Sour Cream Apple Pie with Streusel Topping

You know that when your friend’s smile fills the room as he speaks of his wife’s “sour cream apple pie with a brown sugar crumb topping” that it has got to be good. Dad and I couldn’t wait to try it. My oh my this one really is good, and easy to make too. Big thanks to Jean and George Rosenfeld for sharing with us one of their favorite recipes. (Can you tell it’s apple season here?)

Sour Cream Apple Pie with Streusel Topping Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8.

Ingredients

Filling:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups peeled, sliced tart apples (about 1 1/4 pounds of slices)
  • 1 9" unbaked pie shell, frozen or chilled in the freezer for at least 30 minutes (see pâte brisée recipe)

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix together all ingredients until the mixture resembes coarse crumbs. Chill until needed in the recipe.

Method

1 Preheat oven to 400°F.

2 Beat together sour cream, sugar, flour, salt, vanilla and egg (can beat by hand). Add apples, mixing carefully to coat well.

3 Put filling into a pie shell and bake at 400 degrees initially for 25 min.

4 Remove from oven and sprinkle with Cinnamon Crumb Topping. Bake for and additional 20 more minutes.

Let cool for a hour before serving.

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76 Comments

  1. The Old Foodie

    Elise, I could see your friend’s smile when I read this – and it made me straight away think of one of my favourite food quotations from one of my favourite food writers – M.F.K. Fisher:

    “It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it; and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied; and it is all one.”

    That’s what your friend’s smile is about.

  2. Angela

    I make almost this exact same pie, but with STRAWBERRIES. Sooooo good.

  3. sister_rebekah

    I’m wondering if yogurt could be used in place of the sour cream?

  4. kathy

    I also wanted to ask if yoghurt (or heavy cream mixed with lemon juice) can be substituted for the sour cream. Can’t get fresh sour cream in Italy, only long-life which I don’t think tastes very good although it might be okay for cooking. What do you think?

    I suppose that yogurt could be used in place of the sour cream, but I am no master pie maker. Anyone care to weigh in on this question? ~Elise

  5. Peggy

    I made this pie last night. It was the belle of the ball. My boyfriend said it was the best thing I had ever made and he is a great cook. Quite easy to make also.

  6. Jonathan

    Maybe someone can help me out here…Given the short cooking time for the pie, I’m guessing the apples should be sliced relatively thin? Any ideas on thickness (1/8″, 1/4″, etc.)? I think apple pies (single or double crust) are best when the apples aren’t crunchy – they should have that “melting” texture – but still retain their size/shape. This will give me a chance to use the slick new mandoline I got for my birthday.

    Hi Jonathan – The cooking time is not that short, it’s 45 minutes. I missed it the first time I tried this, and almost ended up with apple soup. You cook it first for 25 minutes, and then add the topping and cook it for an additional 20 minutes. ~Elise

  7. dave

    I made this last night. I was planning on making the crust, but didn’t have the time or energy so I used a store-bought crust. I could’ve sliced the apples thinner, as they were a little too crunchy. I think I used too many apples, too. My pie was a lot thicker than the picture above.

    Also, I think my butter was too warm when I made the topping, as it never made it to “coarse crumb” consistancy, rather it went right to mushy. i tried adding more flour to dry it out, but it didn’t work. I had to drop the topping on the pie rather than sprinkle it.

    Even with all of these mistakes, the pie was fantastic. I can’t wait to make it correctly!

  8. JNW

    I have been reading these site through my google home page for a while, it’s great! I made this recipe last week and turned excellent, especially since it the first pie that I ever baked. Thanks for the great website.

  9. KS

    My topping melted on top of the hot pie. If I made this recipe again, I would use chilled butter and sprinkle the topping over the apples before putting the pie in the oven the first time (similar to the method for making the apple crumb pie recipe in Kathleen’s Bake Shop Cookbook by Kathleen King), instead of adding the topping after 25 minutes of baking.

  10. Leslie

    My husband and I just ate the last of the pie a few minutes ago and I had to write to let you know we both thought it was delicious. So easy to make. Thanks for sharing. I have placed the recipe in my “keeper” file.

  11. Liz

    Yummy! I love plain ol’ apple pie, but the richness of the sour cream filling and the delicious crumb topping on this pie can’t be beat. Don’t think I can go back to plain!

