Classic Apple Strudel [Homemade]

Here’s A More Traditional Apple Strudel Recipe To Try Out!

Want to make a delicious apple strudel from scratch? Try this apple strudel recipe which is definitely worth the effort!

Known as Apfelstrudel in German, this timeless dessert is made from freshly prepared strudel dough and packed with an apple-breadcrumb-rum-raisin filling.

This popular Austrian dessert is eaten in many regions of Europe – and best enjoyed cut into slices, topped with powdered sugar, and drizzled with a homemade vanilla sauce!

apple strudel slices on plate with green apple behind
Our apple strudel made from scratch.

About Apple Strudel

The name Apple strudel comes from the German word strudel which means “whirlpool”. This makes sense given the internal layers that spiral around.

Apple strudel is technically a Viennese pastry but it’s considered one of the national dishes of Austria. It’s been around for centuries but rose to popularity during the time of the Habsburg Dynasty.

Strudel was big in the Austro-Hungarian empire, which is why it’s also popular in Hungary as Almásrétes and the surrounding regions. Lisa grew up in Bavaria in the south of Germany and Apfelstrudel is really big there as well.

You can also find versions of apple strudel in northern Italy, Poland, the Czech Republic, and a number of other countries in the area such as Romania.

There are lots of different variations for strudel fillings – both sweet and savory. Apple is really popular but we’ve also had sour cherry strudel and poppy seed strudel (the latter of which is popular in Hungary as Mákos rétes or Mákos beigli).

Interesting fact: Apple strudel is a dessert cousin to Turkish/Balkan Baklava (so good). However, a big difference is that baklava is traditionally made with phyllo dough.

Recipe Tips & Substitutions

Before you tackle this recipe for apple strudel, definitely have a read through the recipe tips and substitutions because there’s a lot to know before you dive in:

Dough

  • We would recommend removing any jewelry (bracelets or rings) when making this recipe so that you don’t accidentally rip the dough.
  • It’s important to let the dough rest between mixing and rolling/stretching – this will make it easier to work with it and stretch it out thin.
  • Authentic apple strudel is made from really thin dough which can take a bit of practice until you master it. However, you should be able to stretch the dough enough so that you can see the dishtowel through it – just be gentle and patient.
  • If you don’t want to make your own dough, you can buy unleavened pastry dough (dough without yeast) at the grocery store (often phyllo dough) and then just make the apple filling. Eric’s dad does this to make his strudel (he really likes strudel) and he loves it. This is how many people make “easy apple strudel” recipes.
  • We wouldn’t recommend using store-bought puff pastry to make apple strudel. If you make apple strudel with puff pastry dough you’re moving too close to basically making an apple turnover and no longer making apple strudel. Puff pastry is all about the fat content (butter) and it gets brittle with layers whereas authentic strudel dough should be thin but more elastic.

Filling

  • When making apple strudel, a crispy and slightly tart apple works really well. That’s why we like using Granny Smith – but you can definitely use another type of apple as well if you don’t like the slightly sour taste.
  • Usually, apple strudel is made with a little bit of rum. However, if kids will eat the strudel as well, you can substitute the rum for apple juice.
  • If you really dislike raisins (which we know that some people do), feel free to add less or skip them completely. However, in that case, we would also recommend adding less rum since the raisins won’t be there to soak up the moisture.
  • Sometimes people add some chopped nuts (e.g. walnuts or almonds) to their apple strudel. We don’t usually do that but it’s definitely an option.
  • You can choose to mix the breadcrumbs with the other ingredients for the filling or keep them separate. Adding everything together makes it easy, but adding the breadcrumbs first and then placing the apples and other ingredients on top can result in a slightly moister strudel. That’s because the breadcrumbs won’t soak up as much liquid from the apples. The choice is up to you!
slice of apple strudel with vanilla sauce drizzling on top
Look at that apple strudel with homemade vanilla sauce!

How to Make Apple Strudel – Step by Step Instructions

If you’re wondering how to make apple strudel, you can find the full recipe card at the bottom of this post.

To see the step-by-step instructions with visuals, you can have a look at the strudel recipe process photos in this section.

This way, if you have any questions about what any of the steps should look like, you can see them here and follow along!

egg and flour in white mixing bowl
Add the ingredients to a bowl.

First, add the flour, a pinch of salt, egg, and oil to a medium-sized mixing bowl.

ball of pastry dough in white mixing bowl
Make the dough.

Next, mix everything together using the spiral dough hooks of your electric mixer while slowly adding the lukewarm water.

Keep mixing for approximately 5 minutes until the dough has an elastic consistency and sticks together.

Shape the dough into a ball using your hands. Brush all sides of the ball of dough with one teaspoon of oil and place it back into the bowl.

dish towel covering mixing bowl sitting on counter top
Cover the bowl with a towel.

