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Braised Fennel with Apples

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Braised fennel and apples in the pan or skillet, a quick and delicious side dish, perfect to try when the fennel is in season.

braised fennel

If you ever thought you are not much into fennel, you will be after trying this fantastic braised fennel recipe! This recipe for sauteed fennel and apples makes a wonderful side dish to serve with fish or chicken, it’s super healthy, it looks impressive (thus perfect for guests) and it’s ready in less than 30 minutes.

What is fennel?

  • Species: Fennel is a plant belonging to the carrot family. I never would have guessed it, but then again, pumpkin is a berry and peanuts are legumes. It originates in the Mediterranean area, but nowadays it is grown in many parts of the world.
  • Looks: Fennel is a bulbous vegetable with a long top that has fronds looking very much like dill. Actually, during our recent holiday in Croatia, I sent my husband shopping and asked him to bring some fresh dill. He brought fennel fronds, a whole bunch of them. I put it in every salad we ate during the holiday…
  • Taste: It has a distinctive anise taste. It’s not one of the world’s most popular vegetables, due to that particular anise/licorice taste that one has to learn to appreciate, I suppose. But once you’re there, you will just love fennel. It is fresh and aromatic and it stands out in any dish.
  • Texture: Firm, fresh, and very crunchy.
  • Uses in the kitchen: It can be eaten raw in salads, it can be grilled, roasted, or braised.
  • The fennel seeds are just amazing, I loved them long before I started to like the fennel bulb. They can be used for teas and for spicing up many dishes. I adore these fennel-flavored albondigas in tomato sauce with fennel seeds.

Recipe ingredients

  • Vegetables: fennel, apple.
  • Other ingredients: butter, olive oil, sugar, vegetable broth, lemon juice, fine sea salt, black pepper.
braised fennel skillet

How to cut a fennel bulb?

  • Cut the long stalk and the fronds using a chef’s knife. Keep some of the fennel fronds for sprinkling over the finished dish. You can discard the stalks, I tried cooking them a few times, but they always remain though. If your fennel bulb has lots of fronds, you can use them for salads, for instance, they add a wonderful slight licorice flavor.
  • Cut the fennel bulb in half lengthwise.
  • Remove the tougher bottom of the fennel and part of the core. Usually, when slicing the fennel for a salad, I remove the core completely. When preparing the fennel for this braised fennel dish, I leave part of the core where it is. This helps the fennel wedges hold together (more or less) during cooking.
  • Place the bulb, cut side down, on the working surface. Cut the halves into wedges/thick slices. I was able to cut about 5 thick slices from each fennel half, my fennel was of medium size and the slices about finger-thick. If your fennel is larger, cut more slices.
chopped fennel and apples on a wooden board.


  • Use a crisp, slightly sour sort of apple, which will not become mushy during cooking.
  • Halve, core and slice the apple as well. The slices will be thinner than the fennel slices, about 5-6 slices from each apple half.


  • Heat the butter and the oil in a large skillet or non-stick pan.
  • Add the fennel slices and cook for about 4 minutes until the fennel is golden. Stir a few times in between to make sure that the fennel cooks on all sides.
  • Add the apple slices and cook for 3 more minutes, turning the fennel and the apple slices on all sides as well. The apple should also become golden.
  • Sprinkle the sugar and some sea salt on top and, stirring gently, let the sugar caramelize slightly, about 1 minute.
  • Add the vegetable broth, cover the pan and braise the fennel and the apples for 3 minutes.
  • Remove the lid, add the lemon juice, stir gently and let the liquid reduce to a glaze. It will take about 1 minute.
  • Adjust the taste with a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
how to braise fennel
how to braise fennel

What to serve with it?

  • Braised fennel makes a beautiful, very aromatic, and flavorful side dish for roasted chicken or fish.
  • This particular braised fennel recipe can also be enjoyed as it is, as a light vegetarian meal with some crusty bread on the side. Or why not try it over soft polenta? It is delicious!
braised fennel recipe

More easy vegetable side dishes

Do you like this recipe?

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plate of fennel and apples with cutlery beside it.

Braised Fennel with Apples

Braised fennel and apples in the pan or skillet, a quick and delicious side dish ready in less than half an hour.
4.50 from 14 votes
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Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 111kcal
Author: Adina


  • 1 medium fennel bulb
  • 1 medium crisp apple (Note 1)
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth 125 ml/ 4.2 fl.oz
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Prepare fennel: Cut the fennel tops and bottoms. Reserve some of the fronds and set them aside. Cut the fennel bulbs in half, lengthwise. Quarter each half, making sure you leave some of the core attached so that the fennel pieces don't fall apart too much during cooking. I had 5 slices from each half.
  • Prepare apples: Halve the apple, core it, and cut it into slices as well, I had about 6 slices from each half.
  • Saute: Heat the butter and oil in a large pan. Add the fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes or until slightly golden.
  • Add the apple slices and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for another 3 minutes until golden.
  • Sprinkle the sugar and some sea salt on top. Stir gently for 1 minute until the sugar caramelizes slightly.
  • Cook: Add the vegetable broth, cover the pan and cook on medium-low heat for further 3 minutes.
  • Add the lemon juice, remove the lid and cook for 1 more minute until all the liquid reduces to a glaze. Adjust the taste with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Sprinkle with the reserved fennel fronds and serve immediately as suggested above.


  1. Use a crisp, slightly sour sort of apple, which will not become mushy during cooking.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 111kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 745mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 14g
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Recipe Rating


Tuesday 19th of January 2021

I was very interested in this recipe, but I’m going to leaving the site because it is an absolute circus of pop-ups and ads and I was unable to even view the recipe without the page jumping all over the place. Not against monetizing the blog but this has prevented me from staying and enjoying your content


Friday 24th of June 2022

@K, I had no problem…I hit jump to the recipe and was able to stay on the site without any issues and pop-ups.


Sunday 16th of June 2019

This recipe sounds delicious and it looks amazing as well. I like fennel, so I think I'd like this dish as well.

Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop

Saturday 15th of June 2019

I like the taste of fennel, but I never use it when cooking. I just haven't known what to do with it. Braised with apples sounds delicious and sounds like a good place for me to start with cooking with fennel.


Saturday 15th of June 2019

I am a big fan of fennel! I enjoy them raw or roasted. Yours version with apples looks scrumptious, Adina.