This apple strudel recipe is made easy with pre-made frozen puff pastry! A crisp, golden crust filled with sweet cinnamon sugar, tart apples and optional sliced almonds and golden raisins. Delicious with a mug of mulled wine.
You see this apple strudel above? It was made possible by a very small dent in my very large basket of apples I pick in my annual “pick all the apples I can carry” event.
And because it was a very small dent, I have enough apples left to make 683590135 more apple strudels. My German heritage is not upset by this in the least. Strudel for one, strudel for all!
I should start making strudels and just passing them out to people at the train station.
Okay… maybe not.
Apple strudel is one of my all-time favorite desserts. It makes me all warm and fuzzy, and pairs perfectly with an ice cold glass of apple cider or a cup of warm coffee.
I eat it for breakfast. I eat it for dessert. It’s magical and versatile and you can’t convince me not to eat it whenever the heck I want.
Is this a traditional Viennese apple strudel recipe?
I hate to disappoint you, but no – this isn’t. Nor is it a traditional German apple strudel recipe.
There are several different ways to make strudel, and as far as I’m concerned you don’t need to be overly worried about if you’re making it the traditional Viennese way or not – we’re going for an easy to make recipe, not a replica of the one your Austrian great grandmother used to make.
Don’t get me wrong – a traditional, legit apple strudel is phenomenal. But, again, we’re going for quicker and easier and we’re taking some shortcuts.
What kind of apples are best for apple strudel?
The goal in picking your apples for strudel is to use an apple (or mix of apples) that can hold up to baking – because not all apples can!
I love using a mix of apples when I make apple strudel. Ideally, a mix of tart and sweet apples will give you a wonderful flavor profile with a little variety in each bite.
- Granny Smith apples are tart and hold up well to baking.
- Honeycrisp apples are always in my fridge! They’re great for snacking because of their firm, crisp texture, but they’re also great for baking because they hold up well and have a sweet flavor.
- Pink Lady apples are also a great snacking apple, are crisp, and have a good combination of sweet and tart flavors.
- Braeburn apples are usually easy to find, they’re crisp, have a strong flavor and hold up well to baking without getting mushy.
- Gala and Golden Delicious apples are also usually pretty accessible, have more mild flavors and hold up well in the oven.
Ingredients for apple strudel
- Puff pastry sheet: This is the shortcut we’re using instead of making our strudel dough from scratch. You want it to be cold, but not frozen.
- Apples: The star of the show!
- Lemon juice: We toss the apples with lemon juice to prevent them from browning while we prep everything else. It also adds a nice bright flavor.
- Golden raisins: Optional, but I grew up always adding raisins to my apple strudel.
- Almonds: Optional, but adds a nice crunch.
- Granulated sugar: We toss the apples in sugar to add sweetness and help them caramelize as they bake.
- Ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg: Spices for a heavenly aroma.
- All-purpose flour: To help thicken the mixture.
- Egg: We whisk an egg to brush on top of the strudel before it goes in the oven to give it that beautiful golden sheen. Can’t have eggs? Brush a little melted butter on top instead.
- Raw sugar or sparking sugar: To sprinkle on top as garnish! Optional, but encouraged.
Why add lemon juice to the apple filling?
The cinnamon sugar filling that envelops the sliced apples is equal parts tart and sweet thanks to my secret ingredient – lemon juice.
As you slice your apples, you coat them in freshly squeezed lemon juice and it prevents them from browning while you prepare everything else. It gives it the perfect little zing to complement the rest of the pastry.
Do you have to add almonds and raisins to the apple mixture?
Nope! I want to encourage you to make this repeatedly and try something new every time.
- If I don’t have them, I omit the raisins
- Sometimes I use slivered almonds instead of sliced almonds
- Sometimes I add raisins that I’ve soaked in brandy (ohhhhhh yeah)
- Try swapping the almonds for crushed walnuts
- Omit the nuts all together, unless you’re feeling a little nutty (GET IT?!)
Nuts give it a little extra crunch, and sometimes that’s what I want. Other times I prefer to leave nuts out altogether, and really load up on the cinnamon sugar filling. Those are the days I’ve forgotten that I have any sort of health consciousness and accidentally eat the entire pastry myself.
This is why you slice things, people. If you leave it whole and on your counter, you might just sit down on your couch with it and eat it like a sugar-coated sub sandwich.
What pastry is apple strudel made from?
I’m going to be 100% honest here – we’re not making this apple strudel in a 100% traditional manner.
A traditional apple strudel dough actually differs from puff pastry in that it is much more elastic than the frozen pre-made puff pastry I call for in this recipe.
The traditional apple strudel pastry dough recipe is made from flour that has a high gluten content, water, oil and salt. My whole intention with this recipe was to make apple strudel approachable, attainable, and easy even for a beginning baker.
So fear not – I’m giving you permission to use premade puff pastry for this to save yourself a little time and sanity. It’s going to be delicious, and that’s what matters in the end!
