Apple Tarte Tatin

Apple Tarte Tatin is wildly delicious and easier to make than you think.

Apple Tarte Tatin is one of those desserts that are simple to make but require a little extra love and attention. If you have never had it, imagine an upside down apple pie. The apples are cooked slowly in a caramel. This caramel cooks until it becomes a rich golden tan color. Then it’s topped with puff pasty. Once baked, the puff pastry is crispy and becomes the perfect vehicle for the apples to lay on top of.

For the caramel to cook, your attention is definitely required. You must watch it closely especially towards the end, as the caramel can go from perfect to burnt super quickly. Keeping an eye on this baby is so worth it.

When you flip this dessert over and the apples are caramelized to perfection you’ll see what I mean. The apples are fork tender and the puff pastry absorbs the caramel. Top it with vanilla ice cream and OMG.

closeup of my Apple Tarte tatin with caramel and pie crust

My mom absolutely loves it when I make it so whenever she is in town visiting, I make sure I prepare it for her. She loves every part of this dessert, the tart apples, the sweet caramel and the dough. All of it is beautiful. 

Detailed instructions to make this delicious Apple Tarte Tatin:

Ingredients needed for the apple tarte tatin

Peel, remove core, and cut 8 apples into quarters. You can use Gala apples or Granny Smith work great too. Set aside in a bowl.

In a medium size, oven safe sauté pan, spread the entire stick of butter all over the pan, even the sides.

Tip! Use a flexible rubber spatula, it will help you “paint” the entire pan evenly.

After the whole pan is coated with the butter, sprinkle the sugar all over the butter so it sticks, the majority will be on the bottom and that’s perfect.

Butter and sugar spread on the pan

Starting from the edge of the pan, arrange the apples round side down forming a circle.

Continue placing the apples in a circle until you fill the entire pan.

Try to fill every space with the apples. You might have to cut some quarters in half so you can fit in as many apples as you can. The apples will stack high over the pan, and thats OK because they will cook down. 

Apples arranged in the pan for the apple tarte tatin

On the stovetop, set the temperature to medium medium high and let the sugar and butter start to melt. The mixture will start bubbling up.

Caramel bubbling up

If the pan you’re using is not deep enough, the caramel can sometimes bubble over the pan a bit, don’t worry, it’s messy. Don’t freak out… this is not a fail, it’s part of what the caramel needs to go through. Just swipe the sides of the pan with a paper towel to help it a bit.

caramel juices overflowing from the pan

Tip! A mess is a mess, you’ll clean it later and you won’t be sorry you made it because the end result will be incredible. Sometimes we need to create messes to come up with something beautiful.

Occasionally, give the pan a little swirl to make sure it is not sticking and the heat is being evenly distributed.

Little by little the mixture will change colors and will start browning into caramel. It will take 25 to 30 minutes before the caramel starts changing colors. The caramel can go from brown to burnt in a matter of 2 seconds so keep an eye on it.

caramel thickening in the apple tarte tatin

Tip! As it darkens continue the swirling motion. This step is crucial as it will help it brown evenly. Do not use a spoon.

Once the caramel has browned to a deep golden color, and you can see it throughout the spaces between the apples, remove from the heat immediately. 

caramel done and the apples resting in it

On a flat surface lay out a sheet of puff pastry. Roll out to fit the size of the pan.

Using a fork, poke holes throughout the puff pastry sheet.

Carefully place the entire sheet of puff pastry on top of the pan with the caramelized apples.

Cut the edges to match the size of the pan.

puff pasty ready to roll out

Tip! Once you place the entire sheet of puff pasty over the pan, since the pan will be warm, the dough will start to melt into the pan, so take your rolling pin and roll it over the puff pasty, this will cut the dough into the exact shape of the pan. The weight of the rolling pin will “cut” the dough for you.

puff pastry on top of apples ready to bake

Line a baking sheet big enough to fit the pan with aluminum foil.

