Fine Desserts

How to Make The Perfect Traditional Apple Strudel Recipe

4.85 from 64 votes
Master the flawless classic Apple Strudel with this step-by-step recipe, and indulge in a delightful treat on cozy days in fall and beyond.
Pouring Creme Anglaise on my Apple Strudel.

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Hi Bold Bakers!

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPEA Perfect Traditional Apple Strudel not only tastes scrumptious, but also brings up fond memories, traditions, and comfort. Tender apples, aromatic cinnamon sugar, and layers of flaky pastry create a harmonious blend of contrasting flavors and textures, making it a fantastic dessert for fall or any time of the year! Using my straightforward approach, you can impress families and friends with a visually appealing treat with ease and success! 

We absolutely adored this recipe. It filled our hearts with warmth and nostalgia. The addition of rum-soaked raisins elevates it, lending a touch of sophistication. Furthermore, I’ve incorporated layers of butter and sugar between the delicate sheets of phyllo pastry, adding a luxurious and elegant touch to the apple strudel.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This recipe was updated on 9/21/23, to include a step-by-step tutorial video, explanations for key ingredients, answers to the most frequently asked questions, and more Pro Chef Tips. 

Table of Contents

Apple Strudel is served on a glass plate covered in Creme Anglaise. The tender apples, aromatic cinnamon sugar are wrapped with layers of flaky pastry . More slices and Creme Anglaise are served on the side with two forks.

What Is Apple Strudel?

  • Apple strudel, often simply referred to as “strudel” (meaning ‘swirl’ in German), is a traditional pastry dessert that’s believed to have originated in Austria but has become popular in many countries, especially in Central Europe.
  • It consists of a thin, flaky pastry filled with a sweet and flavorful mixture of apple slices or cubes, sugar, spices (typically cinnamon), and often other ingredients such as rum-soaked raisins, chopped nuts, or breadcrumbs. My version also contains a touch of lemon juice and salt to bring out even more flavors.
  • Unlike an Apple Pie, apple strudel is made with a flaky puff pastry dough or phyllo dough, which is wrapped around the filling, and baked on a baking sheet.

Tools for Apple Strudel

Key Ingredients and Why

  • Phyllo dough

  • Raisins

    • Raisins provide natural sweetness and add fruity notes.
    • Rum-soaked raisins absorb moisture and then release some of it during baking, preventing the apple filling from becoming too dry or overly dense. This contributes to a more tender and juicy strudel interior.
    • Raisins remain slightly chewy after baking, providing a delightful textural element to each bite of the strudel.
  • Dark rum

    • First, dark rum enhances the overall flavor with its rich, complex, and slightly sweet taste and subtle hints of caramel, molasses, and spices. When incorporated into the filling, it complements the sweetness of the apples and the warmth of the cinnamon, creating a more intricate and enjoyable flavor profile.
    • Secondly, rum rehydrates raisins with moisture, contributing to a juicy and tender filling.
    • As it bakes, the rum imparts a subtle, enticing aroma that can make the strudel even more appealing. It also provides a mild boozy undertone to the dessert, which some adults find enjoyable. It can create a warm and comforting sensation without overpowering the other flavors.
  • Apples

    • Peel and core Granny Smith apples for the best flavor and texture.
    • Bramley apples will be your go-to cooking apples in Ireland or the UK. They are very sour to eat raw but work beautifully in baking, such as in an  Apple Crumble.
    • Honeycrisp, Gala, and Golden Delicious will work as well.
  • Breadcrumbs 

    • Besides adding structure and body to the filling, breadcrumbs absorb excess moisture from the apples as they bake. This prevents the filling from becoming overly watery and helps it maintain a cohesive instead of a soggy texture.
    • With their neutral flavor, breadcrumbs can carry the flavors of other ingredients in the filling. This helps distribute the sweetness, spiciness, and any other flavor elements more evenly throughout the strudel.
    • During baking, the breadcrumbs maintain a slightly crispy or crumbly texture, adding interest to each bite.
    • Make your own using my recipe of How to Make Breadcrumbs.
  • Butter

    • Butter enriches the flavor of apple strudel, especially the filling, and contributes to the golden brown color.
    • For the strudel dough, butter binds its layers together preventing them from separating. Moreover, butter also melts and the moisture in the butter creates steam, helping to separate and crisp up the individual layers of phyllo. This results in the characteristic flaky and crispy texture of strudel pastry.
  • Sugar

