These fried apples are a beautiful combination of tender sautéed apples with brown sugar and lots of warm spices. This recipe will be a delicious side dish, the perfect topping for pancakes and waffles, or serve it on ice cream as a dessert!
Don’t be put off by the name of this delicious apple dish. Despite the name, these apples aren’t covered in a thick batter and fried in a vat of oil. It’s simply a classic southern recipe for pan-fried apple slices in a sweet and sticky glaze.
This recipe is popular all over south and made even more popular by Cracker Barrel and many southern chefs. When I worked at the Cracker Barrel, it was one of the most popular side dishes in the fall.
It’s wonderful served over grilled or baked pork chops. Perfect with some simple baked or pan-fried chicken. Or keep it simple and serve them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Which Apples To Use?
Honestly, this recipe is pretty flexible, so choose one of your favorite varieties.
Firmer cooking apples are more likely to soften without falling apart, and certain kinds have sweeter notes that will enhance the spices used.
No matter which ones you use, just keep an eye on them when cooking. Any that are softer when eaten raw will usually cook faster. Here are a few options:
- Pink Lady
- Granny Smith
How To Make Fried Apples
Just combine sliced apples with a coating of spices and cook until tender and golden. Simple to do and it only takes about 40 minutes!
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Note: This is only a partial list of ingredients. For the full ingredient list, see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Apples – Pick your favorite apples but remember to try and stay away from those with very soft flesh that crumbles. You can also make this dish with pears or a mix of both. Just keep an eye on them as they cook, since pears require less cooking time.
- Butter – Unsalted butter is best or replace with vegan butter, ghee, or coconut oil depending on your dietary needs.
- Apple juice – apple cider would work as well and can add extra spice to the dish.
- Brown sugar – Maple syrup or honey can be used in place of the brown sugar if you’d prefer. Just remember that it will be a little juicier (and great with ice cream).
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
Prep the apples
- Core and slice the apples, but don’t remove the peels.
- Leaving peels on helps the apple slices hold their shape.
Mix with the spices
- Melt the butter and combine with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl.
- Toss the apples in the mixture until well coated.
Cook and serve
- Place the apples into a preheated skillet, spreading them out into an even layer. Then cover the pan with a lid.
- Cook until tender, stirring occasionally.
- Then, remove the lid and sauté until the apples are golden and the sauce has thickened into a glaze.
Fried Apples Tips and Recipe Notes
- Pan temperature – Be sure to follow the temperatures shown in the recipe card below.
If the temperature is too hot, the sugar will cause the apples to burn and stick to the pan.
If the heat is too low, it will essentially steam the apples.
We use a combination of low and high heat to cook and caramelize them to perfection.
- Larger batches – If you have a large enough pan, or several pans going, it’s easy to double or triple this recipe.
This is a great way to make a week’s worth of snack or make enough for a gathering of friends and family.
- Storage – Transfer to an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Heat it up in the microwave just until warmed.
- Freezing – Let the apples cool before storing in an airtight container. Freeze for up to 6 months, then thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
Freezing the apples might cause them to soften even more. If they become too soft for your liking, you can blend them into a flavorful applesauce.
OTHER WAYS TO USE SAUTEED APPLES
The possibilities are truly endless, but these apples are sure to please everyone no matter how you serve them!
- Serve over yogurt
- Over breakfast favorites like pancakes, waffles, and French Toast
- Stir into a bowl of oatmeal
- With pork loin, pork chops, or roasted chicken
- Paired with cheese slices
- Over homemade honey butter biscuits
If you made any of my recipes and shared them on Instagram, make sure to tag me @willcookforsmiles and #willcookforsmiles so I can see all the things you tried!
Don’t forget to sign up for email, so you won’t miss any new recipes.
- 1 1/2 lb apples
- 1/2 cup butter melted
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp apple juice
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Core apples and slice them into several slices. Don't peel the apples.
- Preheat a 12-inch skillet (or another cooking pan) over medium heat and lower the heat to medium-low.
- Combine apple slices, melted butter, apple juice, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a mixing bowl and mix until apples are evenly coated.
- Transfer everything from the bowl into the preheated skillet and spread it evenly.
- Cover and cook over low heat for about 15-20 minutes. Stir the apple occasionally.
- Take the lid off and raise the heat to medium. Stir and cook the apples for another 5-10 minutes.