Apple pie is a show-stopping dessert that is made with a lusciously thick and gooey filling embedded with layers upon layers of tender apples. The flaky, buttery homemade pie crust and a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream for serving are non-negotiable!
Apple pie is a stunning dessert that is perfect for Fall, holidays, and special occasions. Unlike most apple pie recipes that need to cool completely before serving, the filling for this recipe is thick enough to slice and serve while it’s still warm.
Best Apples for Pie:
Very crisp, vibrant apples are best because they hold up during baking. I love using a combination of classic tart Granny Smith apples and sweet Honey crisp apples in my pie. Other good choices would be Pink Lady apples, Golden Delicious, Braeburn, Jonagold, any apple that makes a crack sound when you bite into it. Avoid apples that make a mush sound, because that is what they will turn into if you use them for pie!
Ingredients for Apple Pie:
A great pie starts with a great pie crust. And a dessert as stunning as apple pie deserves a homemade crust. I always use my favorite homemade pie crust recipe, it is buttery, flaky, and absolutely perfect for apple pie.
- Unsalted butter: Cut the butter into cubes first and then keep it in the fridge or freezer so it’s very cold when you add it in.
- Flour: All-purpose flour is great for a tender, flaky pie crust. Make sure you measure correctly by lightly spooning the flour into your measuring cup and then leveling off with the flat side of a knife.
- Salt: Needed for flavor! Just make sure you’re using unsalted butter so the crust isn’t too salty.
- Sugar: The crust isn’t necessarily meant to be sweet, the sugar is used here because it interferes with the development of gluten, which keeps the crust tender and flaky.
- Egg yolks: Egg yolks help bind the dough and make it easier to work with. The fat in the yolks also adds flavor and makes the crust more tender and flaky.
- Ice water: Add water and ice into a glass and then use a tablespoon to measure out the water. I needed 4 and ½ tablespoons, but to be safe start with less and then add more until the dough forms.
Making the dough a day or two ahead of time is great for time-saving because it needs to rest and chill in the fridge before being rolled out. The dough can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept in the fridge, or kept in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw frozen pie dough overnight in the fridge.
- 3 pounds of apples: About 6-7 large apples. I use a combination of Granny Smith and Honey Crisp apples. Peel, core, and slice the apples ¼” thick. Try your best to slice them as close to the same size as you can so they cook evenly.
- White and brown sugar: I love using brown sugar as well as white sugar because the molasses adds a deeper flavor with hints of caramel.
- Cornstarch: 3 full tablespoons make the filling thick enough to allow you to slice and serve the pie while it’s still warm.
- Lemon juice: Fresh-squeezed, not bottled! The lemon juice brightens the flavor and is also a natural preservative, which keeps the apples from turning brown.
- Salt: Just a small amount to bring out the flavor.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon is essential for apple pie!
- Unsalted butter: Makes the filling extra gooey and lusciously thick.
Make the pie crust:
1. Cut the butter into even-sized pieces. Then keep it in the fridge or freezer so it stays cold.
2. Measure the flour and add it into the bowl of a food processor along with the salt, sugar, and egg yolks. Pulse to combine. Add the cold butter pieces and pulse until evenly coated.
3. Add in the ice water gradually and pulse until the dough is cohesive. Be careful not to add too much water, you want to add just enough for a dough to form. Mine needed 4 and ½ tablespoons.
4. Gather up the dough in a big ball and divide it in half. Form each half into round flat discs, wrap the discs with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to rest and chill.
5. Remove one portion of dough from the fridge and, on a clean surface lightly dusted with flour, roll it out into a 12″ circle. Flip and lightly sprinkle the dough, rolling pin, and surface with more flour every so often so the dough doesn’t stick.
6. Drape the dough over a 9″ deep-dish pie dish that has been lightly sprayed with non-stick spray. Trim the excess around the outside, leaving a 1″ overhang around the edges. Don’t stretch the dough to make it fit. Roll out the second portion of dough into a 12″ circle. Keep them both in the fridge or freezer (recommended) while you make the filling.
Make the Filling:
- Peel, core, and slice the apples into ¼” slices. This part can be pretty tedious – if you have a mandolin slicer, now is the perfect time to use it!
