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Easy Apple Strudel Recipe

Apple strudel is a very popular Viennese pastry with a flaky crust and juicy apple filling.

Beloved all over Europe, but especially in Germany, it’s ideal for breakfast or a sweet mid-morning treat.

Homemade Apple Strudel with Flaky Crust and Juicy Apple Filling
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Between the cooked apples and unique, paper-thin strudel dough, apple strudel is a real labor of love.

But since I’m a bit impatient when it comes to desserts, I wanted a more straightforward recipe.

So I made one!

This tastes just like the real thing; only the filling comes together in minutes, and you’ll use phyllo pastry for convenience.

And I bet no one will know it wasn’t 100% made from scratch. 

Apple Strudel Recipe {Homemade Apfelstrudel}

You’ve had apple pie and probably an apple turnover or two, but what about apple strudel?

There’s sugar, cinnamon, almond-infused raisins, and plenty of sweet and tart apples all wrapped in pastry.

So what makes it different?

Well, the pastry – and how it wraps inside the treat – makes the strudel iconic.

Strudel dough is super elastic, and bakers stretch it out as thin as possible. As a result, when rolled up with the fillings, it’s impossibly buttery and flaky.

The whole thing is baked until golden, then finished off with a dusting of powdered sugar.

This show-stopping dessert is guaranteed to drop some jaws. And surprisingly, it’s not that difficult to make! 

Apple Strudel Ingredients - Apple, Raisins, Sugar, All-Purpose Flour, Cinnamon, Melted Butter, Phyllo Dough and Powdered Sugar

Apple Strudel Ingredients

As mentioned, I’ve taken a few shortcuts here. So you won’t be making pastry. Phew!

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Instead, you’ll need premade pastry and the following:

  • Apples – it’s called apple strudel for a reason! I like Granny Smiths, but I’ve also listed other options down below.
  • Raisins – you’ll need to soak them in a mixture of water and almond extract to rehydrate them and enhance their flavor.
  • Sugar – for sweetness. I use regular white sugar, but brown sugar will work wonderfully, too.
  • All-Purpose Flour – added to the filling to help thicken the liquid and form a nice syrup.
  • Cinnamon – apples and cinnamon. Need I say more?
  • Melted Butter and Oil – brushed over each layer of phyllo dough to create a semi-homemade laminated dough. 
  • Phyllo Dough – I don’t even want to think about attempting to make the dough from scratch! Why bother when store-bought phyllo dough gives you the same finish? 
  • Powdered Sugar – for serving. It’s optional, but I highly recommend it.

What Kind of Apples Are Best for Apple Strudel? 

There’s such an overwhelming variety of apples that it’s sometimes hard to pick the perfect ones.

Here’s the most important thing you need to keep in mind: pick apples that can hold up to baking. 

Some apples will disintegrate when exposed to high heat, so using those will make the strudel’s filling mushy and soggy.

In terms of flavor, it’s best to combine sweet and tart apples to create a nice flavor balance.

That all said, I think the best apples for apple strudel are:

  • Granny Smiths – tart and firm
  • Honey Crisp – crisp, firm, and sweet
  • Pink Lady – crisp, with sweet and tart flavors
  • Gala – firm with a mild flavor
  • Braeburn – crisp with a strong flavor

What Pastry Is Used for Strudel?

Strudel pastry is used for traditional apple strudel. It mixes high-gluten flour, water, oil, and salt. There is no added sugar, which is why apple strudel is served with powdered sugar on top. The pastry is mixed for an extended time, rested, then stretched and rolled by hand until paper-thin.

And while I’m all for authenticity, let’s not be ambitious here. 

There’s a much simpler way to make the flaky strudel pastry without going through all the time and trouble.

So for this simplified recipe, all you’ll need is a box of phyllo dough!

To replicate that incredibly flaky pastry, you’ll roll out the phyllo sheets, brush them with butter, and stack them on top of each other.

It’s a relatively straightforward process, and the results are equally impressive.

Homemade Apple Strudel

How to Make Apple Strudel 

You’ll find details instructions with the recipe below. But here are the highlights:

1. Thaw the phyllo overnight in the fridge.

Take it out of the box (but not the plastic) and leave it overnight in the fridge. Then remove it from the fridge about an hour before baking.

2. Preheat the oven and grease a baking sheet.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175°C) and lightly grease a baking or cookie sheet with butter or non-stick spray.

3. Rehydrate the raisins. 

Add the raisins and almond extract (optional) to a bowl of water and microwave it on high for 1 1/2 minutes. 

Let it stand for 5 minutes, then drain. Set aside to cool.

4. Make the apple filling.

Peel, then roughly chop the apples. Then, add them to a large bowl, and toss them with the cooled raisins, sugar, flour, and cinnamon.

5. Make the butter mixture and prepare the phyllo pastry.

Whisk together the melted butter and oil. Set it aside to cool slightly.

Then dust a flat, dry workspace with flour, and carefully take the pastry out of the plastic.

Unroll it onto the floured surface (as flat as it’ll go) and cover it with a slightly damp kitchen towel.

When you have everything ready, here’s how to prep the phyllo:

  • Lay one sheet of phyllo dough on the floured surface.
  • Brush it with the prepared butter mixture.
  • Lay another sheet of phyllo on top, then brush that with the butter mixture.
  • Repeat the steps until all sheets are used up.

In the end, you’ll have eight sheets of phyllo stacked on top of each other with a layer of melted butter in between.

6. Spoon the filling into the center of the pastry and brush the edges with egg wash. 

Don’t spread the filling to cover the surface of the phyllo.

