Apple Turnovers (From Scratch!)

Apple Turnovers FROM SCRATCH! Flaky pastry dough and a slightly sweet apple filling... |
These apple turnovers are made completely from scratch with a homemade puff pastry and a simple apple filling.

Apple Turnovers FROM SCRATCH! Flaky pastry dough and a slightly sweet apple filling... |

Let’s talk apple turnovers!

Truth be told, I’m not sure that I’ve ever eaten a fresh-baked apple turnover! Which is a crying shame, because now that I’ve made them, I can’t believe that I’ve only ever had store-bought turnovers. While you could totally make these with frozen puff pastry, I went all-out and did a homemade puff pastry, which isn’t nearly as intimidating or complicated as it might sound. Filled with sweetened shredded apples and topped with cinnamon sugar, these homemade apple turnovers are little pockets of fall heaven.

Apple Turnovers FROM SCRATCH! Flaky pastry dough and a slightly sweet apple filling... |

While there are a number of steps involved with prepping the dough, it does not take much active time, as the bulk of the time the dough is chilling in the refrigerator. The resulting pastry dough is well worth the effort – it’s light and flaky like puff pastry, but just a little bit more sturdy and tender, like pie crust.

Instead of filling the turnovers with sliced or chopped apples, the apples are shredded to create a more cohesive filling that does not fall apart when you bite into the turnovers, which is a total win in my book. There’s nothing worse than biting into a turnover or hand pie and having most of the filling come spilling out.

Apple Turnovers FROM SCRATCH! Flaky pastry dough and a slightly sweet apple filling... |

You can easily split this kitchen project into two days, making the dough and filling the turnovers one day, then refrigerating them and baking them the next day. Like most pastries, these are best when eaten the same day they are baked, but will keep for a couple of days.

If you have a fall baking list started, be sure to add these homemade apple turnovers – I guarantee you’ll love them!

Apple Turnovers FROM SCRATCH! Flaky pastry dough and a slightly sweet apple filling... |

Four years ago: Waldorf Salad
Five years ago: Football Jersey Sugar Cookies
Eight years ago: Hershey’s Best Brownies

Apple Turnovers From Scratch

Yield: 9 turnovers

Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Cook Time: 18 to 22 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours

Apple Turnovers made completely from scratch with a homemade puff pastry and delicious apple filling.


For the Homemade Puff Pastry
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into ¼-inch cubes
6 tablespoons ice water
1 teaspoon lemon juice

For the Apple Filling
4 Granny Smith apples (about 1 pound), peeled
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt

For the Cinnamon Sugar Topping
½ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Special Equipment:
Food processor


1. Make the Homemade Puff Pastry: Add the flour, sugar and salt to a food processor and pulse to combine. Add one-quarter of the butter cubes and process in four 1-second pulses. Add the remaining butter to coat the cubes with flour, two 1-second pulses. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl.

2. Combine the ice water and lemon juice in small bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of the liquid to the flour and butter mixture and toss with a rubber spatula until just combined. Toss in the remaining water, then turn the dough out (it will be a shaggy mixture) onto a work surface and press it together with both hands.

3. Use the heel of one hand against the work surface to drag a small portion of the dough forward in a short, brisk stroke. Repeat with the remaining dough portions. Gather the dough together (using a bench scraper if it's sticking) and repeat the pressing of the dough a second time. Pat the dough into an 8 by 4-inch rectangle, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

4. Unwrap the dough and place on a lightly floured large piece of parchment paper and roll into a 15 by 10-inch rectangle. Fold the dough lengthwise into thirds. Starting from a narrow end, loosely roll up the dough. Press it into a 6 by 5-inch rectangle.

5. Repeat step #4, first chilling the dough for 30 minutes if it is soft and sticky. Once you have repeated step #4, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

6. On a large sheet of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour, roll the dough to an 18-inch square Using a pizza cutter or ravioli cutter, trim the dough to a 15-inch square. Cut the dough into nine 5-inch squares. Slide the parchment and dough onto a cookie sheet or large cutting board and refrigerate while preparing the filling.

7. Grate the apples on the large holes of a box grater. Combine the grated apples, sugar, lemon juice and salt in a medium bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

8. Working one at a time, remove dough squares from the refrigerator and set on a clean work surface. Place 2 tablespoons of the grated apple filling (squeezed of excess liquid) in the center of the dough square. Moisten two adjoining edges of the dough square with a finger dipped in the apple liquid, then fold the top portion of dough over the bottom, making sure to overlap the bottom portion by ⅛ inch. With a fork dipped in flour, press to seal and crimp the edges. Using a wide metal spatula, transfer the turnover to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining dough squares. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

9. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees F and adjust oven rack to upper-middle position. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

10. Brush the turnovers lightly with water and sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon sugar. Bake until golden brown, 18 to 22 minutes. Using a wide metal spatula, transfer the turnovers to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

(Recipe from Cook's Illustrated)


19 Responses to “Apple Turnovers (From Scratch!)”

  1. Bella B on September 21, 2015 at 12:12 am

    My dad would go crazy for these. I should probably make him some. They look so good! 🙂

    xoxoBella |


  2. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way on September 21, 2015 at 7:06 am

    These look wonderful!! I love “finger” foods and these would be perfect to take on a picnic or pack in a lunch. This is what I call a grab it and run dessert. No cutting or need for a plate 🙂 Thank you for sharing.


