An absolute bite of Southern love, this classic dessert is comfort food that has been made popular by everyone from celebrity chefs to chain-restaurants such as Cracker Barrel. Southern fried apples are a gluten-free, clean eat treat that is a perfect balance of sweet, tart, and spices and best of all it comes together in just under 15-minutes!
To make this sweet treat we’ll need some fresh apples that have been peeled, cored and either sliced or cubed. Along with our apples, we’ll need some coconut sugar, butter, lemon juice and cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Now, regarding the choice of apples, I honestly recommend a firm apple that has a bit of tartness to it and can stand up to being cooked without getting too mushy. My two personal favorites are Granny-Smiths or Fuji.
Before we begin any cooking, toss your apples in the lemon juice. This adds a little extra bite of tartness and fresh citrus flavors that adds another layer of flavor to the dish, plus it keeps your apples from going brown by stopping the oxidation process. Honestly it’s not totally necessary, but for the sake of pretty apples, I highly recommend not skipping this step.
Once you’ve tossed your apples, melt some butter in a skillet. Regarding the pan, honestly cast iron is best for creating this dish so if you have it, use it since it is much easier to control the heat and if you have a well-seasoned pan, the flavor profile will be deeper. However, I opted to use my heavy-bottom stainless steel skillet and the end result was just as delicious.
Once the butter has melted add in your peeled and cored apple pieces and toss to evenly coat them in the butter. Allow the apples to cook for a minute.
Add in your coconut sugar. You can use any sugar of choice from raw cane to date sugar but personally I love the already caramelized flavor that the coconut sugar adds. Plus coconut sugar is ranked as a low-glycemic sugar with a rating of 35.
As the sugar dissolves, continue to cook it on low heat until it begins to thicken and creates a syrup that coats the apples. If you’re impatient with this step you can always create a small amount of slurry using water and a touch of tapioca or potato starch and adding it to the pan, being sure to stir it in to incorporate it into all the liquid so that it thickens evenly.
Finally, add in the spices (nutmeg, cinnamon and salt) and mix to incorporate it. Continue to cook your apples, turning them to coat them in the syrup and to prevent the syrup from burning.
Once the syrup has thickened and the apples have softened, serve your Southern Fried Apples by themselves or enjoy them with a scoop of ice cream, or use your apples as the filling for a delicious Homemade Apple Pie with a crumble topping that uses my easy-to-make Almond Flour Pie Crust.
Southern Fried Apples
- Toss your peeled, cored and sliced apples in the lemon juice.
- Melt the butter in a skillet and once melted add the apples. Cook for a minute.
- Add the coconut sugar to the butter-coated apples and allow the sugar to cook on low heat until it has thickened into a syrup that coats the apple pieces and the apple pieces begin to soften. (approx 8-9 minutes)
- Add in the spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and salt) and toss to coat them.
- Serve immediately.
- A shortcut method of thickening the sauce is to add in a small amount of slurry made from either tapioca flour or potato starch with some water. You can also use a small amount of whole wheat pastry flour if you prefer just be sure to cook the sauce for a few more minutes to cook the flavor of the raw flour out of the sauce.