This is my grandmother’s old-fashioned Apple Dumpling recipe! Juicy, tender, cinnamon & sugar-spiced apples baked inside a buttery, flaky, and foolproof homemade pie crust and topped off with a simple syrup!
Homemade Apple Dumplings
I had good, productive plans for this weekend. Ones that didn’t include apple dumplings whatsoever. With Baby Boy expected in less than 7 weeks (omg) I intended to finally get the crib assembled, get all the baby clothes packed, and get the nursery at least partially organized.
Instead, Zach and I spent our Saturday at an Apple festival eating (and drinking) all things apple related. Then, instead of doing any actual organizing, I came home and promptly made another batch of apple dumplings. Then my little sister got engaged (!!!) and of course any hope of productivity was out the window at that point, but at least we had apple dumplings ready to celebrate, right?
Here’s hoping things go a bit better next weekend, because we’re running out of time.
I’m not sure why, but I always thought apple dumplings were complicated to make. My grandmother has been making this recipe for decades and it’s always been a family favorite, but until recently I never even asked her for the recipe because I was content sticking to “easy” recipes (like Apple Crisp). Turns out apple dumplings are actually really simple (the hardest part for me was coring the apple!).
We’ll peel and core our apples, fill them with cinnamon/sugar, wrap them up in our beautiful foolproof homemade pie crust (the same one I use to make my favorite Apple Pie!) and then cook ’em in a sweet buttery syrup.
How to Assemble Apple Dumplings
The steps below correspond with the photos above. I don’t think you’ll have much trouble with this recipe, but thought it might be helpful to walk through the assembly process.
- Cut your pie dough into squares that are large enough to completely encase your apples. You should aim for 6 apple dumplings and pie dough squares that are 6-7″ wide. Place peeled, cored apple in the center and fill with about 1 ½ Tablespoons of cinnamon/sugar mix.
- Fold opposite ends of the pie dough over the top of the apple, making sure the corners overlap. Dab your fingers with a bit of water to help encourage the dough to stick together.
- Now fold your remaining opposite corners over each other, overlapping the first two corners of dough. You should have what looks like a cute little apple purse at this point!
- Carefully transfer to a 9×13 baking dish. I recommend using two of these dishes and placing three apples in each to avoid overcrowding. Pour syrup around (not overtop) dumplings and then bake until dumplings are golden brown and apples are tender when pierced with a fork (or a skewer, or toothpick).
The result is apple dumplings with a golden-brown, flaky, buttery crust and tender, juicy, cinnamon-spiced interior. Just… Yum.
For even more step-by-step details, check out the video below the recipe!
What Apples are Best for Dumplings?
Much like with my apple crisp or apple pie, I recommend using a firm, tart apple when making apple dumplings. My personal favorites are Honeycrisp or Gala (I used Honeycrisp here), though Granny Smith would also work! Jonagold and Braeburn are other good options, and my grandmother actually likes to use Red Delicious apples.
Keep the size of your apple in mind when making apple dumplings. I recommend a “medium” sized apple. The important thing is that the 6-7″ pastry squares you cut out of your pie crust are large enough to cover your apple entirely. I tend to reach for apples that are about the size of my fist.
Do You Have to Refrigerate Apple Dumplings?
If you’ll be enjoying these within 1-2 days you do not need to refrigerate, just store them in an airtight container at room temperature. If I intend to keep them longer (or if I just want them off of my counter) I will store them in the refrigerator. Personally I think they taste best warm so either way I will usually toss them in the microwave before enjoying a leftover apple dumpling.
One more thing I want to mention! I found coring apples without an apple corer to be difficult, messy, and even a little dangerous (I used a sharp knife before I got my corer, and maybe I’m just really bad at it?). I highly recommend getting yourself an apple corer, it makes making apple dumplings so much quicker, easier, and safer. I linked to the one that I use in the recipe below (in the “Equipment” section). Inexpensive and available on Amazon!
More Apple Recipes to Try:
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- 2 batches homemade pie dough (click on the link for the recipe for homemade pie dough)
- 6 medium-sized apples¹ peeled and cored
- ½ cup granulated sugar 100g
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon salted butter cut into 6 small pieces
- 1 cup granulated sugar 200g
- 2 cups water 475ml
- 3 Tablespoons salted butter
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 425F (215C).
- Prepare filling first by stirring together sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Divide pie dough into two pieces (if you don't already have it divided in two). Place one back in the refrigerator to keep cool and roll out the second into a long rectangle that’s just over 7” wide and just over 21” long. Cut into 6”-7” squares until you have three squares, then repeat with second half of pie dough until you have six pie squares total. Set aside
- Place peeled, cored apple in the center of pie dough square.
- Pour about 1 ½ Tablespoon of filling into the center of apple. Top with a small piece of butter.
- Fold one corner of the pie dough square over the top of your apple. Then take the opposite corner and overlap the first, moisten your finger with water and lightly dampen the pastry to encourage it to stick together. Repeat with opposite corners (see photos in post or video below for visual).
- Carefully transfer apple to 9x13 baking dish (I use two 9x13 dishes for this recipe to avoid over-crowding the pan). Repeat until all apples have been filled and covered in pastry.
- Prepare syrup by combining 1 cup granulated sugar, 2 cups water, 3 Tablespoons butter, and ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon in a medium-sized saucepan. Stir well and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once boiling, remove from heat and set aside.
- Give syrup another stir and then carefully pour around apples in each pan (do not pour on top of dumplings).
- Transfer apple dumplings to 425F (215C) oven and bake 40-45² minutes or until apples are tender (I’ll usually poke them with a wooden skewer to test).
- Before serving, top with a bit of the syrup from the pan.