Tricks and tips for transferring freshly baked apple strudel to wire rack
Unless you have a gargantuan-sized spatula, you might find yourself having a bit of a tough time moving the warm strudel from the baking sheet to a wire rack. There’s a few options:
- If you used a nonstick silicon mat, use a spatula to loosen up the edges and bottom of the strudel, then pick up the mat itself, move it over to the wire rack, and gentle slide the strudel onto the rack.
- If you used parchment paper, same approach as above!
- You can also use two spatulas on opposite sides, one at the top half and one at the bottom half, to lift it up and move it to the rack
How to store apple strudel
Here’s the thing about apple strudel… it doesn’t last long. In the sense that you might demolish it the same day and there will be no leftovers, as well as in the sense that it doesn’t hold up well over time.
- You can store it, covered with foil or plastic wrap, at room temperature for up to 2 days.
- You can also store it in an airtight container in the fridge for an additional 2-3 days. Try to keep it stored on the bottom shelf where it’s the coldest – baked strudel gets soggy as time goes on.
Can I freeze apple strudel?
You sure can! But the key is to freeze it before you bake it.
You’ll do everything right up to the point where you would typically do the egg wash, and instead you’ll wrap it in a layer of parchment paper and place it in a freezer-safe bag or container and stick it in the freezer.
When you’re ready to bake it, let it defrost in the fridge overnight or for 1 hour at room temperature – it may need even less time if your kitchen is particularly warm.
Is strudel served hot or cold?
You can eat it hot or cold, but my personal preference is warmed up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
It’s also great as a breakfast pastry with a cup of warm coffee, or a snack with some apple cider!
Would you serve the ice cream to the side, or plopped right on top? I’m a big fan of both ways because… well, ice cream.
How do you reheat apple strudel?
Preheat your oven to 200°F, place the strudel on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes.
You can also reheat it in the microwave for about 30 seconds, but the oven is going to give you a much better result!
- 1 sheet puff pastry
- 2 cups apple, sliced thinly (3-5 apples, depending on size)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ⅓ cup golden raisins, optional
- ¼ cup almonds, sliced or slivered
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- ½ tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- Raw sugar or sparking sugar, garnish
- Vanilla ice cream, optional for serving, but highly recommended
- Set out puff pastry sheet to thaw – you want it to still be cold, but no longer frozen.1 sheet puff pastry
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside.
- In a large bowl, squeeze the juice of one lemon (making sure to remove any seeds).Juice of 1 lemon
- Peel and thinly slice your apples (or dice the apples), placing them in the bowl of lemon juice and coating thoroughly as you add them to the bowl.2 cups apple
- In a small bowl, whisk to combine almonds, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg (and golden raisins, if adding).1/3 cup golden raisins1/4 cup almonds2 tablespoons granulated sugar1 teaspoon ground cinnamonPinch of ground nutmeg
- Add dry mixture to bowl of apple filling and gently toss (and/or stir) to coat. Add flour and stir to coat. If you feel that your filling is too liquidy, drain a bit of the liquid.1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- Roll out pastry onto a large sheet of parchment paper or a large pastry mat in a rectangle (up to 11"x17"). Using a paring knife, lightly score the pastry into three columns (I usually eyeball it – as you can tell from my pictures it's not 100% even, but it doesn't affect the taste!). You want the middle to be wider than the outer thirds. Cut even slits on each outer column – as many as you want. The more you have, the longer it's going to take you to wrap.
- Pour your strudel filling down the center of the pastry and fold the center section of the pastry over at the top and bottom. Now start wrapping the center by pulling alternating slits of pastry from each side and pressing the ends into the pastry on the opposite side, pressing gently on the ends to connect to the base of the dough. Make sure you're not leaving big holes across the top!
- Carefully transfer the pastry to your prepared baking sheet.
- Brush the top of the folded pastry with an egg wash* and then sprinkle raw sugar (or sparkling sugar) on top. You could also add some delicately placed almond slices on top if you wanted.1 eggRaw sugar or sparking sugar
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until top is golden brown.
- Remove from oven, let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool before slicing into it.
- Enjoy warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!Vanilla ice cream
- Egg wash: Can’t have eggs? Brush a little melted butter on top instead.
- Storage: You can store it, covered with foil or plastic wrap, at room temperature for up to 2 days. You can also store it in an airtight container in the fridge for an additional 2-3 days. Try to keep it stored on the bottom shelf where it’s the coldest – baked strudel gets soggy as time goes on.
- Reheating: Preheat your oven to 200°F, place the strudel on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes. You can also reheat it in the microwave for about 30 seconds, but the oven is going to give you a much better result!
- Freezing: You’ll do everything right up to the point where you would typically do the egg wash, and instead you’ll wrap it in a layer of parchment paper and place it in a freezer-safe bag or container and stick it in the freezer. When you’re ready to bake it, let it defrost in the fridge overnight or for 1 hour at room temperature – it may need even less time if your kitchen is particularly warm.
The provided nutrition information is generated by an automatic API and does not take variations across specific brands into account. This information is provided as a general guideline and should not be treated as official calculations. Learn more here.
Originally published October 2015, republished in August 2021 with new pictures and more helpful information.
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