side dishes

German-Style Fried Apples Are The Perfect Side Dish For Fall Menus


German-Style Fried Apple Recipe

Today I want to tell you about German-style fried apples, the way my husband’s ancestors made them. When I was just sixteen, my husband took me home to meet the family in his hometown, a tiny farming community of less than 500 hearty souls.

I met everyone on both sides of his family that day! My father-in-law was the youngest in a family of nine children. Three of his sisters, Dora, Christina, and Martha, never married, and all of them grew up to be amazing cooks!

Dora was the oldest girl. The fact that she was first-born made her the boss of the kitchen and pretty much everything else. I’m certain Dora had a direct pipeline to God, and I adored her. Despite never having children of her own, she had more youngsters who loved her than anyone I have ever known.

That woman could work, and boy, could she cook! They all could, and another day, I’ll tell you about Chris and Martha’s best recipes. My father-in-law was the baby of the family by several years, and those three older sisters all babied him their whole life.

Why German Food Is Popular All Over The World

German food is beloved worldwide because it’s hearty, full of flavor, and usually cheap to make. It had to be to keep the tummies of nine children full!

My husband is 100% German, and he loves to eat! What a great arrangement because I love to cook! All his ancestors on both sides of the family immigrated from Germany and Luxembourg to Nebraska, and they were all hard-working, thrifty farmers.

To this day, we enjoy a lot of the hearty German foods my husband’s grandparents, aunts, and uncles grew up with. Fried apples are one of the many simple “farm foods” we ate while our kids were growing up. Aunt Dora showed me how to make them, and it was love at first bite.

Here’s How To Make The Tastiest Fried Apples Just Like Aunt Dora’s

Start with nice firm cooking apples. Use your favorite! These are Fujis, which we love, but Jonathans, Granny Smiths, or Braeburns make mighty good fried apples, too! Allow about one large apple per serving.

I like to leave the peel on for more color, more nutrition, and more fiber. Quarter the apples and remove the core.

Slice the apples into thin half-moons.

Put the apple slices into a non-stick skillet with a tight-fitting lid. Add about one tablespoon of real butter per apple. Cover and cook on medium heat until liquid is released and apples are tender. Peek a time or two while they’re cooking. If needed, add a tablespoon or two of water. Cook time will depend on the variety of apples, but somewhere around 15 minutes.

Now, remove the lid and sprinkle with sugar. Use about a teaspoon of sugar per apple. Some varieties are sweeter than others, so start with less sugar and adjust to taste. Continue to cook them, occasionally stirring, until the apples begin to get a little brown and crispy along the edges.

Don’t worry if they get a bit too brown; that crispy burnt sugar edge is delicious! When they’re brown to your liking, sprinkle ever so lightly with some coarse salt for the ultimate naturally sweet-salty side dish. There you have it, a panful of the tastiest German-style fried apples!

In Case You Thought Apples Were Just For Pie Please Think Again

German-style fried apples are amazing with sausage, sauerkraut, and plain buttered potatoes. Also yummy with ham, pulled pork, pork chops, or oven-roasted chicken.

One man commented he always fixes fried apples to serve alongside his kraut burgers. He said, “I have made fried apples like this for years. They are absolutely the best fall treat. I always fry apples when I make kraut burgers, and it has become part of my fall traditions. Fried apples and kraut burgers for supper bring smiles to your face and happiness to your stomach.” Those were such fun words to hear!

I asked him, “What are kraut burgers?” It turns out he’s talking about what we call runzas here in Nebraska! So there’s an idea for a wonderful German meal! (He’s from Colorado; in Kansas, they’re called bierocks!)

Sometimes, when I want German-style fried apples to be more savory, I add thinly sliced sweet onion and let the flavors mingle and get to know each other while they fry.

Yet another way to serve fried apples is to skip the salt and use cinnamon sugar and a dash of nutmeg instead. You end up with sort of a crustless apple pie that’s great with cream or over ice cream! Yum!

Yield: 4 servings

German-Style Fried Apples

German-style fried apples

Sweet, buttery, and slightly salty fried apples are made in a skillet for a wonderful, versatile side dish

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • Four firm, crisp cooking apples like Granny Smith, Braeburn, Jonathan, or Fuji. Don't peel them.
  • 4 Tbsp real butter
  • About 4 tsp sugar, or to taste
  • About 1/2 tsp coarse salt, or to taste


  1. Quarter and core the apples, then slice into thin half-moons.
  2. Put the apples into a non-stick skillet with a tight-fitting lid. Cover.
  3. Add butter to the skillet, cover tightly, and cook over medium heat until the apples release their moisture and get tender. The cooking time will depend on the variety of apples, so check occasionally and add a small amount of water (I or 2 Tbsp) if needed.
  4. Uncover, sprinkle on the sugar and continue to cook until the apples begin to brown slightly and have crisp edges.
  5. Sprinkle with a small amount of coarse salt and serve. See narrative for serving suggestions.

Have you ever eaten fried apples? Do you have a favorite recipe that has been passed down from family? These fried apples are just one of many recipes we enjoy making! Tell us about yours and send us a picture! We’d love that so much!

German-Style Fried Apples
German-Style Fried Apples

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