Easy Cinnamon Apple Dumplings

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!

Vertical image of a white plate with two pastries in a brown sugar spiced sauce, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

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.

Vertical top-down image of two crescent pastries with a cinnamon sauce on a white plate.

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.

Vertical close-up image of two baked pastries in a cinnamon sauce on a white plate.

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.

Vertical image of baked pastries in neat rows in a baking dish with a spiced sauce.

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.

Horizontal image of the inside of one half of a fruit pastry covered in a buttery spiced sauce on a white plate in front of fresh green fruit.

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.

Autumn can be a fun and relaxing time of taking long walks in the park, cozying up to a hot drink in a cool cafe, and picking apples in a beautiful local orchard.

Vertical image of a scoop of melting vanilla ice cream over a pastry on a plate.

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!

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Horizontal image of two pastries in a spiced butter sauce on a white plate next to cinnamon sticks.

Easy Cinnamon Apple Dumplings


  • Author: Nikki Cervone
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 servings (2 dumplings per serving) 1x

Description

Take a break from pie made from scratch and surprise everyone with these easy and delicious cinnamon apple dumplings instead.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 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

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a large 9-by-13-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter.
  2. Peel, core, and slice each apple into 8 wedges.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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!

Horizontal image of measured ingredients in bowls and cans of crescent dough.

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.

Measure the light brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, kosher salt, and apple juice or cider.

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.

Horizontal image of four triangular pieces of raw dough on a wooden board.

If you have limited space, work with half of a can – or 4 portions of dough – at a time.

Horizontal image of wedges and a whole peeled apple on a red cutting board.

Peel and core both apples. Slice each apple into 8 even wedges.

Step 3 – Assemble the Dumplings

Horizontal image of wedges of apples on a triangular piece of dough.

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.

Horizontal image of rolling a wedge of fruit around a triangular piece of dough on a wooden board.

Repeat with the rest of the apple wedges and dough.

Horizontal image of rolled pieces of fruit around raw 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.

Horizontal image of unbaked rolled pastries in neat rows in a greased baking dish.

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.

Horizontal image of a dark cinnamon sauce in a pot next to fruit.

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.

Horizontal image of spreading a cinnamon sugar sauce on unbaked pastries in a baking dish.

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.

Horizontal image of raw pastries in rows in a baking dish with a spiced sauce.

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.

Horizontal image of baked pastries in neat rows in a baking dish with a spiced sauce.

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!

Horizontal image of two pastries in a spiced butter sauce on a white plate next to cinnamon sticks.

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.

30 thoughts on “Easy Cinnamon Apple Dumplings”

  1. Mmmm, apple dumplings are one of my favorite ‘fair foods’ – the Renaissance festival near me used to have these fabulous, gigantic ones! I’ve never considered making them at home, but this recipe looks really easy to follow. I might just have to add this to the holiday to-do list. It’d be an interesting thing to bring to a holiday dinner or potluck, too – a little bit out of the ordinary!

    Reply
  2. Interesting recipe! This kind of reminds me of the handheld apple pies that you can get at McDonalds, but this recipe would definitely be more tastier than that fast food. This seems like a pretty novel way to enjoy something crumbly with an apple filling, and it looks like it’s worth it to add to my Christmas dinner list. Thanks!

    Reply
  3. These look so wonderful. I think they are a great alternative to apple pie. I have to confess that I got a bit tired of pies after the Thanksgiving festivities. These dumplings look like the perfect dish to get me back in the baking mood. Thanks for the lovely recipe.

    Reply
  4. I don’t think that I have ever had any kind of fruit dumpling before, but these sound really good and easy. We have a party to attend this weekend and I am tasked with bringing dessert. I think I am going to give this a try for the occasion.

    Reply
  5. This looks delicious, but I’m a little confused. Is it worth the extra effort to roll out and stuff individual pastries? If you are going to bake it in a casserole dish this way, why not just bake it like a cobbler? Seems like it would be easier and less fuss that way.

    Reply
  6. This is the ultimate torture to my taste senses, never indulged in apple dumplings before and suddenly my interest to make them is soaring on high, am especially keen on the extra syrup making part of the recipe, another recipe noted down ;).

    Reply
  7. Ahh Lynne, Lynne, must you torment me so??

    As a true foodie, I have a love-hate relationship with this blog, let me tell you. As always, the pictures are gorgeous, they alone are a feast for the eyes, ugh!

    And apple dumplings? Hello, I **SO** could go for some of this right now, but currently I don’t have many of the ingredients that I need for this recipe, nor the finances necessary to go to the grocery store, bring the ingredients home and whip up this fabulous looking dish. And the extra syrup!! Are you kidding me?! Fabulous!

    Reply
    • Totally agree with you on this Cuuki, i’m beginning to see that all the weight i worked so hard at losing this year doing a turn around spin back at me, i mean, with all these wonderful recipes, one is absolutely spoilt for choice, hours on end in the kitchen, munching away and somehow curling up on the sofa like a well-fed cat…how else won’t all that weight spring back up on me {raised eyebrows}?…anyway, the key is; everything in moderation!

