This Traditional Amish Recipe Is the Perfect Apple Dessert

Move over, apple pie. This Amish apple dumpling recipe will warm you right up!

I love ice cream for dessert, but when it’s only 5º outside, I need something piping hot to go with it. This apple dessert isn’t super elegant, but it is warm, comforting and the perfect partner for a scoop of ice cream—even in winter.

Meet the Amish apple dumpling recipe of your frozen weather fantasies. Here’s how to make the rustic treat:

Amish Apple Dumpling Recipe

For the Dumplings

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 8 medium tart apples, peeled and cored
  • 8 teaspoons butter, divided
  • 9 teaspoons cinnamon-sugar, divided

For the Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed

Initial Thoughts

Cored appleMandy Naglich for Taste of Home

The ingredients for this dish are very humble, inexpensive and easy to find. All I had to grab from the grocery store were the apples, making this my kind of recipe! (I also love these meals that are under $10.) The recipe doesn’t specify an apple variety, so I got to have fun trying a few different types. I opted for three Granny Smith, three Fuji and two Gala (they were on sale!). If you want a little help choosing apples, use this guide to common varieties. Each apple needs to be cored and peeled, which is the most labor-intensive part of this recipe.

The Dough

The dessert’s dough is straightforward and similar to pie crust. First, shortening is cut into a mixture of the flour and salt. I know I really should have a pastry cutter by now, but since a fork works, that’s what I used for this step. Once the dough has a crumbly texture it’s time to slowly stir in the water until the dough comes together. I needed an extra 3 tablespoons of water—and my dough still never formed a perfect ball—but the extra moisture made it easy to shape the dough into eight portions.

I placed the dough to chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Then, I rolled each portion and filled it with an apple, a teaspoon of butter and a teaspoon of cinnamon sugar. I saved a little extra dough from each apple to be rolled out and cut into small flower shapes. I used the flowers to cover the not-so-attractive spot on the top of the apple where the corners of the dough met. This was an easy way to add a cute touch! (Here are 40+ desserts that are cute as can be!)

The Bake

Once the apples were wrapped and topped, it was time to put them in a 13×9-inch baking dish. Do your best to keep edges from touching. Then, combine the sauce ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring it just to a boil, then pour evenly over the apples. Sprinkle the whole dish with the last bit of cinnamon sugar.

The apples are baked at 350º for 50 minutes. In order to keep them pretty and golden, I basted them with the sauce in the pan every 10 minutes. If the dough gets too dry it can burn instead of caramelizing.

When the tops are golden brown and the dough is cooked around the sides, the apples are ready to come out of the oven.

The Outcome

Amish apple dumpling dessertMandy Naglich for Taste of Home

This dessert is called Amish apple dumplings for a reason. They are definitely rustic in appearance and wouldn’t be my choice for a centerpiece on a dessert table (I would go with one of these show stoppers for a big party). However, the dumplings more than make up for their humble appearances with their cozy flavors. They taste a bit like apple pie but with a doughier texture. I liked that some bites were all apple and others were a nice balance of apple and crust, with each bite bursting with rich cinnamon and butter. This dessert does not store well, so next time I might make two in a loaf pan and keep the rest chilled for the next night.

French vanilla ice cream is a perfect compliment to this dessert. You can even cut into the apple and fill the space where the core was with ice cream. The best of both worlds in every bite!

If you love not-too-fancy but downright delicious dessert check out these other Amish cooking techniques.

Mandy Naglich
Mandy is an advanced cicerone, National Homebrew Competition gold medalist, drinks educator and writer. She’s shared her food and beverage expertise at Taste of Home for more than five years, writing about nonalcoholic beer brands, how to make the best Moscow mule and more. Her popular blind tasting classes in New York consistently sell out to groups that want to learn from a certified taster and professional recipe developer. Mandy is also the author of “How to Taste: A Guide to Discovering Flavor and Savoring Life.” When she’s not busy promoting her book, she’s creating content for her social platforms where she shares fun tidbits like the history of beer and other tipples as well as what to eat and drink at must-try restaurants. She currently lives, writes and brews in New York but documents her drink adventures on Instagram at @drinkswithmandy.