Buy those cans of store-bought crescent roll dough with your head held high – there’s no shame in taking a few shortcuts to make these scrumptious cinnamon apple dumplings!
During the inevitably busy weeks of early fall, all of us can use
a little a lot of help in the kitchen.
With only a moment to shake off the initial shock of an abrupt ending to a leisurely summer, the scent of sunscreen and cookouts still lingering in the distance, you immediately – and perhaps begrudgingly – have to switch gears and make a sharp turn towards the chilly fall season.
It’s time to worry about – big breath – getting the kids ready for school, signing up for fall sports, memorizing new bus stop locations, enlisting in group activities, finalizing contractor meetings, organizing work projects, and strategizing holiday plans.
All while at the same time – another big breath – paying bills, balancing expenses, exercising, cleaning the house, taking care of pets, checking in on family, setting aside you-time, prepping meals, socializing, and so on, and so on.
Do we really have time to bake an intricately decorated apple pie, including a made-from-scratch crust? When we nearly forgot that, fumbling for the grocery lists that we know we wrote down somewhere, the house is almost out of toilet paper?
When you still want to treat the family to an autumnal dessert, take a break from homemade pie and surprise everyone with juicy and tender apple dumplings instead.
This simple dessert wraps store-bought crescent roll dough around the fruit, which eliminates the need for any complex pie-making techniques you may fear will take up too much of your free time.
(Ha! “Free” time…)
Just roll individual triangles of dough around tart apple slices – Granny Smiths are ideal – and place them in a casserole dish.
Smother the pastries in a spiced brown sugar butter sauce, pour in a little apple juice for added moisture, and bake until bubbling and obscenely aromatic.
But for those moments of total mayhem, rely on store-bought basics to help you make something sweet, comforting, and rewarding.
From a stressful day at school or work to a hectic holiday dinner, a warm batch of fall fruit dumplings will be there for you at the end of it all!Print
Take a break from pie made from scratch and surprise everyone with these easy and delicious cinnamon apple dumplings instead.
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, divided
- 1 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 medium Granny Smith apples
- 2 8-ounce cans refrigerated crescent roll dough
- 3/4 cup (6 ounces) apple juice or cider
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a large 9-by-13-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter.
- Peel, core, and slice each apple into 8 wedges.
- Separate the crescent dough into triangles on a clean and dry work surface. Place one apple wedge on the wider end of one triangle. Starting at the wider end, roll the dough over the apple slice until you reach the point at the end, with the point sealed on the bottom.
- Repeat with the remaining apple slices and dough triangles to prepare 16 dumplings in total. Arrange in four neat rows in the prepared baking dish. They will slightly touch each other and the sides of the pan.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the remaining butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Whisk constantly until the butter is completely melted and fully incorporated, about 5 minutes.
- While still warm, pour the sauce evenly over the dumplings, using a pastry brush to spread the sauce on top of each dumpling. Pour the apple juice around the edges of the pan, avoiding pouring it on top of the dumplings.
- Transfer the baking dish to the oven and bake until the dumplings are golden brown on top and the sauce is bubbling, about 35-40 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let the dumplings cool for 5 minutes in the baking dish before serving.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Category: Dumplings
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Baked Goods
Keywords: apple, dumplings, cinnamon, crescent dough
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep and Measure Ingredients
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Set out a cutting board, vegetable peeler, chef’s knife, small saucepot, a few spatulas or spoons, and a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. This ceramic option from Made In is a gorgeous choice if you need a new dish!
Set out two washed and dried Granny Smith apples and two 8-ounce cans of refrigerated crescent dough.
Remove one tablespoon from the 2 sticks of unsalted butter measured for this recipe – use this to grease the baking dish, and set aside the remaining butter.
Step 2 – Prep Dough and Fruit
Remove the crescent dough from the cans and separate the triangles. Place the triangles flat in two rows without overlapping on a clean work surface or a large cutting board.
If you have limited space, work with half of a can – or 4 portions of dough – at a time.
Peel and core both apples. Slice each apple into 8 even wedges.
Step 3 – Assemble the Dumplings
Place one apple piece on the wider end of one dough triangle.
Starting at the wider end, roll the dough tightly over the fruit slice until you reach the point at the end to create a crescent roll shape. If there is excess dough on the sides, you can tuck the dough underneath.
Repeat with the rest of the apple wedges and dough.
Place the dumplings in the prepared baking dish, with the narrow tip of the dough facing down towards the bottom of the dish for a clean presentation. Assemble them in 4 rows of 4 dumplings each. They may touch each other and the sides of the pan slightly.
Set the pan aside as you make the sauce.
Step 4 – Make the Sauce
Place the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and kosher salt in the saucepot.
Warm the mixture over medium heat on the stovetop until the butter is completely melted and all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined, whisking constantly. This will take about 5 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat.
Step 5 – Pour the Sauce on Top
While still warm, evenly pour the sauce over the dumplings.
You don’t want the sauce to get too cold! It will begin to solidify, making it difficult to pour and spread.
For a more even glaze on each pastry, you can also use a pastry brush to dip and gently spread the sauce over the tops of each crescent roll before pouring the remaining sauce into the casserole dish.
Step 6 – Add the Apple Juice and Bake
Pour the apple juice around the edges of the pan, avoiding pouring it on top of the dumplings. This is best done with a liquid measuring cup with a spout to avoid any spills.
The juice provides additional moisture as the dumplings bake, and combines with the spiced butter mixture to create a tasty sauce for pouring over the pastries when you serve them.
Transfer the baking dish to the oven. Bake until the dumplings are golden brown on top and the sauce is bubbling, about 35 to 40 minutes.
Step 7 – Cool and Serve
Carefully remove the baking dish from the oven. Let the dumplings cool for a few minutes in the dish before transferring to serving plates.
Spoon some sauce from the baking dish over the pastries on the plates and enjoy while they’re still warm.
But When You DO Have Some Extra Time…
What’s this? A lowkey, chill weekend spent at home? Surprise, surprise!
If you have a little more time on your hands than expected, and you want to scratch that get-in-the-kitchen itch, you can take the time to make some deliciously homemade accompaniments to serve alongside your warm pastries.
Better yet, you also have creativity on your side, with Foodal’s help!
In the mood for ice cream? Serve the dumplings with scoopfuls of our 3-ingredient vanilla bean ice cream. But if you want to shift your fall recipes into hyperdrive, pair this dish with our pumpkin cinnamon ice cream.
You can also make your own sweetened condensed milk to drizzle on top – swirled into the sauce, you’ll enjoy this creamy, dreamy concoction.
But if you’d rather enjoy a lazy weekend with no additional commitments or kitchen prep required, stick with this semi-homemade recipe and grab a can of whipped cream or a carton of ice cream along with the crescent roll dough at the grocery store.
What are some store-bought shortcuts you like to use when you’re busy? Gimme your favorite cheats in the comment section below.
Autumn is the apple’s time to shine! Take advantage of fresh, seasonal apples at the grocery store, farmers markets, and local orchards – pick a bushel and make more of our favorite recipes, starting with these:
Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on December 13, 2014. Last updated on September 26, 2022.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Nikki Cervone
Nikki Cervone is a full-time cheesemonger and specialty foods buyer living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.