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Poached apricots scented with vanilla and lemon are positively dreamy, and they’re so easy to make. They’re delicious alone, topped with whipped cream, served over yogurt, ice cream, or oatmeal, and more.

poached apricots with a vanilla bean in a blue bowl
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Why we love this recipe

This recipe is among my favorite east-coast party tricks. It’s a super-simple way to make pretty good apricots into very good apricots. It:

  • Only takes about 15 minutes of hands-on work, max
  • Is make-ahead friendly
  • Works equally well as part of breakfast or dessert
  • Yields the most succulent, flavorful fruit, plus leftover syrup that’s great in everything from cocktails to sparkling water.

I first published this recipe here way back in 2010. I’ve updated the post for clarity, but the recipe remains the same.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • Where I live, the hardest part of this whole recipe is usually sourcing the apricots. They have a very short season and don’t ship all that well. Luckily, this is a great place to use apricots that have been picked a little too early for shipping. Firm-ripe fruits will soften up in the poaching process and absorb all the beautiful flavors of the liquid. Psst…Here’s some interesting apricot history.
  • You’ll use half a vanilla bean in this recipe. Cut it open with a paring knife, flatten it out a bit, and scrape out the seeds with the point of the knife. Add both the pod and the seeds to the pot to make the syrup.
  • Use a vegetable peeler to easily remove the lemon zest in strips, without including too much of the bitter white pith.

How to make it

Here’s what you’ll do to make a simple and simply perfect batch of poached apricots. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. First, cut each apricot in half from the stem end to the bottom and remove the stones.
  2. To create the poaching liquid, stir together the water, sugar, vanilla bean, lemon zest, and salt. Bring to a boil for one minute.
  3. Add the apricot halves, arranging so they are submerged as much as possible. Simmer for five minutes.
  4. Spoon the poached apricots into a large bowl and pour the syrup overtop. Let cool completely before serving.
fresh apricots in a taupe colored bowl

Expert tips and FAQs

How do you serve poached apricots?

There are so many ways to enjoy these lovely little golden things. I love them for breakfast straight up, spooned over yogurt with or without granola, or atop some oatmeal. For dessert, try them alone, with whipped cream, over ice cream, with vanilla pudding, or on a pavlova.

What should I do with leftover poaching liquid?

My favorite thing to do is to spoon a bit of the syrup and one of the strips of lemon peel into a cocktail. It works well in such a wide variety of drinks, from an Aperol or Hugo Spritz to a Gin & Tonic and beyond. This is a great place to play. If you’re not into alcohol, you could mix it into some sparkling water for a lightly flavored treat.

Can I make this recipe in advance?

100%. You’ll need to make it at least 90 minutes in advance to give the apricots a chance to cool completely, but you can do it a lot earlier if you like. They’ll keep well at room temperature for a day and in the fridge for a week or more, as long as all the fruit is covered with syrup.

More favorite simple fruit toppings & desserts

Vanilla Poached Apricots 780 | Umami Girl

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poached apricots with a vanilla bean in a blue bowl
4.65 from 17 votes

Poached Apricots with Vanilla and Lemon

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Poached apricots scented with vanilla and lemon are positively dreamy, and they're so easy to make. They're delicious served alone, with whipped cream, over yogurt, ice cream, or oatmeal, and more.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings: 8
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Ingredients 

  • 1 ½ cups (355 ml) water
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • ½ vanilla bean, split open lengthwise and seeds scraped out
  • Zest of 1 lemon, peeled into strips with a vegetable peeler
  • teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 15 firm-ripe apricots, halved and pitted

Instructions 

  • In a medium pot, combine the water, sugar, vanilla bean (both pod and seeds), lemon zest, and salt.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat, and boil for one minute.
  • Add the apricots, gently arranging them in the pot to submerge as many as possible.
  • Reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer, adjusting as necessary.
  • Poach the apricots for about 5 minutes, until they’re as soft as you’d like them. You’ll probably need to shift them around gently in the pot to give them equal time in the liquid.
  • Remove the apricots to a bowl and pour the liquid overtop.
  • Let cool completely at room temperature, about 90 minutes.

Notes

  1. Where I live, the hardest part of this whole recipe is usually sourcing the apricots. They have a very short season and don’t ship all that well. Luckily, this is a great place to use apricots that have been picked a little too early for shipping. Firm-ripe fruits will soften up in the poaching process and absorb all the beautiful flavors of the liquid.
  2. You’ll use half a vanilla bean in this recipe. Cut it open with a paring knife, flatten it out a bit, and scrape out the seeds with the point of the knife. Add both the pod and the seeds to the pot to make the syrup.
  3. Use a vegetable peeler to easily remove the lemon zest in strips, without including too much of the bitter white pith.
  4. You’ll need to make this recipe at least 90 minutes in advance to give the apricots a chance to cool completely, but you can do it a lot earlier if you like. They’ll keep well at room temperature for a day and in the fridge for a week or more, as long as all the fruit is covered with syrup.
  5. There are so many ways to enjoy these lovely little golden things. I love them for breakfast straight up, spooned over yogurt with or without granola, or atop some oatmeal. For dessert, try them alone, with whipped cream, over ice cream, with vanilla pudding, or on a pavlova.
  6. My favorite thing to do with leftover syrup is to spoon a bit of the syrup and one of the strips of lemon peel into a cocktail. It works well in such a wide variety of drinks, from an Aperol or Hugo Spritz to a Gin & Tonic and beyond. This is a great place to play. If you’re not into alcohol, you could mix it into some sparkling water for a lightly flavored treat. Strained of fruit, the syrup will keep in the fridge for a month or more. You can leave the lemon peel and vanilla beans and use them as garnishes, too.
I first published this recipe here way back in 2010. I’ve updated the post for clarity, but the recipe remains the same.

Nutrition

Calories: 89kcal, Carbohydrates: 21.5g, Protein: 1.1g, Fat: 0.5g, Fiber: 1.5g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Fruit Desserts
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

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7 Comments

  1. Thanks, ladies! The chicks are growing visibly by the dayโ€”it’s a little crazy. I really love them, too. Surprising myself a little, actually.

    Alina, that’s pretty entertaining about your dreams (and congratulations!). You must be very much at peace with your pregnancy to be dreaming about cute baby animals. Most of my preggo dreams were a little weirder. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hi, Amy! Great to hear from you. That’s exciting that you guys moved to NH. How do you like it? I can’t believe the chicks will looks so different in six weeks. Maybe yours can be mentors for ours….

  2. Hi Carolyn:
    I used to pick up my veggies from your garage each week! Now, we’ve moved to NH, and we’re raising chicks too. Ours are about 6 weeks old and fully feathered, but I remember when they first arrived all soft and downy like yours. Precious!
    – Amy

  3. Heheee I love the pictures of your chickens! Now pregnant, I keep having dreams of cute and fluffy baby animals/birdies at night… I’m sure I’ll have a dream of your chicks tonight, hehe ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for the poached apricots recipe, I will try to make these when we have cheaper apricots over here. It’s a good idea to add some salt I think!

  4. Now, I really, really want to raise chickens. Those are the sweetest, little things. Delicious-looking apricots too.