apple cider with a kick! A few spices and a pour of brandy create a cider that will warm you from the inside out.

Spiced Apple Crumb Pie

For those who are a fan of apple crumble and of apple pie, we have a hybrid of the two that is sure to delight. There are three simple steps: the pie crust, the filling, and the crumble topping. Pop it in the oven to bake and you'll have a crowd-pleasing dessert.

apple crumb pie

Spiced Apple Crumb Pie is a classic twist on the favorite old-fashioned apple pie. (Photo: /Shutterstock)

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Jaymi Heimbuch ( @jaymiheimbuch ) focuses on wildlife conservation and animal news from her home base in San Francisco.

12 recipes that prove why apples rule the holidays
These recipes provide delicious ways to serve up this amazing superfood.