Instead, keep it central, leaving about a 1-2 inch border on each side. Brush this with egg wash or the butter mixture.

7. Fold and roll the pastry.

Turn the whole pastry, so one of the short edges is closest to you.

Fold about 1 inch of the border on each long side over the apples. Then fold one of the short edges over the apples – the one closest to you.

At this point, you should have three of the four edges folded, with one short edge left open.

The short edge you folded should be in front of you.

Very carefully lift and roll the strudel until you have a log, and use the last short edge to seal it.

If you see any gaps or holes in the pastry, gently squeeze them shut with your fingers.

8. Bake until golden.

Brush the surface with the butter mixture and sprinkle it with sugar. 

Cut diagonal slits on top, then bake the strudel for 35 to 40 minutes or until it turns golden brown.

9. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Allow the apple strudel to cool for about 10 minutes. Then dust the whole thing with powdered sugar, cut, and serve.

Homemade Apple Strudel with Powdered Sugar Filled with Raisins

Tips and Tricks

  • Cover the phyllo sheets with a damp towel to keep them from drying out. This happens so fast, so keep an eye on them.
  • Add a splash of lemon juice to the apple filling to keep the apples from browning. It will also lift the flavors nicely.
  • Soak the raisins in more than water for added flavor. Dilute rum, brandy, tea, or orange extract with water, and they’ll work beautifully. Of course, apple juice works really well too!
  • Add finely chopped nuts to the filling for a nice crunch. Walnuts and almonds are my go-to’s.
  • Add chunks of marzipan/almond paste to the filling. It’ll offer nice textural contrast and a pleasant almond taste.
  • Don’t be tempted to add more apple filling. The point of apple strudel is the signature roll, with the pastry wrapped in the middle. If you add more filling, it won’t roll.
  • Strudel is best served warm. Just let it cool for 10 minutes after baking, and dig in.

How to Store Apple Strudel

Unfortunately, apple strudel doesn’t keep well for long. But you’ll likely finish the entire thing within one sitting, anyway, so it’s no biggie.

In case you want to keep it around longer, wrap the whole thing with plastic wrap and store it at room temperature.

But like I said, it won’t last, so consume it within 2-3 days.

You can extend its life by a bit if you keep it in the fridge. Just be sure to store it on the bottom shelf – the coldest area of the fridge.

It’ll keep for up to 4-5 days, but keep in mind it’ll go soggy over time – especially the pastry in the middle.

To reheat, warm it in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Or pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds.

How to Freeze Apple Strudel

Since apple strudel doesn’t hold up in long storage, it’s better to freeze it before baking.

Here’s how to freeze apple strudel:

  • Make the strudel as instructed.
  • Don’t brush it with butter or sprinkle the sugar on top.
  • Wrap the whole thing in plastic and foil, then store it in a freezer-safe bag.
  • Freeze for up to 3 months.

When ready to bake, let it thaw in the fridge overnight or for 1 hour on the countertop. You can then bake it as instructed.

What to Serve with Apple Strudel

Classic apple strudel is traditionally dusted with powdered sugar. It doesn’t just make it pretty, but it also sweetens the pastry.

If you’re feeling extra, it’s best served warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Another option is to drizzle over vanilla glaze instead of dusting it with powdered sugar. Then, use that sticky goodness to add flaky almonds to the top too!

For drinks, apple strudel is lovely with coffee, cold apple cider, or mulled wine.

More Apple Dessert Recipes You’ll Love

Apple Bread
Apple Fritters
Apple Brown Betty
Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp
Apple Coffee Cake

Apple Strudel

Servings

6

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

1

hour 

45

minutes
Calories

229

kcal

Apple strudel is a very popular Viennese pastry with a flaky crust and juicy apple filling. It’s ideal for breakfast or as a sweet mid-morning treat.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup raisins

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

  • 3 cups apples, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 4 tennis-sized apples)

  • 1/3 cup and 2 teaspoons sugar, divided

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • 8 (14×9-inch) sheets phyllo dough, thawed

  • 1 egg, gently beaten for egg wash

  • Powdered sugar, for dusting, optional

Instructions

  • Take the pastry out of the freezer and box, then store it in the fridge overnight to thaw.
  • When the pastry is thawed, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175°C) and grease a baking sheet with butter or non-stick spray.
  • Put the raisins in water with almond extract (if using) in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 90 seconds, then let it sit for 5 minutes, and drain.
  • Toss the cooled raisins with the apples, 1/3 cup sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a large bowl.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter and oil – reserve 2 teaspoons for later.
  • Carefully unroll the phyllo pastry onto a floured surface and cover the whole batch with a damp cloth. Take one sheet at a time, keeping the remaining pastry covered, so it doesn’t dry out.
  • Lay one sheet of pastry on the floured worktop and brush the surface with the butter mixture.
  • Lay a second sheet onto the top and brush that with butter. Then repeat this until all the pastry is stacked.
  • Using a slotted spoon, spread the apple mixture on top of the pastry, leaving a 1-2 inch border around each side.
  • Brush the four borders with the egg wash and fold over the longer sides. Then, turn the whole thing so one of the short edges is closest to you.
  • Fold the closest short edge over the apples, then carefully roll the strudel from that end. When you reach the open end, use the last border to seal it shut.
  • Carefully transfer the strudel onto the greased baking sheet, brush the top with the remaining 2 teaspoons of the butter mixture, and sprinkle the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar on top.
  • Slice diagonal slits on top and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Let the apple strudel cool slightly on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar. Enjoy!
Apple Strudel

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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