This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please visit the disclosures and privacy policy page.
Sep 12, 2023

Apple Babka

A thick slice of this apple babka will remind you of both apple pie and cinnamon rolls. 

Apple Babka on a cutting board with slices showing the crumb and filling swirls.

This apple babka is filled with a mixture of grated apple, pecan meal, sugar, and spices. It's kind of like if apple pie and cinnamon rolls got married, this babka would be the happy result. 

The bread itself is made with an enriched challah-like dough, with eggs, sugar, butter, milk, and a secret ingredient, boiled apple cider

Apple Babka Slices on a cutting board.

The dough for this babka is enriched yet not too heavy, and the apples in the filling help keep the bread light and cake-like without it drying out. My favorite way to enjoy this bread is toasted and spread with butter, just like cinnamon toast. 

You could even top slices with vanilla ice cream and drizzle with caramel for a delicious dessert. 

Ingredients and Substitutions:

For the Dough: 

Flour: I used King Arthur Baking unbleached all purpose flour. 

Milk Powder: I used nonfat dry milk from King Arthur (their Baker's Special Dry Milk). You can also substitute milk for the milk powder and water, but I love the results using this milk powder. 

Yeast: You will need instant yeast. I used SAF Gold, which is good for doughs with higher sugar content. I would also recommend Red Star Platinum

Boiled Apple Cider: I used it in the dough and the filling for more apple flavor. If you can't find it or don't have it on hand, you can substitute honey, maple syrup, or molasses. You can also make your own by boiling apple cider to make it syrupy and highly concentrated. Keep leftovers in the refrigerator for pouring on pancakes and ice cream. 

Pantry and Fridge Ingredients: Salt, sugar, egg, and unsalted butter. 

Apple Babka on a cooling rack.

For the Filling:

Brown Sugar: You can use either light or dark.

Apple Pie Spice: It's a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, and cloves. If you don't have any, you can easily substitute two teaspoons of ground cinnamon. 

Instant Clear Jel: This is a thickener that doesn't require cooking to activate it's thickening ability. It is typically used for fruit pie filling and doesn't need to be dissolved before adding. You can easily substitute corn starch. Just stir it into liquid first to dissolve it. 

Grated Apple: Choose any apple that works in an apple pie. I used an Envy apple, which is crisp and sweet. There's no need to peel the apple. 

Toasted Pecan Meal: You can buy pecan meal (which is similar to almond flour) or make you own in the food processor. Just don't grind the pecans into a butter. 

You can either toast the pecans before grinding, or toast the meal itself on a baking sheet in a 350 degree F oven. Once it's fragrant, it's ready. 

You'll also need melted butter and more boiled cider for the filling as well as an egg wash and sparkling sugar to top the shaped loaf before baking. 

Apple Babka crumb shot on a cutting board.

How to Shape This Babka:

There are several ways to shape a babka. The most traditional way is to roll up the filled dough, fold the rolled dough and twist it around itself without slicing it open, and place it in a loaf pan. 

You can also take the twisted dough and bake it in a tube pan. 

Here's how I shaped this loaf: 

First, roll the dough out into an 11-inch by 17-inch rectangle and then spread the filling evenly over the surface. 

Beginning with one of the 11-inch ends, roll the dough up into a tight log and pinch the dough to seal it. 

Using a sharp knife or kitchen shears, cut the dough log in half, lengthwise, and place each half, cut side up, next to each other. Join the ends by overlapping one over the other and then begin folding one half over the other in a two-strand braid or spiral, keeping the cut sides up. 

Finally, tuck the ends under and lift the dough into a prepared pan. If it's a little messy, that's okay. 

Apple Babka before baking and after shaping.

Storing This Apple Babka:

This babka will keep wrapped in plastic or foil at room temperature for up to three days. After that, keep it wrapped in the fridge for a day or two more. You can also wrap and freeze the sliced loaf and take out and toast slices for breakfast all week. 

P.S. This babka also makes amazing French toast. 

More Tips:

The length of the first rise for this dough will depend on the temperature of your kitchen. You might want to find a warm spot, but not too warm. My dough took about 90 minutes to double. 

Watch the shaped loaf very closely during the second rise. The dough is quite delicate and you don't want it to over proof. Once it has risen, gently brush it with the egg wash, sprinkle it with the sparkling sugar, and carefully place it in the oven with care so it doesn't collapse. 

If you want, you can drizzle this bread with icing after baking like you would with cinnamon rolls. 

Apple Babka in the pan with parchment paper.

If you are interested in more babka recipes, or breads that include apples, here are more recipes I love. 

