Mama and Grandmama Make Apple Dumplings


I am so excited that this is apple week for Southern Plate. The weather has turned cooler here and brought with it thoughts of beef stew and apple dumplings. Of course, I love apples cooked any way, Apple Dapple cake, fried apples, apple pie and these apple dumplings.

Tonight I made a big pot of beef stew , a skillet of cornbread and a large casserole full of apple dumplings. Christy wanted me to take some pictures and send her the recipe that I use for apple dumplings. You will see that I am definitely not a photographer but the end product was delicious. This is an old fashioned recipe that uses a little of this and a smidgen of that so I have done my best to measure all the ingredients for you. Do not be scared of adding or adjusting the ingredients to suit your taste. This is a very delicious and forgiving recipe. It would be even more delicious with vanilla ice cream on top!

Before I give you the recipe, let me tell you a little about how I went about making these dumplings. I use the small cheap canned biscuits. We call them whampum biscuits since you whampum on the counter to open them. I open the biscuits, take them apart and lay them out on wax paper to come to room temperature while I prepare the apples. This makes the biscuits easier to roll out. Then I peel the apples and cut them up into little pieces about the size of Chiclets chewing gum. Now the original recipe said to place a small amount of apples (about a heaping tablespoon) on each biscuit and then sprinkle with cinnamon. I can never remember to sprinkle the cinnamon on the apples when I get in a rhythm of making the dumplings so I just sprinkle cinnamon on the apples in the bowl and stir them up to distribute it. If you don’t like cinnamon, the dumplings are just as good without it. I have had them both ways and love them either way.


Alright, this is where I step in and take over. I, being me, Christy :). Now I know my Mama and Grandmama really well. In fact, I’m pretty confident that I know both of them just about better than any living person at this point. Mama and I are best friends and talk several times a day on the phone and for a good bit of time when I was in college after my Grandaddy had passed away, Grandmama and I lived together as roommates. So knowing the two of them and seeing this post, I know that y’all missed out on the best parts and I’m here to insert them, word for word, as I am sure they went down in the making of these dumplings.

Mama: Mama, this don’t look right. Go get me a bath towel because Christy says you gotta have a light background.

Grandmama : Well what kind of a bath towel you want me to get? What you gonna do with it?

Mama: Get me a white one and hurry, I’ve got to get supper on before they all get here. Lane, baby, can you go do your homework on the kitchen table so I can take pictures here for Aunt Christy’s website?

To make this recipe you’ll need: Sugar, Cinnamon, 2 cans biscuits (ten count cans), apples (Granny smith is best but others work), and butter.

~in comes Grandmama with the towel~

Mama : Oh now that looks better.

Grandmama: It really brightened it up, didn’t it? Let me see how it looks…

~Mama holds up the camera with the image on the back~

Grandmama : Oh I never could see them things on these new fancy cameras…

Peel and slice your apples however you want, a knife is fine.

Mama uses this fancy thing, which is really awesome, but I just use a paring knife and it works just as well. Mama has more storage space than me for gadgets – and she also has the ability to keep up with them far better than I do! If I bought one of these I’d probably use it once and then never be able to find it again.

Grandmama: Jan are you about done? I’m gittin’ tired of holding this towel up here…

Mama: Almost, let me get one more picture and then you can put it down.

Grandmama : Well alright, hurry it up, we ain’t got all day and I’m hungry. Reckon Christy will really put this on her website?


Grandmama: Jan you ain’t done took a picture of me did you! Janice! I’ll say!

Mama: ~giggle~

Place your diced apples in a bowl and sprinkle with cinnamon. Stir to coat.

Mama: Okay Mama, you can put the towel down now.

Grandmama : Oh good, I think the weather is fixin to come on.

~Grandmama shuffles off into the den to watch her favorite meteorologist~

Take each biscuit and roll it out as best you can on waxed paper. Don’t roll it too thin, just roll it out enough to be able to put some apple filling in the center.

Y’all don’t know this but every time Mama takes a picture that she thinks turned out well she grins and tucks in her chin proudly as she looks at it. So just pretend that big old shadow isn’t there and if she notices it we’ll tell her it is in her head and looked fine to us.

Wow, there’s the flash! lol

Put a heaping tablespoon of filling in the center of each one.

This is the point in the tutorial where Mama had to stop for a minute to try to help my nephew Lane with a math problem. The real problem occurred when she called me to help her figure out how to help him. My engineer husband wasn’t home just then and it was like the blind leading the blind…

Alright well the good news is that Mama turned the flash off in this one but…


Lets just use our imagination here.

After you put the filling in each round of dough, fold up the sides and press them together to close them.

Place all of you dumplings in a baking dish (I’m using a 9×13). Top each with a small pat of butter and sprinkle your remaining apples over them. If you don’t have apples left, don’t worry, just go with it and it will be fine. Sprinkle your sugar over the apples*.

