Fried apples are a delicious, but simple, and easy to make side dish. They're perfect at breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.
They're not actually fried, but rather apple slices that are cooked in a skillet with a few classic ingredients. Your house is going to smell delightful while these apples are cooking and they taste as good as that aroma!
- Apples, of course - Any good firm cooking apple will be great. Our favorites are Granny Smith's and we use them in our Apple Pie, Baked Brie with Apples and Bacon, Apple Berry Crisp, and our famous Grilled Apples. Several other varieties would work fine, and if you've ever wondered "what are the best cooking apples?" we've linked here to a great guide to apples.
- Lemon juice - A little bit keeps your apples from browning as you're cutting them up. Actually, anything acidic will work like lime juice, etc. I've even heard of people putting their apple slices in watered down citrusy soft drinks like Sprite.
- Butter - Use the real thing (always) and salted or unsalted is fine. (Just like in our Vegetable Au Gratin)
- Brown sugar - We typically keep light brown on hand, but dark would work also.
(see recipe card below for quantities)
How to make them
- Wash and slice your apples, keeping the slices as close as possible to the same size. This ensures even cooking.
- As you slice, toss them into a bowl with water and a bit of lemon juice. This prevents browning while you finish prepping the apples.
- Melt the butter in a skillet at medium heat just until melted and then add the apple slices.
- Stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon and stir well, turning the heat up to about medium-high.
- Now stir and cook until the apples are a bit less than the tenderness you like. (They will continue to cook a little after you take them off the heat.) Depending on the thickness of your slices this will take anywhere from 6-10 minutes.
- That's it y'all!
Should you peel apples before cooking?
It's entirely up to you. We don't because we like that extra bit of crunchy texture. Most importantly though, apples that are not peeled are significantly higher in nutritional value than peeled apples.
Tips and Tricks
As mentioned above cutting into similar sized pieces will give you apple slices that cook at the same rate.
Stirring as you cook also helps this process. Get the slices off the bottom onto the top and vice versa.
We do love our cast iron skillets so much that we have an entire category of recipes dedicated to them. But, for fried apples we prefer a lighter weight skillet. Why?
Apples are sensitive to the heat and it's easy to get them overdone and mushy. The way a cast iron skillet holds the heat is fabulous in many cases, like Hot Fudge Pudding Cake and Smoked Baked Beans. But, for apples a skillet that cools faster is best.
A few items you may need:
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- An apple slicer/corer is especially helpful, though not essential.
- A lightweight skillet, as mentioned above.
- Good quality cinnamon is always a nice touch.
Your apples will keep covered tightly and refrigerated for 5-6 days. Just rewarm them when ready to eat in a skillet or in the microwave.
We have not tested freezing.
What to serve with your apples
The really great thing about fried apples, though is that they are a delicious side dish with any meal - and they pair especially well with a pork main dish like Ham on the Big Green Egg or Grilled Pork Tenderloin.
- Cut apples into equally sized pieces and soak in a bowl with the lemon juice and enough water to cover.
- Drain the apples.
- Melt butter in skillet over medium heat and as soon as melted add apple slices.
- Add remaining ingredients and cook at medium high heat, stirring constantly for 7-10 minutes or until desired tenderness.
- 3 large or 5 medium apples equals about 1.5 pounds
- recommend a lightweight skillet
- Any citrus juice can be substituted for lemon juice