Cracker Barrel Fried Apples

Fried apples are like the essence of apple pie, except somehow better.  Butter, white and brown sugar and the natural sugars from the apples caramelize as the apples cook. Cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger are the perfect spices to round out the flavors.

Fried Apples--Cracker Barrel Copycat

Crate and barrel
Cracker barrel
Barrel of monkeys
Barrel of fun
Barrel of laughs
Barrel along
Over a barrel
Barrel over
Bottom of the barrel
Lock, stock and barrel
Barrel of oil
Wine barrel
Pork barrel
Gun barrel
Salt barrel
Barrel roll
Scrape the barrel
With both barrels
Sound as a barrel
Barrel racing
Barrel chest
In the barrel

Do you ever do word plays like the one above? I really enjoy them. Whenever I start one of these tangents, I think of Hawkeye Pierce’s rant using the word “carry”.

“I will not carry a gun, Frank. When I got thrown into this war I had a clear understanding with the Pentagon: no guns. I’ll carry your books, I’ll carry a torch, I’ll carry a tune, I’ll carry on, carry over, carry forward, Cary Grant, cash and carry, carry me back to Old Virginia, I’ll even ‘hari-kari’ if you show me how, but I will not carry a gun!” ~Hawkeye Pierce: M.A.S.H. episode “Officer of the Day”.

(Despite the political implications above, I am NOT making a political statement regarding guns! I will say, though, that in my memory box I have a target and a medal for marksmanship from when I was a teenager.)

Fried Apples--Cracker Barrel Copycat

As I thought about the above “barrel” word tangent, I wondered how I could work it into a post. So, I did a search for “barrel recipes”, which lead me straightway to Cracker Barrel copycat recipes. Duh. That should have been obvious.

Cracker Barrel was started in 1969 in Lebanon, Tennessee. It’s Southern. Believe me, it is REALLY Southern. As I filtered through Cracker Barrel copycat recipes on line, I kept saying over and over to myself, “Yep, got that recipe…yep, that’s how it’s made…yep–cook it, then cook it some more, then fry it.”

While I scanned various copycat recipes, it quickly became apparent that I had better dust off my frying skills. Southerners definitely know their way around frying food. I think that the Southern art of frying things ought to be named the eighth wonder of the world.

I have to tell you that I honestly believe I can feel my heart do this deep, heavy, sustained, almost painful contraction every time I think about eating something that is deep fat fried. Fried chicken used to be my all-time favorite food, but I can hardly eat it anymore. I can usually get through a chicken leg and then I am done…or done in. My grandmother and mother used to make fried chicken with a fritter-style batter and I am telling you that it was outrageously amazing. For the sake of family history I ought to write down the recipe and make the chicken one last time to photograph.

Fried Apples--Cracker Barrel Copycat

At any rate, between the fact that I am not such a fan of deep fried foods anymore and the fact that Cracker Barrel cannot compete with Granny’s fried chicken, I have been left to choose one of the other items on their menu. As odd as it may seem, in contrast to my aversion to fried foods, I chose Fried Apples. They are not deep fat fried, but they are nevertheless fried–in butter. They are a fruit, so that loosely gives them a point or two on the nutrition scale. Very loosely.

Fried Apples are like apple pie filling except better. Frying brings out extra flavors through light caramelization. Caramelized sugars are so wonderful! These apples go beautifully as a side for pork or an addition to breakfast. My daughter and I ate them all by themselves as a late afternoon snack. They are heavenly.

Be sure to use apples that are meant for cooking, such as Granny Smith, Fuji or Rome Beauty. Cooking apples hold their shape and won’t turn to applesauce! For these Fried Apples, I used Granny Smith. I like their tart flavor pared with the sweetness of the caramelized sugars. The apple peels can be left on, if desired. Personally, I prefer peeled apples for this dish.

Cracker Barrel Fried Apples

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Fried apples are like the essence of apple pie, except somehow better. The butter and sugars form a caramelized syrup as the apples cook. Be sure to drizzle it over the apples before serving. Fried apples make a wonderful complimentary side for pork or as an accompaniment for breakfast.


  • 3 large cooking apples-- Granny Smith, Fuji or Rome Beauty recommended
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons or 1/2 stick) real butter


  1. Peel, quarter and core apples. Slice into generous 1/4-inch slices. Place apple slices in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice. Toss to coat.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Pour over apples and stir to coat the apples well.
  3. In a large, hot frying pan over medium heat (cast iron works very well) melt the butter. Add the apples to the frying pan. Be sure to include any liquid that my have rendered in the apple bowl. Stir well to coat the apples. Cover pan and turn heat to medium low or low.
  4. Cook apples for 10-15 minutes until fork tender, stirring as needed. A syrup will form in the bottom of the pan as the apples cook. When serving the apples, be sure to pour the syrup over them.


