Enjoy these Copycat Cracker Barrel Fried Apples anytime you get a craving for this sweet side dish from your favorite restaurant! Perfectly spiced, tender, sweet, with a thick sauce.
When you’re in the mood for country cooking, you have a few options: head to Grandma’s house, go to Cracker Barrel, or learn how to make their famous dishes yourself. Nothing beats a side of sweet fried apples. Now you can make them just like Grammy (or Cracker Barrel) makes. And if you love Cracker Barrel restaurant copycat recipes, you’ll really enjoy my Cracker Barrel Coca-Cola Cake and Cracker Barrel Meatloaf recipe, too.
These fried apples go with everything, especially during apple season when the fruit is at peak flavor. Serve them over pancakes for breakfast. Enjoy them as a delicious side dish with pork chops or chicken. Pour a batch into a pie crust to make the easiest apple pie ever. And my personal favorite — top hot fried apples with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce.
Is your mouth watering already? Mine, too. Grab your apron, and let’s get started on this fried apple recipe.
This section includes ingredient notes and substitution options. Get all measurements, ingredients, and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
- Butter — I prefer salted butter for this recipe. The salt helps bring out the other flavors. However, if you only have unsalted butter on hand, you can use that and add 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
- Granulated sugar — To help sweeten the apples.
- Brown sugar — This also sweetens the apples, but brown sugar has a deep molasses flavor that pairs nicely with the apples. I used light brown sugar, but you can use dark brown sugar for an even richer flavor.
- Ground cinnamon — This warm spice gives the sweet apples that classic almost apple-pie like flavor. Substitute apple pie spice if you prefer.
- Apples — I used Golden Delicious apples for their sweet flavor, but other apples such as Granny Smith apples or Fuji would work, too.
- Apple juice — Mix this together with the cornstarch to form a slurry to pour over the simmering apples.
- Cornstarch — This ingredient will thicken up the apples at just the right moment, giving you that thick and gooey sauce with your fried apples.
Equipment You’ll Need for Stovetop Cinnamon Apples
Gather everything you need to get started on this copycat recipe for Cracker Barrel’s fried apples. You’ll need these kitchen tools to make them from the comfort of your own home:
- Vegetable peeler
- Apple corer and slicer
- Measuring spoons
- Measuring cups
- Large skillet with lid
- Rubber spatula
- Small mixing bowl
How to Make Cracker Barrel Fried Apples
This section shows you how to make the recipe with step-by-step photos and instructions. For the full printable recipe, see the recipe card below.
Step 1: Grab a large skillet with a lid, and set it to medium heat. Add the butter, white sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir the ingredients constantly as the melted butter and the sugar is incorporated.
Step 2: Add the peeled and sliced apples to the skillet, coating them in the butter and sugar mixture. Place a lid on the pan, and bring it to a simmer. Simmer the apples for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender-crisp. Stir them every few minutes GENTLY — you don’t want to break up the apples.
Step 3: In a small bowl, add the apple juice and the cornstarch. Mix together and then slowly stream the cornstarch slurry into the apple mixture, stirring constantly. Cook for one minute until thickened and serve immediately.
Cracker Barrel restaurants serve these fried apples as a wonderful side dish for either breakfast or dinner. However, they’re amazing as a dessert with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, a drizzle of caramel sauce, and some whipped cream.
Storage and Freezing
Store leftover fried apples in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Freeze them in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 3 months.
Fried Apple Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Toss the peeled apple slices with a little lemon juice to prevent browning.
- Use a tart apple if you prefer your fried apples a little less sweet.
- Double the recipe to freeze some for later. They reheat beautifully!
- Cider may be used in place of the apple juice to really amp up that apple flavor.
- Unpeeled apples work great in this recipe, too, if you want to save a little time.
- Prefer slow cooking? Try this slow cooker fried apple recipe.
Additions and Variations
Use all brown sugar. For a deeper flavor, try using dark brown sugar in place of the light brown sugar or using all brown sugar instead of half granulated and half brown.
Add more cinnamon. Can’t get enough of that cinnamon flavor? You can add up to a tablespoon in this recipe, and it’ll still be delicious.
Try different spices. Ground nutmeg, ground clove, and ground allspice are all excellent choices for fried apples.
Make hand pies. Add the apples to crescent roll dough brushed with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar to bake into hand pies. Such a delicious treat!
Add some spice. A sweet and spicy variation with just a pinch of chili powder could be really tasty!
Cracker Barrel Fried Apples Copycat Recipe FAQ
No, you don’t have to peel them if you want to save some time. However, the Cracker Barrel version uses peeled apples, so I’ve done the same to keep the recipe more authentic.
I prefer Golden Delicious apples since they’re just the right amount of sweet and hold up well in this recipe. However, feel free to use Granny Smith, Fuji, Braeburn, or Honeycrisp, or other types of apples if you can’t find Golden Delicious. The Kitchen Community has ranked apple varieties from sweetest to tartest if you’d like more choices.
Cornstarch mixed with a little apple juice (for added flavor) or water (just to thicken) will do the trick.
You can make these fried apples somewhat sugar-free, though apples and juice contain natural sugars. Swap out the sugar for Splenda or another sugar substitute, and use an apple juice with no added sugar.
More Amazing Apple Recipes
If you enjoyed these delicious fried apples, you should also try:
- Apple Pie Filling – the perfect filling for an All-American apple pie!
- Apple Pie Cookies – such a cute variation… they look like mini apple pies.
- Apple Dump Cake – one of the simplest desserts made with only 3 ingredients.
- Soft Apple Cookies – soft and chewy cookies with a delicious glaze.
- Apple Pie Egg Rolls – made with canned apples and served with caramel sauce for dipping.
- Caramel Apple Crumb Cake – perfect dessert to serve with hot coffee or a cup of tea.
Copycat Cracker Barrel Fried Apples Recipe
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- 4 Tablespoons salted butter
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 ½ pounds Golden Delicious apples, peeled and cored, ½ inch slices
- ½ cup apple juice
- 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add the butter, sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir constantly until the butter and sugars are melted.
- Add the apples and coat them in the mixture. Place a lid on the pan and bring it to a simmer. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until tender-crisp. Gently stir every few minutes to not break up the apples.
- In a bowl mix together the apple juice and the cornstarch. Slowly stream this into the simmering apples, stirring constantly. Cook for one minute until thickened and serve immediately.
- You don't have to peel the apples if you don't want to, but peeling them is more authentic to the true recipe.
- Apple cider may be used in place of the apple juice.
- Store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Freeze for up to 3 months.
The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by a third party and intended to serve as an estimate only. The accuracy of nutritional information is not guaranteed.