  12. Kate

    I had never heard of a sour cream apple pie before. Needless to say, I had to try it. I just baked it tonight, followed the recipe exactly and it is amazing! I will make it again when I have guests this weekend. I’ve made apple pies my whole life and this was my favorite! Would go good after your delicious Irish Beef Stew (best stew on earth, if you haven’t tried it!). Thanks!

  13. Roxi

    My entire family LOVED this pie! Even the kids who are super picky just gobbled this one down. Thanks for sharing this special pie!! I think its going to be comming to Thanksgiving Dinner too!

  14. k

    This looked so awesome and I love apples so much, I just had to make it! It turned out really, really yummy.

    I goofed and didn’t set out any butter ahead of time and ended up nuking it about 5 minutes before the crumbled topping was to go on. It was, of course, far too melty, but I used it anyway and the effect after cooking was a thin layer of carmelized goodness over the entire surface of the pie!

  15. raquel

    I made this for my Book Club and my friends could not believe I made this! They all begged for slices to take home to their husbands. I am making it again for Sunday dinner as dessert to further my new reputation as master pie girl! (Thanks Elise!)

  16. raquel

    Also, I’m going to try putting a little cream cheese in this time because when I tasted the sour cream mix it tasted like the topping on cheesecake. I think it’ll be good, but I’ll report back on Sunday to tell how it went.

  17. Randi

    I made this earlier this week and it is fantastic! I used a store bought deep dish crust and sliced the apples very thin. There was almost too much filling for the crust but it seemed to bake down. I used low-fat sour cream and Smart Balance instead of butter (it’s practically a health food with those substitutions!). My topping was also mushy when I put it on the pie and I think I should have taken about 5 minutes off the baking time but it was delicious anyway. Thanks so much for your fabulous recipes, kind replies, and beautiful photos!

  18. Sarah

    Rainy friday night: Just made this pie for my roommates. A complete hit. With a little vanilla ice cream on the side, it was just perfect. The best pie I’ve ever made! Thanks so much!

  19. Raquel

    I tried it with about 4 oz cream cheese, without any other changes and it made it creamier and richer. Overall, a huge hit with my family, especially with whipped cream on top.

  20. Rebecca

    I made this pie tonight and agree it’s a great recipe. My only mistake was using the wrong apples; I used York, which I found out the hard way do not work for cooking. I wound up having to bake the pie almost twice as long as the recipe called for and my apples were still too crunchy, and I think that caused the filling to dry out a bit, even though I turned the oven down a little so as not to incinerate the crust or the topping. The flavors are divine, however, and I will definitely be trying the recipe again with the right kind of apples.

  21. Kari

    We loved this recipe with apples but even better, yesterday, we made it with peaches! YUM!

  22. Cynthia Z. Kershner

    I don’t like pies. I know it’s odd, but they have never been one of my favorite foods. THIS recipe, however, could make a convert out of me! I made it for a houseguest from California and we all loved it. Thank you for a wonderful taste experience!

  23. Karen

    I made this, using 2% Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. Greek yogurt is just as thick as sour cream, with some of the same tang, but less fat (if you get the 2%). It was spectacular, but i’ll add that I had the same experience of the topping melting on the pie. I actually think it would be darn tasty without any topping, but then the apples and cream filling might get burned.

  24. Dena

    I made this pie last night and it is by FAR the best apple desert I have ever had in my life. I had never made a pie before, and I made it through just fine!

    Here are my notes: I used the recommended pie-crust recipe for the bottom, and it turned out PERFECTLY! I used four granny smith apples, and it was the perfect amount, and the perfect flavor. I added some oats into the topping, and its amazing. I’m not sure how much I added, maybe half a cup or so? As far as apple slice thickness goes, I had NO idea how thick to slice them, but I guess I “lucked” out, because this pie could not have turned out any better. The slices were approx. half inch or a little wider. I wasn’t perfectionistic about it, and it turned out great! I can’t recommend this recipe enough. If anyone is questioning what apple pie recipe to use, this is the one!

  25. jumper

    If you put the topping mixture in the fridge or freezer while the pie is baking for the first 25 minutes you won’t have the problem with the topping melting. I tried this pie and it is awesome.

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  26. katie

    I made this for a dinner party and it was a big hit. It is really delicious. I used apples that the farmers market guy said would be good–a couple different types–and served it with ice cream. Delicious.

  27. Ilana

    I always turn to this site for inspiration and great recipes. I’m happy to report my Thanksgiving menu will include this pie AND the mushroom caviar. I can’t wait. Thank you for all the comments here as now I know what to expect with the crumble topping and how many granny smiths to chop for the pie filling. Wishing all of you a happy holiday.

