Chef John's Apple Dumplings


This is one of America's oldest desserts. The flavor profile is almost identical to an apple pie, but instead of having a bunch of slices about, we have one beautifully roasted, tender, sweet apple inside--which while still covered in the same crust we use for a pie, is far superior because we basted and baked it with a sugar sauce. I highly recommend these get served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
1 hr
Total Time:
1 hr 30 mins
4 dumplings


  • 1 teaspoon butter, or as needed

For the Sauce:

  • 1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar

  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 1 cup cold water

For the Apples:

  • 3 tablespoons white sugar

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 4 small Honeycrisp apples

  • 1 recipe prepared pie crust dough

  • 4 teaspoons butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Butter a baking dish.

  2. Combine brown sugar, 3 tablespoons butter, and water in a small pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and boil until all sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat and swirl pot gently to combine. Reserve sauce until needed.

  3. Stir sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Core the unpeeled apples.

  4. Divide pie dough into 4 portions. Roll out on a lightly floured surface into 4 circles about 1/8-inch thick and 7 inches in diameter, or large enough to fully wrap an apple.

  5. Place apples in the center of each round of dough. Spoon about 3 teaspoons of cinnamon sugar into the apple cores; fill each hole with a teaspoon of butter.

  6. Wrap each apple up in pie dough, sealing the dough together at the top. Be careful not to pull and stretch it too tightly around the apple as you wrap, or it might break apart when it bakes; brush lightly with water if dough won't stick together. Even out the top and trim off any excess; shape into decorative leaves if desired.

  7. Place wrapped apples seam-side up into the buttered baking dish. Ladle some sauce over each to cover completely.

  8. Bake in the preheated oven, basting with sauce occasionally, until pastry is browned and cooked through and apples are tender, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and baste with more sauce. Serve warm.


Chef's Notes:

I used a full one-pound batch of my Buttercrust Pastry Dough for this recipe.

Granny Smith apples also work beautifully.

You can use any excess dough that has been trimmed from the tops to form decorations. Roll dough out nice and thin; use a knife to cut out leaf shapes. Use the edge of the knife to make an indention in the center of the leaves; make diagonal lines to form leaf lines. Place leaves on the tops of the dumplings before they're baked.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

545 Calories
25g Fat
78g Carbs
4g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 545
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 25g 33%
Saturated Fat 9g 45%
Cholesterol 18mg 6%
Sodium 350mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 78g 28%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 51g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 2mg 12%
Calcium 49mg 4%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 151mg 3%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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