Food & Drink

When Life Gives You Apples (or Sweet Potatoes), Make Dog Treats

I’m guessing that now that the holiday season is over, some of you may have leftover apples hanging around. Maybe even apples that are starting to show a wrinkle or two. From fruit baskets given to you as gifts, or from over-buying for pie baking, or, in my case, due to an extra busy schedule, too many unfinished take-out meals from Panera Bread, where an apple is a side choice with many menu items. In addition, I usually have extra apples on hand after the holidays (and a couple giant sweet potatoes) due to one of my grown kids always buying a few to eat whenever she’s home for an extended visit, and they don’t all get used. Rather than watch these fine apples and sweet potatoes rot and end up in the trash, I can put them all to good use with one recipe that turns them into multiple and inexpensive treats for dogs (and people, too).


Basically, it involves a few easy steps you can memorize:

  1. Peel the apples or sweet potatoes and cut them into slices or small bite-sized pieces while heating the oven up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Lay the slices onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment baking paper (hopefully, the compostable kind), or on an unlined pizza stone, and bake for one hour
  3. Turn over all the pieces and bake another hour, then turn off the oven and leave the treats in the oven overnight, or for 8 hours. (There are also similar recipes online that use an air fryer or food dehydrator instead of an oven– someday I might try one of those but I like the way this slow, old-fashioned method makes the house smell good and provides a little warmth as well on cold winter days!)
  4. In the morning, pull the apples and/or sweet potatoes off the parchment paper and, if necessary, break or tear into bite-sized pieces. If they’re too soft/rubbery, send them back to a 200-degree oven for another 30-60 minutes.
  5. After they’ve cooled for at least an hour, store the slices/pieces in food storage containers or reusable food storage bags and freeze or use. My dog loves these (they especially come in handy as training treats) and, for humans, they’re good to mix with granola or as a topping on a mixed greens salad. (Note: Apples (minus the core and seeds!!) and COOKED sweet potatoes are healthy and safe for dogs according to the American Kennel Club and other online sources, when given in moderation.)

Hint: If you hate spending a lot of time slicing and dicing, get a corer/peeler/slicer like this for apples or use a mandoline for the sweet potatoes.

Would love to know if you try this or if you’ve ever tried making these treats before– comment below!