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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, apples, and chopped walnuts. 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 store-bought phyllo dough, a tissue-thin dough used for making flaky European and Middle Eastern pastries, such as baklava and spanakopita. There are a few tricks to working with phyllo dough, but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy. Apple strudel is meant to be eaten for dessert or any time of day with a cup of coffee. The recipe can be multiplied for a crowd, prepared ahead of time, or frozen to bake at a later date. Serve the strudel on its own, with whipped cream, or with vanilla ice cream.
What You’ll Need To Make Apple Strudel
You can find phyllo dough it in the freezer section of most grocery stores (be sure to thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before using).
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
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.
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.
Set aside to cool.
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.
Layer with four additional phyllo sheets, brushing each layer with the melted butter. (You should have a stack of five buttery 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.
Spread half of the apple mixture on top of the panko.
Fold the sides of the phyllo over the filling, then fold the bottom edge of the phyllo over filling.
Roll up jelly-roll style and carefully transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
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.
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, a flaky phyllo pastry filled with brandy-soaked raisins, apples and walnuts, is delicious any time of day with a cup of coffee.
- 3 large (about 1½ lbs) baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced ⅛-in thick (see note)
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons apple brandy or regular brandy
- ½ cup raisins
- Pinch salt
- ½ cup walnuts, very finely chopped
- 10 (9x14-in) sheets phyllo dough, thawed
- 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter
- ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
- Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- Note: Readily available baking apples include Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Fuji, Jonagold, and Honey Crisp. Use a mix of different varieties for best results.
- Note: Phyllo is more forgiving than you think. If it tears, just patch it back together with your fingers.
- Make-Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can prepare the strudel 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 strudel rolls will take a bit longer to cook. (Leftovers reheat well in a 300°F oven or toaster oven.)
- 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.
What purpose does the panko serve? Does it just add some crunch? If I don’t have panko, do you have a substitute recommendation? I love your site and have been making your recipes for years! Thank you
Hi Elizabeth, So glad yo you like the recipes! The panko helps soak up the excess juice that the apples give off while baking. If you don’t have panko, you can use plain bread crumbs.
Can you use puff pastry here?
Hi Beth, I’ve never tried it with puff pastry, but I think it should work. Please LMK how it turns out!
Delicious and easy. My four-year-old helped me to butter the sheets and roll the strudels. Thank you for sharing another great recipe!
i dont have brandy. what can i use instead?
Hi Scott, you can just replace the brandy with water – it will still be really good. Enjoy!
What brand of skillet are you using in the photograph?
Hi Beth, That’s an All-Clad skillet. 🙂
it was very easy to make and it turned out amazing! Not too sweet and delicate
Just baked this and very thrilled. Needs whipped cream and a little runny cream I think.
I will be quicker next time now I have done it as first time I needed to get rhythm going with damp tea towel after buttering each one.
Well worth the effort very much loved combination raisins, cinnamon and apple. Brandy nice and a bit of lemon juice to add a little combination of flavour. Yummy.
I think next time I try to complete wraps ahead of time and put damp tea towel over until ready to bake.
I’m from Czech Republic so Strudel is also our traditional dessert. We make it a little bit different. We use puff pastry and we don’t cook the apples before putting them in we just put them in raw with some raisins , walnuts, cinnamon and sugar or honey. I didn’t try your version but I’m sure it’s delicious.
I made this last weekend and everyone loved it!! So easy and really comes out amazing. The raisins make it! Just don’t forget to thaw the phyllo dough in the fridge overnight like I did. I had to leave it on the counter for a few hours and handle the sheets gingerly!
So tempted to make this for my husband for our anniversary! Quick question: We’re an anti-raisin household – any reason we couldn’t just leave them out (as well as the brandy)? Thanks!
Sure, KB, that’s fine, but I’d add some more apple to make up for the lack of raisins. Hope you both enjoy!
Made this today for a dinner club tonight. I made extra so I would have a roll for the freezer as we are having company in 2 weeks. Unfortunately, I mis read about freezing BEFORE cooking it. So, will it be OK if I freeze a cooked roll? I wondered if I wrapped it tightly in foil and left it in the foil to bake at a lower temperature (directly from the freezer)? Do you think that would work? Or should I just make something else for our company…sigh? 😶
Hi Cathi, I think that would be fine!
I made this today…and the inside was entirely black….and had the appearance of meat loaf. I used Granny Smith apples…and cooked them as soon as they were pealed and cored. I did not use rum..or raisins. So upsetting. Any ideas why this might happen?
Hi Maureen, sorry you had a problem with this. While the filling gets a little bit darker as it bakes, it definitely shouldn’t be black so that’s a definite head-scratcher! Besides omitting the rum and raisins, did you make any adjustments to the recipe?
