These phyllo dough apple turnovers are easy to make and use store bought phyllo dough. They are filled with a homemade apple pie filling. They are buttery, flaky and full of fall flavor!
These phyllo apple turnovers are individual hand pies stuffed with warmly spiced apple pie filling. They are basically mini apple pies made with store bought phyllo dough instead of pie crust. Dust them with some powdered sugar and you have the perfect dessert!
I first used phyllo dough as a pie crust with my butterscotch cinnamon pie. I loved how easy it was to use and how buttery and flaky it turned out.
For this recipe, I made individual phyllo pies. These are essentially mini apple pies with phyllo dough.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- The phyllo dough is store bought. It doesn’t get easier than that!
- The flaky and buttery layers of the phyllo dough and warm flavor of the filling will keep you coming back for more.
- The pie filling is made with chopped apples and spices.
- You’ll love these delicious phyllo dough turnovers as a fun and impressive alternative to pie. They are perfect for the holidays!
- These pies can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the fridge. Pop them in the oven when you have guests over!
Here are some useful notes on the ingredients for this apple turnover recipe with phyllo dough.
- Phyllo dough: Phyllo dough (sometimes also called phyllo pastry or filo dough) is sold in the frozen aisle of most grocery stores. Thaw phyllo in the fridge overnight. I used six sheets for this recipe.
- Butter: Use unsalted butter. Butter is used in the filling and to brush the layers of phyllo.
- Apples: Use three medium peeled, cored, chopped apples. Apples add both tart flavor and sweetness. I love baking with McIntosh, Granny Smith, and Honey Crisp.
- Cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger: These spices give these pastries their apple pie flavor. I used ground cinnamon and nutmeg and fresh ginger. Ground ginger can also be used.
- Brown sugar: I used dark brown sugar. It has more molasses in it which adds more fall flavor. You can also use light brown sugar.
- Cornstarch: This helps to thicken the apple filling.
See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
Step by Step Instructions
Here are the directions on how to make and bake these filo pastry apple turnovers.
STEP 1: Thaw the phyllo dough. Thaw phyllo according to package instructions. Most brands recommend placing the box in the refrigerator overnight to thaw.
STEP 2: Cook the apples. First, melt the butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Stir in the apples, lemon juice, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, fresh or ground ginger and salt. Cook the filling for 6-7 minutes until the apples begin to soften.
Step 3: Add the cornstarch. In a small bowl, whisk together the cold water and cornstarch. Pour the mixture into the apples. Stir and cook for another 3 minutes until apple mixture thickens. Set aside to cool.
Step 4: Layer the phyllo dough. Place one sheet of phyllo dough on a large cutting board, the kitchen counter or a sheet of parchment paper. Brush the sheet of phyllo dough evenly with melted butter. Cover the remaining layers with a clean, damp (but not too damp) kitchen towel.
Lay another sheet of phyllo dough on top. Brush with butter. Repeat with one more sheet of phyllo dough. Cut phyllo dough in half then cut each half in half. You should have four equal strips.
STEP 5: Add the filling. Put about two tablespoons in the bottom of one strip. Leave a little room at the edges. Fold the bottom left corner over the filling to meet the right edge to make a triangle shape. Continue folding and keeping a triangle shape as you fold. Continue as if you are folding a flag. Then place the triangle seem side down on a baking sheet. Repeat the process til you have 8 turnovers. Brush the tops with a little extra butter.
STEP 6: Bake. Bake at 375 Fahrenheit for 18-21 minutes. Bake until pastries are crispy and golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before eating.
Dust with powdered sugar and/or cinnamon before serving.
Hint: Have everything you need ready before you start working with your phyllo dough. Phyllo dough can dry out when exposed to air.
Substitutions and Variations
- Pie crust- Instead of phyllo dough, you can use homemade or store bought pie crust. You could roll the crust out and cut it into circles. Crimp the edges with a fork. Cooking time will vary.
- Puff pastry- I have not made this recipe with puff pastry, but it could be used in place of phyllo dough. Puff pastry is thicker than phyllo, so you wouldn’t need to layer or fold it the same way. You’d also want to seal the edges with egg wash. Baking time would vary.
