There’s no fall treat more iconic than the apple pie. Who doesn’t love going to their local orchard, bringing home pick-your-own apples and turning them into a comforting and nostalgic treat made entirely from scratch? Because this fall dessert is so beloved, it’s one home bakers should learn to master. But if baking pies is intimidating to you, have no fear—we’ll walk you through how to make the perfect homemade apple pie.
Best Apples for Apple Pie
The best apples for apple pie include tart and firm varieties that have a lot of flavor. In the Taste of Home Test Kitchen, we prefer using Granny Smith apples for pies because of their tartness and ability to hold their shape. However, there are other kinds that will work just as well, since everyone has their own personal preferences on flavor. Just be sure to use a firm, crisp apple that will hold up to baking. We’d recommend Cortland, Braeburn, Honeycrisp and Pink Lady, or even a combination of these. Stay away from Red Delicious, Fuji and Golden Delicious when making pie.
Apple Pie Ingredients
- Double-crust pie dough: While you can make pie crust from butter, shortening or lard, we recommend using butter for the best flavor and lots of flaky layers to enjoy. You’ll need a good foundation for this pie, so we recommend our Test Kitchen’s favorite butter pie crust.
- Apples: Typically, 1 medium apple yields 1-1/3 cups sliced—so you’ll need about five medium-sized, peeled apples to make six cups of apples (what this recipe calls for). You’ll have a little left over for a snack or to use in any of these apple recipes.
- Brown sugar and granulated sugar: Granulated sugar adds sweetness to the filling, while brown sugar adds sweetness plus a little moisture and caramelly flavor.
- Spices: Ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg work together to create those warming, comforting flavors that we all love in apple pie.
- Lemon juice: A splash of lemon juice adds brightness and freshness to the filling that balances out the other ingredients.
Step 1: Prep and refrigerate the pie dough
Make your favorite recipe for double pie crust. Then, preheat the oven to 375°F.
Step 2: Roll out the pie dough
On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough to a 1/8-in.-thick circle and transfer to a 9-in. pie plate. Chill while preparing the filling.
Editor’s Tip: Rotate the dough a quarter-turn after each roll to guarantee a more evenly rolled-out crust. You can also put a piece of parchment paper on top of the dough when you’re using the rolling pin to prevent sticking.
Step 3: Make the apple pie filling
Combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, flour and spices in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, toss the sliced apples with the tablespoon of lemon juice.
Then, add the sugar mixture to the apples and toss to coat.
Step 4: Add the filling to the crust
Next, add your apple mix to the pie dish and dot it with butter, which will add a little bit of last-minute richness to the filling.
Test Kitchen Tip: If you have any cracks in the dough before adding the apples, just stick your finger in ice water and seal it back together again.
Step 5: Cover and seal the pie
Roll out the top pastry the same way you did with the bottom one. Lay it over the filling. Trim the edges of the crust, leaving an inch or so of excess around the perimeter. Then, pinch, seal and flute the edges.
Step 6: Prep your pie for the oven
Create a simple egg wash by beating an egg white until foamy. Brush this over the top of your pie.
Finally, sprinkle turbinado sugar and ground cinnamon over the top crust, which will give the pie a bit of sparkle, crunch and extra flavor.
Test Kitchen Tip: If you find that the crust is a little bit warm to the touch, pop it in the freezer for 10 minutes before you put it in the preheated oven.
Step 7: Bake the apple pie
Place your pie on the lowest rack of the oven and bake for 6o to 70 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.
If the crust is getting dark too quickly, pull out the pie halfway through and cover the crust with foil or a silicone pie shield.
Step 8: Cool the apple pie
When the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown, remove the apple pie from the oven and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack.
How to Cut Apple Pie
Slicing and serving pie—at least the first piece—is always a bit tricky. If you don’t wait for the pie to cool, the filling may spill out, but if you’re patient and let it set, the filling should stay in place as you dig in. It will take a couple of hours for it to cool, so plan accordingly!
