A flaky, buttery crust encases perfectly cooked cinnamon apples that are smothered in a rich, creamy vanilla sauce. It looks complicated, but these easy apple dumplings come together effortlessly. Nothing could be more perfect than this dessert for fall.
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Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings
This is a genuine family recipe. I learned how to make homemade apple dumplings from my Grandmother and I'm thrilled to share the recipe with you.
The aroma of the warm apples baking in the oven will drive you crazy. Waiting for them to cool down enough to eat is the longest 10 minutes ever. They smell like everything beautiful about fall.
Apple Dumpling Sauce
The homemade vanilla sauce is the best thing about country apple dumplings. It's a thick sauce with rich vanilla flavors and puts these baked apple dumplings over the top!
Even though these dumplings taste incredible with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, the vanilla sauce is what takes you back to happy childhood memories.
Of course, if you're not into vanilla, try these with this caramel sauce from The Unlikely Baker or your favorite store-bought version. You can't go wrong with any of these toppings!
Apple Dumplings with Pie Crust
Save yourself time and use a pre-made pie crust. This apple dumplings recipe is easier than ever when you don't have to struggle with making a homemade pie crust.
All you need are apples, cinnamon, sugar, vanilla, cornstarch, and a pie crust.
It may not be the same as Grandma's crust but it will certainly get these scrumptious old-fashioned apple dumplings on your table more often.
Here's what you'll need for the baked apple dumplings:
- Apples - see below for the best apples to use
- Double pie crust - I used refrigerated pie crust but you can also make your own pie crust
Here's what you'll need for the vanilla sauce:
- Egg - it is OK to consume an uncooked egg as long as the eggs are pasteurized. You can also use a packaged egg substitute
- Vanilla extract - use pure vanilla extract for the most flavor
- Cornstarch - is used as a thickener
Best Apples for Dumplings
Since this recipe for apple dumplings requires you to bake them, you need to use baking apples. They should be slightly tart, so Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, and Fuji are great choices.
How to Make Apple Dumplings
- Let your packaged pie dough come to room temperature before working with it. Take out one single pie crust and cut in half.
- Fold the dough around to make a circle then roll it out large enough to cover the apple.
- Place peeled and cored apple in the center of the pie dough.
- Fill the cored section of the apple with a mixture of sugar and cinnamon.
- Fold over opposing sides of the dough over the apple. Make sure to cover it completely.
- Fold up the remaining two sides and pinch together the edges.
- Place dough-covered apples on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Decorate with extra dough if available.
- Bake apple dumplings for 45 minutes, tenting with aluminum foil after the first 20 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla sauce or a scoop of ice cream.
How to Make Apple Dumpling Sauce
- Combine sugar, egg, salt, and vanilla extract.
- Whisk together until well blended.
- Add a bit of cold water, about 2 tablespoons, to cornstarch and stir until dissolved.
- Add boiling water to cornstarch and stir until it thickens.
- Pour thickened cornstarch into whisked sugar-egg mixture.
- Stir until creamy and smooth. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
I'm sure Grandma is looking down, smiling, and overjoyed that I'm sharing her special apple dumpling recipe with you. I hope you enjoy these dumplings as much as we do.
How to Store and Reheat
You should store the dumplings and sauce separately. Otherwise, the sauce will soak into the dumpling crust and make the crust mushy or cause it to disintegrate.
How to Store Apple Dumplings: Cover the dumplings with plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
How to Freeze Apple Dumplings: Place the dumplings on a baking sheet and in the freezer until frozen solid. Transfer the frozen dumplings into a plastic freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw them in the refrigerator overnight.
Reheating Apple Dumplings: Place the dumplings in an oven-safe dish, cover loosely with foil, and bake at 350°F for 10 to 15 minutes.
How to Store Vanilla Sauce: Place the sauce in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
How to Freeze Vanilla Sauce: Place the sauce in an airtight freezer container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight.
How to Reheat Vanilla Sauce: Pour it into a saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated.
Apple Dumplings with Vanilla Sauce
- 4 apples, peeled & cored
- Double pie crust (either packaged refrigerated pie crusts or make your own)
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 egg
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup boiling water
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
To make dumplings:
- Peel and core apples.
- Mix sugar and cinnamon together in small bowl.
- Prepare homemade pie crust or unroll refrigerated pie crusts. You will get 4 apple dumplings from a double crust or 2 apple dumplings from each refrigerated pie crust round.
- On a lightly floured surface, cut each pie round in two. Fold around to make a circle and, using a rolling pin, roll out into a thin circle that is as wide as apple is high.
- Place apple on rolled circle. Fill with 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bring up opposite sides of dough to top of apple. Repeat with opposite sides. Secure all at top by slightly wetting dough and pushing down lightly. Take the corners that are sticking out and fold over to side and pinch. If any holes form in the dough lightly pat them back together as you don't want any of that glorious cinnamon-sugar to leak out.
- If you want to decorate your apples, use any leftover dough and cut out leaf shapes and place around top.
- Place on a cookie sheet with sides that has been lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Bake in oven for 45 minutes, covering lightly after the first 20 minutes when the dough has browned sufficiently.
- Serve hot out of the oven with vanilla sauce on the side or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
To make sauce:
- In a medium bowl whisk egg, sugar, vanilla and salt.
- In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in a little cold water. Add 1 cup boiling water and stir well as it thickens.
- Whisk into egg mixture and serve on the side. Keep refirgerated until ready to serve.
This post has been updated with step-by-step instructions and new photos. It was first published on November 13, 2015.