- Add the apples, cornstarch, butter, both sugars, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt to a large stockpot. Cook and stir over medium heat until the butter is melted and the apples are evenly coated and starting to soften. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Remove the pie dish with the rolled out pie dough from the fridge or freezer. Brush the top of the dough with a lightly beaten egg, which creates a crisp layer between the crust and the filling and prevents a soggy crust.
- Use a slotted spoon to scoop the cooled filling into the pie dish. Discard any excess liquid that’s still in the pot.
- Cover the filling with the second rolled out pie dough. You can cover it with a solid pie crust with a few small slits cut in the top, or you can cover it with a lattice topping.
How to Make a Lattice Topping:
1. Take the second portion of rolled-out dough and use a pastry wheel or pizza slicer to cut it into ¾” wide strips. Place 5 strips of dough going in one direction across the top of the filling.
Video tutorial: How to lattice pie crust.
5. Keep the pie in the freezer while you preheat your oven. You want the dough cold when the pie goes in!
Bake the Pie:
Place your pie dish on a baking sheet large enough to catch any drips that may bubble over. Bake the pie at 425° for 15 minutes, which gets the crust nice and golden brown, then without taking the pie out of the oven, lower the temperature to 350° and keep baking for 40-45 minutes until the apples are soft and the filling is cooked through. Cover the top of the pie with aluminum foil about halfway through baking so it doesn’t become burnt. Let the pie cool slightly before using a large serrated knife to slice and serve. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and enjoy!
More Pie Recipes:
- 1 - 9" deep-dish pie dish
For the Double Pie Crust:
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), cold and cut into even cubes
- 2 and ¾ cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 4-5 tbsp. ice water
For the Apple Pie Filling
- 3 lbs. apples, about 6-7 large apples, I used Granny Smith and Honey Crisp apples
- 3 tbsp. cornstarch
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
Make the Pie Crust:
- Cut the butter into even-sized pieces and set it in the fridge to keep cold.
- Spoon the flour into your measuring cup and level it off with the flat side of a knife. Add it to the bowl of a food processor along with the sugar, salt, and egg yolks. Pulse until evenly combined.
- Add the cold butter and pulse until everything is evenly coated.
- Gradually add the ice water. Start with 3 tbsp. and add more, ½ tablespoon at a time, until a dough forms. Mine needed 4 and ½ tbsp. of ice water. Divide the dough in half and shape each into a round, flat disc. Wrap them both with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
- Remove one portion of dough and lightly flour a clean and dry surface, a rolling pin, and both sides of the dough. Roll the dough out, flipping it over and adding more flour occasionally, and roll into a 12" circle. Add it to a 9" pie dish, trim the edges and leave a 1" overhang around the sides. Roll out the second portion of dough into a 12" circle. Keep both in the freezer while you make the filling.
Make the Apple Pie Filling:
- Peel, core, and slice the apples ¼" thick. Try to slice them as close to the same size as possible so they cook evenly.
- In a large stockpot melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the cornstarch, lemon juice, both sugars, salt, and cinnamon. Add in the apples and cook and stir until the apples are evenly coated and starting to soften. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Remove the pie from the fridge. Brush the inside of the bottom pie crust all over with the beaten egg. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the cooled apple filling into the pie dish, leave any excess liquid in the pot. Cover with the second rolled-out portion of dough.
- If topping with a lattice: Use a pastry wheel or a pizza knife to cut the dough into ¾" strips. Arrange them going one way over the top, then fold back every other strip and add another going in the opposite direction. Repeat this, alternating the strips as you go, until the entire pie is covered. Brush the top with a lightly beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse or sanding sugar. See post for visual, or here is a video tutorial: How to Lattice Pie Crust
- If using a solid topping: Cover the filling and cut a few slits in the top for steam to escape. Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse or sanding sugar, if desired.
- Place the pie in the freezer and preheat your oven to 425°F.
- Place the pie on a baking sheet large enough to catch any drips that may bubble over. Bake for 15 minutes and then, without taking the pie out of the oven, lower the temperature to 350°F. Continue baking for 40-45 minutes, until the filling is cooked through and the apples are soft. Cover the top with aluminum foil about halfway through baking so the top doesn't burn.
- Allow the pie to cool slightly before slicing and serving.