Cracker Barrel Fried Apples

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
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This southern-style Cracker Barrel fried apples recipe is even more delicious when homemade! Tender apples are cooked in a sweet cinnamon and brown sugar syrup to create your new favorite side dish. Perfect for a weekday or the holidays, you won’t believe how quickly they disappear!

Why I Love Cracker Barrel Fried Apples

If you know me personally, you probably know that my kids LOVE Cracker Barrel. We can’t go on a road trip without making a pit stop for all of our favorite foods and to raid the gift shop. Ellie and Milo specifically beg for the fried apples – so much so that we don’t even have to be on a road trip for them to request their favorite side dish. Since I got tired of driving to our local Cracker Barrel to satisfy their cravings, I started making fried apples at home with this copycat recipe. According to those two (who are also quite the little critics), these are even better than the real deal. How bout them apples?

  • Nostalgic: Fried apples in a sweet cinnamon and brown sugar syrup are an old-school Southern side dish. Sweet and tender, just like grandma used to make!
  • Easy: Made in one-skillet in just 35 minutes, cooking up a batch of fried apples is a very simple process. The hardest part is slicing the apples!
  • Perfect Pairing: Serve as a mouthwatering side for any chicken or pork dish. I often serve them as a dessert instead, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
  • Make Ahead Friendly: You can easily prepare these apples a day or two in advance, making them perfect for busy holidays!

Looking for more Southern style comfort food? Try these sweet candied carrots, easy jiffy corn casserole or these hearty Southern chicken and dumplings!

Ingredients for fried apples recipe arranged in bowls, from top to bottom: salt, butter, cinnamon, granulated sugar, brown sugar and sliced green apples.

Key Ingredients

You probably already have everything that you need! So grab your apples and spices and let’s get started. Scroll down to the recipe card below for the full ingredient list and exact amounts!

  • Apples: I prefer to use Granny Smith apples over red or golden delicious apples. Green apples are crisp, tart apples, that will keep their shape and texture better while cooking. However any variety will work.
  • Unsalted Butter: If using salted butter, reduce the amount of added salt to 1/4 teaspoon.
  • Sugar: Use half regular, white granulated sugar and half light or dark brown sugar. You can also use all brown sugar for a deeper molasses flavor.
  • Cinnamon: Plain old cinnamon works is classic, but feel free to also add a pinch of nutmeg and ground ginger. You can also use apple pie spice.
A bowl of copycat Cracker Barrel fried apples in a sweet cinnamon syrup.

How to Make Fried Apples

There are just a few very easy steps to make fried apples – seriously, anyone can make this warm and scrumptious side dish. Below is a quick recipe overview, but please scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post for full instructions

  • Prep: Peel your apples if you do not like the skin, then core and slice.
  • Sauce: Melt butter in a cast iron skillet, or heavy bottomed skillet, over medium heat. Stir in the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.
  • Apples: Stir the sliced apples into the sauce. Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes, until fork tender. Stir often so they cook evenly and don’t scorch.
  • Thicken: Remove the lid and turn heat to medium-high. Stir and cook for 5 to 10 minutes more, until the sauce thickens slightly. 
  • Enjoy: Serve warm, as desired!
Showing how to make fried apples in a skillet with a spoon stirring the apples.

Chef’s Tips and Variations

  • Slice evenly: Make sure to cut the apple slices to about the same thickness. Thick and thin slices won’t cook evenly – the thin ones turn to mush, while the thick ones may not cook through.
  • Don’t rush: Start to finish, this recipe for fried apples takes about 30 minutes. Don’t rush them! You want the apples to cook through completely and become perfectly tender.
  • Double up: These Cracker Barrel fried apples always disappear quickly! Make a double batch if feeding a crowd!
  • Keep warm: If you are attending a potluck or party, you can keep these fried apples warm in a Crockpot set to warm. Just give them a good stir every once in a while!
  • Lemon juice: If using a sweet or blander apple variety, enhance the overall flavor by squeezing in a bit of lemon juice. This brightens up the dish by adding a little needed acidity.
Overhead view of a bowl of fried apples with cinnamon sticks and two green apples on the side of the bowl.

What to Serve with Fried Apples

Fried apples in a sweet cinnamon and brown sugar syrup in a bowl.
Cracker barrel fried apples in a bowl with cinnamon sticks on the side.
4.6 from 25 votes
Print Pin Recipe
Yield: 6 servings

Fried Apples Recipe

These sweet Southern style Fried Apples are just like the ones you get at Cracker Barrel, but even more delicious when homemade! Great side dish for every day, the holidays, or even for dessert with a scoop of ice cream.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 large green granny smith apples, cored and sliced (peeled or unpeeled)
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon, or apple pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • lemon juice, optional

Instructions 

  • Melt butter in a cast iron skillet (or large heavy bottomed skillet) over medium heat.
  • Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Stir to combine and fold in apple slices. 
  • Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes or until apples are tender, stirring frequently.
  • Remove cover and raise heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring often, for 5 to 10 minutes more until the sauce thickens slightly. 
  • Taste apples, and if they taste a little bland, add a little lemon juice (starting with about 1 to 2 teaspoons) and stir to combine. A little acid can help make the flavors pop! Serve warm, as desired.

Video

Notes

Store: Allow the cooked apples to cool completely, then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Reheat: Pop the desired portion in a saucepan or skillet, cover, and heat on medium-low until warmed through. Or microwave for about 1 minute, stirring half way through, until warm.
Freeze: To freeze, cool completely. Spoon into a freezer-safe container or disposable bag. Seal, date, and freeze for up to three months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
Slice Evenly: Make sure to cut the apple slices to about the same thickness. Thick and thin slices won’t cook evenly – the thin ones turn to mush, while the thick ones may not cook through.
Don’t Rush: Start to finish, this recipe for fried apples takes about 30 minutes. Don’t rush them! You want the apples to cook through completely and become perfectly tender.
Double Up: These Cracker Barrel fried apples always disappear quickly! Make a double batch if feeding a crowd!
Keep Warm: If you are attending a potluck or party, you can keep these fried apples warm in a crockpot set to warm. Just give them a good stir every once in a while!
Lemon Juice: If using a sweet or blander apple variety, enhance the overall flavor by squeezing in a bit of lemon juice. This brightens up the dish by adding a little needed acidity.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 serving, Calories: 283kcal, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 41mg, Sodium: 320mg, Potassium: 182mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 33g, Vitamin A: 557IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 35mg, Iron: 0.4mg

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So nice and simple dessert! I guess these fried apples go nice with cream cheese and pancakes. Delicious! That’s the perfect treat for kids.
Thank you for sharing this recipe, Jessica!

The best and easiest Fall dessert! I love these flavors!

These sweet Southern style Fried Apples would disappear in our house!

MY favorite fall dessert from Cracker Barrel and I bet it is only better when made homemade. I can’t wait to make these and they sound fantastic right now.

My kids would go crazy for these!

These are my absolute favorite to make during the fall and winter! So delicious!

Oh YUM, that looks so good! Pass me a bowl with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!

Perfect for this cold weather. I cant wait to give it a try!

Hello. What would you use as a substitute for brown sugar? Need a recipe for sugarless, fat free. I’ll use margarine, cinnamon and sweetener. Just need brown sugar taste. Thanks

5 stars
Omg, can’t wait to try it out. Sounds delicious and easy. Will post when I make them…

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Jessica
For the past 15 years, Jorge & Jessica have loved getting to share their families' favorite recipes with all of you. They live in Florida with their 3 kids.