There might actually not be anything better on the earth than a warm slice of homemade apple pie topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Am I right? Or am I RIGHT? Using the best apples for baking, a combination of spices and a little thickening, this is the best apple pie!
When I was a little girl I was a cookie lover. Quite a few of my very first memories involve being in the kitchen with Dad to make oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies and with Mom to make Halloween sugar cookies. Which is funny because I never really liked those sugar cookies. I remember Mom rolling out that soft, delicious dough (the dough was yummers, it was the baked cookie that lost its appeal to me) and me stamping out as many spooky shapes as I could. But those things are fading because as I get older I’m finding that I enjoy a slice of pie more and more. Especially this homemade apple pie.
In my experience, you are either an apple pie lover or an apple pie hater. If you read about Cade’s apple pie you’ll learn that my mom HATED apple pie which is why I don’t have a recipe from her. But that seems to be common, a lot of people don’t like apple pie while others adore it. I’m an adorer. ADORER? Is that even a word?
What Do I Need to Make Homemade Apple Pie?
I think most people think apple pie is super complicated and involved, but it is really so simple and only takes a few simple ingredients. There are only 5 ingredients in the pie crust, and then for the filling, I love to use a blend of apples with some sugar, salt, spices and flour for thickening. It’s so easy! Anyone can do it! Here is what you will need…
Pie Crust: flour, butter, salt, sugar, and ice water
- Apples: a blend of Honey Crisp, Granny Smith, and Golden Delicious
- Brown Sugar
- Kosher Salt
- Spices: Nutmeg, Cinnamon, and Cardamom
- Sprinkling Sugar (optional)
The measurements for all the ingredients can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post. I should also mention here that some people swear by adding a little lemon juice to apple pie filling. I feel like it messes with the pure apple flavor of the filling, but if you are fan of lemon in the filling, by all means, go for it!!
The Best Pie Crust for Apple Pie
I used my mom’s magic, fail-proof pie crust for years and years, and it is amazing…but then I tried this all butter pie crust and I’m sold for life! It is so flaky and buttery and perfect! I love the flavor of it with the apple pie filling. Head to our post for the crust for all the details! It’s so easy to make and comes out perfect every time.
Should the Apples Be Cooked Ahead of Time?
There is a fine line between apples that are too crunchy and the apples becoming mush in a pie. For me the apples are just as important as the pie crust so they have to be gently cooked first. I’ve tested this enough to know it’s the only way to go but out of curiosity I started googling to see if there was any science behind it. Sure enough, Cooks Illustrated to the rescue and to totally validate my claims!
Over a gentle heat for a longer period of time, the pectin in apples becomes converted to a more stable form. In other words, they will hold up to baking and won’t become mushy. So remember, whatever texture you take the apples to when you finish cooking them on the stove, that’s how they will taste in your pie.
Now everyone’s different so play around with things to your own liking. If you like softer apples then keep cooking and stirring; use a shorter time if you like more crunch.
What Apples are the Best for Apple Pie?
The apples are a variety of Honey Crisp, Granny Smith and Golden Delicious which I know, you’re used to being told to go straight to granny’s, but trust me, these all give the pie the perfect sweetness to use a variety. See below for other apples you could use.
Apples to Use in Apple Pie
- Granny Smith
- Honey Crisp
- Golden Delicious
Use Cooled Apples not Hot Apples
I learned from a fantastic pie book by Erin McDowell to allow the apples to cool on cookie sheets before putting them into the pie crust. This ensures even baking of the crust and does not create excess steam from the hot apples under the pie crust you want to be cold going into the oven.
How to Avoid a Soggy Pie Crust
- Use a glass pie plate which conducts heat the best out of all pie dishes. Ceramic is great as well but avoid metal or tin.
- Chill the dough in the pie plate after forming it and before baking.
- Pop a cookie sheet in the oven to preheat and place the pie plate on that. The bottom heat will help to keep the crust flaky.
- Start at 400 and be prepared to reduce the temperature to 375.
Can You Freeze Apple Pie Before Baking?
You can freeze apple pie before or after baking.
