This apple pie is easy to make from scratch. It has a buttery flakey crust and a lightly spiced apple pie filling. This is the apple pie everyone wants at Thanksgiving or as a nice treat on the weekend.
Making an apple pie can seem like such a challenge sometimes, but with a few tips and suggestions, it is pretty simple. I think the more complicated part is the pie crust. With this recipe, all I use is butter, sugar, and flour and you end up with a buttery and flakey crust that comes together quickly and without much effort, which is what I always strive for.
When I first started testing this recipe, my family said it was the best they had ever had, and while I feel like I can be pretty biased in my cooking or baking, you will have to be the person who ultimately decides. Between the buttery/flakey crust and the juicy and saucy cinnamon-infused apple filling, it is the perfect combination you are looking for in an apple pie. This recipe is so good. I use this recipe for my Dutch apple pie as well, which is my husband’s favorite.
The best apple for pie
There are so many varieties of apples that it can be hard to know which is the right one to use in apple pie. There are apples that are good for eating and then there are apples that are best for baking. You, of course, can eat them as well, but not all apples are great for baking.
I like to use a combination of sweet and tart apples. My favorite combination is Granny Smith for the tartness and Honey Crisp for the sweetness. When choosing the right apple, you want it to be firm so that it holds its form in the baking process, and you want another apple that is soft and sweet.
- Granny Smith Firm, tart, and the #1 choice for baking
- Jonagold This apple is a cross between Golden Delicious and Jonathan. They are both soft and sharp and will hold their shape with baking. (This was my favorite apple to eat when I was younger.)
- Fuji Crisp, firm, and juicy, has a nice balance between sweet and tart and holds its shape while baking.
- Golden Delicious This is a yellow apple that is sweet and holds its shape after baking. (I don’t like to use red delicious apples because they don’t cook down well.)
- Pink Lady A sweet and tart apple that holds its shape while baking.
The perfect pie crust
The first thing we want to start with is the crust. You can make it ahead if you like, like 2-3 days in advance is just fine. You don’t have to chill this crust if you are making it ahead of time. The trick to this crust is very cold butter and ice-cold water. Work quickly to keep the butter cold. You don’t have to worry about it because it’s pretty hard to mess up this crust.
I like to make this dough in a food processor or a stand-up mixer. The less your hands touch the dough, the better because your hands will melt the butter. (If you, like my grandmother, had cold hands that were ideal for making pie dough without melting the butter)
- Dry ingredients Combine flour and sugar. I like to use the pulse function on the food processor to mix them together.
- Cut the butter You want to make sure to use butter that is cold right out of the refrigerator. I have even put it in the freezer for a few minutes to make sure it is cold. Cut the butter into cubes and add it to the mixture in the food processor. Pulse about 10 times until the pieces of butter are smaller.
- Ice-cold water pulse until the dough begins to come together.
Apple Pie filling
This recipe starts with an apple pie filling that is made from scratch. No canned apple pie filling here. The first step is to peel, core, and slice your apples. You want your apples to be 14 of an inch thick so that they all cook at the same rate. You will have around 8 cups of apple juice, around 6–8 apples.
Place the sliced apples in a large bowl and add the rest of the apple pie filling ingredients.
Apple pie filling ingredients
- Vanilla Extract A little bit of vanilla adds a little bit of sweetness to the pie. I use homemade vanilla extract, but you can use whatever you have on hand.
- All-Purpose Flour The flour is used to help thicken the pie filling. You can use cornstarch as well to thicken the pie as an alternative to flour.
- Granulated Sugar you can adjust the amount of sugar depending on the sweetness of your apples and how sweet you want your apple pie.
- Brown Sugar I like to use brown sugar with a combination of granulated sugar it adds some wonderful caramel notes.
- Fall Spice blend I use this blend of fall spice or apple spice for my apple pie if you don’t have it below I will list the spice individually for you.
- Cinnamon is an essential element for the best apple pie filling
- Nutmeg you will add a very small amount and this is for flavor
- Salt I don’t use a lot of salt in my cooking, but I find salt balances out the sweetness and enhances all the flavors.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long will this apple pie last? Does it need to be refrigerated?
This apple pie will keep at room temperature for 2-3 days. You can also keep it refrigerated, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to a week.
Can I freeze this apple pie?
Yes, you can freeze the pie for up to a month. Wrap it first with parchment paper and then with aluminum foil. Let the pie thaw out overnight. The parchment paper helps the condensation remain on the paper and prevents the pie crust from getting soggy.
Can I use store-bought pie crust?
Yes, you can use ready-to-use pie crust. Roll it out and place it in your pie pan. Or if it’s already in a pie pan, follow the rest of the recipe.
