The Easiest Apple Strudel

updated Dec 19, 2019
The Easiest Apple Strudel

A step-by-step guide to making a simple Austrian apple strudel using phyllo dough and fresh apples.


Prep20 minutes to 30 minutes

Cook47 minutes to 1 hour

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Credit: Olive & Mango

When a shattering, flaky crust gives way to a mess of warm, cinnamon-scented apples, you know you’re in for something good. I’m not talking about an apple pie — I’m talking about apple strudel. This classic Austrian pastry is as homey and comforting as can be. Variations abound and true strudel requires homemade pastry, but for the sake of getting sweet bites into my mouth faster, I’m okay with taking a couple of shortcuts.

Credit: Olive & Mango

A Simple Apple Strudel Recipe for Beginners

I conveniently took a trip to Northern Italy in the middle of working on this recipe — specifically, the region of Trentino-Alto Adige, which borders Austria. Because it was once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the areas share many iconic dishes, including apple strudel. Everywhere I went, no two apple strudels were the same, including the dough. Some doughs resembled buttery pie crust, while others resembled flaky puff pastry or even flakier phyllo dough. Some filling including raisins, while others didn’t.

I quickly learned apple strudel is more flexible than I thought, but for many, the kind with the flakiest, cracker-like crust is most classic. That’s what I opted for here, but instead of making a from-scratch dough (which must be rolled paper-thin, and takes a lot of practice and patience) I decided to use phyllo dough. The result is the perfect beginner apple strudel. It’s lightly sweet and begs to be served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. Your apple pie might have some competition.

The Easiest Apple Strudel

A step-by-step guide to making a simple Austrian apple strudel using phyllo dough and fresh apples.

Prep time 20 minutes to 30 minutes

Cook time 47 minutes to 1 hour

Serves 8

Nutritional Info


  • 1 (1-pound) package

    frozen phyllo dough (13x18-inch), thawed in the refrigerator overnight

  • 1/3 cup


  • 2 tablespoons

    dark rum or water

  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup

    panko breadcrumbs

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    tart baking apples (about 3 medium), such as Granny Smith or Honeycrisp

  • 5 tablespoons

    granulated sugar, divided

  • 1 tablespoon

    freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • Powdered sugar, for serving

  • Freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)


  1. Thaw 1 (1-pound) package phyllo dough overnight in the refrigerator if needed.

  2. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, place 1/3 cup raisins and 2 tablespoons dark rum or water in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds, then set aside to allow them to plump and soften.

  3. Melt 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Transfer 6 tablespoons to a small bowl and set aside. Add 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs to the skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden-brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

  4. Peel and core 1 1/2 pounds apples (about 3 medium). Cut each apple into quarters. Cut each quarter crosswise into 1/4-inch thick pieces. Place in a large bowl. Drain the raisins, then add the raisins to the bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of the granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Toss to combine.

  5. Stack 6 phyllo dough sheets on a large baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap, wax paper, or a damp kitchen towel and leave at room temperature. Reroll the remaining phyllo dough sheets, place in a gallon-size zip-top freezer bag, and refreeze for another use.

  6. Place a sheet of parchment paper large enough to lay the phyllo dough on onto a flat work surface. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough with a long side closer to you on the parchment paper. (Keep the remaining phyllo covered.) Brush the sheet with 1 teaspoon of the butter and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the granulated sugar. Repeat with layering, buttering, and sugaring the remaining sheets of phyllo dough, but do not brush the final sheet with butter or sprinkle with sugar.

  7. Sprinkle the toasted breadcrumbs in a 3-inch wide strip 2 inches from the bottom and sides of the phyllo dough. Use a slotted spoon to spoon the apple filling evenly on top of the breadcrumbs. Discard any liquid remaining in the bowl.

  8. Fold both sides of phyllo dough over the filling. Fold the bottom end up and over the filling, then carefully continuing rolling up and away from you to enclose the filling. Place the strudel seam-side down on the parchment paper you assembled it on, then slide the whole thing onto the now-empty baking sheet. Brush the top of the strudel with the remaining melted butter and sprinkle with the remaining granulated sugar.

  9. Bake, rotating the baking sheet halfway through, until deep golden-brown, 45 to 55 minutes total.

  10. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Transfer the strudel to a cutting board and cut crosswise into 8 slices with a serrated knife. Dust the tops of the slices with powdered sugar and serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.