Apple pie cookies have all the components of apple pie, but in cookie form! My recipe uses a homemade apple pie filling and even includes an optional “a la mode” decoration. Recipe includes a how-to video!
Apple Pie in Cookie Form
These apple pie cookies are gourmet cookies inspired by classic apple pie! They are fun to make (a process, but a worthwhile one!) and would be a truly unique and welcomed addition to your Thanksgiving dessert table.
These apple pie cookies have:
- Flavorful cookie base (very similar to what I use for my coffee cake cookies) that is carefully designed to not be too sweet or rich.
- Authentic apple pie filling! The filling does need to be cooked on the stove first; I talk more about this below.
- Crumbly, buttery streusel topping made from my easy streusel recipe that requires NO pastry cutter (anyone else absolutely hate that thing?)!
- Simple vanilla glaze and adorable buttercream ice cream scoops (!!) 🤩
Okay, technically the glaze and “ice cream” are optional, but aren’t they fun? You may expect the “ice cream” to be too sweet to be palatable (especially once you see how much sugar goes into it), but, almost weirdly, it’s not. It’s mostly just for show, but honestly, it actually tastes good, too! If you don’t feel like doing both, I’d recommend at least doing the glaze.
YES, there are many parts to this recipe and multiple steps, but these cookies are such a fun project that I really enjoyed making. I hope you love them too!
What You Need
You need quite a few ingredients to make these apple pie cookies (15 to be exact, if you make the glaze and ice cream too!), but most are pantry staples.
- Apples. We’re essentially making an apple pie filling (if it looks familiar, it’s because it’s closely adapted from my amazing apple turnovers) for the centers. A firm, tart apple, like Granny Smith, works best here, they hold their shape well without becoming mushy or too weepy and keep the cookie from being too sweet. Precooking the apples works best, since raw apples don’t become soft enough or yield enough flavor (even after being baked in the cookies).
- Brown sugar. I use light brown sugar in nearly every component of these apple pie cookies! If you don’t have any on hand or run out during baking, read my post on how to make brown sugar.
- Cornstarch. This thickens our filling. I also use some in the cookie dough to prevent the cookies from spreading too much and to keep them nice and soft.
- Butter. We’ll use softened unsalted butter for the cookies and melted (yes, melted!) butter for the streusel. Unlike traditional recipes, my streusel recipe comes together in seconds, no pastry cutter required. This is all thanks to melted butter!
- Vanilla. I use regular vanilla extract in the cookie dough and vanilla bean paste in the glaze and “ice cream” scoops. The paste has little flecks of vanilla beans, which makes the buttercream scoops look even more like real-deal ice cream. If you don’t have vanilla bean paste, regular vanilla extract will work just fine!
SAM’S TIP: If you forget to set your eggs out ahead of time, let them sit in a bowl of warm water for 10-15 minutes. This will bring them to room temperature quickly.
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Apple Pie Cookies
Apple Pie Filling
- Stir together the apples, sugar, butter, cornstarch, and cinnamon in a pan over medium-low heat. Once the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved, increase the heat to medium and let the mixture come to a simmer.
- Continue simmering for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat once the apples are tender, then pour into a heatproof bowl. Transfer to the fridge to cool while you make the cookie dough.
- Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
- Stir in the eggs and vanilla until combined.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until completely combined, then cover and place the dough in the fridge to chill.
- Combine the flour, sugars, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl, then drizzle the cooled melted butter overtop.
- Claw/toss the mixture together with a fork until it is clumpy. Don’t work it together too much or you will create a paste.
- Roll the dough. Scoop about 2 Tablespoons and roll between your palms until smooth. Indent the centers of each cookie using the back of a cookie scoop.
- Spoon 1 tablespoon of the filling into each indentation.
- Press about 1 tablespoon of streusel (I just do a small handful) over the filling, making sure to completely cover it.
- Bake for 13-14 minutes at 350F or until the edges turn a light golden brown. Let the cookies cool completely before decorating, they’ll be a bit fragile when they’re warm.
SAM’S TIP: When indenting the cookies, don’t press too far. If the bottom of the indent is too shallow, then the the filling could become too heavy for it and fall through the bottom.
- Cream the butter, salt, and vanilla until smooth, then gradually add the sugar ½ cup at a time. Wait until each addition is fully incorporated before adding the next.
- Check the frosting consistency: it should be a stiff, rollable dough that is almost like play dough. If it’s not, add more powdered sugar.
- Whisk together the glaze, then drizzle it over your cookies.
- Add a 1 tablespoon sized scoop of the buttercream over the glaze. Let the glaze harden, then enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
You could, but why would you?
Alright, alright! I understand, everything can’t always be from scratch and I don’t see why store-bought wouldn’t work here.