Thanks so much for this super easy recipe. I tried it earlier with great results and have frozen a couple per your instructions to serve this weekend (Canadian Thanksgiving). Thanksgiving “feasts” can be stressful for the cook and I am always looking for ways to minimize the “day of” work so that I have time to enjoy the day and be thankful.
Can I substitute dried cranberries for the raisins? Forgot to buy them!
It will make the filling the slightest bit more tart, but it will work. Please LMK how it turns out!
Thank you…they were sweetened so it was still delicious. Another question. Am making again ( have raisins!) but am short of time. Could I prepare the cooked fruit in the morning and assemble with the fillo and bake later in the day?
Glad it turned out well! Yes, I think it’s fine to make the fruist mixture ahead and then assemble before baking (I may remove the filling from the fridge and bring it to room temprature before assembling.)
I appreciate your always prompt replies!
Can I make this with the 11x 17 phyllo (the original size) instead of 9x 13? I am worried that it might be too much phyllo. What is the best way to cut the phyllo to the recommended size? The phyllo is so fragile that everything breaks apart when I try to cut them individually. Please help.
Otherwise, I love this recipe.
Hi Lucy, I think that would work. Keep in mind that you can always trim the phyllo after you’ve layered it together.
Okay, thanks. That makes sense.
I made this and it was awesome! Thank you. I do have a question though. How do I store the rest of the strudel? The filo becomes soft after the first day. Any suggestions?
Thank you Jenn. I love your recipes.
So glad you like it, Lucy! Because phyllo is fairly thin and is filled with wet ingredients, I don’t think there’s a way to really avoid it becoming a little soft after the first day. That said, wrapping it in foil is probably the best way to store it. Hope that helps!
So easy and soooo good. The only change I made was to substitute toasted slivered almonds (hubby doesn’t like walnuts). This is very much like my German granny made without all the fuss of stretching the dough. An easy quick dessert served up warm with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream. Thanks again for another wonderful recipe.
PS: working my way through the cookbook. It’s a keeper and beautifully illustrated.
I am going to try this recipe tomorrow. Just wondering what kind of raisins I should use. Sultanas? Golden?? The photo looks like you use the darker, sultana or thompson raisin. Thanks.
Hi Anne, I typically use Sun-Maid Raisins like this, but any raisins will work here. Hope you enjoy!
This strudel looks delicious! I would love to make them in advance, then bake them Christmas morning. How many days ahead can the rolls be put together without getting soggy? I have a lot to do for Christmas Eve dinner, so could they be put together and refrigerated on 12/22 and baked 12/25?
Unfortunately, that won’t work. These can be assembled up to 2 hours ahead and refrigerated but that’s about it. You could assemble them and freeze. (See the make-ahead/freezing instructions at the bottom of the recipe.) Hope you enjoy!
Help! I don’t have any booze in this house and am not driving for 1/2 hour to get 2tablespoons of brandy to soak the raisins. What can I do please 🤔
Hi Karen, You can just replace the brandy with water. It will still be good – enjoy!
I have made this recipe as written many times and it is wonderful. I would like to know your feelings and/or suggestions on adapting it to use with Dark Morello Cherries in syrup. I know that I would drain them, sweeten and reduce the liquid, add some almond extract and possibly some dried cherries. But other than that, would the recipe remain the same? Do you have any suggestions? Thank-you so much for you advice. Also, do you have another cookbook in the works?
Hi Diana, I do that would work. And I’m unofficially working on a new project so stay tuned. Hope to have news sometime early next year. 🙂
Amazing! So quick and easy. I’ve made it twice in the last week. Need to slow down (-: Thanks, Jenn! You are the best.
Do you think I can use puff pastry instead of phylo? Would the time in the oven be the same? I’ve made several recipes from your site and they’ve all been delicious.
I haven’t tried this with puff pastry, but I think it would work. (And it should take about the same amount of time in the oven.) I’d love to hear how it turns out if you try it this way!
I went to Trader Joe’s and they only had puff pastry. Have you tried making the strudel with the puff pastry?
Hi Debbie, I’ve never made this with puff pastry but I think it should work. Hope you enjoy!
I thought the apple filling was delicious. I used Cortland apples and cooked till soft, which took about 20 minutes. I do not like phyllo dough for the strudel, though, and I wish you had come up with your own dough for the pastry. I think it really needs a more substantial dough than phyllo or puff pastry.
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!
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!
I made this 4 times the past 2 weeks with fresh picked apples. What an excellent recipe. It came out perfectly !
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.
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)! 🙂
Made the strudel over the weekend, so delicious! Thank you for another great recipe!
Can you bake straight from the freezer or should you defrost before. If straight from the freezer how long should they be baked. Thanks
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!
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!!!!
So glad everyone enjoyed!
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:)
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, 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?
Yes, Jodi, that should work! 🙂
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.
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!
I was under the impression that strudel is German…
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!
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!
LOL — good to know — hope you enjoy! 🙂
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. 😊
Thanks Liz! ❤️
Hope you enjoy!