Serves a Crowd

Original Viennese Apple Strudel (Apfelstrudel)

December 23, 2014
7 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Serves 8 to 10
Author Notes

Apple Strudel ("Apfelstrudel") is a typical and beloved Austrian dessert. This is my granny's recipe -- and I've never had any better tasting Apple Strudel. I think it would be awfully impolite not to share this outstanding piece of dessert with you. Hell, it took Austria at least two dynasties of decadent monarchs to come up with delicious treats like that while ignoring things like international relations and world politics. I hope the length of the recipe doesn’t scare you off. This is just because I explained everything in detail. For accuracy, I recommend measuring everything by weight if you can. Enjoy! —Ursula | Lil Vienna

Test Kitchen Notes

For me, the word 'strudel' conjures up childhood memories of family vacations at the beach, when I would get to eat store-bought strudel for breakfast. It is also one of the few things that I have always been hesitant to try making at home. No longer. This recipe is surprisingly straightforward (the accompanying photos are very helpful), takes no longer to prepare than an apple pie, and the resulting pastry is spectacular. I left my strudel in the oven for closer to 45 minutes, which produced a perfect contrast between the soft, sweet-tart apple filling and the super flaky crust. —Etta

What You'll Need
  • For the strudel dough:
  • 1/3 cup (80 grams) lukewarm water
  • 1 tablespoon
    1/2 teaspoon (15 grams) neutral tasting vegetable oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt or fine sea salt
  • 1 cup
    2 tablespoons (145 grams) bread flour (I recommend measuring by weight since it is more accurate; you can also substitute all-purpose flour, if you like.)

  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil for brushing the dough
  • Flour for dusting
  • For the filling:
  • 3 tablespoons (40 grams) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup (80 grams) fine bread crumbs (dry)
  • 5 tablespoons (65 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons (50 grams) raisins
  • 3 tablespoons rum or lukewarm water for soaking the raisins
  • 2 pounds (900 grams) sweet-tart apples (e.g. MacIntosh, Braeburn)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter for brushing the dough (divided)
  • Confectioner’s sugar for dusting and whipped cream for serving (optional)
  • In addition: tablecloth
  1. For the dough: Mix lukewarm water, oil, vinegar, flour, and salt in a big bowl. Knead the dough until smooth for about 10 minutes, either in the bowl or on a clean working surface. The dough should be moist but not sticky. Slam the dough onto the worksurface a few times to enhance gluten development, yielding a very elastic dough. Let the dough rest for 30 to 45 minutes while you make the filling.
  2. For the filling: Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat and add the breadcrumbs. Toast them, stirring constantly, until they are golden. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  3. Mix sugar and cinnamon together, then add it to the buttered breadcrumbs and stir well. Set aside.
  4. Soak the raisins in rum (traditional) or lukewarm water for about 10 minutes to soften.
  5. Peel the apples, quarter, and core them. Chop every quarter into 1/8- to 1/4-inch slices and cover them with lemon juice to prevent the apples from getting brown. Add the soaked raisins (discard remaining rum or water) and mix well.
  6. Stretching and filling the dough: Roll out the dough with a rolling pin on a clean and lightly floured surface. Flour the surface and the dough every now and then while rolling. When the dough gets about 13- to 15-inch in diameter, pick it up and use the back of your hands, particularly your knuckles, to stretch it (remove all sharp jewelry first). This way you can stretch the dough like a pizza.
  7. When the dough gets bigger and thinner, and thus difficult to handle, put it down on a lightly floured tablecloth and straighten out the wrinkles in both the tablecloth and the dough. Continue stretching the dough on the tablecloth using your hands.
  8. Gently stretch the dough paper-thin from the inside to the outside, working your way around the sheet of dough. Stretch it until it starts to look translucent.
  9. In the end, the sheet of dough should be stretched into a rectangular shape, with the shorter edge fitting a baking sheet lengthwise. Thick edges should be cut off.
  10. Brush half of the dough with half the melted butter. Spread the breadcrumb mixture over the other half of the dough and pat down evenly. One side is brushed with butter now, the other side is covered with breadcrumbs. Leave a 1- to 1 1/2-inch edge around the dough. Spread the apples over the breadcrumbs.
  11. Fold in the side-ends of the dough. Using the tablecloth, roll the dough, starting at the apple-topped end, all the way. Then gently roll the strudel onto a sheet of parchment paper with the seam-side down.
  12. Put the dough onto a baking sheet and brush it with the remaining melted butter.
  13. Baking the strudel: Put the baking sheet in the middle of the preheated oven (I use the second rack of 4 from the top) and bake it for 30 minutes at 375° F.
  14. When the crust turns golden, the Apple Strudel is ready. Take it out of the oven, let it cool slightly, cut it into pieces, and serve dusted with confectioner’s sugar and/or a dollop of whipped cream.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Rosalind Paaswell
    Rosalind Paaswell
  • Sugartoast
  • paczryk
  • sophie
  • AntoniaJames
Austrian, Cookbook author, Journalist, Food blogger, Globetrotter, (Bread)Baking enthusiast, Recipe-tweaker, Chocolate-lover.

