Copycat Cracker Barrel Fried Apples

4.60 from 5 votes
Jump to Recipe Pin Recipe

Posts may contain affiliate links, meaning that I may earn a commission if you use a link provided.

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.

Copycat Cracker Barrel Fried Apples on white plate with fresh apples, cinnamon sticks, and orange juice in background.

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.

Ingredients for Cracker Barrel Fried Apples Recipe.
  • 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.

Two image collage of butter, sugar, and spices in skillet before and after combining.

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.

Two image collage of apples in skillet before and after cooking.

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.

Two image collage of cornstarch and apple juice being added to skillet of apples and then the skillet after the sauce has thickened.

Serving Suggestions

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.

Copycat Cracker Barrel Fried Apples on white plate with fresh apples, cinnamon sticks, and orange juice in background.

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.
Overhead photo of plate of stovetop cinnamon apples.

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

Do you have to peel the apples for this recipe?

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.

What are the best apples for making fried apples?

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.

How do you thicken fried apples?

Cornstarch mixed with a little apple juice (for added flavor) or water (just to thicken) will do the trick.

Can I make sugar-free fried apples?

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:

Copycat cracker barrel fried apples served on white plate with cinnamon sticks and juice next to them on the table.
4.60 from 5 votes

Copycat Cracker Barrel Fried Apples Recipe

Author: Jaclyn
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
This recipe for Copycat Cracker Barrel Fried Apples is spot on! The apples have a wonderful texture and a sweet and light cinnamon flavor, just like the restaurant version. They really hit the spot when you're craving that apple flavor.


  • 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.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 163kcal
Copycat cracker barrel fried apples served on white plate with cinnamon sticks and juice next to them on the table.

Did You Make This Recipe?

Share it with me on Instagram @crayonsandcravings and follow on Pinterest @crayonsandcravings for even more!

Copycat Cracker Barrel Fried Apples.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. The ones i had at Cracker Barrel were not peeled. Granny Smith apples are not sweet as stated.

    1. Every Cracker Barrel I have been to peels the apples for this delicious dish! I live in the south and we go to a lot of Cracker Barrels – esp when traveling. These are great with any meal!! Thanks so much for the recipe! I am going to make some now – it is a bit cooler finally today in FL so this is perfect!

      And the recipe here called for Golden Delicious apples – not Granny Smith.

    1. Hi! You can create an account and then save my recipes by clicking the “save” button in the recipe card or clicking the small heart icon on the bottom right side of my site. If you prefer not to create an account you can simply bookmark the recipe in your browser.

Similar Posts