*Mama uses half sugar and half splenda when she makes these.

Mama’s Note: If you counted my dumplings, you will notice that I only had 17. My grandson ate two of the raw biscuits and his sister wanted to try one. She was not impressed! But 3 biscuits were missing in action.

Gently pour boiling water over the apples.

Mama says :I know this seems strange pouring water over this but trust me, it will turn into a delicious syrup.

Bake at 350 for one hour.

Sit back and enjoy fall and the all the wonderful flavors that it brings!

Mama: Mama come sit down and eat.

Grandmama: Well just a minute, I’ma cleaning up the stove a little bit coz you done made a mess…

Gotta love ’em!

P.S. I just read this post to mama. She said “Well sounds like you got us pegged alright!”

Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings like my Grandmother Made
  • 2-10 count cans of biscuits
  • 3 granny smith apples
  • ¾ stick butter or margarine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Boiling water (Enough to completely cover the dumplings and then another ½ cup)
  2. Let biscuits sit out while you peel and chop apples (They're easier to roll out that way).
  3. Peel and chop apples into small pieces. Place in bowl and sprinkle with cinnamon, stirring to coat.
  4. Roll out biscuit and put a heaping tablespoon of apples in the center. Pull biscuit around apples and pinch to seal.
  5. Place dumpling pinched side down in 13 X 9 casserole dish. Continue making until all 20 dumplings are made and placed in dish.
  6. Cut butter into pats and place on top of dumplings. Pour any remaining apple pieces on top of the dumplings.
  7. Sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the dumplings.
  8. Then pour boiling water gently over the dumplings. Pour water until it completely covers the dumplings. Then add about another ½ cup. Trust me, the water will turn into a delicious syrup.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

“Grandma always made you feel she had been waiting

to see just you all day and now the day was complete.”

~ Marcy DeMaree


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  1. wendy hampton says

    Oh heavens! This sounds like my mother in law used to. she taught me so many good things and she raised me one heck of a husband. God bless them all and thanks for the story. I enjoyed it soooo much. Made me teary.

  2. Paula says

    I made these apple dumplings tonite and they are delicious!! My husband thought those dumplings were great and how soft they were. I am going to try this with pears!!! Hope they are just as good!!!!

  3. sheila miller says

    I feel like I was in the kitchen w/ Mama and Grandmama. You’re blessed to have both of them in your life. I am blessed to be sharing their stories and recipes with you! Thank you. We’re headin’ to the apple orchard Sunday and taking the grandchildren so I know what will be tops on my list…apple dumplings. YUM!!!

  4. Kathleen Robertson says

    Made the dumplings tonight, when I took it out of oven it still had slot of water in it and the bottom of the biscuits are wet. Is it supposed to be like that or does it have to sit after taking out of oven??… It has made my house smell awesome… I completely covered the dumplings like recipe said … Help

  5. Carmell says

    Hi Christy!~
    I made these tonight…and they were really good. I used the pyrex 13x9x2 and the flakey biscuits. I do not think the pyrex dish was deep enough or I filled my dumplings too full as I could not completely cover the dumplings with the boiling water. They kind of burnt on top…please help me! I did use one more apple than the recipe said! Cut the tops off and they were good. I want to try again ….. suggestions? Thank you!

  6. Susan N says

    Good job Mama & Grandma! Why does Apple Dumplins always make us think of Don Knotts? When i first moved to Tennessee my friends Mama taught me how to make apple dumplins. I always think of Ms. Jessee too. Was a fun tutorial Christy.

  7. Sonja Welborn says

    Christy, I love reading about your family as much as I love the recipes. This one was awesome. I never knew my grandmother but heard a lot about her from my mama. My mama died in 1989 and most of my recipes came from watching her. Thank you for making everything so special.

  8. Joyce says

    Christy, I was trying to think of an easy dessert recipe to make for our special December dinner for the needy in our community. I think this will do the trick. Now I just have to figure out how many pans I’ll need to feed 100.

  9. pamela says

    Oh Christy thank you and grandma for this wonderful treat, i just made this and it was so good. my husband start singing to me pam is great ……..just say he was very pleased with me. one more thing yumo.

  10. Samantha Daleo says

    I am so worried about putting too much water in this and I really want to make it tonight for my coughing/sicky husband, to put a smile on his face. Is there an exact..or even close to exact measurement for the water?

    Thank you!

  11. Samantha Daleo says

    Thank you! I’ll give it a go:)

    BTW, thank you for all of your posts, especially your uplifting status this morning about us being the “and you”. That really helped me to get my mind and heart back where it needed to be.

  12. Sandra Sears says

    Thanks for sharing your recipe. I’m gonna try making this tomorrow. I loved reading the story of ya’ll making these. I’m so the one that would be cleanin’ up the stove after my Mother cooks, that woman gets stuff everywhere.

