Thursday, December 2, 2010

Southern Skillet Fried Apples

A classic southern side, slices of apples are fried in a mixture of bacon fat or butter and brown sugar then tossed in a dusting of traditional apple pie spices.

Southern Skillet Fried Apples

Skillet fried apples aren't deep fried y'all! As I've mentioned before, in the South we refer to frying things a lot, even though it often has nothing to do with submerging a food item in deep boiling oil.

So many folks outside of the South associate our recipes titled fried cabbage and corn the same as they do our chicken, which of course, we love, but the truth is, very often, the term "fried" simply refers to the cooking of something in what we call a frying pan. Yep. Simple as that!

For our fried apples, it means apples, pan sauteed in some kind of fat, most commonly butter or bacon fat, though many Southerners prepare them in more of a stewed version, similar to an apple pie filling. Either way is delicious, of course. When I stew mine, I like to use apple cider, which is not a traditional Southern preparation, but my own little twist to the classic to add more flavor. Using plain water is more traditional when stewing these apples, so feel free to substitute plain ole water.

You'll find that most Southern recipes call for unpeeled, sliced apples, but I prefer to use the tart Granny Smith apples because they retain a bit of the firmness even when cooked, and I do also prefer to peel them. For me, that peeling thing is a texture issue, but if you don't mind the peel, or especially if you use a more tender skinned apple like Red or Yellow Delicious, go right ahead and leave them on because they will help the cooked apple retain their shape and not fall apart.

By the way, Southern skillet fried apples are less a dessert, than they are a side dish really. They go great with just about any meat or savory main dish - just ask the folks at Cracker Barrel! Like sweet potatoes, the sweetness of the apples are a perfect compliment to many main dishes, making them suitable as a great side dish for chicken or pork, served along a mess o' greens and even with fried green tomatoes. Of course, they're also great all by themselves, as a simple snack with yogurt, or as a partner to ice cream. Perfect for breakfast with French toast, pancakes, biscuits or even spooned over oatmeal too - which is exactly how I ate them this morning.

Here's how to make them.

Recipe: Southern Skillet Fried Apples

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 15 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 3 large Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or bacon drippings, or a combination
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, well packed
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter or bacon drippings with the brown sugar. Add the apples and cook over medium until apples begin to release juices. Reduce to medium low and simmer for about 15 minutes or until apples are tender. Sprinkle spices on top and toss until well blended.

Cook's Notes: I prefer to use the tart Granny Smith apples because they retain a bit of the firmness even when cooked, and I do also prefer to peel mine. For me, that peeling thing is a texture issue, but if you use a more tender skinned apple like Red or Yellow Delicious, or if you don't mind the peel, go right ahead and leave them on. Can also cut apples into chunks. Okay to substitute apple pie or pumpkin pie spice for the individual spices, so if you have those in your pantry by all means use them here.

Stewed Apple Variation: For stewing, apple cider is my own little twist to these skillet apples but is absolutely non-traditional. I just like the extra flavor from the cider but even I admit I don't always have apple cider in the house. You can certainly substitute plain water. Cook the butter and brown sugar until melted. Measure 2 cups of apple cider and make a slurry of 2 tablespoons of cornstarch or flour with a splash of the cider. Add the remaining apple cider and the slurry to the pan with the brown sugar. Bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, add the apples, bring back to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes longer, or until apples are tender. Add the spices and stir to blend in well.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on December 2, 2010

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  1. Oh Mary I'm sure these apples are delicious.... unfortunately we don't have all spice ....what can I use to substitute??? Hope to come beck to USA buy a lot of ingredients that here it's impossible to find!!! HAve a great great day...hugs, Flavia

    1. You can also order online or just use apple pie spice

  2. Everytime I eat at Cracker Barrel, I vow to make these. I am, again, vowing to make these!

  3. I know Pam, they are good aren't they? Well, this is my version, not a Cracker Barrel copycat but I still think they are pretty good!

    EliFla, whatever you would use to season an apple pie with will work here.

  4. Here in our family, we consider cooked apples not just a Southern thing--but a hillbilly thing!

    Our Mom told these wonderful stories of her Mother's cooking and how cooked apples were served for breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper, or a little something sweet before bedtime. And we never worried about unexpected company because as long as you had a ham and some cooked apples--you had the perfect meal for company.
    We've made these with firm, tart apples and soft, sweet apples. There's just no way to go wrong!

  5. These look so yummy. They remind me of my baked apple pancakes without the pancakes:)

  6. Mary these look so warm, gooey, and delicious! Every time I visit your blog I end up drooling all over the place. Pretty soon I'll just need to bring the big ol" roll of bounty to the computer with me before I log on (hee hee).

  7. Mmmm, love fried apples. I posted them last week too, but I hadn't thought about adding apple cider. That would make them even saucier, so I'll have to try that next time.

  8. Ya know, I have never eaten at a Cracker Barrel. We have one in Denver and it's on the other side of town. These apples look amazing. Gotta give them a try.

  9. Those look great. They majke me want pork chops, potatoes, and fried apples for supper.

  10. Oh hubby and dad would love these Mary. And oatmeal sounds like a great combo, I love oatmeal :)

  11. I was reading this and thinking if you diced the apples, prepared the same way, and poured over roast pork you'd have a fancy "apple compote". Funny how just an extra cut and semantics would make the difference between Cracker Barrel and haute cuisine!

    Cracker Barrel rocks...screw haute cuisine:)

  12. Omg... I happened upon this site looking for a fried cabbage recipe... I grew up in the south and fried apples were a staple at my granny's in the summer. She'd make fried apples and fatback meat....and wash it down with some ice tea or lemonade.

    1. That's some good eatin' Nicole! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Welcome!! I hope that you come back to visit again.

  13. Hi Mary! Just made these fried apples tonight for supper. They were so good! I used half bacon grease and half butter. I'll make these again using your recipe! Take Care, Dorothy from Warner Robins, GA

    1. Some folks think that bacon fat is odd, but it just adds a bit of savory to the sweet. I'm so glad that you enjoyed the fried apples Dorothy & thank you so much for letting me know!!

  14. Can you "Can" these like you do apple sauce?

    1. I have never made that attempt since I just make them fresh. You "may" be able to do it by following a recipe for canning apple pie filling, since that's a similar recipe, but again, I say may since I haven't ever done it and so can't attest to how successful or safe it would be!

  15. I just tried out this recipe and it is delicious! I used 1/4 cup butter and didn't use the bacon grease. It is soooooo good. Now, I am envisioning a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side! :). Thank you for posting this!
    Lee Ann

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Lee Ann - seriously, try just a bit of bacon drippings with the butter sometime.


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