More Babka Recipes:

Peanut Butter Babka

Cinnamon Blueberry Babka

Chocolate Walnut Babka

More Breads with Apples:

No Knead Apple Bread

Sourdough Apple Bread

Normandy Apple Bread

Apple and Ham Pizza

Bread Bakers Logo.

The Bread Bakers are baking bread with apples! Perfect for fall, right? 

A Day in the Life on the Farm: Apple Fritter Bread 

Karen’s Kitchen Stories: Apple Babka 

Cook with Renu: Apple and Cheese Sourdough Discard Focaccia (No Knead) 

A Messy Kitchen: Apple Rosemary Braid 

Magical Ingredients: Caramel Apple Naan 

Palatable Pastime: Apple Butter Dinner Rolls 

Zesty South Indian Kitchen: Sourdough Apple loaf

Apple Babka on a cutting board with slices.

Apple Babka

Apple Babka
Yield: 16 slices
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 45 MinCook time: 55 MinInactive time: 3 H & 30 MTotal time: 5 H & 10 M
A thick slice of this apple babka will remind you of both apple pie and cinnamon rolls.


For the Dough
  • 360 grams (3 cups) unbleached all purpose flour
  • 14 grams (2 tablespoons) nonfat dry milk
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast (preferably SAF Gold)
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 8 grams (1 1/4 teaspoons) salt
  • 149 grams (2/3 cup) lukewarm water
  • 1 large egg
  • 71 grams (5 tablespoons) room temperature butter
  • 1 tablespoon boiled apple cider (or maple syrup)
For the Filling
  • 106 grams (1/2 cup) brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple pie spice or 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon Instant Clear Jel or cornstarch
  • 57 grams (4 tablespoons) melted and cooled unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon boiled apple cider (or maple syrup)
  • 85 grams (3/4 cup) grated crisp apple
  • 57 grams (1/3 cup) toasted ground pecans/pecan meal
For Topping
  • 1 egg + 1 tablespoon water + pinch of salt for egg wash
  • Sparkling sugar for sprinkling


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, dry milk, yeast, sugar, and salt. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix with a dough whisk or the paddle attachment for about one to two minutes. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.
  2. Mix with the dough hook on speed 4 for about 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and cohesive.
  3. Cover the dough and let rise until almost doubled, about 90 minutes to 2 hours.
  4. In the meantime, assemble the filling by whisking together the sugar, spice, and Clear Jel. Add the melted butter, grated apples, and ground pecans and stir. Set aside.
  5. Prepare a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan with spray oil and line it with parchment paper.
  6. When the dough is ready, deflate it and roll it out on a floured surface to an 11-inch by 17-inch rectangle. Spread the filling over the dough with an offset spatula, leaving a 1-inch border all around.
  7. Beginning with a smaller end, roll the dough tightly into a log and pinch to seal the seam. Cut the dough in half lengthwise and placing the two halves next to each other, cut side up.
  8. Join the half logs at one end and then fold one over the other. Take the one underneath and fold it over the one on top, keeping the cut sides up. Continue until you have a twist of the two strands. It should not take more than three or four folds. Tuck the ends under and transfer the shaped dough to the parchment lined loaf pan.
  9. Cover the loaf loosely with oiled plastic wrap and let rise until the loaf crests in the middle to about 1 inch above the rim of the pan, 1 1/2 to 2 hours (or possibly more). Heat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  10. Whisk together the egg, water, and salt for the egg wash and gently brush it over the top of the loaf. Sprinkle the top with sparkling sugar.
  11. Bake the loaf for 50 to 60 minutes, until it reaches and interior temperature of 195 degrees F. Loosely tent the loaf with foil at about 35 minutes so that it doesn't burn.
  12. Cool the loaf in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn it out onto a rack and cool completely.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

10 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

4 g

Carbs (grams)

30 g

Fiber (grams)

2 g

Net carbs

29 g

Sugar (grams)

11 g

Protein (grams)

4 g

Cholesterol (grams)

29 mg
babka, apple
Did you make this recipe?
Tag on instagram and hashtag it #karenskitchenstories

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Baking

Would you like to comment?

  1. Wow that looks and sounds lovely. Would love a piece with my coffee right now.

  2. What a beautiful babka! You know I love these flavors.

  3. That's one gorgeous loaf! I wish I could steal the entire loaf for myself. Thanks for sharing the recipe for an ultimate bread.

  4. This is beautiful loaf I love that you used instant clear jelly. I need to try this as fall is approaching.

  5. Looks delicious! Have you tried making this dough, or babka, in a bread machine?

    1. I haven't but I'm sure you could mix the dough in one.


I would love to hear from you! If you comment anonymously, be sure to leave your name in your comment.