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Southern Fried Apples are a simple side dish or light dessert, and they’re ready in 15 minutes! Cinnamon, sugar and butter turn the fresh fruit into a delicious, down-home treat!

Close front shot of fried apple slices in a skillet

September and October are the HEIGHT of apple season here in Central Virginia, so the fruit makes an appearance at almost every meal of the day. I’ll take any excuse that I can get to enjoy some sweet Southern Fried Apples, so I treat them as a side dish alongside my 4-Ingredient Pork Loin Roast or with a Dump-and-Bake Sausage and Cabbage Dinner.

But you know what? They’re equally good at breakfast with Dump-and-Bake Buttermilk Pancakes, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce for dessert. Again…apples…all day, every day!

Overhead shot of cast iron skillet full of fried apples on a wooden surface

What are the best apples to fry?

I recommend using Granny Smith apples for this recipe. They have the perfect sweet-and-tart flavor to contrast with the warm, buttery cinnamon sauce and they hold up really well in the cooking process. The firm Granny Smith apples won’t turn to mush in the skillet, and instead will maintain that tender “bite” characteristic of the best fried apples!

How to make Fried Apples with cinnamon:

These simple skillet apples only require a handful of pantry staples — and they taste just like the fried apples that you love from Cracker Barrel!

Ingredients for Fried Apples:

  • Granny Smith apples
  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt

First, peel and slice the apples.

Slice Granny Smith apples on a cutting board

Next, melt butter in a large, heavy skillet (cast iron works perfectly!), and then add the sugar, cinnamon and salt.

Butter sugar and cinnamon in a cast iron skillet

Stir in the apple slices, cook for about 8-10 minutes over medium-low heat, and you’re done! As the sugar cooks in with the butter and the apples release some juices, you’ll be left with this amazing syrup that coats your Southern Fried Apples.

It’s heaven, I tell ya!

Fried apples with cinnamon in a cast iron skillet

What to serve with Fried Apples:

Whether you enjoy the fried apples as a side dish this season or as a simple dessert with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, I hope that you’ll give one of our favorite Virginia treats a try! Here are a few delicious entrées that go well with the cinnamon apples:

Long overhead shot of fried apples in a cast iron skillet

Cook’s Tips and Recipe Variations:

  • While we prefer Granny Smith apples in this recipe, you can also use another firm baking variety — including Honey Crisp, Braeburn or Pink Lady. Or try a combination of your favorites!
  • The buttery cinnamon sauce will create a thin glaze on your apples. There will be extra sauce in the dish, so serve with a slotted spoon or spatula. If you prefer a thick sauce, make a cornstarch slurry by stirring together ½ teaspoon cornstarch with ½ teaspoon cold water. Add the cornstarch slurry to the skillet during the final 2 minutes. Stir and simmer until sauce thickens.
  • Make sure to slice the apples into even pieces so that they cook evenly as well!
  • Love more warm spices? Try adding a dash of nutmeg or use the blend of apple pie seasoning for extra flavor.
  • For a touch of tang, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to the melted butter mixture.
  • Can you freeze Southern Fried Apples? Yes! You can definitely freeze these apples, but they will have a slightly mushy texture when thawed. To freeze, allow apples to cool to room temperature. Seal in an airtight container or Ziploc bag, and the apples will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • How long can fried apples sit out on the counter? These apples can stay at room temperature for up to 2 hours. After that time period, you will need to freeze or refrigerate the apples.
  • How long will fried apples last? The apples will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To reheat fried apples: Place the apples and sauce in a saucepan or skillet and cook over low heat, just until warmed through. Alternatively, place the apples and sauce in a microwave-safe bowl, cover, and cook in the microwave just until warm.
Close up shot of spatula with fried cinnamon apples in a skillet

Looking for other easy apple recipes? Try these favorites:

Close front shot of fried apple slices in a skillet

Southern Fried Apples

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
0 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings 4 – 6 servings
Calories 229.8 kcal
Southern Fried Apples are a simple side dish or light dessert, and they’re ready in 15 minutes! Cinnamon, sugar and butter turn the fresh fruit into a delicious, down-home treat!