      Reply
      • @dianethare Yes, these are very wonderful recipes on this site, and the pictures are gorgeous. Just beautiful. This site makes me want to stay in my kitchen all day and cook and then blog about it, and I don’t even have a cooking blog!!

        Reply
  8. Come to think of it, I’ve never made apple dumplings at home. I think this might be a good thing to try though, because I have a friend whose Kryptonite is warm apple dumplings with vanilla ice cream melting around it. I’ll definitely be adding the nuts for that as she loves them nice and crispy and covered in that extra syrup.

    Reply
  9. Mmm, these look delicious! Another idea would be to serve them with custard – although vanilla ice cream is the perfect accompaniment.

    Reply
  10. What a delicious & ridiculously simple recipe. I love something that tries to utilize every aspect of the fruit. Why in the world would you shave a fruit you do not have to? Concerned about pesticides? Try an organic fruit. Geez.

    Reply
  11. As a kid growing up with a family that embraced Thanksgiving, I always had the aroma of apple pie in my house. These however top that, and I feel as if I can smell them through my screen. I will definitely give this recipe to make sure these are at the next feast!

    Reply
  12. That looks absolutely delicious. I love apple pie a la mode. This is such an unique take on that, I’ll definitely be trying it out soon

    Reply
  13. I will definitely be taking advantage of this recipe. Because they are dumplings, I can easily portion it and only eat what I want. Making a pie, although I can cut it, if its not eaten quickly, they tend to go bad in my house. Thanks for this recipe!

    Reply
  14. I like it! Reminds me of a bread pudding that’s leaning toward the apple side of things. I imagine, in a jam, you could supplement something Pillsbury in place of the homemade dumplings? Not that I would commit such a horrific sin but there are those times I’m out of time.

    Reply
  15. This is different and a good alternative to apple pie. The look of the dumpling is quite appealing. It is amazing that I only add the syrup in the middle and the baking does the rest. I am like you, the extra syrup will definitely be used.
    The dough instructions help because you said it should crumble before adding the water. Then the chilling. I need your details and you are making me a better cook and baker.

    Reply
    • I agree. All of the tips and tricks here are really enlightening. I’ve learned a lot here, and hope to incorporate some of these recipes, ideas, and tips into my cooking and baking.

      I love tried and true recipes with added tips for perfecting the results. It’s the little things that make recipes the best, and this is another one that looks quite delicious. One of my kids loves apples, so this should be a hit.

      Reply
  16. The picture reminds me of a bread pudding, yum. I just made some baked apples the other day, and this sounds similar, with the addition of some yummy dough, which of course I love. I’ve never made dumplings, but this is one recipe that looks manageable, and delicious, to boot!

    Reply
  17. I’ve heard of these but I have not tried them yet. Oh, no the dumplings. Sweets are a weakness. I love them. Now these things are with dough. They just look so delicious.

    Reply
  18. How cool, I saw a similar recipe on my Facebook newsfeed today. The difference is that that one’s claiming to only have 2 ingredients but that’s because cinnamon was optional. It makes a big difference though. A friend made this for last NYE’s dinner and it would have been less amazing without the cinnamon.

    She’s also made a peaches and apricot version which was heavenly so I suggest for everyone to do the same.

    Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    Reply
  19. Mmm… those looks very tasty! My grandmother makes some amazing apple dumplings and even though I have her recipe I can never make them as good as her. She has a secret touch or a special ingredient, or maybe just more love! 😛 Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  20. This looks wonderful! I might try it this weekend. I’ve made something similar before using Fireball whiskey liqueur to flavour the apples. It’s cinnamon-y and tastes really warm so it’s perfect for winter. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  21. I can’t stand apple pie, but for some reason, I love apple dumplings! LOL I’m not sure why. This recipe sounds so yummy! The addition of walnuts, which are my favorite nuts, make it even more appealing. I’ve got to try this one!

    Reply
  22. Definitely will be adding this in for the holiday season. This is my first year cooking all on my own for both Christmas and Thanksgiving. I’ve been scourging the Internet for new and simple ideas and this is the best yet. I’m excited to try it, it looks scrumptious and simple.

    Reply
  23. Interesting take on apple dumplings, they look delicious! I love apple deserts but I get bored of apple pie pretty fast. I swear, apple and cinnamon is the best combination in the world.

    Reply
  24. This looks like a great way to use leftover apples before they spoil. It’s often cheaper to buy bulk Granny Smith apples, hence I always have a couple left over whenever I make apple pie.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  25. I can’t wait to try this recipe it looks delicious. With such a unique twist on the classic apple pie, I will be able to serve this as a great desert treat. Although I’ll probably add a hint of lemon to it, I can’t wait to try this recipe.

    Reply

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