Fried Apples ‘n’ Onions

He knelt on the ice, pushing sawdust into the cracks with his mittened hands, and pounding it down with a stick as fast as he could, and he asked Royal, “What would you like best to eat?” They talked about spareribs, and turkey with dressing, and baked beans, and crackling cornbread, and other good things. But Almanzo said that what he liked most in the world was fried apples’n’onions.

When, at last, they went in to dinner, there on the table was a big dish of them! Mother knew what he liked best, and she had cooked it for him.  Almanzo ate four large helpings of apples’n’onions fried together.

-From Farmer Boy, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

This is a “country” dish, seldom mentioned in cookbooks but recalled by many old-timers. Some feel the sugar is essential, while others call it “a sin.”

(Serves 6)


  • 1/2 pound bacon or salt pork, sliced

  • 6 yellow onions, thinly sliced

  • 6 tart apples, cored and sliced

  • 2 Tbs brown sugar


Fry the bacon or salt pork slices in a large skillet until they are brown and crisp.  Set them aside on a warm serving platter. 

While the meat is frying, peel the onions, leaving the stems to use for slicing.  To prevent your eyes from watering, hold a slice of bread in your teeth while you slice the onions as thin as possible.  Discard the stems.

Core the apples, and cut them crosswise in slices about 1/4 inch thick.  Apple skins help the slices keep their shape and add flavor and color to the dish so don’t peel them unless the skins are tough or scarred. 

Drain all but one tablespoon of fat from the skillet, then add the onion slices. Cook them over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes.  Cover with the apple slices in an even layer.  Sprinkle brown sugar over all, cover the skillet, and cook until the apples are tender, 5-15 minutes more depending on your apple variety.  Stir only to prevent scorching.  Remove the apples and onions to the warm plate with the bacon or salt pork slices, and serve immediately.