- Butter– I recommend using butter with phyllo dough. It adds flavor and helps the pastry turn golden brown. Canola oil or olive oil would work as a substitute if you do not want to use butter. It might not give you the same golden color.
- Nuts – For a little added crunch, sprinkle some finely chopped almonds, walnuts, pistachios or hazelnuts over the middle layer of phyllo dough.
- Ladyfingers: Finely crushed ladyfingers could be sprinkled over the middle layer of phyllo dough for added texture and flavor.
- Ice cream: Like apple pie, these apple turnovers are delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
- Caramel sauce: Drizzle these apple turnovers with caramel sauce!
- Demerara sugar: Sprinkle with a little coarse sugar right before baking. The sugar will add some extra sweetness and crunch.
- A medium pot or saucepan: to make the filling
- A wooden spoon or spatula: to stir the filling
- A clean kitchen towel: to cover the phyllo dough
- A sharp knife: to cut the phyllo dough
- A pastry brush: to brush the phyllo with melted butter
- A baking sheet with parchment paper: to bake the turnovers on
Tip #1: Thaw filo dough in the fridge. Phyllo dough is stored in the freezer. Put it in the fridge overnight to thaw it.
Tip #2: Keep the phyllo covered. Phyllo dough dries out quickly when it’s exposed to air. Cover phyllo dough with a damp kitchen towel as soon as you open it. Keep it covered.
Tip #3: Don’t worry if phyllo dough tears a little. Phyllo dough is thin and delicate. You’ll want to handle it gently but don’t worry if it rips a little. We are layering it, so a few rips here and there are fine!
Tip #4: Brush butter on gently. Brush butter on gently to prevent tearing.
I love baking with McIntosh, Granny Smith, and Honey Crisp. Braeburn, Gala, golden delicious, and Cortland apples are also delicious options.
This recipe uses 3 layers of phyllo dough per turnover. We will use 6 layers of phyllo dough altogether.
They are the same thing. The only difference is the spelling.
Storing and Reheating
Filling: The filling can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
The unbaked pastries can be covered and stored in the fridge for a few hours before baking. Baked phyllo dough apple turnovers are best enjoyed the same day they are made.
Room temperature: Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days.
Refrigerator: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Reheating: Reheat leftovers in the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes before serving. This will help the pastry crisp up again.
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Phyllo Dough Apple Turnovers
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted, divided
- 3 medium apples peeled, cored, diced into ½ inch pieces
- ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar light or brown, packed
- 1¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger* grated on a microplane or box grater
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- 6 sheets phyllo dough
- powdered sugar optional, for serving
- Thaw phyllo dough in the refrigerator overnight or according to package instructions. Keep refrigerator until ready to use.
- Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the apples and stir to coat. Add the vanilla extract, lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger*, and salt. Stir occasionally and cook 6-7 minutes, until apples begin to soften.
- In a small bowl, whisk to combine the cornstarch and cold water. Pour mixture into the apples. Stir and cook for another 2-3 minutes until apple mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Allow to cool to room temperature before using.
- Melt the remaining butter in a small bowl. Take out a pastry brush, sharp knife, and clean damp kitchen towel. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit.
- Place one sheet of phyllo dough horizontally on a large cutting board, the kitchen counter or a sheet of parchment paper. Brush the sheet of phyllo dough evenly with melted butter. Cover the remaining layers with a clean, damp (but not too damp) kitchen towel.
- Lay another sheet of phyllo dough on top. Brush with butter. Repeat with one more sheet of phyllo dough. Cut phyllo dough in half then cut each half in half. You should have four equal strips.
- Place about two tablespoons in the bottom of one strip. Leave a little room at the edges. Fold the bottom left corner over the filling to meet the right edge to make a triangle shape. Continue folding and keeping a triangle shape as you fold. Continue as if you are folding a flag. Then place the triangle seem side down on a baking sheet. Repeat the process til you have 8 turnovers. Brush the tops with a little extra butter.
- Bake at 375 Fahrenheit for 18-21 minutes. Bake until pastries are crispy and golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before eating. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.