Apple Strudel

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Apple strudel, a flaky phyllo pastry filled with brandy-soaked raisins, apples and walnuts, is delicious any time of day with a cup of coffee.

Apple strudel is a traditional Viennese pastry filled with brandy-soaked raisins, cinnamon-scented apples, and chopped walnuts. It’s meant to be eaten for dessert or any time of day with a cup of coffee.

I know that making strudel may sound complicated — and, yes, there are a few tricks to working with the dough — but once you get the hang of it, it’s easier than pie (literally). Plus, the recipe can be multiplied for a crowd, prepared ahead of time, or frozen to bake at a later date.

Serve the apple strudel on its own, with whipped cream, or with vanilla ice cream.

What You’ll Need To Make Apple Strudel

ingredients for apple strudel

Traditional strudel dough is made from scratch, rolled, and stretched over a table until it is paper-thin. (It’s as tedious as it sounds!) The modern shortcut is to use readily available store-bought phyllo, a tissue-thin dough used for making flaky European and Middle Eastern pastries, such as strudel, baklava, and spanakopita. You can find it in the freezer section of most grocery stores (be sure to thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before using). It’s easy and forgiving to work with once you get a feel for it.

For the apples, be sure to use baking apples that hold their shape when cooked, otherwise you’ll end up with applesauce. Some readily available baking apples include: Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Honey Crisp, and Fuji. And, if possible, use a mix of different varietals for better flavor.

Panko may seem like an unusual ingredient for a dessert like this; it serves to soak up the excess juice that the apples give off while baking. When at the store, make sure you select the plain version of panko as it is usually placed right next to panko seasoned with Italian herbs.

How To Make Apple Strudel

combining apples, raisins, sugar, brandy and cinnamon in pan

Unlike most strudel recipes, this one calls for cooking the apples first before rolling them up in the dough. This ensures that they soften adequately, and also ensures that they don’t exude too much liquid while baking, which would make the pastry soggy.

To begin, in a large skillet, combine the apples, granulated sugar, cinnamon, brandy, raisins, and salt.

cooking the apple mixture

Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the liquid from the apples dissolves and the apples are soft, 10 to 12 minutes.

adding nuts to cooked apple mixture

Stir in the walnuts.

apple strudel filling cooling in pan

Set aside to cool.

buttering first sheet of phyllo

Wet and wring out a clean dishtowel. Have the melted butter nearby with a brush. Unroll the phyllo and cover it with the plastic wrap from the package or a sheet of wax paper, followed by the damp towel; keep it covered as you work so it doesn’t dry out.

Place 1 phyllo sheet on a clean work surface with the long side facing you. Brush the sheet with melted butter.

buttering stacked sheets of phyllo

Layer with four additional phyllo sheets, brushing each layer with the melted butter. (You should have a stack of five buttery sheets.)

adding panko bread crumbs to stacked phyllo sheets

Spread half of the panko in a 3 by 10-inch rectangle about 2 inches from the bottom of the phyllo sheets and about 2 inches from each side.

apple strudel filling on phyllo sheets

Spread half of the apple mixture on top of the panko.

folding over edges of phyllo

Fold the sides of the phyllo over the filling, then fold the bottom edge of the phyllo over filling.

rolling the strudel

Roll up jelly-roll style and carefully transfer to the prepared baking sheet.

buttering the apple strudels before baking

Brush the top of the strudels with the remaining butter.

cutting slits in the strudels to vent

With a sharp knife, cut diagonal slits in 2-in intervals through the top layers of the dough just to the filling.

golden brown baked apple strudel

Bake until the strudels are golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool for at least 20 minutes.  Transfer the strudels to a cutting board and slice each one into thirds or quarters. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, then serve warm or room temperature.

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Apple Strudel

Apple strudel, a flaky phyllo pastry filled with brandy-soaked raisins, apples and walnuts, is delicious any time of day with a cup of coffee.

Servings: 6 to 8
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 large (about 1-1/2 lbs) baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/8-in thick (see note)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons apple brandy or regular brandy
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, very finely chopped
  • 10 (9x14-in) sheets phyllo dough, thawed
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, combine the apples, granulated sugar, cinnamon, brandy, raisins, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the liquid from the apples dissolves and the apples are soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the walnuts and set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Line a 13 x 18-inch baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Wet and wring out a clean dishtowel. Have the melted butter nearby with a brush. Unroll the phyllo and cover it with the plastic wrap from the package (it's usually rolled in a sheet of plastic) or a sheet of wax paper, followed by the damp towel; keep it covered as you work so it doesn’t dry out. (Note: if you work quickly, you don’t need to be quite as careful about this.)
  4. Place 1 phyllo sheet on a clean work surface with the long side facing you. Brush the sheet with melted butter. You may find it easier to drizzle a bit of butter on the dough with the brush and then spread it across the dough in gentle strokes. Layer with four additional phyllo sheets, brushing each layer with the melted butter. (You should have a stack of five buttery sheets.)
  5. Spread half of the panko followed by half of the apple mixture (on top of the panko) in a 3 by 10-inch rectangle about 2 inches from the bottom of the phyllo sheets and about 2 inches from each side. Fold the sides of the phyllo over the filling, then fold the bottom edge of the phyllo over the filling. Roll up jelly-roll style and carefully transfer to the prepared baking sheet, seam side down. Repeat the process with the remaining phyllo sheets and apple filling. Brush the top of the strudels with the remaining butter. With a sharp knife, cut diagonal slits in 2-in intervals through the top layers of the dough just to the filling.
  6. Bake until the strudels are golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool for at least 20 minutes. Transfer the strudels to a cutting board and slice each one into thirds or quarters. Dust with confectioners' sugar, then serve warm or room temperature.
  7. Note: Readily available baking apples include Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Fuji, Jonagold, and Honey Crisp. Use a mix of different varieties for best results.
  8. Note: Phyllo is more forgiving than you think. If it tears, just patch it back together with your fingers.
  9. Make-Ahead & Freezing Instructions:  You can prepare the rolls and refrigerate them for up to 2 hours before baking. You can also wrap the individual rolls in heavy-duty aluminum foil and freeze for a few months; just keep in mind that frozen rolls will take a bit longer to cook. (Leftovers reheat well in a 300°F oven or toaster oven.)

