Fried apples are an easy fall dessert that has all the flavors of apple pie, without any of the work! Full of cozy spices and buttery goodness, they’re perfect served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Everyone loves apple pie, apple crisp, and apple dumplings, but most of us don’t have time to whip up an elaborate dessert for a weeknight dinner. That’s where fried apples come in! They have all of those cozy fall apple dessert flavors, but they’re a cinch to make.
There’s no pie crust, no baking, and, well, pretty much no effort. (The hardest part is prepping the apples!) You can serve fried apples as a dessert like we did here, or you can even make them for breakfast and serve them over pancakes or waffles. They’re great folded into crepes or spooned over cheesecake, too!
Easy Southern Fried Apples Recipe
Oh, and did I mention that when you make fried apples, your whole house will smell amazing? Who needs scented candles when you can fry up some apples and have your kitchen smelling like brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg?!
But back to the recipe: all you’ll need to do is peel, core, and slice the apples, fry them in a butter and sugar mixture until they’re tender, then let them simmer away in those cozy fall spices to infuse them with flavor.
Although this recipe makes 8 servings, you can easily scale it down to 4 and make these as a weeknight dessert for your family. Or just make the whole recipe and save half of the apples for another day!
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Unsalted butter – If you only have salted butter on hand, you can omit the kosher salt.
- Granny Smith apples – Or another firm tart or sweet-tart apple.
- Granulated sugar
- Light brown sugar – You can use dark brown sugar if that’s what you have on hand, but it will impart a stronger, more molasses-y flavor.
- Ground nutmeg
- Ground allspice
- Kosher salt
- Vanilla ice cream – We like a good French vanilla here—the kind with flecks of vanilla bean!
- Candied or toasted walnuts or pecans
- Caramel sauce
- Whipped Cream
How to Make Fried Apples
1. Cook the Apples With the Butter and Sugar
Melt butter with the sugars in a large skillet (I like to use a cast iron skillet!) set over medium heat. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, then stir in the apple slices. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often.
2. Add the Spices
Whisk together the spices and salt in a small bowl. Pour this mixture into the skillet with the apples and stir to combine. Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until the apples are soft and the sugar is dissolved into a syrupy sauce.
Serve the fried apples with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a tablespoon of sauce; you can either spoon the apples and sauce over the ice cream, or place the apples in a bowl and put a scoop of ice cream on top. It’s up to you!
How to Store Leftover Fried Apples
If you have any apples left over, transfer them to an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat them gently in a skillet set over low heat before serving, or warm them up in the microwave. You can also freeze them for up to 2 months; just thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
For this recipe, you’ll want to use a firm apple that won’t turn to mush when cooked. Granny Smith are usually considered the best apples for cooking and baking because of their texture and flavor, but you can also use Honeycrisp apples, Pink Lady apples, Golden Delicious apples, or Braeburn apples.
We like to keep it simple with just cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, but you can also add a pinch of cloves or ginger for even more flavor, or use homemade apple pie spice. And don’t forget the salt—it really helps to bring out the sweetness of the apples!
You can cook old apples (assuming they’re not spoiled!), but keep in mind that an apple that doesn’t taste good for eating out of hand won’t be great for cooking with either. If your apples are mealy and flavorless, they won’t improve when fried, although adding sugar and spices does make them slightly more palatable.
Yes, you can fry apples in oil, but we prefer to fry them in butter. The butter gives the apples a richer flavor and helps to create a nice caramelization on the outside. If you’re looking for a dairy-free option, you can use coconut oil.
More Fall Apple Recipes
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 6 large Granny Smith apples peeled, cored, and sliced
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar packed
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- vanilla ice cream for serving
- In a large saute pan, melt the butter with both sugars over medium heat. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the apples and stir to coat everything in the butter and sugar. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring often.
- Combine the spices and salt in a small bowl and stir to mix thoroughly. Add to the apples and stir to combine. Cook for another 5-10 minutes or until the apples are soft and sugar is dissolved into a sauce. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a tablespoon of sauce.