Once the pie has cooled, use a sharp knife to cut the slice, and then break out the pie server to scoop it from the dish.
Apple Pie Variations
Since you’re making the apple pie from scratch, it’s easy to customize it! If you simply prefer a different kind of fat in your crust, go for a shortening or lard pie crust instead of using butter. (Spoiler: We taste-tested butter, shortening and lard pie crusts and liked the butter one best). Otherwise, get creative and press cinnamon roll dough into your pie plate as a replacement for the crust, like we do in this cinnamon swirl apple pie.
If you want to deviate from the classic apple pie filling, pull inspiration from more of our apple pie recipes. Experiment with different apples, or try your hand at various flavor combos, like pumpkin apple, cranberry apple, salted caramel apple pie and even rhubarb apple pie. Some people even like to eat apple pie with cheddar cheese on top!
There are many methods for sealing and decorating the pie besides fluting. However, if you’re a beginner, simply pinching the crust closed results in a pie that’s just as delicious as a decorated one.
How to Store Apple Pie
Once your pie is fully cooled, you can store it at room temperature in a pie dome, cake carrier or airtight container, or wrapped in tin foil for up to two days.
After two days at room temperature, it can go in the refrigerator, where it will last for an additional two more days.
How to Freeze Apple Pie
If you’re going to freeze your apple pie, it’s best to freeze it before baking—although you can freeze it after baking as well. Place the pie (baked or unbaked) uncovered in the freezer. Once it’s frozen solid (which should take about two to three hours), wrap up the pie or store it in an airtight container or resealable bag and place it back into the freezer. Then, you can keep it frozen for three to four months.
When you’re ready to eat again, pull the pie out of the freezer to let it thaw while you preheat the oven to 350°. If it was baked before you put it in the freezer, it should take 25 to 30 minutes for it to heat through.
If you froze the pie unbaked, let the pie fully thaw before baking and bake according to the recipe directions.
Tips for Making Apple Pie
Need help perfecting your pie recipe or fixing common slip-ups? We’ve got tips.
How do you peel apples for apple pie?
You can definitely peel apples with a paring knife, but you could save a little time with your favorite apple peeler, whether it’s a swivel, Y-shaped or crank style.
How can you prevent apple pie from being too watery?
Despite our best efforts, homemade apple pie filling can sometimes be too runny. This depends a lot on the moisture from the apples. If you’re particularly worried about a soggy filling, you can precook the apples for a few minutes, like the recipe calls for in Joanna Gaines’ signature apple pie. Then drain the apples and mix up the filling as normal.
Another tip to prevent your pie from getting watery is having your pie crust fully ready before mixing the filling. The longer the filling sits before baking, the more moisture it will release.
How can you fix a soggy bottom crust?
If you find that your apple pie is a little bit soggy on the bottom, don’t fret! Preheat the oven to 425°. Cover your pie with tin foil completely, and then put the pie on the bottom rack and bake for an extra 10 to 15 minutes. Since you’re covering the top with tin foil, you don’t need to worry about it becoming too golden with the extra time in the oven.
If you want to take extra steps to prevent a soggy bottom crust before you bake, you’ll need to set up the bottom crust to heat more rapidly than the rest of the pie. To do this, place a baking sheet in the oven while preheating, and then bake your pie on the sheet.
Can you make a different kind of crust for apple pie?
While our apple pie recipe calls for a fluted crust with a few slits on top, a lattice pie crust is another beautiful option for fruit pies. Our guide to how to make decorative pie crusts provides more ideas, ranging from festive cutouts, to braided edges and more.
Is it better to bake a pie in glass or metal?
Both metal and glass pie plates work well for baking double-crust pies like apple pie. But for single-crust pies that are pre-baked, a metal plate is preferred because it heats quicker and ensures a crisp crust. Find more pie-baking tips in our ultimate pie-baking guide.