This Fried Apples recipe is an easy Cracker Barrel copycat recipe. They’re saucy, perfectly spiced, and great as a side dish or dessert.
It costs about $6.34 to make these fried apples. The recipe makes six servings for around $1.05 per serving.
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One of my favorite parts of fall is all the apple recipes, especially this Fried Apples recipe! It is the perfect comfort food that easily comes together in 35 minutes.
This is a versatile dish. It can be served as a side dish, a dessert, or a topping for ice cream or cakes.
Now, let’s state the obvious here. These apples aren’t fried so much as stewed.
From my research, everyone started calling this kind of dish fried apples after Cracker Barrel added it to their menu. But whether you call these stewed or fried apples, one thing remains: they’re Delicious!
What You’ll Love About Cracker Barrel Fried Apples
- Texture: You will love the fork-tender apples that are soft and succulent.
- Sweet Taste: The sugars combine with the natural sweetness of the apples to create a perfectly sweet-tasting dish that is delicious and satisfying.
- Versatile: Serve these apples as a side dish to pork or other meats, as a simple dessert, or as a topping on ice cream or waffles. The options are limitless!
Fried Apples Ingredients and Estimated Cost
Per Serving Cost: $1.05
Recipe Cost: $6.34
- 2 ½ cups apple juice – $1.25
- 1 ½ Tablespoons cornstarch – $0.04
- 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar – $0.06
- 1 Tablespoon light brown sugar – $0.04
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter – $0.42
- 1 teaspoon apple pie spice – $0.13
- 4 large golden delicious apples – $4.40
NOTE: The recipe prices are calculated by using grocery store websites. The recipe cost is calculated by the amounts needed for the recipe. The actual cost of the recipe will vary depending on what ingredients you already have. I updated the pricing for this recipe in August 2023.
How To Make Fried Apples
***For complete recipe instructions, see the recipe card and video below.
- Blend together apple juice, cornstarch and the sugars. Set aside.
- First, cut the apples and add them to the pan along with butter, apple juice, and spice mixture.
- Cook until they’re fork-tender.
- Then, move the apples to a serving dish using a slotted spoon.
- Next, pour the apple juice and cornstarch mixture into the empty pan.
- Cook, while whisking constantly until it thickens.
- Finally, pour the sauce over the fork-tender apples.
- Toss until the apples are evenly coated. Serve.
Recipe Variations and Substitutions
- Apple Variations: If you use Granny Smith Apples instead of Golden Delicious, increase the brown and granulated sugar by 1 tablespoon each.
- Double Recipe: If you want to double the recipe, use a 12-inch skillet. Or you can cook the fried apples in batches.
- Cinnamon Maple: Instead of apple pie spice, use ground cinnamon and replace the granulated sugar with maple syrup for a warm and rich flavor.
- Ginger and Orange: Add a pinch of ground ginger to the apples and replace half of the apple juice with fresh orange juice for a zesty twist.
- Nutty Crunch: Add a handful of chopped nuts like pecans, walnuts, or almonds to the apples for extra crunch and flavor.
- Dairy-Free and Vegan Options: Replace the unsalted butter with a dairy-free alternative like coconut oil or vegan margarine to make the recipe dairy-free. Use a vegan-friendly sugar substitute for both the granulated and brown sugars.
- Healthier Version: Reduce the sugar quantities or use a natural sweetener like honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar for a healthier option.
- Toppings: Top the fried apples with a dollop of whipped cream, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or a drizzle of caramel sauce for an indulgent dessert.
SERVE: You can keep the cooked apples out for about two hours before they need to be covered and refrigerated.
STORE: Once cooled, place the apples in a covered container and refrigerated for 3-4 days.
FREEZE: Technically you can freeze the finished recipe, but the apples will be limp, mushy and better suited for applesauce. Because of this, I do not recommend freezing this recipe.
RE-HEAT: Place the apples in a saucepan or skillet and heat one medium heat until heated through, about 5-8 minutes, stirring often.
How To Serve Fried Apples:
- as a Thanksgiving side dish (sometimes I throw in a handful of dried cranberries while the apples simmer)
- alongside meatloaf
- with pork chops
- with a pork roast
- along with chicken pot pie
- on top of vanilla ice cream for a sweet treat
Cracked Barrel Fried Apples Recipe FAQ
If you want these to taste like Cracker Barrel’s, I suggest you use Golden Delicious. I recommend Granny Smith apples if you’re looking for an apple actually to fry.
This recipe has three tablespoons of granulated sugar and one tablespoon of light brown sugar.
There are 212 calories in one serving of the apples. For complete nutritional value, please see the bottom of the recipe card.
More Apple Desserts
- Apple Crisp
- Caramel Apples
- Dutch Apple Pie
- Apple Muffins with Crunchy Brown Sugar Topping
- Apple Dump Cake
- Apple Cider Donut Cake
- Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
- Bacon and Apple Stuffing
- Caramel Apple Cupcakes
- Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
- Deep Dish Apple Pie
- Apple Pie Biscuits
- apple slicer and corer
- large skillet
- liquid measuring cup
- Slotted spoon
- 2 ½ cups apple juice divided
- 1 ½ Tablespoon cornstarch
- 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
- pinch salt
- 4 large golden delicious apples with peel, cut into 1/2 inch wedges
- Add ½ cup apple juice, cornstarch, and sugars in a blender.
- Pulse for 3-second increments until the mixture is combined and there are no visible cornstarch clumps. Set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add the remaining 2 cups of apple juice, butter, apple pie spice, and a pinch of salt, and place the apples in an even layer in the pan.
- Bring the juice mixture to a simmer, and adjust the temperature to keep the heat at a simmer, and cook the apples until they are fork-tender, turning them every couple of minutes, for a total of 10-15 minutes. Be careful not to over-cook the apples because they will turn mushy!
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the apples from the pan, leaving most of the apple juice in the pan. Place the apples in a bowl while you make the sauce.
- Make sure the burner heat is on medium, and slowly whisk the apple juice and cornstarch mixture into the hot apple juice in the pan.
- Continue to whisk constantly until the sauce thickens and bubbles.
- Pour the sauce over the apples.
- Toss to coat the apples in the sauce.
- Serve immediately.
- Make sure you cut the apples into equal pieces so they cook evenly. I used an apple slicer and corer and then cut each wedge into 3 slices to get the exact ½ inch measurement.
- Do not overcook the apples because they will turn to mush!
- I like to save a little money by making my own spice blends at home. Check out my recipe for Apple Pie Spice.