  28. Sandy

    Wow! Fantastic pie. I added some frozen wild blueberries to the filling for fun. A hit at our Thanksgiving dinner last night. Thanks Elise for posting the best recipes :)

  29. Kajikit

    I made this recipe for Thanksgiving, only I used natural yoghurt instead of sour cream, and it came out WONDERFUL! I’m sure I’ll be making it again. I’m thinking it would make a nice apple slice too…

  30. Audrey

    Hmmm… I’m wondering what I did wrong. I followed the instructions exactly, and the pie came out completely watery inside. It cannot even be served because the crust on the bottom is so soggy.

    I haven’t quite figured out the details to baking at a higher altitute, but could this have been a problem? I live in Colorado at 4600 ft – is a higher temp needed, or do I need to bake for a slightly longer time?

    The apples are the perfect consistency and the crumb topping got pretty dark, so I’m not sure what I would need to do to alter it.

  31. Crystal

    I was wondering if it’s possible to use a premade graham cracker crust instead of a frozen pie shell? I happen to have a few lying around… thanks!

  32. dannii

    I just wanted to say how good this pie (these pies) came out. I think even better than my mom’s, and that is saying a lot. Even the picky one (my husband, not the four kids) would have licked the bowl clean if I wasn’t there. Thank you so much for posting this recipe and sharing it with others, and I did give you full credit when I served it. The smiles on their faces were priceless, and I have put this site on my favorites list and will certainly look out for any specifically put up by you. Thank You Elise.

  33. Jody

    I made this desssert as part of my Easter goodies. Tasted great, but was very watery. Can’t figure out why. Any suggestions?

  34. Amanda

    Does anybody have a good method or gadget for slicing apples that they recommend?
    I would love to try this recipe but I’m intimidated at the thought of trying to hand slice apples to such a thin consistency.
    I might have to give it a go anyway, as the recipe sounds amazing, but if anybody has any pointers for slicing, I would greatly appreciate it!
    Thanks!

  35. Jan

    Because we were given apples, sour cream and 4 frozen pie crusts I was determined to find a recipe for a sour cream apple pie (a pie I tasted once years ago). I googled sour cream apple pie and this recipe appeared(so to speak). The first one I made using the original recipe, then I made a second pie adding a good handful of oatmeal to the topping (as I usually make apple crisp) OH MY GOODNESS!!! While the first pie was very good the second was FABULOUS. This is a recipe that will be a frequently served item in our home. My husband and I own and run an Adult Foster Care Home for women. Growing up on a farm and being the oldest I was frequently put to work in the kitchen so I am no stranger to a homemade apple pie and this was by far the best one I’ve ever made. And we thank you!!!!

  36. Kendra

    This pie is absolutely delicious. I made it for Easter dinner and it was a hit!!! Now I’m making it for our Mother’s Day dinner.
    Thanks a bunch!!

  37. May

    I made this pie for a pie party, and it was the first one to be eaten. It really is a wonderful recipe.

  38. dena

    Elise, I just wanted to say, I made this again last night, and is always a huge hit, even with my very picky husband. It is truly the best apple pie I’ve ever tasted. Thanks for all your work!

  39. Sissy

    Elise, I have to follow a gluten free diet..I wonder if this recipe could be made in an oven proof bowl with no crust and use gluten free flour and oats in the streusel topping? The combination of apples, spices and sourcream sounds yummy and perfect for Thanksgiving dessert. Sissy

    Note from Elise: Sure, why not try it? Sounds like an easy way to make this gluten-free.

  40. Suz

    So I just finished off the last bite of this glorious pie, and let me say, it seriously is everything that commenters have raved about. I froze the dough overnight and had to put it in the microwave for about a minute in order to flatten the crust for the pan, but after that it was smooth sailing. I thought the crust would be doughy but it ended up more like a shortbread for me (maybe that was the point?). Looked gorgeous, smelled fragrant, etc. etc. etc.
    Either way – I think I may actually bring this one to Thanksgiving, and put it (without trepidation) beside my grandma’s pie!

  41. Cookie

    LOVE THIS RECIPE! 2nd time with my dtr: oil pastry and lots of little cooking lessons involved — good. 12″ Emile Henry pie plate, doubling everything but increasing the 1st cooking time ONLY by about 10 minutes. It just left with her on the bus for her class’s Thanksgiving feast, and she’s as proud as can be about sharing it. (Oh, and that oversized pan sure makes an “abundant” presentation! We’re making a 3rd one for Thanksgiving tomorrow.) Our apple slices are thicker than usual and we probably used more than called for (mmmm–7 1/2 c total?) so we’ll see how crunchy-vs-soft they end up.

