These apple pie cookies come packed with all the flavor of classic apple pie with a buttery, soft, melt in your mouth cookie bottom. They're such a fun twist on a classic and come together much more quickly and easily than a homemade pie!
It's almost apple szzzzznnn!! I'm so excited for a) cooler weather, and b) fall baking! Apple pie is an obviously fantastic choice to ring in the season, but apple pie cookies are an easier and fun twist on a classic dessert. Featuring a thumbprint cookie style dough filled with an easy apple pie filling, these buttery treats pack all the warm and cozy flavor of a classic slice of pie!
what are apple pie cookies?
There's really no right or wrong way to make apple pie cookies! It leaves a lot up to the imagination and interpretation. For some bakers, apple pie cookies look like adorable little apple pies. For others, it may involve a decked out drop cookie.
For my recipe, I'm going the thumbprint cookie route.... mainly because I love thumbprint cookies, but also because I wanted the same ooey apple filling in the center with as little work as possible! So this is basically like an open faced apple pie with a melty and delicious cookie bottom. Or in other words: cookie heaven.
how to make apple pie cookies
Make the apple filling:
1. Combine butter, apples, sugar, and cinnamon in a skillet. Cook until the apples soften.
2. Mix together cornstarch and water, and add to apple mix. Cook until thickened.
3. Set aside to cool completely to room temperature before using.
Make the cookie dough:
1. Cream together butter and sugar until smooth.
2. Whisk in eggs and vanilla to combine. The mixture may look a little grainy, but that's totally fine!
3. Mix in dry ingredients until combined and free of any streaks.
1. Mix together sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
2. Scoop 3 tablespoon sized portions of cookie dough.
3. Toss cookie dough balls in cinnamon sugar to coat, and transfer onto a baking sheet.
4. Press indents in the center of each ball of cookie dough and fill with cooled apple filling.
5. Bake and cool cookies! The center should be bubbly and the bottom edges should have turned a light golden brown color. Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet then transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely.
best apples for apple pie cookies
The best apples for filling these cookies are the same kind of apples you want to shop for if you're making apple pie or any other cooking / baking recipe. My favorite apples are Granny Smith - I find they're the perfect balance of flavor, sweetness, tang, and also hold their shape super well when heated.
Other great apples that hold up well to cooking / baking are Braeburn, Fuji, Golden Delicious, or Honey Crisp. So try to shop within those options.
You should absolutely avoid Red Delicious apples. They break down A TON under heat and can develop a mushy / grainy texture when cooked.
can I use canned apple pie filling?
I haven't personally tested it, but I think it would work. If your brand of apple pie filling is extra watery, I'd recommend straining out some of the liquid before using. You'll also need to roughly chop the apple pieces if they're on the larger side of things.
serving apple pie cookies
I chose to drizzle some store bought caramel sauce over the cookies, but you could serve them plain or with a light dusting of powdered sugar. You could also make some simple icing to drizzle on top! These cookies also taste amazing with some vanilla ice cream if you're feeling extra decadent!
Keep cookies stored in an airtight container or plastic bag. These cookies will keep for up to 3 days at room temperature or around 5 days in the fridge. Try to serve them earlier rather than later as the filling can soften the cookie base over time.
check out these other recipes!
Apple Pie Cookies Recipe
For the apple filling:
- ¼ cup (60g) unsalted butter
- 1 & ½ cups (160g) peeled, cored, and diced Granny Smith apples (about 1 to 2 medium sized apples) *see notes
- ½ cup (100g) packed brown sugar, light or dark
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
For the thumbprint cookie dough:
- 2 & ½ cups (300g) all-purpose flour, spoon and leveled
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks / 225g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- ½ cup (100g) packed brown sugar, light or dark
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the cinnamon sugar:
- ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Make the apple filling:
- In a medium skillet, combine butter, diced apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the butter and sugar melt and the mixture starts to boil. If the mixture starts splattering, reduce your heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Continue cooking until the liquid reduces slightly and the apples have softened (about 5 minutes).¼ cup (60g) unsalted butter, 1 & ½ cups (160g) peeled, cored, and diced Granny Smith apples, ½ cup (100g) packed brown sugar,, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- In a separate small bowl, mix together cornstarch and water to dissolve. Pour the cornstarch mixture over the apples, and cook, stirring constantly, for another minute or until the sauce has thickened.1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 tablespoon water
- Transfer the apple filling to a heat safe bowl and set aside to cool completely to room temperature before using.
Make the brown sugar cookie dough:
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.2 & ½ cups (300g) all-purpose flour,, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt
- In a large bowl, combine butter and brown sugar. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a wooden spoon by hand, cream together until you no longer see any sugar crystals and it has lightened in color. This'll take about 1 minute with a mixer set to medium speed or 2 to 3 minutes by hand.1 cup (2 sticks / 225g) unsalted butter,, ½ cup (100g) packed brown sugar,
- Add the whole egg, egg yolk and vanilla, and whisk to combine. It's ok if the mixture separates and looks a little grainy! Just make sure there aren't any large chunks of butter.1 large egg, 1 large egg yolk, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Add the dry ingredients, and fold together until you no longer see any dry streaks.
Shape the cookies:
- In a shallow bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon.¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Using a large cookie scoop, portion out 3 tablespoon sized balls of dough and drop into the bowl of cinnamon sugar. Toss to coat in the sugar mixture, then place on your parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, leaving about 2 inches of space between each ball of dough on the baking sheet.
- Use a measuring teaspoon or your thumb to push down the center of each cookie to create an indent. Fill the centers with about 1 teaspoon of your cooled apple filling.
- Bake the cookies in the center of your preheated 350°F oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until bubbling in the center and golden brown along the edges.
- Cool the cookies for 5 minutes on the tray then transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely. Drizzle some caramel sauce on top if desired, or serve however you like!