How do you prevent the pooling of juices in the apple pie?
The secret is to give the juices enough time to settle in the pie. If you cut into the pie while it is hot, the juice will flow. If you cut it while it is warmer, fewer juices will flow. If you wait until the pie has reached room temperature, there should be no juice flowing. It helps if you make the pie a day ahead because then it has time to cool completely.
Why does my pastry keep breaking?
There are two reasons for this to happen, either when your cutting your butter the butter was not cold enough and too soft. Or when the pie crust pastry is chilled it is so hard that when you roll it out the but is breaking when you roll it out.
Why is my apple pie filling so mushy?
This can happen if you choose an apple that becomes soft when cooked. For the best results, I use a combination of granny smith and honey crisp for the best results.
Best Topping for Apple Pie
Once you have made your apple pie, the very next question that comes to mind is what are you going to serve with it? Along with a cup of coffee or tea, there are a few different options. My husband personally wants nothing on his pie, whereas I love ice cream or whipping cream.
- Ice Cream In my opinion there is nothing better than a warm slice of apple pie with a scoop of ice cream, it mixes with the pie filling so perfectly. When it comes to the flavor of ice cream vanilla is the flavor of choice but you can use anything like strawberry, butter pecan, or vanilla with a caramel swirl.
- Whipped Cream a dollop of fresh whipped cream is soft and light with just a little bit of sweetness it’s a great alternative to ice cream.
- Cheddar cheese A few slices of cheese can be served with your apple pie if you like a little bit of contrast in saltiness with your apple pie.
- Caramel Sauce A nice caramel drizzle to go over the top of your slice of apple pie is delicious as well.
The Best Apple Pie Recipe
- 1 food processor
- 1 Stand Up Mixer
- 1 large bowl
Pie Crust single
- 1-1/4 all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp sugar
- 8 tbsp butter Chilled, cut into half inch cubes
- 3-4 tbsp cold water very cold
Apple Pie Filling
- 6-8 apples around 3 lbs
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ⅔ cup sugar or less depending on the sweetness of the apples
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1-1/2 tsp fall spice optional see note
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp all spice
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Place the flour, salt, and sugar into a food processor or stand up mixer and pulse until well combined.
- Add half of the butter cubes and pulse 8 times. Then add the other half of the butter cubes and pulse 6 more times. You should have a mixture that resembles a coarse meal, with many butter pieces the size of peas.
- Add two tablespoons of ice cold water (without the ice!) to the food processor bowl and pulse several times.
- Then add more ice water, slowly, a teaspoon at a time, pulsing several times after each addition, until the mixture just barely begins to clump together.
- Then, use your hands to press the crumbly dough together and shape into a disk. Work the dough only enough to just bring the dough together. Do not over-knead or your crust will end up tough.
- Sprinkle the disc with a little flour on all sides. Wrap the disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
- When you are ready to roll out the dough, remove the disk from the refrigerator and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes to take enough of a chill off of it so that it becomes easier to roll out.
- Place the dough disk on a lightly floured, clean flat surface. Sprinkle some flour on top of the disk. If the dough is a bit stiff, use your rolling pin to press down on the center a few times. No need to be gentle at this point. You're trying to shock the chilled butter in the dough to loosen up a bit. Roll out the dough to a 12-inch circle, to a thickness of about 1/8-inch thick.
- Carefully fold the dough in half, then transfer it to a 9-inch pie plate or tart pan, lining up the fold with the center of the pan. Gently unfold and press down to line the pie dish with the dough.
Apple Pie filling
- Peel, core and slice or roughly chop the apples into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch slices or chunks. As you cut your apple slices, add them to a large bowl and sprinkle them with the lemon juice to help keep them from turning brown.
- Combine the sugar, flour and spices (allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon) in a bowl. Add the flour mixture to the apple slices and use your hands to distribute the flour through the apples so they are well coated. Sprinkle with vanilla extract stir to coat all the apples.
- Preheat oven to 350°F Place one oven rack in the lowest position and put a large rimmed baking sheet on it to catch any drippings from the pie.
- Arrange the apple slices in the dough-lined pie plate. Mound the apples in the center.
- Roll out the second disk of dough, again to 12-inches. Gently place the second round of pie dough over the apples. Trim excess dough with kitchen shears, leaving a 3/4 inch overhang from the edges of the pie pan.
- Fold the dough under itself so that the edge of the fold comes right to the edge of the pan. Press the top and bottom dough rounds together as you flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with a fork.
- Place pie on oven rack centered over the baking sheet on the rack below it to catch any drippings. Bake the pie at 375°F until crust begins to lightly brown, about 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F.
- Bake until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling all over, an additional hour or up to another hour and a half, depending on the type of apples you are using.