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Apple Strudel Recipe

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I love Apple Strudel, but the idea of stretching dough paper-thin over a kitchen table seemed way too terrifying. Plus I’m not really a fan of crispy, phyllo dough strudel, but prefer the softer, homemade kind.

Apple Strudel Slices

When I found this lovely recipe in Monday Morning Cooking Club: It’s Always About the Food for Polish Apple Strudel that is simply rolled out with a rolling pin (Wait, what? No-stretch Scratch Strudel?!) I was in!

An overnight refrigerator rest after baking is what makes this stand apart from the usual crispy strudel recipes—a make-ahead dessert dream! But if you simply can’t wait—we tried it once it cooled and it was quite delicious.

The rolled out dough is spread with oil (I used melted butter), apricot jam, grated apples and golden raisins, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and rolled up to create crevices of apple-y goodness.

Grated apples and raisins in apple strudel dough

I’m not sure what exactly makes Polish Apple Strudel different from Austrian or German apfelstrudel or other Apple Strudels (I’ve searched high and low so if you have information please share!) but this one doesn’t eat like a crispy, flakey European strudel; it is soft and tender and you will fall head over heels in love with it.

The MMCC recipe uses oil which makes it pareve (non-dairy), but I find that unsalted butter adds depth of flavor—especially Kerrygold or other grass-fed. The oil version was a little softer and reminiscent of noodle kugel (though I might have underbaked a tad), and the butter version more pastry-like. But both are delicious.

According to baking expert, Rose Levy Beranbaum, clarified butter is best because the liquid in butter toughens the dough, and milk solids can make for brown spots. But if you simply use the top portion of the melted butter and leave the liquid and milk solids that settle on the bottom it will be perfect.

I cannot find a single other recipe for strudel that has sugar or both baking powder (in the self-raising flour) and baking soda in it. (In fact no strudel recipes contain any leavener other than eggs) But it works and it’s delicious, so for now I’m making it as written (with a few tweaks).

I halved the recipe, added salt and butter to bump up the flavor, reduced the cinnamon to make the apples shine, and baked on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Some recipes call for slapping the strudel dough up to 100 times (!) on the counter to develop the gluten, but this really isn’t necessary. But if you’re having a hard day and you’d like to blow off some steam, go for it! (a few times won’t do any harm)

How to make the best Apple Strudel

Combine different apples that hold their shape for the best texture and flavor (I use Envy, Granny Smith and Honeycrisp).

You can process the apples with the coarse shredder—just snip any long pieces with a kitchen scissors. We preferred the texture of the processed apples, but I found it easier (and less cleanup) to simply grate the apples.

Place in a strainer and toss with a teaspoon of lemon juice. (Don’t press down or you’ll squeeze out all the apple flavor and your pastry will be dry)

Plump the golden raisins in hot water (or rum) for 10 – 20 minutes.

Homemade Strudel Dough

Combine unbleached all purpose flour (preferably KAF), self rising flour, baking soda and salt.  Add sugar, oil, vinegar (I used lemon juice) and warm water and mix with the paddle attachment or a wooden spoon until combined. (The acid helps to relax the gluten and make the dough easier to stretch).

Knead with the dough hook or by hand for 5 – 7 minutes to form a soft, silky dough.

Form into a ball and place on an oiled dinner plate.

PRO TIP: Gently tug on the corners to form a rough rectangle which will make rolling a rectangle easier.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or preferably overnight to relax the gluten. It’s easier to work with cold dough, so while most strudel recipes let the dough rest on the counter for 1 – 2 hours, I prefer to refrigerate the dough. (I learned this from making hundreds of Bulkas – traditional South African Cinnamon Buns) 

Rolling the dough

Flour the counter and the dough so the dough doesn’t stick, and flip the dough over periodically. 

When the dough gets too large to lift, fold it over your rolling pin to help you.

Remember the wider your dough the more slices you will get, so try not to roll it too tall which will make your rolls thicker.

Roll into a large rectangle until almost transparent. This extra-large baking mat makes it easy and you know it’s thin enough when you can see the mat through the dough! https://amzn.to/3K5dg2G

If the dough resists rolling or stretching, cover with plastic wrap and rest 5 minutes.

Drizzle the dough with melted butter and spread all over with your (gloved) hands. (Brushing could tear the dough)

Spread with apricot jam, grated or shredded apples, raisins, and cinnamon sugar, leaving a 1-inch border all around.

Roll up tightly, pulling and stretching the rolled part toward you as you roll.

It’s easier to slip the strudel onto pre-cut parchment and lift onto your baking sheet than trying to pick up an unruly strudel! You can form an S or a U shape, seam-side down.

Brush generously with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar, covering up any holes. (Butter will brown faster than oil so keep an eye on it)

Cut a few vents so the dough doesn’t crack (actually mine did still seem to crack but I still think it’s a good idea!).

Bake at 350°F/180°C for 50 – 60 minutes until deep golden brown. Don’t underbake or the middle will be mushy! If the bottom is browning too fast set it on a second baking sheet and if the top is browning too fast cover loosely with foil. Butter will brown faster than oil so keep an eye on it.