    • Sugar sweetens apple strudel balancing the tartness of apples.
    • In the meantime, sugar caramelizes during baking to thicken up the filling and to form a golden-brown flaky crust.
    • Lastly, sugar reduces water activity helping inhibit the growth of microorganisms and extending the shelf life of the dessert.
  • Lemon juice

    • Lemon juice adds a refreshing tangy flavor, prevents apples from oxidizing, and provides natural pectin to form a thicker and more cohesive filling.
  • Cinnamon

    • Cinnamon adds warmth to the strudel.
  • Salt

    • Salt enhances other flavors in the strudel.

Homemade Apple Strudel without Creme Anglaise.

How To Make Apple Strudel

  • Prepare the filling:

    • Gently warm up raisins in dark rum or water and soak until the raisins plump.
    • Combine apples, breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons of melted butter, 3 tablespoons of sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
  • Prepare the phyllo dough:

    • Place your remaining 6 tablespoons of melted butter and 2 tablespoons of sugar in two separate bowls.
    • On a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, place one sheet of phyllo dough, leaving the other sheets under a damp cloth to prevent drying.
    • Brush the first sheet of phyllo dough with butter and sprinkle about a teaspoon of sugar on top.
    • Place the second sheet of phyllo dough on top and repeat the butter/sugar process to stack, butter, and sugar the remaining sheets.
  • Assemble the apple strudel:

    • Combine plumped raisins and liquid with the apple mixture and scoop this filling onto the narrow end of the stacked dough closest to you.
    • Spread the apple mixture into a 3-inch wide strip. Leave a 2-inch border of dough from the bottom and sides.
    • Fold the sides of the dough over the apples. Then, starting from the bottom, roll the dough with the apples inside away from you until the dough is rolled up, and the apples are enclosed.
    • Place the roll, seam side down, in the center of the baking sheet, brush the remaining melted butter, and sprinkle with sugar.
  • Bake and serve the apple strudel:

    • Bake in a preheated 350°F (180°C) oven for about an hour, rotating halfway through until the pastry is golden brown.
    • Let cool and serve!

Can I Make Apple Strudel in Advance and How to Store Apple Strudel?

Yes, you can make apple strudel ahead of time.

  • Leftover apple strudel can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • To re-crisp, place it in the oven at 300°F (150°C) for 15 minutes.


Can you make a gluten-free version of apple strudel?

What can I substitute for bread crumbs if I don’t have any?

  • To replace breadcrumbs, you can use crushed graham crackers, rolled oats, ground nuts such as walnuts or pecans, ground flaxseeds or chia seeds, flour, cooked rice or quinoa, or mashed potatoes.

Can I omit raisins and what else can I use to replace raisins in apple strudel?

  • Yes, you can omit raisins or use dried cranberries, dried apricots, dried cherries, dried blueberries,  dried dates, chopped figs, or coconut flakes.

What can I use instead if I can’t find phyllo dough?

Can I freeze apple strudel?

Yes, you can freeze uncooked or cooked apple strudel.

  • Freeze assembled raw strudel individually in a single layer until firm them wrap tightly with foil or cling wrap. Then store raw apple strudel in an airtight container in the freezer for up to two to three months.
  • Thaw the frozen strudel in the fridge overnight and bake per this recipe.
  • Allow baked strudel to cool completely at room temperature then wrap tightly with foil or cling wrap and freeze baked apple strudel for up to two to three months.

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making Apple Strudel

  • Soaking the raisins in the rum really adds a fantastic flavor. I suggest you don’t skip it! But you can substitute the rum with water if you prefer.
  • Cut your apples small so they cook throughout.
  • Depending on what is in season, experiment with making different fruit strudels.
  • Phyllo dough dries out in minutes, so be sure to keep the dough you’re not working with under a damp cloth.
  • Serve with my Creme Anglaise, Whipped Cream, Vanilla Ice Cream, or Caramel Sauce.


And don’t forget to buy my book Bigger Bolder Baking Everyday: Easy Recipes to Bake Through a Busy Week!

