Apple Turnovers

This Apple Turnover Recipe doesn’t get any easier, made with store-bought puff pastry and quick and easy sweet caramelized apple filling!

These Apple Turnovers are bursting with sweet, tender, brown sugar, cinnamon apples cocooned in buttery, light, flaky puff pastry, made from start to finish in just over an hour!  They’re all the deliciousness of apple pie, without all of the work!  These turnovers come together quickly by using easy-to-find and easy-to-use store-bought puff pastry that bakes up magically airy, flaky, and puffy.  The caramel apple filling is sautéed on the stovetop in 10 minutes, then it’s just a fold, brush and bake to apple-filled pastry heaven.  Drizzle the Apple Turnovers with vanilla glaze and/or buttery, silky caramel sauce for the perfect fall dessert!

The fall screams apple dessert recipes!  Don’t miss apple dump cakeapple oatmeal cookiesmini apple pies, apple dumplings, apple crispapple cheesecake bars and of course this new Apple Turnovers recipe!

HOW TO MAKE Apple Turnovers VIDEo

apple turnovers lined on a platter showing how puffy and flaky they are
puff pastry apple turnovers lined in a row on a serving tray showing how puffy they are

Ingredients for Apple Turnovers 

Tart Granny smith apples are sweetened with brown sugar and flavored with warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg before being enveloped in puff pastry squares – your guests will never believe these semi-homemade turnovers were ready in less than an hour!  Here’s what you’ll need to make this Apple Turnovers recipe (full measurements in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post): 

  • Puff pastry:   You will need two sheets of puff pastry for this recipe, which usually come two sheets per package (double check packaging).  Puff pastry can be found in the freezer aisle or the refrigerated section of your local grocery store depending on which brand you use. I used refrigerated Jus-rol Puff Pastry which does not need to be thawed prior to using.  If your puff pastry comes frozen, however, be sure to thaw in the fridge for about 2 hours before beginning the recipe. 
  • Apples: Use firm, fairly tart Granny Smith apples for this recipe.  Granny Smith apples bake up beautifully tender (without being mushy) and are the ideal tartness to offsets the sweetness in the filling and glaze. Using a different apple will result in turnovers that are too sweet, not balanced, and not as flavorful.  Be sure to peel & core the apples before cutting them into small pieces, about ⅓ of an inch.
  • Flour: You’ll need to dust your work surface prior to rolling out the puff pastry. 
  • Butter: Use unsalted butter or omit the salt in the filling. The melted butter mixes with the brown sugar to envelop the apple chunks in a caramel-like sauce.
  • Brown sugar: This adds sweetness and a hint of molasses. Use light brown sugar for best results so the molasses flavor isn’t overpowering.
  • Lemon juice: The slight acidity helps balance the sweetness.  
  • Cornstarch: Apples release a lot of moisture so we need cornstarch to help thicken the filling back up so it doesn’t leak while baking.
  • Spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt bring the flavor and balance out the sweetness.
  • Vanilla extract: Adds an extra oomph of flavor. Use quality extract for the best flavor.
  • Egg: One egg is whisked with 1 tablespoon milk or heavy cream to create an egg wash that helps promote a beautiful golden puff pastry.
  • Coarse Sugar: I recommend using turbinado sugar for sprinkling all over the turnovers before baking.  Turbinado sugar is partially refined light brown cane sugar with larger crystals.  The natural molasses in the crystals produces a delicious taste, hearty texture and natural golden color.
top view of apple turnovers drizzled with vanilla glaze

TURNOVER GLAZE (OPTIONAL)

  • Powdered sugar:  Use powdered sugar and not any other substitute.
  • Heavy cream:  You may use milk or heavy cream for the glaze, whichever you already have on hand for the egg wash.
  • Vanilla extract:  Just a splash adds a boost of flavor.
apple turnover being served with caramel sauce

showing how to make apple turnovers by showing how to cut apples into cubes the easy way

how to make apple turnvoers

Puff Pastry Apple Turnovers are as simple as whipping up a quick pie filling and then stuffing it into puff pastry squares. The prep time takes all of 30 minutes (plus a little chilling time), and then you’ll be enjoying warm cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger laced apple pastries straight from the oven! Here’s an overview of how to make this Apple Turnover recipe with step-by-step photos (see printable recipe card at the bottom of the post for full recipe):

Step 1: Make the Apple Turnover Filling 

  • Add all the apple filling ingredients except the vanilla to some melted butter in a saucepan.
  • Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.   Reduce heat to low and cook an additional 5 minutes. Lastly, stir in the vanilla extract. 
  • Transfer to a bowl, then refrigerate to chill for about 20 minutes.
a collage showing how to make apple turnover recipe by adding apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter to a saucepan and then cooking until the apples are softened