Cover the bowl with a dishtowel and let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes.

oil in frying pan on stove top
Melt butter in a pan.

In the meantime, prepare the filling. First, melt three tablespoons of butter in a medium-sized frying pan.

toasted breadcrumbs in frying pan toasted with wooden spoon
Brown the breadcrumbs.

Add the breadcrumbs and fry them on medium heat until golden brown. Stir regularly. Once they are golden brown, remove them from the heat and set them aside.

green apples sliced up into pieces on white cutting board
Peel and cut the apples.

Next, peel the apples. Then cut them into quarters and remove the core. Cut each quarter into thin slices.

Then cut these slices into small pieces (see process photo above for reference).

pieces of green apple in clear glass mixing bowl on counter
Add the pieces of apple to a bowl.

Place the small apple pieces into a medium-large mixing bowl.

apple strudel filling ingredients in clear glass mixing bowl
Add the ingredients for the filling to a bowl.

Also add the sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, rum, raisins, and browned breadcrumbs to the bowl. You can also decide to not add the breadcrumbs now and keep them separate.

apple strudel filling all mixed together in clear glass bowl with wooden spoon
Mix, mix, mix.

It’s easier to mix everything together but adding the breadcrumbs separately from the apples can make for a slightly more moist filling (because the breadcrumbs don’t soak up as much juice from the apples during baking).

At this time, preheat the oven to 390 degrees Fahrenheit.

ball of apple strudel dough on dish towel on counter
Roll out the dough.

Once you’re done with preparing the filling and the 30 minute dough rest time is up, take a finely-threaded large dish towel (that will not give off small fibers/”fuzzies”), sprinkle some flour onto it, and roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Use more flour as needed.

thin rectangle of apple strudel dough rolled out on dish towel on counter
Stretch out the dough.

Then carefully stretch out the dough with your hand until it has a dimension of approximately 24 x 17 inches. Be gentle so you don’t rip the dough.

brushing apple strudel dough with butter
Brush the dough with butter.

Once the dough is rolled out thin and you can see the dishtowel through the dough, gently brush some melted butter (approximately 1 tablespoon) onto the whole surface of the dough.

apple strudel filling on dough ready to be rolled
Add the filling.

Now cover the left side of the rectangle with the filling leaving a gap of approximately 2 inches along the edges.

If you didn’t mix the breadcrumbs and the apples earlier, first place the breadcrumbs onto the dough and then add the apple-mixture on top of that.

apple strudel on dish towel with filling ready to be rolled
Fold over the edges.

Fold over the long top and bottom edges,

rolling up apple strudel with dish towel
Roll up the strudel.

Then gently roll up the dough from the left side – the side with the filling – using the dishtowel. Make sure that the seam is at the bottom once you are done rolling.

brushing raw apple strudel on baking sheet with butter
Brush the strudel with butter.

Carefully place the strudel onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the top and the sides of the dough with some more melted butter.

semi-cooked apple strudel on parchment paper pan
Brush the strudel with more butter.

Bake the apple strudel on the medium rack of your oven for around 30-40 minutes.

Take the strudel out after approximately 15 minutes and brush it with a little bit more melted butter.

apple strudel dusted with powdered sugar on parchment paper
Dust the strudel with icing sugar.

Once the strudel is done baking and lightly browned, remove it from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet. Then dust it with powdered sugar.

slice of apple strudel on white marble
Our apple strudel was really nice – moist, easy to cut, and flavorful!

Apple strudel can be served warm or cold and tastes delicious with vanilla sauce.

Storage Tips

Apple Strudel tastes best fresh. However, if you have leftovers, you can store them in a container or wrapped in tin foil in the fridge (make sure it has cooled first). Consume leftovers within 1-2 days.

You can reheat leftovers by placing the apple strudel into the warm oven or cut slices and reheat them in the microwave.

FAQ

What is apple strudel?

Apple strudel – or Apfelstrudel in German – is an Austrian pastry made from thin unleavened dough filled with an apple-breadcrumb filling which is then rolled up, baked, and served in powdered sugar-covered slices with vanilla sauce.

What is the origin of the word strudel?

“Strudel” is from Middle High German and means something like “whirlpool”. Given the spiral appearance of the internal dough layers, this makes sense!

What country is reputed to be the home of apple strudel?

Austria. Apple strudel is one of the national dishes of Austria. However, apple strudel is also popular in the south of Germany (Bavaria), northern Italy, and other central/Eastern European countries like Hungary.

What is the difference between streusel and strudel?

While similar German words, they are very different sweet things. Streusel is the crumbly butter-flour-sugar topping you find on German crumb cake (Streuselkuchen) while strudel is the Austrian rolled pastry often filled with fruit (such as apples).

How to make apple strudel?

