19 Winter Baking Recipes with In-Season Fruit

By Courtney Davison,

Last Updated:

Don't let the bare trees and gray skies fool you: There's a veritable rainbow of juicy, delicious fruits that are at their best in the winter months. There's also no better time to turn on the oven. We've rounded up our favorite baked recipes starring in-season fruits. Even sweeter, all of these recipes are whole-food, plant-based, and totally free of animal products and oil. So preheat the oven, don your apron, and enjoy one of these good-for-you goodies today.

Vegan apple pie bar shown with a drizzling of cider glaze on a white dessert plate

Apple Pie Bars

These healthy and delicious vegan apple pie bars forgo the butter and processed sugar found in traditional versions while maintaining the earthy apple flavor, crisp texture, and rich flavor. A tender apple filling sits atop a crunchy oat base. The decadent-tasting crumble topping is just some base mixture, extra oats, and a few walnuts. Drizzle with Cider Caramel Sauce for a genuinely mouthwatering dessert.
Apple Dessert Pizza on brown parchment paper

Apple Dessert Pizza

Combining two great loves—apple pie and pizza—these delectable mini pizzas stand out in any crowd. The apple pie flavor comes from a topping of sliced apples drizzled with maple syrup and lemon juice and a handful of crunchy granola. Serve with Vanilla Yogurt or a scoop of Vanilla Nice Cream.
Blooming Apples with Cinnamon Nice Cream on a black plate and wood tabletop

Blooming Baked Apples with Cinnamon Nice Cream

Between the earthy walnuts, sweet and tender apples, and tart cranberries, every mouthful of this stunning vegan baked apple dessert is infused with flavor. Top with a simple cinnamon-flavored banana nice cream for a warming dessert worthy of any celebration.
Vegan Apple Pie in a pie tin on a wooden cutting board

Vegan Apple Pie

Loved from coast to coast and around the world, apple pie is comfort-food heaven. It’s also a great way to use up all those apples. Packed with whole-food ingredients, this vegan apple pie features a subtly tart apple filling that pairs perfectly with the earthy tones of a date-sweetened oat crust. Top with a crumbly almond butter oat topping for extra richness. Serve with Vanilla Nice Cream.
Gingerbread Loaf with Poached Pears topped with whipped cream on a pink plate

Gingerbread Loaf with Poached Pears

Poached pears have never tasted so good as they do in this moist, perfectly sweet gingerbread loaf. For extra pizzazz, top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and Aquafaba Whipped Cream. Yum!
Cranberry-Orange Bread Pudding on white and pink plates drizzled with a creamy sauce

Cranberry-Orange Bread Pudding

With orange zest, orange juice, and fresh (or frozen) cranberries, this succulent bread pudding bursts with fruity fall flavors. This cozy dessert is a sweet way to end any meal—it’s also a great way to use up not-so-fresh bread!
Fall Fruit Trifle with Pumpkin Gingerbread and vanilla cream in a glass serving bowl

Fall Fruit Trifle with Pumpkin Gingerbread

In this special-occasion dessert, the combination of intensely flavored roasted winter fruits layered with gingerbread, vegan yogurt cream, and fresh pomegranate creates a truly memorable dish.
Vegan persimmon baby cakes with pistachios

Persimmon Cake with Pistachios

We're at the tail-end of persimmon season, so try to scoop up some of the juicy red-orange fruits while you still can for this gooey, gorgeous dessert. (Tip: Check Asian markets, as they tend to more reliably carry persimmons in my experience.)
polenta apple cake

Polenta Cake with Apples and Cherry Compote

Polenta's mildly sweet taste and fluffy texture make it an ideal base for healthy whole grain pies and cakes.
Cranberry-Pear Crumble Pie in a white dish with a slice of pie on the side

Cranberry-Pear Crumble Pie

In the mood for crumble? Unlike traditional fruit crumbles, which use oodles of refined sugar and butter, this fruity beauty is whole-food, plant-based all the way. The combination of an earthy oat-walnut crust filled with a pear and cranberry filling is heaven in a pie dish. Don't forget to reserve some of the crust to crumble over the top. 
homemade chocolate doughnuts orange sauce

Chocolate-Orange Dessert Donuts

We're at peak orange season. These deluxe doughnuts feature a triple dose of the sunshiny citrus fruit, using orange juice, segments, and zest.
pear spice cake recipe

Pear Spice Cake

Opt for one of the several pear varieties that are at their best right now to make this warmly spiced cake, which is a fan-favorite.
apple maple cinnamon rolls wordpress

Apple-Maple Cinnamon Rolls

Apple season begins in the fall but continues through midwinter, too. These melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon rolls make a great holiday-breakfast treat.
coffee cake recipe

Yuca Coffee Cake with Walnuts and Orange Zest

Yuca flour (aka cassava flour) is the key to this light, moist, gluten-free coffee cake. A vanilla glaze adds a dash of decadence.
Apple Raisin Mini Muffins

Mini Apple-Raisin Muffins

Many store-bought mini muffins are high on sugar and low on nutrients—not these. Fruit adds natural sweetness along with fiber, so you can feel good about eating these for breakfast.
Almond Poppy Seed Cake topped with strawberries on a slate serving tray

Almond Poppy Seed Cake

This festive poppyseed cake is excellent with tea or as a dessert and can be made gluten-free if you use certified gluten-free oats. A lemony cashew icing makes good use of fragrant in-season lemons. Feel free to leave off the strawberries. A commenter shares, "I made these for Christmas gifts, and co-workers were amazed with the delicious taste."

Cranberry-Orange Biscotti

These orange-infused crunchy cookies make a great holiday gift for friends and neighbors. Or gift them to yourself, and enjoy with a hot mug of your favorite herbal tea.
Vegan Cranberry Carrot Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Cranberry Carrot Cake with Chocolate Ganache

This low-effort loaf cake takes just 15 minutes of active prep time.
triple apple cake vegan

Triple Apple Cake

Apples and oats make up the bulk of this sneakily healthy recipe from Chef AJ, the queen of whole-food, plant-based desserts.

This article was originally published on Dec. 17, 2020, and has been updated. 

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About the Author

Headshot of Courtney Davison

About the Author

Courtney Davison

Courtney Davison is Forks Over Knives’ managing editor. A writer and editor on a wide range of subjects, she co-wrote a nationally syndicated advice column from 2016 to 2018 and co-authored the 2018 book Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice from Dear Annie. She is a longtime vegan and in her free time enjoys trying new recipes and spending quality time with her cats. Find her on LinkedIn.
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