If you want to bake a real-deal apple strudel, you are right where you belong. This homemade Viennese-style apple strudel is filled with apples, toasted breadcrumbs, chopped walnuts, raisins (if you like them), and cinnamon-sugar. I use my homemade super-thin strudel pastry recipe for this strudel, which makes delicious thin layers of crust. Yum!
I’ve been making apple strudel for a few decades (read more here). No, I’m not that old but I started early. In kindergarten, I helped my granny stretching (and tearing) the paper-thin dough, and I simply kept going. Until this day.
I love making apple strudel so much that I somehow ended up teaching students how to make homemade apple strudel at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education in Cambridge, MA.
Making apple strudel from scratch isn’t rocket science. Although, some people prefer to do actual rocket science to stretching strudel dough and peeling apples, like David.
The recipe below is a classic, traditional Viennese apple strudel. I’ve already posted a recipe here but I’ve changed some smaller things like adding chopped walnuts or scaling down the amount of butter and breadcrumbs. I love both versions, so please go ahead and pick the one you prefer.
Recipe for Homemade Apple Strudel
Start by making the strudel dough, if you want to make it from scratch. I’ve posted an article on how to make paper-thin strudel dough for apple strudel. The dough will take about 1 hour and 15 minutes to make (including resting time).
For the filling, I always start by toasting the breadcrumbs. Melt butter in a pan over medium heat, then add the breadcrumbs.
Toast the breadcrumbs, stirring constantly, until they are golden. Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl and let cool.
You will need about 6 medium-size apples (2 lbs / 900 g -1 kg) for the filling. This sounds a lot but I assure you, they will cook down. I prefer medium-tart apples like McIntosh but usually I use what I do have on hand, like these Gala apples in the picture.
Peel the apples, quarter and core them.
Chop every quarter into 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick slices. In between cutting, drizzle the slices with lemon juice to prevent the apples from browning.
These are the ingredients for the filling: melted butter (for brushing the dough), cinnamon-sugar, raisins (soaked in rum if you like), chopped walnuts, and toasted breadcrumbs.
You can find a detailed step-by-step tutorial on how to make thin strudel dough in this blog post.
Stretch the dough until it starts to look translucent. You should be able to read the titles of a newspaper placed under the dough. In the end, the sheet of dough should be stretched into a rectangular shape, with the shorter edge fitting the baking sheet lengthwise. Thick edges should be cut off.
Brush half of the dough with roughly half of the melted butter. Spread the breadcrumb-mixture evenly over the other half of the dough. One side is brushed with butter now, the other side is covered with breadcrumbs. Leave 1 to 1 ½ inch to the edge. Spread the apples over the breadcrumbs. Evenly top with raisins (but not the remaining rum or water if you’ve soaked them) and walnuts.
Sprinkle the apple slices with cinnamon sugar. Fold in the side-ends of the dough. Using the tablecloth, roll the dough, starting at the apple-topped end all the way.
Then gently roll the strudel onto a sheet of parchment paper with the seam-side down.
Transfer the strudel onto a baking sheet and brush it with the remaining melted butter.
Bake the strudel in the preheated oven (I use rack 2 of 4 from top) for 30-40 minutes at 375 °F. When the crust turns golden, the Apple Strudel is ready.
Take it out of the oven, let it cool slightly, cut it into pieces and serve dusted with confectioner’s sugar. The crust is crunchy when hot and will soften once the strudel cools.
Serve it with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if you like. I usually eat it plain, with a generous dusting of powdered sugar :-)
This is my go-to recipe for traditional Viennese Apple Strudel. I use my homemade super-thin strudel dough recipe for this strudel, which is the traditional pastry for apple strudel. Prepare the strudel dough 1 hour (or up to 2 days) in advance. You can use store-bought phyllo dough on a lazy day but a heads up: the result will not be as delicious ;-)
Recipe: Ursula | lilvienna.com
- 1 strudel dough (recipe here)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (30 g)
- 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp fine, dry bread crumbs (70 g)
- 2 lbs sweet-tart apples (e.g. MacIntosh) (900 g)
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 5 tablespoons granulated sugar (65 g)*
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (use 1 teaspoon if you like cinnamon)
- 1/4 cup (25 g) chopped walnuts, best if briefly toasted in a pan without oil
- 4 tablespoons raisins (50 g)
- Optional: 3 tablespoons rum or lukewarm water for soaking the raisins
- 2 tablespoons melted butter for brushing the dough
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for serving (optional)
- Melt butter in a pan over medium heat, then add the breadcrumbs. Toast them, stirring constantly, until they are golden. Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl and let cool. If you leave the breadcrumbs in the pan, make sure the residual heat doesn't toast them too much or the strudel will taste scorched.
