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 double pie crust recipe, it is buttery, flaky, and absolutely perfect for apple pie.
- Unsalted butter: Cut the butter into cubes first and then keep in the fridge or freezer so it is very cold when you add it in.
- Flour: All-purpose flour is perfect for making pie crust.
- Salt: A teaspoon of salt brings out the flavors.
- Sugar: Pie crust isn’t actually meant to be sweet, the sugar is used here because it actually interferes with the development of gluten, which keeps the crust tender and flaky.
- Ice water: Add plenty of water and ice into a glass and then use a tablespoon to measure out the water. I usually need 6 tablespoons, but to be safe start with less and then add more until the dough forms.
I highly recommend making the dough ahead of time so it has plenty of time to fully chill. 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. I use a combination of tart Granny Smith and sweet Honey Crisp apples. Peel, core, and slice the apples ¼” thick. Try your best to slice them as close to the same size as possible 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: 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: The butter, along with the cornstarch, make the filling extra gooey and lusciously thick.
Make the pie crust:
- Cut the butter into even-sized pieces. Keep it in the refrigerator so it stays cold.
- Measure the flour and add it into the bowl of a food processor along with the salt and the sugar.
- Add the cold butter and pulse until the flour is evenly coated. This is a lot easier using a food processor, however a large bowl and a pastry blender would also work, and it’s a great arm workout!
- Add in the ice water and pulse until a dough forms.
- Divide the dough in half and form each into round flat discs.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to chill the dough.
- Dust a cool, clean surface with flour and roll out one portion of dough. Add more flour as you go and be sure to flip the dough occasionally so it doesn’t stick. Roll it out into a 13″ circle and add it to a 10″ pie dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Roll out the second portion of dough into a 12″ circle. Keep them both in the fridge while you make the pie filling.
Make the Filling:
- Peel, core, and slice the apples into ¼” slices. Peeling and slicing apples is SO 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 slightly.
- Remove the pie dish from the fridge. Brush inside the bottom of the pie dough and up the edges with a beaten egg. This helps the bottom of the crust from getting soggy and also helps the top pie stick.
- Add the filling into the pie dish. You can top the pie with a lattice or a solid crust. If you top it with a solid crust you will need to slice a few slits for steam to escape.
1. Remove the second rolled out pie dough from the fridge and use a pastry wheel or a pizza slicer to slice it into 1″ wide strips. Arrange the strips going in one direction across the top of the pie spaced about an inch apart.
2. Fold every other strip back towards you and lay a strip going in the opposite direction. Fold the strips back over across the new strip.
3. Repeat with the other strips until the pie is covered in both directions. Trim the edges and crimp to seal.
4. Brush the top with a beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse turbinado sugar or sparkling sugar (optional)
5. Keep the pie in the fridge 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, and 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.
More Pie Recipes to Try:
- 1 - 10" pie dish
For the Double Pie Crust:
- 1 cup unsalted butter cold and cut into even cubes
- 2 and ½ cups all-purpose flour spooned and leveled
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 6 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, beaten
Make the Pie Crust:
- Cut the butter into even-sized pieces and set 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 and the salt.
- Add the cold butter and pulse until the flour is evenly coated.
- Pour in the ice water. Start with 4 tbsp. of ice water and add more, 1 tablespoon at a time, until a dough forms. Mine always needs 6 tbsp. of ice water. Divide the dough in half and shape each into a round, flat disc. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours 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 13" circle. Add the dough to a 10" pie dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Roll out the second portion of dough into a 12" circle. Keep both in the fridge 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 slightly.
- Remove the pie from the fridge. Brush the inside of the bottom pie crust all over with the beaten egg. Spoon the apple filling into the pie dish and 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 1" 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. 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 sugar, if desired.
- Keep the pie in the fridge and preheat your oven to 425°.
- 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°. Continue baking for 40-45 minutes, until the filling is cooked through and the apples are soft.
- Allow the pie to cool slightly before serving. Serve warm with a side of vanilla ice cream.