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Cranberry Lapsang Poached Apples

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These cranberry lapsang poached apples taste like the essence of fall.

They are at once familiar and surprising, a sweet apple with no cinnamon to be found. And yet there are still warming, fragrant spices in the form of allspice and fresh ginger. 

Lapsang souchong tea infuses the apples with a subtle smokiness, like a whiff of bonfire.

And the apples themselves, in the process of cooking, take on a cider-y aroma.

The cranberry juice brings a hit of tartness and turns the apples a gorgeous deep garnet hue. 

Cranberry Lapsang Poached Apples on a black stand with cheese and almonds

They walk the line between sweet and savory. I love them paired with rich cheeses, like a gorgonzola dolce or a triple creme like Délice de Bourgogne and toast for a lovely appetizer.

But if you paired them with an ice cream like a vanilla or a caramel they’d make a sophisticated dessert.

And of course, if you’re the sort of person who likes a cheese plate for dessert then these would absolutely be at home there, too.

But really, I think they’re excellent cocktail party or dinner party fare.

They’re very much sort of thing that’s perfect for a grown-up gathering where you might have wine and cheese and a smattering of appetizers out for grazing. And because they’re so easy to make ahead, they leave you free to hang out with your guests and enjoy the party.

My favorite way to serve them is how they’re pictured here. The whole apples look lovely as part of centerpiece, but I like to slice at least a few of them ahead of time for easy access for a guest picking them up.

It’s nice assemble some bread and soft cheese topped with apples to have out for finger food.

Cranberry Lapsang Poached Apples on a plate with cheese, almonds, and toast
Yield: 6 poached apples

Cranberry Lapsang Poached Apples

Cranberry Lapsang Poached Apples on a plate with cheese, almonds, and toast

These poached apples are smoky and sweet with ginger and allspice. Cranberry juice brings out their tartness and turns them a gorgeous dark red color. They work well as an appetizer paired with rich cheeses on toast, but they also make a sophisticated dessert paired with vanilla or caramel ice cream. They are easy to make ahead of time and keep well in the refrigerator for several days.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes


  • 4 cups cranberry juice (unsweetened)
  • 2 tea bags lapsang souchong tea (or 2 teaspoons loose tea)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 slices fresh ginger, about 1/8-inch thick
  • 2 teaspoons whole allspice
  • 4 broad strips orange rind
  • 6 medium apples, peeled


  1. In a wide saucepan that can fit all 6 apples in a single layer, add the cranberry juice and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add the lapsang souchong tea bags (or loose tea in a strainer), and steep for 3 minutes. Remove the tea and discard.
  2. Add the sugar, ginger, allspice, orange rind to the cranberry juice, and add the apples in a single layer. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer gently for about 25 minutes, occasionally turning the apples over so they are equally red on all sides. The apples should feel tender when tested with a pairing knife but still be fairly firm. 
  3. Remove the apples with a slotted spoon and let cool. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and serve chilled.


You can strain the poaching liquid and reduce it down to a syrup and store the apples in the syrup if you'd like. It'll make the color even more vibrant.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 63Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 4mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 1gSugar: 12gProtein: 0g

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Sean Mahan

Tuesday 6th of November 2018

Now this is the perfect recipe for fall, because eveyone likes to go apple picking, but you always end up with so many apples!


Sunday 14th of October 2018

Thanks for sharing this elegant recipe! Apples are so versatile and they lend themselves beautifully to both sweet and savory dishes. Love this idea of poaching them in tea!


Tuesday 16th of October 2018



Saturday 13th of October 2018

This is beautiful! I’ve never heard of lapsang before, but now I’m really intrigued!


Tuesday 16th of October 2018

Lapsang souchong is a smoky Chinese tea. I think it works wonders here.


Saturday 13th of October 2018

These look gorgeous and tasty! I have never poached an apple, but now I want to!!


Tuesday 16th of October 2018

You totally should! It's easy!

Nicole Tingwall

Saturday 13th of October 2018

I just made a cheese board and I wish these were on it! They look amazing!


Tuesday 16th of October 2018

Thanks, Nicole!

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