Copycat Southern Fried Apples

updated Sep 12, 2023

Thick apple wedges cooked in butter and spices until soft and warm.

Serves4

Prep5 minutes

Cook18 minutes

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Sweet and warmly spiced fried apples taste just like the pie filling without the crutch of a crust. And from morning to night, all year long, Cracker Barrel serves these buttery skillet-fried apples on cafeteria-style dishes to weary travelers along America’s highways.

But even if your highway exit doesn’t have the rocking chair-flanked brown barn and country-kitsch retail store, you can make a hot skillet of fried apples in less time than it takes to beat me in a round of checkers.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

The Best Apples for Skillet Fried Apples

Golden Delicious apples are a supermarket mainstay with a soft texture and mild, honey-like flavor. This variety holds their shape better than baking apples like McIntosh or Rome, yet are softer than a Granny Smith or Pink Lady. This makes Golden Delicious apples perfect for this fried apple recipe. Plus, Cracker Barrel has used Golden Delicious apples for its fried apples for over 35 years.

How to Make Cracker Barrel’s Skillet Fried Apples

  1. Slice the apples. Leave the peel on and slice the apples into thick 1-inch wedges to help Golden Delicious apples keep their shape when cooked.
  2. Combine butter, spices, apples, and juice. Coat thick apple slices in melted butter and fragrant spices before stirring in the apple juice or cider.
  3. Cook apples until very tender. A wide, 12-inch cast iron skillet keeps the apples from piling onto one another, ensuring the apples cook evenly.
  4. Thicken juices with cornstarch. Once the apples are soft, thicken the juices with a cornstarch slurry until it coats the apples.
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

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Copycat Southern Fried Apples Recipe

Thick apple wedges cooked in butter and spices until soft and warm.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 18 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    Golden Delicious apples (about 3 large)

  • 4 tablespoons

    (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup

    packed light brown sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly grated nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 cup

    plus 2 tablespoons apple juice or apple cider, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    cornstarch

Instructions

  1. Core and cut 1 1/2 pounds Golden Delicious apples into 1-inch-thick slices.

  2. Melt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the apples, 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Toss to coat the apples in the butter and spices. Pour in 1/4 cup of the apple juice or apple cider.

  3. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are very tender but not falling apart, about 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apples to a serving bowl, leaving any liquid in the skillet.

  4. Whisk 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch and the remaining 2 tablespoons apple juice or apple cider together in a small bowl until smooth. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the skillet, and whisk until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Pour the syrup over the apples, toss to coat, and serve warm.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.