17 Reviews

Ojzzz October 11, 2022
Hello :)
Could this be made up, then frozen? When needed, defrosted, ready to oven bake?

Or bake as per recipe, then frozen after cooked?

Thank you!
Ursula |. November 18, 2022
Hi Ojzzz,
A heads up: I've never frozen apple strudel - it always goes way too quick. But I have heard people freezing it with success before baking it. It should keep for several months.
I would suggest the following: Assemble the strudel, then put it in the freeze on an parchment paper lined baking sheet (if you have space) for several hours. Once the dough isn’t sticky any more, loosely wrap in parchment paper and put it in a freezer bag. I would bake it directly from the freezer (parchment paper-lined sheet) because when defrosting it in the refrigerator overnight, the dough might get very sticky and the filling might liquify and ooze out. Oh, and again: I’ve never tried it, so no guarantee. Best, Ursula
Rosalind P. September 27, 2019
A little moral support for strudel makers: small rips in the dough as you're stretching it are okay. Because the dough is rolled and layered, the rips will be covered up by the layers.
Sugartoast November 2, 2016
jcucchi December 21, 2015
I'm curious about the amount of flour here. Almost every Strudel recipe I find (many online, but also books) call for about 2.5 cups of flour. All the other ingredients, however, are about the same as yours in terms of amount. I'm concerned that this is a typo? Can 1 cup of flour really be enough to create a dough for a Strudel for 8-10?
Ursula |. December 21, 2015
Hi jcucci,
Nope, no typo, it really is just 1 cup flour. If you are measuring in cups, use 1 cup and only add the additional 2 tablespoons if the dough is sticky. I noticed the same thing though - a lot of recipes call for more than 2 cups of flour. I think this is way too much. You have to stretch the dough until very thin, so you won't need a lot of dough. You can find more pictures from every step here:
What other readers have pointed out is a longer/hotter baking temperature. So probably try 375 °F.
Hope you will try it!
Ursula |. December 21, 2015
Sorry, I meant try 400 °F ;-)
jcucchi December 21, 2015
Thanks for the prompt response. Will make it on Xmas. My husband's family was from Trieste and she made a glorious version... now lost to history. But this looks very close to hers.
paczryk June 22, 2015
Solid strudel recipe. After my first attempt, I would recommend maybe starting the temperature at 400 (or hotter?) to encourage browning and also to adjust the oven baking time based on the thickness of your strudel. I think it would be prudent to aim for a thinner and longer strudel rather than a fat, log-like shape - the strudel can be bent or cut to fit the baking time. Also, I'm not sure if it is better to oil/butter the dough while pulling/shaping, or to flour (as the recipe indicates). I enjoyed the experience of making it, a nice change from pie/pastry dough!! And we were rewarded with some generous helpings of pure Viennese deliciousness.
sophie January 14, 2015
I lived in Vienna for two years and this is exactly how I remember it! Very buttery with a thin dough and breadcrumbs. YUM. Thanks for sharing!
Sugartoast January 8, 2015
By "fine" breadcrumbs, do you mean dry (vs fresh)? Thank you.
Ursula |. January 9, 2015
Hi, I mean dry breadcrumbs you get in nearly every supermarket, most of the time next to the baking supply and flour. The last time I used "Breadcrumbs original" from Whole Foods from their "cheaper" 365 brand. It's kind of confusing, the breadcrumbs are dry but on the package it says "made from fresh bread" because once, they were fresh bread.... Any other brand is as good and will work fine, don't worry. The only thing important is to use finely ground ones and not the croutons like cubes.
AntoniaJames January 8, 2015
It's been years since I made apfelstrudel. So nice to see this recipe. I look forward to trying it. Congrats on the Community Pick! ;o)
Ursula |. January 8, 2015
Thanks! Time to give it another try ;-)
Kt4 January 2, 2015
Oh my! I'd love to see a video of this being made!
Ursula |. January 3, 2015
Not quite a video but at least a comprehensive picture series ;-)
ATG117 January 9, 2015
Picture series is incredibly helpful!