Step 2: Prep the Puff Pastry 

  • Be sure to work with one puff pastry sheet at a time (two usually come in a pack). The puff pastry needs to stay as cold as possible! 
  • Dust a parchment lined counter with flour. Roll one puff pastry out into approximately an 11-inch square.  Depending on the length and shape of your puff pastry, you may need to slice some off of the width to add to the length/height.
  • Cut the now squared puff pastry into 4 equal squares. 
showing how to make apple turnover recipe by slicing the puff pastry into 4 equal squares using a pizza cutter

Step 3: Assemble the Turnovers 

  • Add apples: Spoon some of the apple filling into each puff pastry square using a slotted spoon. You’ll want to pretend like there’s a diagonal line running across each square. Fill only half of each square, on the diagonal. Be sure to leave a border so the turnovers can easily seal.
showing how to make apple turnovers recipe by adding apples to the corner of 4 squares of puff pastry
  • Fold and crimp: Fold the pastry across diagonally to form triangles. Crimp the edges with a fork to seal.
showing how to make apple turnover recipe by folding the puff pastry squares over the apples and crimping with a fork
  • Egg wash: Transfer the turnovers to a silicone baking mat or parchment paper-lined baking tray, leaving at least an inch between each one. Beat an egg and some heavy cream together to prepare an egg wash. Brush the top of each turnover with egg wash.
showing how to make apple turnover recipe by brushing with an egg wash
  • Sprinkle and slit: Sprinkle the apple turnovers with turbinado sugar and cinnamon, then cut 2 to 3 small slits in the top of each turnover so it can vent while baking.
showing how to make apple turnover recipe by dusting puff pastry with cinnamon and sugar, then making small slits in the top of the pastries with a pairing knife

Step 4: Bake the Turnovers 

  • Bake until golden and puffed. 
showing how to make apple turnover recipe by baking puff pastries on a nonstick mat until golden and puffy

Step 5: Make the Glaze 

  • While the apple turnovers bake, whisk together the powdered sugar glaze or make the caramel sauce. 
  • Drizzle the warm turnovers with glaze or caramel and dig in!  
easy apple turnover made from puff pastry on a serving platter drizzled with glaze showing how to serve the dessert
  • Use Granny Smith apples. As discussed, Granny Smith apples create the perfectly tender apples without becoming mushy. Their hint of tartness also balances the sweet filling and glaze so your turnovers aren’t too sweet. 
  • Thaw puff pastry in the fridge. If you are using frozen puff pastry, make sure to allow for thawing time. An easy way to do this is to transfer the frozen puff pastry to the refrigerator the night before making. In the morning, the pastry will be thawed, but still chilled.
  • Keep the pastry cold.  Remove the puff pastry one sheet at a time only when ready to use. You want the puff pastry to stay cold as long as possible, otherwise it won’t puff up as much. It’s also easier to handle when cold. If find the dough becomes too soft to manage (only on a warm day), just return it to the refrigerator for a few minutes and it should quickly become firm enough to work with.
  • Use a light touch:  Avoid overworking the puff pastry because you’ll lose some flakiness when baked.
  • Dice apples uniformly. Try to dice the apples as uniformly as possible to ensure they cook evenly. Aim for ⅓-inch thick and not any larger then ½-inch, otherwise, they might burst the turnover open.
  • Seal the turnovers tightly.  Start by pressing the edges together with your fingers, then crimp the edges with a fork to create a sealed crimped edge. This will prevent the apple pastry from springing open or the filling leaking out.
  • Don’t skip the slits.  A few slits sliced in the top of the puff pastry is crucial for ventilation so steam can escape, preventing your turnovers from exploding!
  • Chill the turnovers before baking.  This is optional if you have the time, but a quick 20-minute chill of the assembled turnovers helps the butter firm back up again for a flakier, lighter, higher puff pastry apple turnover.
  • Freeze unbaked pastries.  A 20-minute chill before baking is ideal but not critical for flakier pastries. However, you don’t want to refrigerate unbaked Apple Turnovers much longer than that or they will become soggy. Instead, freeze any unbaked pastries and bake them from frozen.
  • Let the Apple Turnovers recipe cool slightly before glazing.  If the apple pastries are piping hot the glaze will slide right off!  To easily drizzle the glaze, add it to plastic bag, snip the corner and drizzle over the turnovers. 
  • Serve warm. While you don’t want the Apple Turnovers piping hot, you do want to enjoy them warm – they are exponentially better!
  • Make it gluten-free. Use your favorite gluten-free puff pastry and dust the work surface with gluten-free flour. 
  • Use apple pie filling. Instead of making your own filling, use store-bought apple pie filling (although homemade is 100x better!).
  • Use another fruit. Swap out the apples with another favorite fall or winter fruit, noting the cook time for the turnover filling may need to be adjusted.
  • Add cranberries.  Cranberries and apples are heavenly together!  Make sure you swap out an equal amount of apples so you don’t overstuff the pastries. 
  • Make the apple filling sweeter. I love the balance of tart apples and sweet filling in this recipe, but you’re welcome to make it sweeter by using a different apple or adding additional sugar
  • Add raisins. Raisins can also be added to the filling. 
  • Swap nuts.  Use walnuts instead of pecans or omit the nuts altogether. 
  • Spice the glaze. As written, the turnover glaze is a simple vanilla powdered sugar glaze. Add a little cinnamon or apple pie spice to create a spiced glaze. 
up close of apple turnover drizzled with vanilla glaze

