Start to finish: 30 minutes Servings: 4 Difficulty level: Beginner
Fried apples is a southern dish of sliced apples fried or sautéed with oil, sugar and spices. You often find the hot, caramelized apple dish on tables at breakfast and holiday meals, but fried apples are a quick and easy dish for any occasion. The basic recipe leaves a lot of room for customizing – apple type, sliced or cubed, sugar content and peeled or unpeeled.
¼ cup butter
¼ cup sugar, white or brown
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Wash, peel and core the apples. Cut the apples in wedges or slices. If you prefer, cut the apples into cubes. Use the type of apple you prefer or that you have on hand. Golden Delicious and Granny Smith are good choices.
Add the butter to a skillet or frying pan, set the heat to medium and allow the butter to get hot enough to bubble or sizzle.
Spoon the cut apples into the skillet, spread them out as much as possible and sprinkle the sugar over the apples. Cover the skillet and cook the apples on a low heat for five minutes.
Sprinkle the cinnamon on the apples. Stir the apples and turn them over to thoroughly mix the butter, sugar and cinnamon.
Replace the lid on the skillet and allow the apples cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until the sugar is caramelized, the apples are soft and the butter is cooked away.
Serve fried apples as dessert with a few vanilla wafers or garnish with a mint sprig, orange zest or a cinnamon stick. Fried apples are delicious as a topping on vanilla ice cream or French toast.
If you serve fried apples with a dinner meal, lower the sugar content just a little so it seems less like dessert. Skip the sweet potatoes and serve fried apples with ham or serve them with turkey instead of cranberry sauce. The sweet, gooey fried apple dish goes well with tangy barbecue ribs. Fried apples also contrast well with macaroni and cheese, potato salad and string beans.
Variations and Tips
Limit the sugar content by using a sugar substitute or alternative sweetener. Remember that most artificial sweeteners requires less to sweeten than refined sugar. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for conversions.
Add additional seasoning, such as allspice, ground ginger, a dash of lemon or vanilla extract to make the fried apples more flavorful and aromatic.
Some Southern fried apple recipes use bacon drippings, or a mixture of butter and bacon drippings, to fry the apples, especially if the dish is served at breakfast.
Cook the apples in apple juice, or a mixture of apple juice and cornstarch, instead of butter or bacon grease if you prefer a fat-free version of the dish.
If you like the flavor of butter in the fried apples but prefer to use less, try 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of water to fry the apples. Watch the apples more closely during frying if you use less oil.
Yellow and Red Delicious apples are best if you prefer to use unpeeled apples in the recipe. The Granny Smith apple has a tougher skin and might not soften as quickly during frying.
Gail Sessoms, a grant writer and nonprofit consultant, writes about nonprofit, small business and personal finance issues. She volunteers as a court-appointed child advocate, has a background in social services and writes about issues important to families. Sessoms holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal studies.