But for the record, I recommend making your own. Homemade will have the best flavor and sweetness level, whereas store-bought could be inconsistent or just way too sweet. If you must use the premade kind, pinky-promise me you’ll try it sometime in the future from scratch and note that you will need about 1.5 cups of pie filling.
Yes! Each component of these cookies (except the vanilla glaze) can be made and stored in advance. The pie filling can be stored in the fridge in a sealed container for 3 days, the dough can be covered and stored in the fridge for 3 days, the streusel can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for (you guessed it) 3 days, and the buttercream can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for at least a week. Note that the buttercream will get very stiff in the refrigerator, so I would recommend scooping/rolling it before chilling.
I don’t see why not! You could try using any of the fillings from my hand pies; just make sure to let it cool before adding it to the cookies. Beware that any fillings that are particularly juicy/wet could cause the cookie to become soggy.
So there you have it. Apple pie cookies are the latest, Fall-infused addition to my growing gourmet cookie collection.
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
Apple Pie Cookies
- 3 cups (350 g) cored, peeled, diced apples see note
- ¼ cup (50 g) light brown sugar firmly packed
- 2 Tablespoons (28 g) butter salted or unsalted
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Buttercream “ice cream”
- 1 cup (125 g) powdered sugar
- 1-2 Tablespoons whole milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- Combine apples, sugar, butter, cornstarch, and cinnamon in a medium sized skillet over medium-low heat. Stir frequently until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved.3 cups (350 g) cored, peeled, diced apples, ¼ cup (50 g) light brown sugar, 2 Tablespoons (28 g) butter, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Increase heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender when pierced with a fork.
- Remove from heat and pour into a heatproof bowl. Place in the refrigerator while you prepare the dough.
- Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Combine softened butter and sugars in a large bowl and use an electric mixer (or a stand mixer with paddle attachment) to beat until light and fluffy.1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar, 1 cup (200 g) light brown sugar
- Add eggs and vanilla and stir until combined.2 large eggs, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a separate, medium-sized bowl whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.4 cups (500 g) all-purpose flour, 2 Tablespoons cornstarch, 2 teaspoons baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt
- Gradually add dry ingredients to wet, stirring until completely combined.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill slightly while you prepare the streusel.
- Melt butter in a small bowl and allow to cool until no longer warm to the touch.6 Tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter
- Combine flour, sugars, salt and cinnamon in medium-sized bowl and stir until combined.1 ¼ cups (155 g) all-purpose flour, ½ cup (100 g) light brown sugar, ⅓ cup (65 g) granulated sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Drizzle cooled butter into flour mixture and claw together with a fork until you have a clumpy streusel.
- Remove apple filling and cookie dough from refrigerator.
- Scoop dough by 2 Tablespoon-sized balls and roll until smooth. Place on baking sheet and make an indent in the cookie (I used the back of the cookie scoop to make indent – do not push too deep or make the cookie too thin or the cookie won’t be able to support the weight of it after baking)).
- Scoop a level Tablespoon of filling into the indent you just created
- Take a small handful of streusel (about 1 Tablespoon) and nestle gently into the filling. Use enough to completely cover the filling.
- Transfer to center rack of 350F (175C) oven for 13-14 minutes or until edges begin to turn a light golden brown. Allow to cool completely before decorating with glaze and “ice cream” (below, if using).
Buttercream “ice cream”:
- Beat butter, salt, and vanilla in large bowl using an electric mixer until butter is smooth.½ cups (113 g) unsalted butter, ⅛ teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
- Add powdered sugar ½ cup at a time, waiting until each cup is completely mixed before adding more. Once finished, the buttercream should be very stiff, almost a play-dough like consistency. It should be easy to roll into a ball. Add more powdered sugar, if needed, to reach proper consistency.3 cups (375 g) powdered sugar
- Set aside while you prepare the vanilla bean glaze.
- Whisk together powdered sugar with 1 Tablespoon of milk and vanilla bean paste until completely combined. Add additional milk, a splash at a time, until glaze is smooth and ribbons off of your whisk.1 cup (125 g) powdered sugar, 1-2 Tablespoons whole milk, ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- Drizzle glaze on cookie. Scoop buttercream by one Tablespoon sized scoop and place on cookie, gently nestling onto the glaze (which will help “cement” it).
- Allow glaze to harden before enjoying.
ApplesThis is about 4 small apples for me. I recommend Granny Smith apples for best results. They are tart and firm and lend themselves well to these cookies. Alternatively you may use another tart, firm apple. Softer apples, like Mcintosh, aren’t ideal.
Cookie indentsDon’t make the indentation in the cookie too deep, if there’s not enough cookie dough on the bottom the cookie won’t be stable.
StoringStore in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.