.

Apple Turnover FAQs

What is a Turnover?

Turnovers are much like an individual hand pie, made of flaky pastry, usually puff pastry, that is filled with a sweet or savory filling and baked or fried. They get their name because the pastry is folded over in half or “turned over” the filling and sealed shut by crimping the edges closed before baking. 
Examples of savory turnovers include the empanada from South and Central America that may be filled with chopped meats, vegetables, olives, etc. or the Russian pirozhki that may be filled with meat, fish, cabbage, mushrooms, or cheese. Examples of sweet turnovers include apple turnovers filled with apple pie filling or berry turnovers filled with mixed berries such as blueberries, blackberries and strawberries.  Sweet turnovers are often drizzled with a simple glaze made of powdered sugar, vanilla and milk.

How do I defrost puff pastry?

Thaw the puff pastry in the refrigerator for 2 hours, or pop it in the fridge overnight so it’s ready to use the next morning. 

How to Keep Apple Turnover Filling from Leaking?

You should not have any leaking filling if you follow this recipe.  To prevent a leaky filling make sure to:

1. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the apple filling to the pastry – we don’t want those extra juices!
2. Crimp all along the edges of the pastry where the two sides meet with a fork.
3. Don’t skip the egg wash as it helps seal the pastry.
4. Refrigerate turnovers for 20 minutes before baking.

Can I use regular pie crust instead?

Yes, you are welcome to use my homemade pie crust instead which is buttery, flaky and tender, but it won’t get as puffy.  Be prepared for the turnovers to bake closer to 25 to 30 minutes or until golden.

Can I make the apple filling ahead?

Yes, absolutely. Make the filling up to 2 days in advance and refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use.

What apples are best for apple turnovers?

Granny Smith apples are a sturdy baking apple that will bake up beautifully tender and not turn to applesauce. More importantly, Granny Smith apples are slightly tart which perfectly offsets the sweetness in the filling and glaze.

What are the Worst Apples for Turnovers? 

While many apples will work in Apple Turnovers (although Granny Smith are easily the best choice!), some will NOT. Avoid these: McIntosh, Gala, Fuji or Red Delicious. These apples are a little too soft or just too bland. Golden delicious also can break down too much.

Should I Peel the Apples? 

Yes, please do! If you don’t peel your apples first, you’re left with an unpleasant tough texture as the skin doesn’t break down enough when baked.

Do I need to cook the apples first?

Yes, you will need to cook the apple filling first because the Puff Pastry Apple Turnovers bake quickly and there is not enough time for uncooked apples to become tender.  Cooking the apples first also releases their moisture and prevents soggy or leaky turnovers.

How do you keep apple turnovers from getting soggy?

Apple Turnovers are best enjoyed the first day they are made to prevent them from becoming soggy.  Also, be sure to use a slotted spoon to add the apple filling and bake them either 20 minutes after chilling or immediately after being assembled.

Can I make gluten free apple turnovers?

Yes, you can make gluten free Apple Turnover recipe by using gluten gluten free puff pastry or pie crust, and dusting your work surface with gluten free flour.  The rest of the ingredients are gluten free.

Do apple turnovers need to be refrigerated?