There are a few steps to making apple strudel: create an unleavened dough, let it rest, then stretch it out thin. Fill the dough with an apple/breadcrumb/raisin filling, then roll the pastry, coat it in butter, cook it in the oven and cut it into slices. You can find the detailed recipe in this post.

Related Recipes

For more great sweet Austrian dishes or desserts, check out these classic recipes:

  • Kaiserschmarrn – Sweet “torn-up pancake” served with fruit compote
  • Mohnnudeln – Filling poppy seed noodles with a dusting of powdered sugar
  • Linzer Cookies – Classic jam-filled cookies cut into cute little shapes!
slice of apple strudel on white marble

Apple Strudel

Yield: 10
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Apple Strudel - or Apfelstrudel in German - is a classic Austrian pastry. This delicious dessert made from thinly rolled dough packed with sweetened apples and rum-soaked raisins is best enjoyed with vanilla sauce!

Ingredients

The Dough

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 medium-sized egg
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/3 cup + 1-2 teaspoons water, lukewarm
  • 1 teaspoon oil for brushing

The Filling

  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs, unseasoned
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 apples, e.g. granny smith
  • 1/4 cup sugar (more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons rum
  • 1/3 cup raisins (more or less to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

The Topping

  • powdered sugar for dusting

Instructions

  1. Add the flour, a pinch of salt, egg, and oil to a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  2. Mix everything together using the spiral dough hooks of your electric mixer while slowly adding the lukewarm water. Keep mixing for approximately 5 minutes until the dough has an elastic consistency and sticks together.
  3. Shape the dough into a ball using your hands. Brush all sides of the ball of dough with one teaspoon of oil and place it back into the bowl. Cover the bowl with a dishtowel and let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, prepare the filling. First, melt three tablespoons of butter in a medium-sized frying pan. Add the breadcrumbs and fry them on medium heat until golden brown. Stir regularly. Once they are golden brown, remove them from the heat and set them aside.
  5. Next, peel the apples. Then cut them into quarters and remove the core. Cut each quarter into thin slices. Then cut these slices into small pieces (see process photo above for reference).
  6. Place the small apple pieces into a medium-large mixing bowl. Also add the sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, rum, raisins, and browned breadcrumbs to the bowl and mix everything together. You can also decide to not add the breadcrumbs now and keep them separate. It's easier to mix everything together but adding them separately from the apples can make for a slightly more moist filling (because the breadcrumbs don't soak up as much juice from the apples during baking).
  7. Preheat the oven to 390 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. Once you're done with preparing the filling and the 30 minute dough rest time is up, take a finely-threaded large dish towel (that will not give off small threads/fibers/"fuzzies"), sprinkle some flour onto it, and roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Use more flour as needed. Then carefully stretch out the dough with your hand until it has a dimension of approximately 24 x 17 inches. Be gentle so you don't rip the dough.
  9. Once the dough is rolled out thin and you can see the dishtowel through the dough, gently brush some melted butter (approximately 1 tablespoon) onto the whole surface of the dough.
  10. Now cover the left side of the rectangle with the filling leaving a gap of approximately 2 inches along the edges. If you didn't mix the breadcrumbs and the apples earlier, first place the breadcrumbs onto the dough and then add the apple-mixture on top of that.
  11. Fold over the long top and bottom edges, then gently roll up the dough from the left side - the side with the filling - using the dishtowel. Make sure that the seam is at the bottom once you are done rolling.
  12. Carefully place the strudel onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the top and the sides of the dough with some more melted butter.
  13. Bake the apple strudel on the medium rack of your oven for around 30-40 minutes. Take the strudel out after approximately 15 minutes and brush it with a little bit more melted butter.
  14. Once the strudel is done baking and lightly browned, remove it from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet. Then dust it with powdered sugar. Apple strudel can be served warm or cold and tastes delicious with some homemade vanilla sauce.

Notes

  • Be very gentle with the dough and remove jewelry (mostly rings) before handling the dough so it doesn't rip.
  • Make sure to let the dough rest since it will make it easier to work with and will be easier to roll out. Make sure to stretch the dough as much as you can - you should be able to see the dishtowel through the dough.
  • There are two different ways to do the breadcrumbs: Mix them in with the apples or place them onto the dough first and then add the apple mixture on top.
  • If you don't want to make the dough yourself, you can also make the apple strudel with store-bought dough.
  • Usually, apple strudel is made with a little bit of rum. If kids will eat the strudel as well, you can substitute the rum for apple juice.
  • If you dislike raisins, feel free to add less or skip them completely. However, in that case, we would also recommend adding less rum since the raisins won't be there to soak up the moisture.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 258Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 116mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 3gSugar: 17gProtein: 4g

This nutritional information has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator. It should only be seen as a rough calculation and not a replacement for professional dietary advice.

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