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Serving size: 8
  • Calories: 294
  • Fat: 14 g
  • Saturated fat: 8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 38 g
  • Sugar: 20 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Sodium: 158 mg
  • Cholesterol: 31 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • OMG Jen, once again a great recipe! I did change one ingredient, I substituted golden raisins as they were the only ones that I had available at the time. I do have a question. Is it possible to compose and bake these, cool and freeze them for a later serving? Thanks again!

    • — Diana on October 20, 2019
    • Reply
    • Glad you enjoyed this! While you can freeze them before baking, I don’t think they’d hold up well if frozen after baking — sorry!

      • — Jenn on October 22, 2019
      • Reply
  • I made this 4 times the past 2 weeks with fresh picked apples. What an excellent recipe. It came out perfectly !

    • — Patricia Rokosz on October 17, 2019
    • Reply
  • This is the only recipe from this site that did not turn out. The pastry was flakey but tough on the bottom. The filing was tasty I ended up scooping out the filing, heating it and putting it over ice cream. I had it on a lower rack in my gas oven, maybe the problem was it need to be more in the middle of the oven.

    • — George Shafer on October 10, 2019
    • Reply
    • I agree with you George, that the tough bottom was likely due to it being on a lower rack in the oven. If you make it again, make sure to set it on the middle rack. (Glad you liked the filling though)! 🙂

      • — Jenn on October 11, 2019
      • Reply
  • Made the strudel over the weekend, so delicious! Thank you for another great recipe!

    • — Kavi on October 9, 2019
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn
    Can you bake straight from the freezer or should you defrost before. If straight from the freezer how long should they be baked. Thanks
    Lynn

    • — Lynn Weinstein on October 9, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Lynn, yes, you can bake them directly from the freezer. They’ll take a bit longer – I’d check them at 35 minutes. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 9, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, as usual I was thrilled with this recipe! I was having company and thought that this looked easy enough. I doubled everything and made 4 strudels which were gone that very evening! Thanks again for yet another winner!!!!

    • — Diana on October 7, 2019
    • Reply
    • So glad everyone enjoyed!

      • — Jenn on October 7, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I have a strudel recipe with filling made of walnuts, sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon. The dough is different and thicker, which I don’t like. The filling is delicious. Would phyllo be too thin for filling like this? What do you think? And, if I try this filling with phyllo, should I still use panko?
    Thank you again for all the wonderful recipes! I feel curious and excited every time there is a new one. Like a little holiday:)

    • — Nadya on October 6, 2019
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes, Nadya! ❤️
      I do think this filling will work with phyllo (and the panko isn’t necessary). Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 9, 2019
      • Reply
  • Jenn, I’d like to make the strudel and freeze it for baking during the holidays. Will wrapping the prepared rolls in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil be enough to keep the phyllo from drying out? What do you suggest?

    • — Jodi Van Kirk on October 5, 2019
    • Reply
    • Yes, Jodi, that should work! 🙂

      • — Jenn on October 6, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! Love ALL of the recipes I’ve tried of yours. When you refer to about 1 1/2 lbs of apples, is this before they’re cut? I’ve made strudel by making my own dough, but am excited about trying it with the phyllo. Thank you in advance.

    • — Lori on October 3, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Lori, so glad you like the recipes you’ve tried! 🙂 Yes, the 1-1/2 pounds of apples refers to what you should buy at the store. Hope you enjoy the strudel!

      • — Jenn on October 4, 2019
      • Reply
  • I was under the impression that strudel is German…

    • — Emanuela Mateica Sosa on October 3, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Emanuela, from what I read, strudel is most often associated with Austria, but I also learned that the word strudel comes from a German word meaning “whirlpool” (because the pastry is rolled up). Hope you enjoy if you try it!

      • — Jenn on October 3, 2019
      • Reply
      • Hi Jen,

        I misread your introduction “Apple strudel is a traditional Viennese…”
        Somehow I perceived as Vietnamese, from here my comment above 🙂
        Sounds delicious, and will be making it soon! Thank you for sharing your
        recipes with the world!

        • — Emanuela Mateica Sosa on October 5, 2019
        • Reply
        • LOL — good to know — hope you enjoy! 🙂

          • — Jenn on October 6, 2019
          • Reply
  • That end photo is exquisite! If only your readers could have a slice. Thank you for demystifying the process of making apple strudel. With your helpful directions, I will definitely try this recipe. 😊

    • — Liz on October 3, 2019
    • Reply
    • Thanks Liz! ❤️
      Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 3, 2019
      • Reply

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