The peelings may be left on the apples, if desired. It is important to use cooking/baking apples for this dish, such as Granny Smith. They hold their shape well and will not get mushy when cooked.

Recipe by Terri @ that's some good cookin'

Fried Apples--Cracker Barrel Copycat

When it comes to copycat recipes, I issue myself a challenge: make them better than the real thing. The only recipe hack that still remains illusive is Olive Garden’s salad dressing. I have never found “the” copycat recipe. None of the recipes I have tried can match or improve upon the real thing. Thank heavens the dressing can now be found in many grocery stores. Woot, woot!

Here are three of my favorite copycat recipes:

Shake and Bake Trump Chicken

Shake-n-Bake: Shake and Bake Trump Chicken (meaning that I found a trump to the packaged stuff)


Spring TWIX Cookie Bars

TWIX Cookie Bars: Spring “TWIX” Cookie Bars (definitely worth the effort)


Zuppa Toscana

Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana: Zuppa Toscana



There is an additional copycat recipe who’s accuracy or copycat correctness I can neither confirm nor disclaim because I have never had a real Swig Sugar Cookie. However, this has definitely become one of my favorite cookies:

4th of July Swig-style Sugar CookiesSwig Sugar Cookies: Swig Style Sugar Cookie Recipe



  1. says

    I feel the same way about fried foods, and I very, very rarely fry anything. Not only for the health concerns, but for the fact that that it leaves the house smelling of fried oil for days. With that said, I’d for sure make your granny’s fried chicken if you post it. My daughter is constantly asking me to make her fried chicken and I have yet to give in. Do it for the sake of family history :).

    Loved MASH, and kudos on your marksmanship medal.

    • says

      Yep, that lingering fried oil smell does me in, too. Strange, but I don’t recall my grandmother’s house smelling of old oil and she fried foods multiple times per week. Maybe there is something to be said for frying with good ole Crisco shortening. 🙂

      As for making Granny’s fried chicken “for the sake of family history” (snicker), maybe I could do it outside so that the house won’t smell. Gosh, though, Granny’s chicken was absolutely amazing. Like I said, she used a fritter batter for the coating and her chicken would come out amazingly tender with a crispy, crunchy coating. Maybe I should bring my mom over to my house and have her guide me through the whole process. Good thought.

  2. Carol says

    Oh those apples look heavenly. We don’t eat fried foods any more either-but I gotta tell ya….when walking by a place that’s deep frying something and that aroma is wafting out of the vent…..sometimes it just smells so doggone good. And I will admit…..every so often-a good ol’ doughnut fried in some hot oil just hits the spot.

    Would you believe I’ve never been to a Cracker Barrel? Have seen a lot of recipes with their name on it floatin’ around the Internet though…all home cookin’. My FIL loves the place-he’s from the south.

    Thanks so much for sharing your version of their recipe. I can see these becoming a nice sidekick for a pork roast I have in the freezer….once we get past all that turkey next week that is.

    Hope you’re feeling lots better Terri….HUGS! 🙂

    • says

      I feel a good deal better, Carol. Thanks!

      I have to agree with you about doughnuts–they are truly worthy of being fried. Funny, but I didn’t even think about them when I made my fried food statements. I OUGHT to have said “everything except doughnuts”. Fried bread products don’t count in the realm of fried food. Nope.

      Believe it or not, I have only been to a Cracker Barrel a few times, myself. The food brings back memories of deep south country cooking. It was a lifetime ago since I have had a Southern meal.

  3. Rie says

    Write it down Terri, write it down!!!!!!!!!!!!!!…….I haven’t been to the cracker barrel a lot, maybe 3 times…but I LOVE the apples….I try not to fry either but your grandmother’s chicken sounds like a “once a year’ treat.
    Glad you are up to more posts….hope all is going well…xoxoxo

  4. says

    It’s just like apple pie without all that pesky crust to get in the way… hee! hee! 🙂 My family loves this kind of yummy goodness to got onto top of pancakes, ice cream… well you name it. 🙂

    Wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving!! xo Ramona 🙂

  5. Sheila says

    These apples were delicious! I fixed them with smothered pork chops and rice my husband ate and ate. Best meal I have fixed in awhile and the fried apples were the trick. Thank you!!

Leave a Reply

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