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.

A close up picture of the finished Fried Apples in a frying pan.

Fried Apples

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!
The finished Fried Apples recipe in a frying pan.

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.

All of the ingredients needed to make this recipe.

How To Make Fried Apples

***For complete recipe instructions, see the recipe card and video below.

  1. Blend together apple juice, cornstarch and the sugars. Set aside. 
  2. First, cut the apples and add them to the pan along with butter, apple juice, and spice mixture. 
  3. Cook until they’re fork-tender. 
  4. Then, move the apples to a serving dish using a slotted spoon. 
  5. Next, pour the apple juice and cornstarch mixture into the empty pan. 
  6. Cook, while whisking constantly until it thickens. 
  7. Finally, pour the sauce over the fork-tender apples. 
  8. 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.

Storage Tips

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:

A fork piercing into a Fried Apple.

Cracked Barrel Fried Apples Recipe FAQ

What are the best apples to fry?

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.

Do fried apples have sugar?

This recipe has three tablespoons of granulated sugar and one tablespoon of light brown sugar.

How many calories are in Cracker Barrel apples?

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

The finished Cracker Barrel Fried Apples in a pan.
4.91 from 10 votes

Fried Apples

Recipe Cost $ $6.34
Serving Cost $ $1.05
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
6 people
This Fried Apples recipe is an easy Cracker Barrel copycat recipe. They’re saucy, perfectly spiced, and great as a side dish or dessert.

Equipment

  • apple slicer and corer
  • blender
  • large skillet
  • liquid measuring cup
  • Slotted spoon
  • whisk

Ingredients
 
 

  • 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

Instructions

BLEND SAUCE:

  • 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.

COOK APPLES:

  • 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.

COOK 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.

TO FINISH:

  • Pour the sauce over the apples.
  • Toss to coat the apples in the sauce.
  • Serve immediately.

Video

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.66cup | Calories: 212kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3.7g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 74mg | Potassium: 269mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 33g | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.9mg

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16 Comments

  1. This is one of our all time favorites for fall!

  2. I agree! Granny smith are better than golden delicious in this recipe.

  3. Lauren Vavala @ DeliciousLittleBites says:

    I love fried apples and use Granny Smith for everything! It’s kinda like desert that you can disguise as a side dish – these look amazing and now I’m craving some!!

    1. Haha, yes! It’s totally a dessert disguised as a side dish! 🙂

  4. Jaclyn Anne says:

    I LOVE the friend apples at Cracker Barrel – thanks for sharing the recipe!

  5. Nice and simple recipe. Can be a light treat by itself or with ricotta cheese. And of course ice cream 🙂

  6. YUM! I love these fried apples!

  7. How could I make it the night before thanksgiving?

    1. Make the entire recipe, and store it in the fridge. Then about 20 minutes before dinner, slowly reheat them over low – medium-low heat.

  8. Kelly Butler says:

    I love c.b’s fried apples but don’t love the peels – would there be any issues with peeling the apples?

    1. Not at all. Peel away. 🙂

  9. My guilty pleasure recreated at home! The warm, cinnamon-spiced apples take me straight back to that cozy restaurant vibe

  10. I can’t believe how perfectly spiced this is. This is my new favorite and it is perfect for fall!

  11. These look and sound amazing! I love that they can be a side dish or a dessert.

  12. I love fried apples! These are totally delicious and perfect for the fall season!