To freeze before baking, wrap tightly with foil or place in a heavy duty freezer bag and freeze.
Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Watch Our Homemade Apple Pie Video
How Do You Bake A Frozen Pie?
Place frozen pie on foil lined cookie sheet to catch any run over from juice.
Cook at 400 degrees for 30 minutes and then reduce heat to 350 degrees for approximately 35-45 minutes.
Do You Need to Store Apple Pie in the Fridge?
How long will apple pie keep? A week! Well, not sitting on the counter for more than the first few days.
Think of all those old movies with a pie sitting out on the counter, they had it right! The sugars in the pie act as a preservative and allow you to leave it out for a good 2, maybe 3 days but then head to the fridge if you haven’t finished it off (ha, who would have leftovers!) as the cold fridge will preserve it longer.
PHEW!! Now you know how to make a killer homemade apple pie! Don’t forget to make my true favorite though, Dutch Apple Pie with White Chocolate Sauce! It’s the epic apple pie with an amazing streusel on top.
More FRUIT PIES You’re Sure to Love:
- Peach Pie with Lattice Top
- Perfect Razzleberry Pie
- Dutch Mixed Berry Pie
- Simple Blueberry Pie
- Fresh Strawberry Pie
- Lemon Jello Peach Pie
- Strawberry Rhubarb Pot Pies
- Sour Cream Peach Pie
- Homemade Apple Pie
- Dulce de Leche Banana Cream Pie
- Dutch Apple Pie
Homemade Apple Pie
For the Pie
- 3 Honey Crisp Apples, peeled and sliced
- 2 Granny Smith Apples, Peeled and sliced
- 2 Golden Delicious Apples, Peeled and sliced
- 3/4 Cup Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
- 1/2 Teaspoon Cardamom
- 3 Tablespoons Flour, + 1 teaspoon
- 1 Tablespoon Milk
For the Crust
- Prepare per directions. Set aside in the fridge until you're ready to make the pie.
- Roll out each pie disc, placing the first into the pie dish. Keep the other in the fridge for now.
- Place plastic over the pie dough in the pan and keep chilled in the fridge while you start the apples.
For the Pie
- Add all of the dry filling ingredients to a very large bowl and whisk well.
- Place the apples in the large bowl and gently fold with the sugars, salt, spices and flour. Add everything to a deep skillet or pot over medium heat. Add the lid and set the timer for 5 minutes. Every 5 minutes remove the lid and gently stir then replace the lid. Repeat until they've cooked 20-30 minutes, per your desired doneness. I do 20 minutes.
- Pour out onto large cookie sheets to cool down completely.
- Once the apples have cooled, prepare the top crust. You can roll it out for a normal crust and just cut vents into the top or do a lattice, see notes.
- Add the apples to the pie crust and then top with the other dough. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes to ensure cold butter.
- Preheat the oven to 400 and place an empty cookie sheet in the oven.
- Remove the pie from the freezer. Whisk together the milk and egg and brush over the pie then sprinkle with sugar.
- Place the pie on the hot cookie sheet and bake at 400°F for 30 minutes on the center rack. Then, lower the temperature to 375 and bake for another 15-20 minutes (covering the crust with foil if it starts to brown too much).
- Allow to rest for a few hours before slicing.
- Roll the dough into a rectangle. Cut into strips.
- Evenly place 6 of your strips horizontally across the pie pan, letting the edges of the dough hang over.
- Lift 3 alternating strips (starting at one end, lift the first strip, skip one, lift the second, skip one, lift the third)
- Place one of your unused pie dough strips perpendicular on top of the strips still laying flat across the pie. Fold back down those first 3 strips overtop the one you just laid down.
- Now fold the ones you left flat the first time, alternating so that they fold over the vertical strip. Place another unused strip perpendicular on top again and re-unfold your 3 strips overtop that. Keep alternating and placing strips until your remaining 4 strips are on the pie.
- Trim the excess dough of your lattice around the edge so that they line up with the outside edge of the dough in your pan Lift and fold your the bottom piece of dough overtop and inward over your strips towards the pie filling and tuck them together tightly and press to help seal.