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Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings Recipe

A close up photo of a classic old-fashioned apple dumpling in a plate.While the preparation time takes a bit of time for this recipe, the techniques used are actually pretty simple. In fact, the most time-consuming part of this recipe is likely the peeling and coring of the apples. However, if you are pressed for time, there is one quick and easy shortcut that you can use to make this recipe come together in a snap.

A close up photo of a classic old-fashioned apple dumpling in a plate.

Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings Recipe

April Freeman
Loaded with nostalgia, apple dumplings are one of those recipes that Grandma used to make. If you are missing a special loved one and want to enjoy this old-fashioned recipe, our recipe for Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings is just what you need to celebrate the happy memories that you made in the past. 
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 6 apple dumplings


  • Oven
  • Pastry blender
  • Sauce Pan


Ingredients for dough:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup shortening
  • ¼ to ½ cup ice water

Ingredients for Filling:

  • 6 cooking apples
  • 3 tbsp butter, cut into 6 equal pieces
  • 6 tbsp granulated sugar
  • ¾  tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • tsp cloves
  • ¼ tsp salt

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup water or apple juice
  • ¾ cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ tsp vanilla


  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and spray a 9 by 13 baking pan with cooking spray. Set this aside. 
    A close up photo of a old-fashioned apple dumplings.
  • Wash your apples and then peel and core them, leaving them whole. Set these aside. To prevent browning as you prepare the rest of the recipe, you can set them into a bowl of water with a splash of lemon juice added. 
    A close up photo of peeled apples and a peeler.
  • First, you will prepare the crust. In a large bowl, measure out the flour, salt, and sugar and use a fork to combine them. Add the butter and the shortening. Use a pastry blender to cut the fats into the dry ingredients. When the butter is cut into tiny coarse crumbs distributed through the dry ingredients and resembles cornmeal, you have mixed it enough.
    A close up photo of a mixed salt, sugar, and flour in a bowl.
  • Using your finger to hold back the bits of ice in your measuring cup, pour some water into the dry ingredients. Use a large spoon to stir the mixture. Continue stirring and adding a bit of water at a time until the dough just starts to stick together. At this point, you can use your hands to gently mix the dough. Add water as needed to wet any pockets of dry ingredients. Remember to handle the dough gently, and just press it together. Rough handling will create tough dough. You may not use all of the water. 
    Stirring the mixed salt, sugar, flour in the bowl using a large spoon.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into a large rectangle that is about 21 by 14 inches. Cut six 7 inch squares from this dough. 
  • Using a small bowl, stir together the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves along with the granulated sugar for the apple filling.
  • Place an apple in the center of each dough square. Divide the butter into six equal parts and put one chunk of butter in the center hole of each apple. Put a scant tablespoon of the sugar and spice mixture in the center hole as well.
    Placing an apple in the center of each dough square
  • Gather up the corners of the dough and pinch them to seal it around the apple. Place the dough wrapped apple in the prepared baking pan. Repeat with all of the rest of the apples. 
  • In a small saucepan, mix together the ingredients for the sauce. Add the water or juice, sugar, cinnamon, and
  • Do not include vanilla. Bring this mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking frequently. Boil it hard for about 5 minutes or until it is slightly reduced and then, remove from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Add the vanilla to the slightly cooled mixture. Pour the sauce over the apples. 
  • If you have any of the sugar and spice mixture left, sprinkle it lightly over the apples. 
    Six ready to baked apple dumplings in a bowl.
  • Bake the apple dumplings in your preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes. The dumplings should be lightly browned and the apples should be soft when you insert a knife or skewer into them. Let the apples cool for about 10 minutes and then serve them. You can add a dollop of sweetened whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream to make these apple dumplings even more special.


If you have never made a pastry crust, or if you are in a big hurry, you can simply pick up a pre-made pie crust package from the grocery store. You can find these in your dairy case for just a few dollars.  Whether you make the pie crust from scratch as directed in the recipe or you pick up a premade pie crust, our apple dumplings are fabulous.
For this recipe, you should be sure to use apples that hold up well in baking. Some apples, like Red Delicious, fall into mush as they are baked. We used Fuji apples, which manage to hold their shape in the heat of the oven, but apples like Yellow Delicious, Granny Smith, or Honeycrisp are also good options for this recipe. You only need six of them to make this dish. Additionally, for this recipe, if you use very large apples, you may want to make some additional pastry so as to fully cover them with pastry dough. Smaller apples actually work better for this recipe.
Keyword apple dumplings, homemade, old-fashioned

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