Whatever you do to it—dough a little thin or thick or even holey, apples shredded or grated, it will still be freaking delicious and you won’t believe you made it yourself!

 

Cool completely and refrigerate for 1 – 4 days. It tastes even better on day 2 or 3, so it’s the ultimate make-ahead holiday dessert. Another fave with golden raisins that improves with age is my Ginger Hermits.

If you like crisp apple strudel, let it cool for 30 – 40 minutes, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and you know everything is better with ice cream!

I hope you give this amazing Apple Strudel a try and let me know how it turns out in the comments below.

Please share and tag @ornabakes 🍎 😘

Watch my NEW YouTube short for how to make this delicious recipe:

Apple Strudel Recipe

Orna
This easy strudel dough is rolled, not stretched. Filled with grated apples and golden raisins, baked and then refrigerated overnight to soften and become even more delicious! The ultimate make-ahead holiday dessert.
Please share and tag @ornabakes if you make this recipe.
Servings 20 slices

Equipment

  • 1 extra large pastry mat optional
  • Rolling pin
  • Parchment paper cut to fit baking sheet

Ingredients
  

Strudel Dough

  • 1 ½ cups + 1 tablespoon (200g) all purpose flour, unbleached, plus more for rolling recommended: KAF
  • ½ cup (60g) self rising flour (self raising flour)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup (50g) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (24g) canola or vegetable oil plus 1 teaspoon for greasing
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (strained) or white vinegar
  • ½ cup (120g) warm water

Filling and Topping

  • 4 large apples, peeled (I use 2 Granny Smith, 1 Envy, 1 Honeycrisp)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained
  • 5 tablespoons (71g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled or vegetable oil, divided
  • cup (200g) apricot jam
  • ½ cup (80g) golden raisins (sultanas), plumped in hot water for 10 - 20 minutes, drained and patted dry

Cinnamon Sugar

  • ¼ cup (50g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) sugar for topping

Instructions
 

Make the dough: 

  • Place the all purpose flour, self raising flour, baking soda and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to combine. Make a well in the center. Add the sugar, oil, lemon juice and water and mix with the paddle on low speed to combine.
  • Once the dough comes together switch to the dough hook and knead for about 5 - 7 minutes, dusting in one tablespoon of flour if the dough sticks to the bowl. The dough should be tacky but not sticky. Scrape the bowl half way through. Scrape out and knead by hand on a lightly floured counter for 1 - 2 minutes to form a smooth, satiny dough.
  • Brush a dinner plate with 1 teaspoon of oil, place the dough on it and turn to coat. Use your fingers to pull out the corners to form a rough rectangle which will make it easier to roll into a rectangle. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or preferably overnight. (It’s easier to roll out cold dough) You can refrigerate the dough for up to 2 days.

Make the cinnamon sugar:

  • Combine the cinnamon, sugar and salt in a small bowl.

Make the filling:

  • Grate or process the apples with the coarse shredding disc (cutting any long pieces) and place in a fine-mesh sieve suspended over a bowl to drain. Toss with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to avoid oxidation. (Don’t press down or you’ll make the filling too dry and lose some of that apple flavor)

Preheat the oven:

  • At least 30 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.

Roll and fill the dough: 

  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured baking mat or counter. Lightly flour the top of the dough and roll out with a rolling pin as thin as possible (almost transparent) into a rectangle about 28 inches/71 cm wide by about 18 inches/45 cm tall. Turn the dough over periodically and flour the counter and the dough to make sure it doesn’t stick. You can drape the dough over your rolling pin once it gets too big to lift by hand.
  • Brush off any excess flour. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of butter, avoiding the milk solids that settle at the bottom. Spread with gloved hands leaving about a 1-inch border all around. Dot the jam over the butter and carefully spread with your hands. Place handfuls of apple over the jam and spread evenly in a thin layer. Sprinkle with the raisins and cinnamon sugar.
  • Roll up tightly from the bottom, stretching and pulling the rolled part toward you each time before rolling it over (unless the dough is too fragile to do that). Tuck the ends underneath, first cutting off any excess dough (you need just enough to be able to tuck it under). Scoot onto prepared parchment, seam side down, and form into an S or U shape. Lift the parchment onto your baking sheet. Brush all over with melted butter, avoiding the milk solids at the bottom. Sprinkle with sugar, covering any holes. Cut 4 - 5 small vents with the tip of a paring knife.

Bake the strudel:

  • Bake for 50 - 60 minutes until deep golden brown. (Don’t underbake or the middle will be mushy) Rotate the pan after 30 minutes for even browning. Cover loosely with foil if the top is browning too fast and/or place on a second baking sheet if the bottom is browning too fast. Place the pan on a cooling rack to cool completely.
    Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 day or up to 4 days. Slice with a serrated knife into 1 1/2 inch (3 1/2 cm) slices while cold. Serve at room temperature.
    If you like a crispy strudel, cool in the pan for 30 - 40 minutes. Slice and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
    Even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
    Make-ahead: You can freeze the baked strudel for 3 months.

Notes

Adapted from Fay Filler’s Polish Apple Strudel in Monday Morning Cooking Club: It’s Always About the Food.

*This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links whereby I earn a tiny commission at no additional cost to you.

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