These simple Southern fried apples with cinnamon are the ultimate southern comfort food staple. A delicious fall-inspired side dish and breakfast staple. Transform four common ingredients with this easy recipe in less than thirty minutes!
There is no better smelling recipe than a batch of Cinnamon Spiced Fried Apples simmering on the stove in the fall. The warm cinnamon ignites your senses with an overwhelming yearning for fall goodies like our Apple Crumb Cake, Caramel Apple Bars, or even Chocolate Dipped Apples, but this sweet treat be enjoyed year-round.
Whether you call them fried apples, cinnamon apples, or scalloped apples, the basic recipe remains the same. I fondly remember the delicious scents drifting from the kitchen as my mom prepared these. The secret to success is the simplicity. Sugar, spice and butter transform sliced apples into dessert-worthy comfort food in less than thirty minutes.
Southern fried apples make an excellent fall side dish. They pair especially well with pork dinner recipes, or as part of a traditional southern-style breakfast. Looking to indulge a little more? Pour warm southern fried apples over vanilla ice cream for a dessert akin to warm apple pie a la mode.
What You Need to Make this Recipe
Here is a list of the ingredients and my own notes on what works best.
Apples: I like to use Granny Smith Apples. The tartness is a great compliment, but feel free to use any apple variety you prefer or whatever you have on hand. You could also leave the peels on if you like a little bit of a different texture.
Cinnamon and Sugar: This recipe uses granulated sugar and ground cinnamon. It’s about as straight forward as you can get. Although some variations can be on the almost sickly-sweet side, this one is sweet without being over the top. Less sugar makes the apple and cinnamon flavors shine through.
Butter: I like to use unsalted so I can control the salt in my recipes, but you can use salted like my mother used to use.
An Apple Corer: This will make the slices more even and save your hands from all the slicing! I like the 12 slices better than the 8 because thinner apples cook more evenly.
I’ve seen variations where brown sugar, nutmeg or bacon drippings are added to the recipe, but I typically stick to the classic four ingredients.
How to Make Cinnamon Fried Apples
The instructions are included in the recipe card at the bottom of this post, but I include this section as a visual guide for any questions and to show how the recipe come together so quickly.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in ⅓ cup of the sugar until it dissolves. (photo 1)
- Add apples, cover and turn heat to low. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the apples are your preferred softness. The amount of cooking time will depend on how thickly sliced the apples are. (photo 2-before, photo 3- after)
- Add cinnamon and the remaining sugar. Turn heat up to medium-high and stir occasionally for 10 minutes. This will caramelize the sauce. (photo 4)
Serving and Storage Suggestions
Serve: These cinnamon fried apples are so versatile. While my favorite way to serve them is as a simple side dish, there are plenty of other ideas:
Store Leftovers: If you’d like to save them to add to your oatmeal or to enjoy on an ice cream sundae for dessert, just pop them in the refrigerator in an airtight container and store them for up to 3-4 days.
Freeze: You can store southern fried apple in the freezer for 3-6 months. Place in a ziploc freezer bag and remove as much air as possible. When you’re ready to use them, simply pull from freezer, thaw, and warm on the stove over medium heat. They will be somewhat mushier, so I find it best to use them for mixing like in oatmeal or yogurt or quick breads.
More Southern Recipes from Our Kitchen
This recipe is super simple, but I also have a video cooking demonstration if you want to watch how it comes together!
Frequently Asked Questions
Granny Smith is my go-to apple for any baked or cooked recipe because it’s tartness and mild flavor keeps it from being overly sweet during the cooking process. A good second choice would be Jonathan or Braeburn apples as they are crisp and keep their shape well while being slightly sweeter.
The most common cooking apple, Granny Smith, has a tougher skin that doesn’t soften as much during cooking so do peel them.
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Southern Fried Apples
- Apple Slicer to save your hands and make the apple slices even
- 6 Apples peeled, cored and sliced
- ½ cup butter unsalter or salted is fine
- ¾ cup White Sugar Divided
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter.
- Stir in ⅓ cup of the sugar until it dissolves.
- Add apples, cover and turn heat to low. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the apples are your preferred softness. The amount of cooking time will depend on how thickly sliced the apples are.
- Add cinnamon and the remaining sugar. Turn heat up to medium-high and stir occasionally for 10 minutes. This will caramelize the sauce.