Southern Fried Apples (Paleo, AIP, GAPS)

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fried apples served in a white bowl with 2 raw apples and 2 cinnamon sticks in the background

“I know the look of an apple that is roasting and sizzling on the hearth on a winter’s evening, and I know the comfort that comes of eating it hot.”
~ Mark Twain

Cooking Cracker Barrel at Home

It’s no longer winter, but why limit comfort food to one season? I’m currently out of town visiting family, which always makes me think of Cracker Barrel. Why? Prior to developing rheumatoid arthritis, I stopped there at least once on every road trip. My favorite meal was pot roast with gravy, a double order of hash brown casserole, and fried apples. Sigh…to remember the convenience of restaurant meals where I could order anything on the menu. Travel is very different for me today, and Cracker Barrel is no longer an option. Between their homemade biscuits and breaded everything, I think there’s gluten in the very air you breathe.

That’s OK. I’ve adjusted to this lifestyle, and as someone who likes to cook, I’ve become adept at re-creating autoimmune-friendly versions of classic American recipes. The pot roast I eat now puts Cracker Barrel’s to shame. And while the hashbrown casserole is out of the question for me (filled with nightshades, dairy and gluten), fried apples are very easy to make at home. I don’t need to be on the road to enjoy this special treat. It’s quick comfort food, available year-round.

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Southern Fried Apples (Paleo, AIP, GAPS)

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  • Author: Eileen Laird
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


  • 2 lbs. apples
  • 2 Tbsp. favorite cooking fat (duck fat, lard, or coconut oil all work well)
  • 2 Tbsp. raw honey
  • 1/8 tsp. sea salt
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg (optional – omit for AIP)


  1. Slice the apples into thick chunks or wedges.
  2. Melt fat in large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the apples, honey, salt and lemon juice. Toss to blend, and then cook covered for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove apples from heat. Sprinkle with cinnamon (and nutmeg if using). Toss to blend, and enjoy!


  1. These apples have a sweet-tart flavor which I prefer. But if you want the true Cracker Barrel sweet apple experience, add another tablespoon of honey.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Treats
  • Method: Stovetop

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22 comments on “Southern Fried Apples (Paleo, AIP, GAPS)”

  1. My mother is from Kentucky so I’ve eaten southern cooked apples my whole life and the dripping butter made it all the better Now of course, we can’t do that. But I think I’ve found a way to up the flavor on your recipe. Toward the end of the cooking process, add a splash of apple cider vinegar. It lends a slightly sweet, tangy flavor with the honey that was so popular in my house, I had to get up from the dinner table to make another batch! Give it a try and see what you think.

  2. Samantha Merritt

    I was wondering if you’ve ever made these in a crock pot? I have made this numerous times and love em! I have to make them without a stove and am trying to think outside the box.

    1. Hi Sunshine. You would need to add water to build up pressure in the Instant Pot, and that would change the texture and also dilute the flavor. I think that’s why most Instant Pot Apple recipes are for applesauce instead. You can certainly do some experiments, but I think it will come out quite differently than the original recipe.

  3. Variations on a theme:
    I have a plethora of feral apples this season. Using the “food as medicine” guideline, I’ve been frying them for breakfast in lard with ground turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, and mace. (Mace is the fruit/aril around the nutmeg seed and AIP approved. The other three are anti-inflammatory and digestive supporting.) Add a tiny pinch of salt and a spoonful of honey. Top with a sprinkle of bee pollen. Delish!

  4. My son is top 8 free but is also allergic to citrus. Will this work without the lemon juice? He does love apples!

    1. I think it will work fine without the lemon juice. The apples might darken a little bit more, but they’ll still taste delicious.

  5. Yum!!!! Can’t wait to try this recipe! I too used to love Cracker Barrel. It was one of the stops on my annual road trip with my father. Never cared so much for the food but loved the atmosphere and time with dad. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. Oh my goodness! I just made this and it was soooo good! I feel like I actually get to indulge after dinner! Food (even when it taste good to others) hasn’t been good to me lately. Sad! But this is amazing!

  7. That does sound good, but not for me. I have diabetes and even the apples are a bit of a stretch. But sometimes I do fry apples in coconut oil, and they’re delicious with just a a squirt of lemon juice and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

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