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Easy Southern Style Fried Apples Recipe

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If you’ve ever been to a Cracker Barrel restaurant, then chances are you know what fried apples are. I personally prefer homemade fried apples for better flavor and texture all day long, and they’re just so easy to make at home. 

Making fried apples at home is incredibly easy, and it’s a wonderful way to use up extras during apple season or just anytime you have extra apples or apple slices laying around. Find out how to make this easy fried apples recipe!

What are fried apples?

The word fried usually brings up images of fried chicken, french fries, or some other dropped-in-oil-until-crispy food. But while fried apples are made in a skillet, they are not traditionally fried. 

Fried apples, or cinnamon apples, are a traditionally southern dish made with simple ingredients by cooking sliced or diced apples in butter until they are soft and caramelized. They are usually seasoned with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves, and sweetened with sugar or brown sugar.

Fried apples can be served as a side dish or dessert and are also delicious served along side pork chops or a tenderloin. I personally like mine with vanilla ice cream, but to each his own. 

Ingredients for Southern Fried Apples

Before you begin making your own at home, what ingredients and supplies will you need for this easy recipe?

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Supplies:

  • Large skillet, cast iron or stainless steel
  • Spatula
  • Apple Slicer/Corer (optional)
  • Apple Peeler (optional)

Ingredients:

  • 5 apples (I prefer a tart apple, like granny smith apples, but use any type of apple that is crisp and fresh)
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar (light is okay, too)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (Learn to make your own!)
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of salt

​How to Make Easy Fried Apples

You’ve got your ingredients and you’re ready to go. Here’s the step-by-step for my easy fried apple recipe:

  1. Begin by slicing and coring your fresh apples. Peeling is optional, and I don’t usually peel my apples. While apples are being sliced, heat your large skillet over medium heat. 
  2. Add butter to skillet and let melt. 
fresh apples in skillet
  1. Once butter is melted add apples and stir to coat. 
  2. Add sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and salt to apples and stir. 
fried apples cooking in pan
  1. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes or until desired doneness. (Turn to low heat if apples are cooking too quickly.) Cooking time varies based on preference. For softer apples, cook longer, for a bit of bit, cook for a shorter period of time. 
  2. Serve warm. 

How to Serve Southern Fried Apples

Not sure how to use your fried apples? Here are some of my favorite ways to use this easy fried apples recipe: 

  • Use as a topping on french toast for a special breakfast treat
  • Serve on top of vanilla ice cream for a creamy and easy dessert. 
  • Make a faux apple cobbler by topping apples with your favorite granola and a plop of whipped cream.
  • Use as an easy side dish for almost any cut of pork.
  • Serve alongside breakfast with homemade biscuits with butter.  

How to Store Fried Apples

What if you’re not able to eat all of your fried apples when they’re made? Here are some storage options for your southern fried apples recipe:

  • ​Store extras in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. 
  • Freeze pre-portioned amounts in freezer bags or containers for up to 6 months. 
  • Fried apples can be canned for pantry storage! See the instructions on Youtube from Beebah’s Country Kitchen

Substitutions for Making Fried Apples

Don’t have all of these ingredients on hand? Want to avoid refined sugar? I’ve got you covered with some easy substitutions:

  • Try different varieties of apples to find your favorite variety. (Consider cosmic crisp or pink lady)
  • Substitute maple syrup for the brown sugar for a different flavor and a less refined sugar choice. 
  • Use apple pie spice instead of the spices listed above. It’s a bit of a shortcut!
  • Want more “juice”? Add a bit of water for saucier apples. 

I hope you try making these delicious apples at home, maybe even from your own apple tree! If you’re interested in growing apples at home, check out my article on How to Plant Fruit Trees at Home! Let me know if you try this recipe or have a fried apple suggestion!

Yield: 6 servings

Easy Southern Fried Apples

easy southern fried apples on white plate

Have fresh apples to use? Make this easy southern fried apples recipe, and you'll have a quick delicious treat in minutes.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 5 apples (I prefer a tart apple, like granny smith apples, but use any type of apple that is crisp and fresh)
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar (light is okay, too)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (Learn to make your own!)
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Begin by slicing and coring your fresh apples. Peeling is optional, and I don't usually peel my apples. While apples are being sliced, heat your large skillet over medium heat. 
  2. Add butter to skillet and let melt. 
  3. Once butter is melted add apples and stir to coat. 
  4. Add sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and salt to apples and stir. 
  5. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes or until desired doneness. (Turn to low heat if apples are cooking too quickly.) Cooking time varies based on preference. For softer apples, cook longer, for a bit of bit, cook for a shorter period of time. 
  6. Serve warm. 

Notes

Ideas for serving Southern Fried Apples:

  • Use as a topping on french toast for a special breakfast treat
  • Serve on top of vanilla ice cream for a creamy and easy dessert. 
  • Make a faux apple cobbler by topping apples with your favorite granola and a plop of whipped cream.
  • Use as an easy side dish for almost any cut of pork.
  • Serve alongside breakfast with homemade biscuits with butter.

Substitutions for the recipe ingredients:

  • Try different varieties of apples to find your favorite variety. (Consider cosmic crisp or pink lady)
  • Substitute maple syrup for the brown sugar for a different flavor and a less refined sugar choice. 
  • Use apple pie spice instead of the spices listed above. It's a bit of a shortcut!
  • Want more "juice"? Add a bit of water for saucier apples. 

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 179Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 27mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 4gSugar: 23gProtein: 1g

Liz

Sunday 18th of February 2024

Looks amazing! Do you still offer help with designing and installing kitchen gardens for complete beginners?

Courtney

Monday 19th of February 2024

Hi Liz! Thank you! I actually don't do as much of the kitchen gardens, though I'm happy to help anyway I can with advice and other info.

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