Ingredients
  

  • 4 medium Granny Smith apples
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  • Peel, core and slice the apples. Set aside.
  • Melt butter over medium-low heat in a large, heavy skillet. Add sugar, cinnamon and salt; stir to combine.
  • Add apples and cook, stirring regularly, until just tender (about 8-10 minutes). Be careful not to overcook the apples, or they will become mushy. You want them to be firm to the touch, but a bit tender on the inside.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

  • While we prefer Granny Smith apples in this recipe, you can also use another firm baking variety — including Honey Crisp, Braeburn or Pink Lady. Or try a combination of your favorites!
  • The buttery cinnamon sauce will create a thin glaze on your apples. There will be extra sauce in the dish, so serve with a slotted spoon or spatula. If you prefer a thick sauce, make a cornstarch slurry by stirring together ½ teaspoon cornstarch with ½ teaspoon cold water. Add the cornstarch slurry to the skillet during the final 2 minutes. Stir and simmer until sauce thickens.
  • Make sure to slice the apples into even pieces so that they cook evenly as well!
  • Love more warm spices? Try adding a dash of nutmeg or use the blend of apple pie seasoning for extra flavor.
  • For a touch of tang, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to the melted butter mixture.
  • Can you freeze Southern Fried Apples? Yes! You can definitely freeze these apples, but they will have a slightly mushy texture when thawed. To freeze, allow apples to cool to room temperature. Seal in an airtight container or Ziploc bag, and the apples will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • How long can fried apples sit out on the counter? These apples can stay at room temperature for up to 2 hours. After that time period, you will need to freeze or refrigerate the apples.
  • How long will fried apples last? The apples will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To reheat fried apples: Place the apples and sauce in a saucepan or skillet and cook over low heat, just until warmed through. Alternatively, place the apples and sauce in a microwave-safe bowl, cover, and cook in the microwave just until warm.
  • Serving a larger family? Just multiply the recipe to prepare as many apples as you need. You can fry them in batches.
  • Cooking just for two? Cut the ingredients in half and prepare a smaller portion of apples.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the fried apples and sauceCalories: 229.8kcalCarbohydrates: 33.7gProtein: 0.4gFat: 11.7gSaturated Fat: 7.4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 3.1gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 180.1mgPotassium: 135.3mgFiber: 3.1gSugar: 29.3g
Keyword: fresh apple recipes, fried apples, southern fried apples
Course: Dessert, Side
Cuisine: Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in September, 2017. It was updated in October, 2019.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. Hey, Teresa! They’re from a boxed mix! 🙂 I think that she may have added extra chocolate chips to the batter, though. And sprinkle the top liberally with powdered sugar once they cool!

  2. Love the pictures and the stories that you tell with your post while sharing a wonderful. Hope to see more like this from you.

  3. Hey, Stine! Thanks for your note, and I’m so glad that you’re going to try the healthy slow cooker recipes!

    I used to have a “Skip to Recipe” button on my blog, but it wasn’t compatible with a site upgrade that I made to my recipe cards. I wasn’t able to figure out how to get a new one set up, but it’s on my “To Do List” when I hire a programmer to fix a few things. Thanks for that feedback!

  4. Hey, Kendall! Yep — there was a lot of Monopoly playing this weekend! 🙂 Hope the weather clears up for you this week. Thanks so much for reading the blog!

  5. 5 stars
    wow this turned out to be super delicious. The taste was perfect, the shape and smell was mouth watering. Thanks for sharing

  6. Hi, Janet! I just double-checked and it’s there! 🙂 If you look just below the long image of the Fried Apples (with the text on it) you should see the full printable recipe card.

    To make it really fast, try clicking on the green “Jump to Recipe” button at the very top of my post. It will take you right to the recipe box and will skip over everything else.

  7. 5 stars
    7I love fried apples,and have made them one other time. But couldn’t find the recipe so I found this one,it was quick and easy. And soon good,I thought I was in heaven. Thanks for sharing. Will be trying more of your recipes.

  8. One of my husband’s favorite meals that he grew up with is fried apples, sausage, ( regular breakfast sausage) and spoon bread ( or his family called it batter bread). Yoder’s has an excellent spoon bread mix. You just add water. Stir. And bake. If you haven’t tried it, buy a package.

    1. That sounds like a delicious meal, Debbie! I’m adding that to my meal plan in the coming weeks! 🙂 I’ve seen the spoon bread mix at Yoder’s, but I’ve never tried it. Good to know it’s an easy shortcut. I’ve just always made my own spoon bread recipe — but I’m a fan of a good mix, too!