IMPORTANT NOTE: This recipe was updated on 9/21/23, to include a step-by-step tutorial video, explanations for key ingredients, answers to the most frequently asked questions, and more Pro Chef Tips. 

Watch The Recipe Video!

Traditional Apple Strudel Recipe

4.85 from 64 votes
Master the flawless classic Apple Strudel with this step-by-step recipe, and indulge in a delightful treat on cozy days in fall and beyond.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 8 people
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Master the flawless classic Apple Strudel with this step-by-step recipe, and indulge in a delightful treat on cozy days in fall and beyond.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 8 people


  • cup (1 ½ oz/43g) raisins
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum (or water)
  • 3 large (1lb 8 oz/675g) Granny Smith apples peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup (2 ½ oz/71g) fresh breadcrumbs (or ½ cup (1 ¼oz/35 g) dried breadcrumbs)
  • 2 tablespoons (1oz/28g) plus 6 tablespoons (3oz/85g) butter, melted and divided
  • 3 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 large sheets (13x18 inch / 33x46 cm) phyllo dough (thawed, if frozen)
  • Creme Anglaise for serving


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, combine raisins and rum (or water), and microwave for just 20 seconds. Set aside to plump.
  • In a large bowl, combine apples, breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons melted butter, 3 tablespoons sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt.
  • Add in the soaked raisins and set aside but you prepare the pastry.
  • Place the remaining 6 tablespoons of melted butter and 2 tablespoons sugar in two separate small bowls.
  • Place one sheet of phyllo dough on your prepared baking sheet, leaving the remaining sheets under a damp cloth to keep from drying out.
  • Brush the sheet of phyllo dough with butter and sprinkle with about a teaspoon of sugar.
  • Place the second sheet of phyllo dough on top of the first and again, brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Continue to stack, butter and sugar with the remaining sheets of dough, but do not butter or sugar the final sheet of dough.
  • Position the baking sheet with a narrow end closest to you.
  • Scoop the filling onto the narrow end of the stacked dough nearest to you.
  • Spread the apples into a 3-inch wide strip, leaving a 2-inch border of dough from the bottom and sides of the apple strip.
  • Fold the sides of the dough over the apples, and then, starting from the bottom, start to roll the dough with the apples inside away from you until the dough is rolled up and the apples are enclosed inside.
  • Place the roll, seam side down, in the center of the baking sheet and then brush with the remaining melted butter and sprinkle with the remaining sugar.
  • Bake for about 50-60 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the pastry is a golden brown.
  • Let cool. Serve with a drizzle of Creme Anglaise. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Re-crisp in a 300°F (150°C) oven for 15 minutes.
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Sandra Kay McCallum
Sandra Kay McCallum
2 years ago

I am definitely going to try this. You make it seem doable. I always thought it was a long drawn out process but this looks fairly easy.

debra d
3 years ago

I’m going to try this,yum

3 years ago

Can I use puff pastry? Also how long should I bake it? An hour seems a long time for puff pastry.

Gerlinde Wielaender
3 years ago

Greetings from Austria! Well done 👍

6 months ago

Never worked with Phyllo dough before. Surprised how fragile it is. It also dries out very quickly. Followed the recipe exactly. I think that it calls for too many apples. The strudel came out rather chunky. I had some apples left over, so I made a second mini strudel. Other than that, it is very tasty and easy to make. Got lots of compliments from friends who came over and unknowingly, served as “Guinea pigs”. Instead of breadcrumbs, or maybe in addition to them, next time, I’m going to try little cornstarch to thicken the apple juice. I used Honeycrisp… Read more »

6 months ago

Once when I made this I substituted brie for the butter. Turned out to be just as delicious.

Steve C.
Steve C.
6 months ago

Gemma, do I add the raisins AND rum, or just the raisins without the liquid?

6 months ago

Can I use different kinds of apples other than Granny Smith. I don’t like the flavor of Granny Smith and always try different flavors of apples in recipes.

6 months ago

I still make the ‘real’ pastry which you stretch over a cloth, I don’t think this generation of bakers know how to make this ( I am very old) also the breadcrumbs should be lightly fried. Also add ground almonds to the chopped apples. I originally come from what used to be Czechoslovakia – came on the kindertransport as a child but this recipe was used by my mother.

1 year ago

Followed recipe. Delicious. Almost like Grandma’s


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About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.


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