Apple Turnovers do not need to be refrigerated and can be stored in an airtight container on the counter for up to two days.  If you want them to last longer, then refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days. 

easy apple turnovers with a bite taken out showing the apple filling

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puff pastry apple turnovers lined in a row on a serving tray showing how puffy they are

Apple Turnovers

These Apple Turnovers are bursting with sweet, tender, brown sugar, cinnamon apples cocooned in buttery, light, flaky puff pastry, made from start to finish in one hour!  They’re all the deliciousness of apple pie, without all of the work!  These turnovers come together quickly by using easy-to-find and easy-to-use store-bought puff pastry that bakes up magically airy, flaky, and puffy.  The caramel apple filling is sautéed on the stovetop in 10 minutes, then it’s just a fold, brush and bake to apple-filled pastry heaven.  Drizzle the Apple Turnovers with vanilla glaze and/or buttery, silky caramel for the perfect fall dessert!
Servings: 8 pastries
Total Time: 1 hr 5 mins
Prep Time: 40 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins

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Ingredients

Puff Pastry

  • 2 sheets puff pastry, thawed according to package instructions (13-17 ounces, weight differs between brands)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 1 egg + 1 Tbsp heavy cream or milk for egg wash
  • turbinado or regular sugar for sprinkling
  • cinnamon for sprinkling

Filling

  • 1 1/4 lbs. (20 ounces) Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped into 1/3" thick pieces
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (or salted and omit salt below)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional or add more apples)
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp EACH ground ginger, ground nutmeg, salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Glaze AND/OR Use Homemade Caramel (see below)

  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

FOR SERVING (Optional)

Instructions

PREP

APPLE FILLING

  • Whisk the cornstarch with the lemon juice; set aside.
  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add all the apple filling ingredients except the vanilla (lemon juice through salt) and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and cook an additional 5 minutes or until the apples are tender.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Transfer to a bowl, then refrigerate to chill, at least 20 minutes.

DOUGH

  • Working with one pastry sheet at a time (keep the other sheet refrigerated), transfer the thawed pastry to the parchment lined counter. Shape into an 11" square. Depending on the length of your puff pastry, you'll likely need to slice some off of the length and to the width (discard leftovers).
  • Using a pizza cutter, cut into 4 equal-sized squares.

ASSEMBLE

  • Imagine a diagonal line running across each square. Using a slotted spoon, fill only half of each square, on the diagonal with ¼ cup of the cooled apple mixture. Be sure to leave at least a 1/2" border. See photos or watch video for visuals. 
  • Fold the pastry across diagonally to form triangles. Crimp the edges with a fork to seal. Transfer the turnovers to a lined baking sheet, at least 1" apart.
  • Thoroughly beat the egg and cream together to make the egg wash. Lightly brush the top of each turnover with the egg wash. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar and cinnamon. With a paring knife, cut 2-3 small slits in the top of each turnover.

BAKE

  • Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden and puffed. Meanwhile, make the second batch. If you're done assembling the second batch before the first batch is out of the oven, then pop the unbaked turnovers in the refrigerator. While the second batch is in the oven, make the Caramel Sauce (click here for recipe) or the Glaze.

GLAZE

  • To make the Glaze, whisk together the glaze ingredients, adding additional cream as needed to thin. Drizzle either Caramel or Glaze over warmed turnovers and enjoy!

Video

Notes

  • Puff pastry:   You will need two sheets of puff pastry for this recipe, which usually come two sheets per package (double check packaging).  Puff pastry can be found in the freezer aisle or the refrigerated section of your grocery store depending on which brand you use. I used refrigerated Jus-rol Puff Pastry which does not need to be thawed prior to using.  If your puff pastry comes frozen, however, be sure to thaw in the fridge for about 2 hours before beginning the recipe. 
  • Turbinado sugar: This is partially refined light brown cane sugar with larger crystals.  The natural molasses in the crystals produces a delicious taste, hearty texture and natural golden color.
  • Keep the pastry cold. Remove the puff pastry one sheet at a time only when ready to use. You want the puff pastry to stay cold as long as possible, otherwise it won’t puff up as much. 
  • Make ahead: You can prepare the apple filling up to 2 days in advance and keep it chilled in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble and bake the turnovers.   You may assemble the turnovers completely and freeze (see how below).  Do not refrigerate unbaked turnovers longer than 20 minutes because they will become soggy.
  • Storage: Apple Turnovers taste best on the same day they are made although you can store them in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • To freeze unbaked: Assemble the turnovers through crimping the edges (don’t add the egg wash). Line the pastries on a baking sheet so they aren’t touching and flash freeze until the pastries are solid, about 1-2 hours.  Transfer the turnovers to a freezer bag or freezer-safe container, and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, arrange them frozen on a baking sheet (do not thaw), brush with egg wash, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and bake at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes or until puffy and golden.
  • To freeze leftovers: Let the turnovers cool completely to room temperature. Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer for 1-2 hours, or until the pastries are solid. Transfer the turnovers to a freezer bag or freezer-safe container, and freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, place in the fridge overnight and reheat as desired. 

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