In the middle of the baking sheet, I like to do a triple layer of aluminum foil, this will protect the apples from getting too much heat and the caramel in the middle burning.

baking sheet lined with aluminum foil big enough to fit the apple Tarte Tatin

Bake in the top middle rack of the oven for 25 minutes or until the puff pastry is cooked through and its golden browned.

Tip! Place the baking sheet with the pan on the second to highest rack of the oven. The bottom of the desert is already all cooked, we are focusing on the top layer now.

apple Tarte Tatin baking in the second to highest rack

Let cool for a little bit before serving.

Tip! if you’re serving this dessert and it has cooled down completely, just place the pan on the stove top for a few seconds to get the caramel soft again. Make sure nothing is sticking on the pan, if you swirl it, it should all move in one whole piece.

apple tarte tatin cooling

How to plate this Apple Tarte Tatin

When transferring to a serving platter, place the platter over the top of the pan, right on top of the puff pastry. In one swift motion flip the pan and the platter over so that the pan is now on the top. Remove carefully as some of the caramel might be runny. 

Apple tartin flipped out of pan and done

If a few apples fall out of place, don’t worry, using a fork, try to place them back to where they used to be.

Tip! Picture perfect desserts are gorgeous to look at but we don’t have to expect to make them perfect every time. The goal is to have a fantastic tasting dessert to sink our teeth in! Ha!

Apple Tarte Tatin

This apple tarte tatin recipe is sweet and juicy. You'll love the apples cooked in caramel and baked over a puff pastry crust. This dessert is scrumptious and sinful.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
CuisineAmerican, Pastry
Keywordapple, apple pie, apple tarte tatin, caramel
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes


  • oven safe pan
  • baking sheet big enough to fit the oven safe pan


  • 8 Gala Apples peeled, cored and quartered
  • 1 stick unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 sheet store bought puff pastry
  • flour for rolling the dough


  • Peel, core, and cut all apples in quarters
  • In a medium size, oven safe pan, spread the room temperature butter on to the entire surface of the pan, even the sides
  • Sprinkle the sugar over the butter
  • Lay the apples round side down, lay them forming a circle starting from the edge of the an and working your way into the center if the pan
  • On medium heat start cooking the apples. The butter and the sugar will start cooking the apples and the mixture will bubble up for 25-30 minutes
  • Every now and then, swirl the pan ever so slightly just to keep the juices moving and the apples preventing from sticking to the bottom of the pan
  • When the caramel starts changing color and smelling like true caramel, it's time to stay close and watch it carefully
  • Swirl the pan at this point to help the caramel darken evenly throughout the pan
  • Once it has reached a golden tan color remove from the heat
  • Preheat the oven to 350°
  • On a floured surface, roll out the puff pastry sheet, using a rolling pin, strech it until it is big enough to cover the top of the pan
  • Place it on top of the pan and cut it to the shape of the pan
  • Using a fork, punch holes throughout the puff pastry
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden and cooked all the way through
  • If you will serve right out of the oven, let it rest for at least 10 minutes as the caramel and the apples will be incredibly hot
  • If you prepared the tartin earlier and plan on serving later and it has cooled dwon completely, then place the pan on the stove top on high and heat for a minute or so, just to get the caramel loose.
  • Swirl the pan just enough to confirm that the entire tartin is moving a a whole and nothing is sticking to the bottom
  • Place the serving platter you will use on top of the pan, in one swift motion, turn the pan over the platter so that the platter is now on the bottom
  • Remove the pan from the platter. If some apples fell out of position, it's ok, just rearange them with a fork as best as you can.
  • This Apple Tarte Tatin is best served with some vanilla ice cream

Recipe Video Instructions


If the pan you are using is not deep enough some juices might bubble over, that’s ok, it might be just a bit messy, no big deal. Using a paper towel, try to swipe some of it off, but be careful as the caramel is very hot!
Also, make sure the pan you choose in the beginning is oven safe.  You will be baking this directly in the saute pan.

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