Slowly cooked in browned butter and sugar, fried apples are an incredible Southern side that’s easy enough to make on a weeknight. This Cracker Barrel copycat recipe for caramelized apples will melt in your mouth.
One of our favorite meals is my mother-in-laws’ fried chicken dinner. While her fried chicken is amazing, her method is the same used by Ashely Christensen, the fried apples that accompany the chicken have always been our favorite part of the dinner. It was the first meal she made for me when Mike and I started dating.
I have to admit, that fried apples would never have been served in my house growing up, but I don’t really think of these as fried, more like sautéed in brown butter deliciousness. This is a truly Southern dish I think your family is going to love.🥰
Why you’ll love it
- It’s a super easy side dish
- Just 3 ingredients make a delicious addition to any meal
- You can use up apples that are turning past their prime
- Nothing goes better with fried chicken
What you’ll need
- Apples – use firm tart apples to offset the sweetness
- Butter – brown butter will bring out the flavor of the apples
- Pantry staples – sugar, water
How to make fried apples
Step 1 – In a 12 inch iron skillet or non-stick, cook butter over medium heat until it begins to turn brown.
Step 2 – Add apples that have been cut into thick 1 inch slices, do not peel. (if you hate the peelings, you can peel them but Nana always leaves the peelings on) Add water and sugar and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat for 30-45 minutes depending on the firmness of the apples. Do not stir or they will get mushy, but you can gently turn them over every once in a while.
Step 3 – Let cool slightly before serving.
Pro Tip: If you have an iron skillet, these cook up and caramelize the apples beautifully.
There’s just something about these sweet apples that are perfect with fried chicken. And don’t forget some buttermilk biscuits and green beans that have been cooked with a little bacon for 4 hours. Throw in some mashed potatoes and you have the perfect Southern dinner.
You don’t have to have fried chicken to enjoy these caramelized apples, try them with roasted chicken, or pork tenderloin. Try serving them with your Thanksgiving turkey and change up your holiday meal this year.
FAQ’s and tips
Apples offer lots of health benefits. They are full of fiber, vitamin C, potassium and vitamin k.
You want to use firm apples. Gala’s looked the best this week which is what I used in the photos, but Fuji’s are my favorite. Braeburn, pink lady’s, jonagold and granny smith are other great choices that give a sweet-tart flavor and won’t turn to mush when cooked.
You can definitely cut down on the sugar depending on the sweetness of your apples, but you’ll need some. Honey is an acceptable sugar substitute; start with 1 tsp to every two apples you add to the dish.
Fried apples reheat really well on the stovetop or in the microwave. They’re a delicious topping for ice cream or Greek yogurt.
Leftover fried apples can be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated for 2-3 days.
More apple recipes you’ll love
What can I serve with apples?
Fried Apple Recipe
- ½ cup butter
- 6 large apples firm; cored thickly sliced
- ¼ cup water
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- In a 12 inch iron skillet or non-stick, cook butter over medium heat until it begins to turn brown.
- Add apples that have been cut into thick 1 inch slices, do not peel. Add water and sugar and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat for 30-45 minutes depending on the firmness of the apples. Do not stir or they will get mushy.
- Let cool slightly before serving.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- Use a cast iron pan if you have one to caramelize the apples well
- Don’t stir too much or they will get mushy
- Great side for chicken or pork
- Great way to use up older apples that aren’t as fresh to eat