  13. Donna Tomblin says

    Christy, I was wondering if you could make these with brown sugar? I make a recipe similar to this and I fry them in my deep fryer but baked would certainly be less fattening (even with the sugar LOL). Maybe you could put the brown sugar in with the apples and cinnamon. I am not a big fan of anything with fruit in it but my husband loves them. Will definitely have to try these. Love your recipes and such a funny story. Got to love those mama’s and grandmama’s too.

  14. Virginia says

    As yummy as the apple dumplings look/sound it’s the quote that got me:

    “Grandma always made you feel she had been waiting to see just you all day and now the day was complete.”

    My husband’s Norwegian “Bestemor” was THAT grandmother…a treasure to the whole family. I miss her to this day.

  15. Deb Waters says

    Thank you Christy for the great recipe, but most of all thanks for bringing back the memories of my Grandma, my Mom and me in the kitchen. Your conversation was so familiar and almost exact…lol!!. I am living overseas and miss my family very much. My Grandma has passed, but I still have my Mom in N.C. and we talk weekly (thank goodness for Skype), and I enjoy listening to her stories and consulting her about her recipes. My favs are her Persimmon Pudding, and Egg Custard Pie..which I can never quite make as good as her…but that’s ok it’s trying that’s fun. Anyhoo, thanks for bringing it all back….love your recipes and your stories

  16. Sherry Lee says

    Christie, I just wish you knew how similar our Southerness is by the things you say, cook and do….and how much my family is like yours. My children called my mama “Grandmama,” as well. We lost my mother early as she was only 69 to lung cancer (saddest thing that’s ever happened to me) and I’m so sad my little 7- year old will never hear conversations like the one you described between me and my mama. She was a character and such an awesome cook. She used to make apple dumplings….biscuits with homemade reconstituted dried apple filling and fried them up in an electric frying pan. Of course the apples were from the family apple tree! Not the grocery-tree. Boy I miss those, but I miss her more! I just know she’s dancing in Heaven waiting on the rest of us “an them.”

  17. heather says

    I do love the way you tell stories!

    btw…my kiddos grew up on “whack” biscuits because when they were little I was a busy, working mom. One day, my oldest was visiting an elderly friend, who only ever made biscuits from scratch and he was helping her in the kitchen.

    She still gets tickled telling the story of him remarking, “I’ve only ever made the biscuits you whack!” To which she had to inquire more….

  18. Felica says

    It was so good to read this post again, especially with your Grandmama in it. We do all miss her, but know she is sittin’ up there with Jesus and they are both saying–looky at our Christy—Isn’t she just shinin’? Anyway… I ‘ve heard those called whampum biscuits since listening to Jerry Clower with I was a girl… did you every listen to him? He and Marcel Ledbetter were quite a pair!
    Hugs to you precious lady!

  19. Joel says

    I love this recipe. It was one of the first ones I learned to make growing up. I make it similarly, but a little different. I’m sure it tastes just as delicious.

    I use one of those slicer/corer gadgets and peel the skins. Then I take two layers of the golden layers whap biscuits. I pull them around the slices and pinch them closed. Line the same sized casserole dish with them, seam side down. In a stove pot, heat 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, and 1 stick of butter. When it’s melted together I pour it up near, but not covering the top of the dumplings. Then I sprinkle cinnamon on top. I cook it at 350 for an hour or until the biscuits start browning. Then I get them out steaming hot an eat them with some ice cold vanilla ice cream. Preferably homemade, but bryers if I can’t get that.

    I love how the lower part of the biscuit gets all sweet and doughy. This is a great recipe and I’ve seen a few others that I can’t wait to try.

  20. Beverly says

    These look and sound fantastic! I’ll have to wait till I’m going to a potluck or having loads of company to make these because my sweetie and I are both trying to lose weight. And I know that we’d eat every single one of them otherwise!!!
    I love your little stories about your family. Thanks for sharing!

  21. Patricia Havens says

    Oh I just became so nostalgic reading this post, I am a great grandma now but this made me think fondly of my mama who was from North Carolina and think she and your grandmother were somewhat alike, she loved to cook mostly to bake and we always ate good when I was growing up, my mama made baked apples a lot you know the kind with the core taken out then you stuff it with butter, brown sugar , cinnamon and she liked raisins too . They always smelled so good these dumplings reminded me of them, my mouth is almost watering just thinking about how good your dumplings must be and how good my mam’s baked apples were, back then I do not think we had granny smith’s apples mama always used Winesap’s I think at any rate she said they were a baking apple , there were so many different apples when I was growing up that I do not see in the stores any more. And my memory is not so good as it used to be but this post brought back some wonderful memories thank you so much!

  22. Glenda says

    I love this…………..let’s hope that Southern cooking, Southern phrases (like ‘fixin’ and ‘pegged’), and Southern mannerisms never go out of style. Along with special Grandmamas, Mamas, and the love they showed us by what they did in the kitchen. This made me laugh and cry both – thank you, Christy!


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