  3. Kara @ Just A Canary Bird on September 21, 2015 at 8:09 am

    These look perfect for weekend breakfast!


  4. Laura Dembowski on September 21, 2015 at 8:27 am

    Homemade puff pastry is such a great recipe to be able to turn to. It can be used in so many ways not the least of which is these yummy looking turnovers.


  5. Laura T on September 21, 2015 at 8:43 am

    I’ve made this recipe from ATK before, although I usually cheat and use puff pastry from the store. It’s such a delicious easy way to enjoy apples in pastry! Although you do need to be wary of the dough getting too warm and being difficult to fold and move. And now they’re moving back up my list of desserts to make soon!


  6. Maria D. on September 21, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    These look yummy! I really should make them from scratch. Thanks for sharing the recipe


  7. Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough on September 21, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Oh man, I am seriously drooling over these photos. Love that they’re completely homemade!


  8. cupcakes on September 21, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    I love salt and sugar at once, this is an amazing dessert to start fall


  9. Aleena @ Blossom Bakes on September 21, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    Mmm these look so good! If I just buy the frozen puff pastry, will the rest of the recipe stay the same? Thanks


  10. Karina on September 21, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    I don’t think I can buy puff pastry where I live, and this recipe has encouraged me to give homemade puff pastry a try! These apple turnovers look delicious! Thanks so much! 🙂


  11. Krystle on September 21, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    The homemade puff pastry looks to die for! Yum!


  12. Joan on September 22, 2015 at 12:11 am

    can I freeze these when they are made and before they are cooked?


    • Michelle on September 23rd, 2015 at 9:06 pm

      Hi Joan, I think that would work!


  13. Carolyn @ Cabot on September 23, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    I love apple picking season and I can’t wait to try this recipe with my apples!~Carolyn @ Cabot


  14. Faye on October 6, 2015 at 9:33 am

    Hi Michelle, I finally took the plung and attempted this recipe this morning. I’ve never made puff pastry before so I was a bit nervous. The scary bit for me was when I had to tip the mixture out of the bowl and work it together. It did come together to my delight. I continued with the rest of the steps and assembled the turnovers. I baked them for the allotted time. Unfortunately mine didn’t puff up like I expected them to do, I suspect that the filling might have been a bit moister and it affected the rise. It was more like a thin pie dough crust, even though they didn’t turn out as I hoped for, I’m not deterred and will keep trying. They taste amazing and my daughter loves them. If you could give me any tips that might help me succeed next time I would greatly appreciate it. ( also making your baked ziti tonight, we can’t wait to taste it!


    • Michelle on October 6th, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      Hi Faye, I’m so glad you like the turnovers! Mine didn’t really do a huge puff, as you can see, but I was more concerned with the texture of the resulting crust. It was wonderfully flaky, just like puff pastry.


  15. Kirsten on October 22, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    I work on a PYO apple farm and people buy hundreds of dollars of apples every day in a single trip and i always ask what they are going to make, and it has inspired me to be more adventurous when baking. I have never made dough other than a simple pizza dough, so i was hesitant about how this would go. I chose your recipe because of the grated apple, i really dislike munching into a slightly firm slightly mushy apple chunk and this eliminates that giving it a great texture. In the end mine came out amazing! the dough is light and flakey, but also thick and I really like that. I added some cinnamon to the apples because we love cinnamon. My only real critique is that you don’t specify what size apple, so i ran out for the very last tart, should have used two slightly larger apples instead of two larger and two snack size. For my first time making tarts they taste like my 20th! thanks for the recipe 🙂


  16. Lois on October 3, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    Loved the flavor , mine didn’t puff either. Only used half the butter as that was all I had on hand so it may have affected the results. I was also challenged with making 5 inch squares and flipping the filled dough into triangles well enough to seal the outer edges. After two pans full I used my biscuik cutter, placed the small cut circles on a plate that had been stashed in freezer while rolling a batch. Then took one round at a time And rolled into about a 4 inch circle using 1 tablespoon of filling to make minitures🤗. I am delighted with the outcome!


  17. Pablo on October 14, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    My daughter and I made these tonight. The only things we changed(due to anxiousness on our part) is to put the dough in the freezer for about 15 minutes instead of fridge for 30 minutes. It seemed t work out fine. It kept the butter cold and dough just right. I was also drinking a couple of glasses of wine while doing this.

    I also put the apple mixture into a strainer and squeezed it before using.

    So… I put them in the oven and waited 18 minutes, but that was not enough, so I waited until Ray Charles played ‘What I’d Say’ then took then out of the oven. They were excellent! Shredding the apples is a very good idea. Thanks for making the night for my daughter and I.


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