As long as you’ve got a bunch of apples, you can make this slow cooker fried apples recipe! Tender-crisp apples cooked down in butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon until they are coated in syrupy deliciousness right in the crockpot. Serve as a side dish or a dessert!

bowl of cracker barrel style fried apples.

If you visit Cracker Barrel for nothing else, you’ve got to at least go for the Fried Apples.

Ironically, they’re not actually fried, but the slices are seasoned with cinnamon and then baked. They’re soft and tender, yet not mushy, and have such incredible flavor.

This recipe for slow cooker fried apples is the same. But better.

Using the slow cooker means there’s no heating up the oven, no worrying about overbaking, or underbaking, and once everything is in the crockpot, that’s it. Your job is done!

bowl of fried apples next to a fork.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Mouthwatering aromas – While the sliced apples cook, the smells wafting through your house are incredible, plus what results is basically like eating a bowl of apple pie filling without having to make a pie!
  • A year-round treat – Sure, the cinnamon and sugar screams fall, but imagine having this on top of a bowl of ice cream on a hot day? Or on your bowl of yogurt or oatmeal in the morning? Yes, please!
  • Easy to make – With just 6 ingredients and the time it takes to cut up apples, this recipe couldn’t be more simple.

Cracker Barrel Fried Apples

Helpful Tools

Ingredients

Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe, why you need them, and possible substitutions. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card with measurements.

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  • Apples – I used 3 pounds of honey crisp apples, peeled and cut into 1/4” slices.
  • Brown sugar – Pack it down in the measuring cup so you have enough.
  • Cinnamon – For the cozy spice that combines so beautifully with the brown sugar.
  • Vanilla – The added warmth and delicious flavor. Use pure vanilla extract if you can.
  • Cornstarch – This thickens up the mixture so that the buttery brown sugar mixture isn’t runny and sticks to the apples.
  • Butter – Once melted, it brings the dry ingredients together into a sauce. Use either salted butter or unsalted butter, it’s up to you. I like salted.
overhead shot of labeled ingredients laid out to make fried apples.

How to make Slow Cooker Fried Apples

This section shows you how to make this recipe, with process photos showing the steps to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.

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  1. Step 1: Place the apple slices in the bottom of the crockpot, in an even layer across the bottom.
overhead shot of sliced apples in a crock pot.
  1. Step 2: Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon over the apples. Then, pour the vanilla, sprinkle in the cornstarch, and top everything with the butter cubes.
overhead shot of sliced apples and seasonings in a crockpot.
  1. Step 3: Cover and cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours until the apples are tender and caramelized. Once done, turn the warm function on and enjoy them as a side dish or dessert.
overhead shot of fried apples in a black crockpot.

Every slow cooker runs differently. Times given are a general recommendation and should be tested in your own slow cooker and adjusted as needed.

How to serve them

Fried apples are so good all on their own. A bowlful with a dollop of whipped cream or a drizzle of caramel sauce and we can call it a day!

However, you’ll have enough to enjoy them in more than one way! You can serve them over vanilla ice cream, or with a bowl of yogurt. Add them to your oatmeal, or overtop a stack of homemade pancakes.

If you’re serving them as a side dish, they go great with orange honey spiral ham, slow cooker coke ribs, or creamy ranch pork chops with potatoes.

If you’re on a copycat Cracker Barrel side dish kick, pair them with some country style green beans and coleslaw.

wooden spoon lifting a scoop of apples from a slow cooker.
  • Stick with tart apples to balance the brown sugar. Granny Smith, Gala, or Fuji (or a combination) are all great choices.
  • This is one of those times where I don’t recommend you cook them on low for a long time. Using a high temperature for no more than a few hours ensures the apples cook through without becoming mushy. We’re not making applesauce!
  • For a vibrant finish, add a bit of lemon juice.

How to store leftovers

Keep leftover crock pot fried apples in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. This is the stuff that will have you heading back to the fridge with a fork on a number of occasions, so they won’t last long!

Freezing Instructions

Technically you can freeze fried apples, however, once thawed the texture won’t be the same. They will probably be quite mushy. I’ve never had them last long enough to freeze, so I can’t say for certain.

Reheating Instructions

These reheat easily in the microwave or in a skillet on the stove.

FAQs

Can I use this recipe as a pie filling?

In theory, yes. Traditional apple pie filling has a few extra spices in there, or an apple pie spice blend, but if you’re not looking for the classic flavors, by all means, use this filling. You could even try it in caramel apple empanadas or an easy apple pie dump cake.

How many people does this serve?

Using 3 lbs of apples makes enough for 8 servings.

bowl of fried apples.

Need more apple recipes? Try these:

Apple Donut Mini Muffins

Easy Apple Strudel

Slow Cooker Apple Crisp

Apple Blondies with Peanut Butter

Click here to view my entire collection of dessert recipes.

Did You Make This?

If you made this recipe, I’d love to know how it went in the comments section below.

You can also tag me on Instagram – @melissa_ppplates or share a pic in the Persnickety Plates Community Facebook group. I love seeing what you’ve tried!

bowl of cracker barrel style fried apples.
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Slow Cooker Fried Apples – Cracker Barrel Copycat

Servings: 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
As long as you've got a bunch of apples, you can make this slow cooker fried apples recipe! Tender-crisp apples cooked down in butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon until they are coated in syrupy deliciousness right in the crockpot. Serve as a side dish or a dessert!

Equipment

Ingredients
 

  • 6 medium honey crisp apples sliced into approximately ¼" pieces; approximately 3 pounds
  • ½ cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ cup butter cubed

Instructions

  • Wash, peel, and slice the apples into approximately 1/4" pieces.
  • Arrange the sliced apples evenly across the bottom of a 6 quart slow cooker.
    6 medium honey crisp apples
  • Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, cornstarch, and cubed butter on top of the apples and stir until evenly coated.
    ½ cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 Tablespoons cornstarch, 1/4 cup butter
  • Cover and cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and caramelized.
  • Once tender, turn the slow cooker to WARM and serve the slow cooker "fried" apples as a side dish or dessert.

Notes

  • Any tart apple can be used like Granny Smith, Gala, or Fuji.
  • Store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Reheat in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stovetop.
Every slow cooker runs differently. Times given are a general recommendation and should be tested in your own slow cooker and adjusted as needed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 209kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 0.5g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 53mg | Potassium: 177mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 252IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 0.3mg

Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Tag me on Instagram @melissa_pplates so I can see!


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