If you identify as someone in between a scratch baker and a boxed mix baker, this puff pastry apple dumpling recipe is the perfect dessert for you!
It’s got warm, cinnamony apples nestled in their own individual puff pastry packages, topped with a buttery pecan streusel and drizzled with caramel sauce.
These apple dumplings taste like they were baked from scratch, but the only thing you’ll do is unwrap a roll of puff pastry!
I’m told that Cracker Barrel restaurant made an amazing apple dumpling dessert but has since taken it off of their menu. And there is some debate about whether the Cracker Barrel apple dumpling recipe used puff pastry or crescent roll dough.
There are copycat Cracker Barrel recipes out there that call for one or the other, but what’s true about all of them is that the end result is delicious and very reminiscent of what you’d get at that old school country restaurant.
What is in this Apple Dumpling Recipe
This easy apple dumpling recipe has a short list of simple ingredients:
- Tart apples, i.e. Granny Smith
- Frozen puff pastry. You’ll find this in the freezer section at the grocery store.
The pecan streusel topping is made up of four pantry staples:
How to make Puff Pastry Apple Dumplings
Defrost the Puff Pastry
Before you do anything else, take the puff pastry out of the freezer and let it thaw at room temperature. It should take anywhere from 20-30 minutes. You want the pastry to still be cold, but pliable. If you try to use it while it’s still frozen, it could break.
Make the apple filling and the pecan streusel while the puff pastry is defrosting.
Make the Apple Filling
Chop up your apples and mix them with the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and breadcrumbs. No advanced cooking is required!
Make the Pecan Streusel
Using melted butter will hold the other ingredients together. Mix the butter with the flour, brown sugar and chopped pecans until you have moist crumbs.
Set it aside until you’re ready to bake the dumplings.
Roll out the Puff Pastry
Use a rolling pin to roll out the puff pastry to about 2 inches larger than it is when it comes out of the package. Using a sharp knife or a pizza wheel, slice four equal squares out of the dough.
Brush the pastry with beaten egg and place a few spoonfuls of the apple mixture in the center of each square.
Assemble the Apple Dumplings
Now, simply fold opposite corners over each other until you have a little dumpling that looks like an envelope. So cute!
Before baking, sprinkle all of that delicious pecan streusel that you made over the tops of the dumplings.
Bake the Apple Dumplings
These puff pastry dumplings bake at two different temperatures. They’ll start at a higher temperature for about 15 minutes, and then they’ll bake for another 30 minutes at a lower temperature. The total time will be about 45 minutes.
It’s important to remember to lower the temperature of the oven, though. Set a reminder!
They’ll bake up golden brown and delicious!
How to Serve Puff Pastry Apple Dumplings
- Vanilla Ice Cream: If you ordered this dessert at a Cracker Barrel restaurant, it would arrive with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. It’s a classic for a reason!
- Whipped Cream: For a lighter touch, top your apple dumplings with a dollop of freshly whipped cream. It adds a delicate, airy texture and a touch of sweetness.
- Caramel Sauce: I wrote this as “option” in the recipe card, but in my opinion, it’s a must! Drizzling some warm caramel sauce over your dumplings can elevate them to an even more decadent level. Arguably the best part about it!
- Cheddar Cheese: Unconventional, yes. But a few slices of really sharp cheese pairs surprisingly well with this sweet treat.
Variations on this Apple Dumpling Recipe
- Fruit Variations: Match your fruit dumplings to the season by experimenting with different fruits like pears, peaches, or even mixed berries.
- Spices: Adjust the spices to suit your preferences. Try cardamom or ginger for extra warmth and flavor.
- Nuts: If pecans aren’t your thing, try chopped walnuts or slivered almonds as interesting textural alternatives.
- Pie Dough: As an alternative to puff pastry, try refrigerated pie dough or refrigerated crescent rolls. Although a bit heavier, they’ll remind you of your Grandma’s apple pie.
How to Store Apple Dumplings
If you find yourself with leftover apple dumplings or want to prepare them in advance, here’s how to store them:
- Refrigeration: Place any leftover dumplings in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. Store them in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.
- Freezing: Apple dumplings can be frozen for longer storage. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap and then place them in a freezer-safe container or a resealable freezer bag. They’ll be good in the freezer for several months, if properly stored.
How to Reheat these Puff Pastry Apple Dumplings
To enjoy your Cracker Barrel-inspired apple dumplings again, follow these simple steps:
- Oven: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place the dumplings on a baking sheet and cover them with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until they are heated through.
- Microwave: For a quicker option, you can reheat individual dumplings in the microwave. Wrap them in a damp paper towel and microwave on low heat in 30-second intervals until they are warm.
- Stovetop: To reheat multiple dumplings without losing their crispness, use a non-stick skillet. Heat them over medium-low heat, turning occasionally until they are heated evenly.
When you make these Puff Pastry Apple Dumplings, I’d love to hear about it! Drop a rating or leave a comment below. Enjoy!
For more apple recipes, try these:
- Warm Apple Crostata Recipe (Just like Maggiano’s!)
- Apple Cinnamon Sour Cream Coffee Cake
- Apple Butter Cookies with Cinnamon Vanilla Frosting
- The Best Jewish Apple Cake Recipe
- Ultimate Fall Salad with Apples, Pecans & Honey Dijon Dressing
Puff Pastry Apple Dumpling Recipe (Cracker Barrel)
- 3 Granny Smith apples
- 1 package frozen puff pastry
- 1 egg beaten
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 3 Tbsp. plain breadcrumbs
- 2 1/2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
- caramel sauce garnish, optional
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter melted
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Peel, core and chop the apples.
- Combine cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg and bread crumbs in a large bowl. Toss the apples in the cinnamon mixture. Set aside.
- Roll out the first puff pastry sheet into a large rectangle. Cut into 4 equal squares. Brush each square with beaten egg. Place a few spoonfuls of the apple mixture in the center of each pastry square. Fold opposite corners in towards the middle, overlapping the corners over the apple filling.
- Brush the outside of each dumpling with beaten egg. Repeat this process with the second puff pastry sheet, so that you have a total of 8 dumplings.
- Coat an 8×8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange the dumplings in the baking dish.
- Melt butter in a microwave safe dish. Combine the melted butter with the remaining streusel ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the tops of the dumplings. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake an additional 25-30 minutes.
- Drizzle with caramel sauce, if desired.