- Soak the raisins in rum (traditional, for a nice taste) or lukewarm water for about 10 minutes, or longer if you like, to get them softened (only if they are rather dry and not soft).
- Mix sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Peel the apples, quarter and core them. Chop every quarter into 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick slices. In between cutting, drizzle the slices with lemon juice to prevent the apples from browning.
- Roll out the dough with a rolling pin on a clean and lightly floured surface. Flour the surface and the dough every now and then while rolling.
- When the dough gets about 13-15 inch in diameter, pick it up then use the back of your hands, particularly your knuckles, to stretch it (remove all sharp jewelry first). This way you can straighten the dough like a pizza.
- When the dough gets bigger and thinner, and thus difficult to handle, put it down on a lightly floured tablecloth, straighten out the wrinkles in both the tablecloth and the dough. Continue stretching the dough on the tablecloth using your hands.
- Gently stretch the dough paper-thin from the inside to the outside, working your way around the sheet of dough. Stretch it until it starts to look translucent. You should be able to read the titles of a newspaper placed under the dough (don't do this though, the ink would probably come off).
- In the end, the sheet of dough should be stretched into a rectangular shape, with the shorter edge fitting the baking sheet lengthwise. Thick edges should be cut off.
- Brush half the dough with roughly half of the melted butter.
- Spread the breadcrumb-mixture evenly over the other half of the dough. One side is brushed with butter now, the other side is covered with breadcrumbs. Leave 1 to 1.5 inch to the edge. Spread the apples over the breadcrumbs. Evenly top with raisins (but not the remaining rum or water) and walnuts. Sprinkle everything with cinnamon sugar.
- Fold in the side-ends of the dough. Using the tablecloth, roll the dough, starting at the apple-topped end all the way. Then gently roll the strudel onto a sheet of parchment paper with the seam-side down.
- Transfer the strudel onto a baking sheet and brush it with the remaining melted butter.
- Bake the strudel in the preheated oven (I use rack 2 of 4 from top) for 30-40 mins at 375 °F. When the crust turns golden, the Apple Strudel is ready. Take it out of the oven, let it cool slightly, cut it into pieces and serve dusted with confectioner's sugar. The crust is crunchy when hot and will soften once the strudel cools.
- Serve it with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if you like.
* The amount of sugar largely depends on your taste and the tartness of the apples used. I like apple strudel not overly sweet and rather give it a generous dusting of powdered sugar after baking. If you prefer it on the sweet side, add a little more sugar to the filling.
Did you follow this recipe You could share your result here. All you need to do is take a picture with your smartphone and send it to [email protected]
I love how the butter brushed over the strudel makes it look so golden and crisp on the outside. This looks like a really great strudel recipe. I recently agreed to bring a strudel to my kids’ school’s bake sale, but I won’t have time to make one. I’ll have to find a bakery that makes this quality of strudel and I’ll have to try this recipe another time. I can’t wait!
Yes! The butter creates thin flakey layers and a crispy exterior. I love it as well. Hope you’ll find a bakery with decent strudel. Thanks for your comment!
I have used your recipe and it makes the best strudel of the ones I’ve tried. Exactly like the strudel we enjoyed when living in southern Germany. Quick question… have you tried freezing it before baking then thawing and baking a later time? I have a ton of apples and wanted to try making a few of these and freezing them to use throughout the winter months.
Thank you! I’m so happy that this reminds you of the strudels you enjoyed in southern Germany. I grew close to southern Germany… I have never tried to freeze it before baking. I mean, it could work but on the other hand the apple filling could also soak the dough. What I would suggest is to bake the strudel half way and then freeze it. When needed, pop the strudel from the freezer right into the oven. But I have never tried this either, I always bake strudel right after making it.
I would try it out for you, since I am curious but right now, I live in an apartment with a tiny freezer compartment, so that’s off the table. In case you try, please let me know how it works out :)
Thanks for your comment and all the best! Ursula
Love the way you show pictures on describing how to make and stretch the dough.
How big should the dough be after you stretch it? Just a rough guidelines would be useful, hard to tell from the picture.
Thanks Terry! As written in the recipe, the shorter side should roughly be as long as the longer side of the baking sheet, a little longer since you fold in the ends. It doesn’t really matter how long the longer side is: If it is longer, your strudel gets more layers, if it’s shorter, less layers (from rolling). The most important thing is that the dough is thin. If the strudel doesn’t really fit onto the baking sheet in the end, you can bend it like a horseshoe ;-)
Be still my heart! You’re my hero. Here I am at 60 plus ..lol .and guess who has been inspired to make this completely from scratch? Yes, that would be me. I’ve made strudel once from the package phyllo but I’m determined. Will come back & give you resultsplus tag you in IG
Oh wow, yes please, give it a try. I love streching the dough, it’s so much fun – no matter what age :-)))
I just made this for my Dather’s 90th birthday party. His heritage is Austrian!
I was so nervous but I think my great grandmother channeled me through your amazing photos and recipe and WOW! It turned out amazing!
I can’t wait to deep-dive into your blog to create more of what you share.
Oh wow, so happy that it turned out great. Often times, people need some practice for a great outcome, especially when streching the strudel dough for the first time. Must have been your Austrian heritage. Thanks so much for leaving a comment, and I hope you’ll find some more recipes to try here. Let me know in case you have any questions, Ursula
I’m attempting to try my first Apple strudel recipe. Yours looks like the one I’ve chosen. My questions are:
Why are breadcrumbs incorporated into the recipe? Are they plain, what kind would you suggest and what kind of butter is best to buy?
Also, would love to watch an action video on this.
Thank you in advance. Appreciate a reply ASAP.
P.S. I’m not a baker, but willing to try.
So sorry for my late reply. To answer your first question: Breadcrumbs will soak up all the juices from the apples and make sure that the moisture and apple juice stay within the strudel. I use plain, fine dry breadcrubs, which I toast with butter. You can also use a mix of ground nuts and breadcrumbs, if you prefer. As for the butter: I use unsalted, regular butter. I do not have a brand preference here, simply use the one you like. I do not use margarine or low fat or anything like that. Just regular butter. @Action video: I hope, that I can expand with videos. It’s just that they are soooo time consuming and right now, I simply don’t have enough time to do it all ;-) Hope this changes in the future. Let me know if you have any further questions. I really hope that you will try the recipe.
I recently retired and am trying my hand at baking! I have tried dozens of bread and pastry recipes, some turn out, some don’t… My granddaughter helped me stretch the dough and was amazed at how thin it would get. We used canned apricots for the filling instead of apples and it turned out delicious! I actually mixed the dough in a mixer for 10 minutes which actually worked out great! My great aunt from Germany used to make this many years ago. I loved sitting and talking to her when she was baking many of the old time dishes. I wish now I was thinking ahead and wrote down the recipes. She did everything by sight and feel measurement. Thank you for the recipe and great instructions! Jim
I am so happy to hear that everything worked out great. I imagine that apricots taste great too. And yes: Every time I stretch the dough, it amazes me how thin it will stretch. My granny also cooked almost everything by sight and feel, which makes sense if you have a lot of practice, but if you are just starting out, it can bring you to the verge of despair.
Oh my!! This recipe was a hit for dinner tonight! It was so easy to make and such simple ingredients!! Thank you so much for this recipe! Just a quick question, I noticed in this recipe the cinnamon-sugar mixture isn’t mixed in with the breadcrumbs like in the ORIGINAL VIENNESE APPLE STRUDEL recipe. Does it make a difference? Can’t wait to try your KAISERSCHMARRN recipe!
So happy that you liked it! Wow, you are a good observer :) No, it doesn’t really matter if you mix the breadcrubs with the cinnamon-sugar or add it seperately. I remember my granny sprinkled everything seperately on top of the apples, even the sugar and cinnamon one by one. But I think the cinnamon distributes more even, when mixed with sugar before. So it’s totally up to you if you mix the cinnamon-sugar into the breadcrumbs or sprinkle it over the apples :)
I hop you’ll try the Kaiserschmarrn. I make it more often than apple strudel since it’s not seasonal and ready in a whim. And so easy to prepare.
Strudel has always been on my list but I have always been intimidated. Thanks to your excellent instructions, I finally tackled it today. I only had a few holes on the ends that were easy to patch and hide. It turned out beautifully and was delicious. Not too sweet and lighter than pie. It is supposed to be for our special Sunday dessert, but I had to taste it with afternoon tea to be sure it was good, hehe! :) Thank you for sharing your family recipe and knowledge, makes it even more special!
So happy to hear that. A few holes are not the end of the world – and as you say, you can tuck them together or hide them ;-) Thank you so much for leaving a comment. I hope you’ll make it again some time. All the best, Ursula
Just like my Czech grandmother used to make! Delicious!
Haha, yes Austrian an Czech cuisine are often times identical :-) Well, it used to be one country. Hope you‘ll give this strudel a try some day. Ursula