    BTW, I’m pretty certain you mean to put the crust IN THE PAN, then freeze it for at least 30 minutes? I haven’t had any problem doing that with my oil pastry/Emile Henry ceramic dish. (Twice now and it didn’t break going frozen into the oven.)

    Thank you for YOUR abundant presentations, too!

  42. Nellie

    I’m making this for the 2nd t-giving in a row – I’ve looked forward to it all year! However, all the (3) times I’ve made it, the topping has melted all over. I’ve even tried chilling the topping as suggested. Any ideas? I’m thinking letting the pie cool before topping and putting it back in the oven might work, or adding the oats…

  43. Elise

    Hi Nellie – You might want to try adding the streusel topping from the very beginning. Keep an eye on the pie and if the topping starts to get scorched, then tent the pie with aluminum foil.

  44. Zylo

    Oh, it was divine. Thank you so much.

  45. Kim

    Elise,

    Thank you so much for this recipe. My Mother taught me to make a pie almost identical, if not identical, to this one many many years ago. I never wrote it down so when she died it died with her. I have not had this pie in a dozen years. A friend suggested that I search for this recipe online. I thought it would be a futile effort because the recipe my Mom had she got from a lady on an AF base many years ago when my Dad was stationed there. But here I am writing to you so I guess it was worth the search. Thanks again Elise and take care.

    Kim

  46. Ashley

    I put oats and crushed apple chips (dehydrated apples) into the topping. It was delicious! This recipe was so simple to make. Thanks!

  47. Kim

    I just made the pie- and though it was very good- we had to eat it from bowls. Any ideas on why it was so soupy? I cooked it the 2 times so my only guess is that I used fat free sour cream instead of the “hard” stuff. I know my pie was a little too full (must remember to bake on a cookie sheet next time!) but even with all the problems- taste was excellent!

  48. Salihan

    I made this pie and it turned out beautiful! My hubby isn’t an apple pie fan but he loved this! Thanks for the wonderful recipe. I blogged about it here.

  49. Marjorie

    Wonderful pie; one of my favorites. I have made it several times and each time is better than the last. Please remember, there are some recipes that non-fat or low-fat do not work well with, and this is certainly one of them. Use regular sourcream; don’t try to spare your waistline! You’ll ruin the texture of this pie with an end result of “soup filling,” as some commenters have noted.

  50. Yana

    I love your website! I’ve never made a pie before, but attempted this one a few weeks ago (I had a ton of apples and sour cream at home that I needed to get rid of). I made two pies (I bought the crust since I didn’t want to take chances on both the crust and the pie), and got rave reviews from everyone! No one could believe this was my first pie attempt. I followed the recipe exactly except for the topping, where instead of cinnamon, I added a packet of apple cinnamon instant oatmeal I had lying around, and I thought it turned out excellent. I didn’t have a problem with the topping melting, but I made sure not to overmix the ingredients so it was very clumpy and mostly dry on the outside (with the bits of butter totally coated). I think, this way, it didn’t really have time to melt.

  51. Katie Ryan

    Oh my goodness! This pie is SOOO yummy. Vanilla Ice cream is a great support, but a glass of milk will do just fine too. I am from Seattle, Washington and its Apple season here. I used a very tart apple, like the recipe called for and it made a sensational apple pie. I used crust from the store, next time I will make my own. Loved this recipe! Thank you!

  52. Olivia

    OMG! I just made this pie for guests and they were raving until they went out the door about it. Best pie ever. Thanks for making a nice dinner party the best ever!

  53. Weiwen

    Yup, this got rave reviews. Very nice! I prefer it w/o ice cream.

  54. Kajikit

    Thought you’d like to know that this pie has become a Christmas tradition… I make it every year. If you want to cut the fat, use fat-free natural yoghurt instead of part or all of the sour cream. I added some lemon juice to give it a little more zip. I had to bake it for 15 minutes longer to set up center of the (very deep) pie dish I used, but it came out great in the end. Mmmmmm…

  55. Brandy

    I made this pie and it was perfect with a bit of whipped cream. I used low fat sour cream and it came out beautifully, not soupy at all. I’ll have to try full fat next time (and there will be a next time).

  56. Jen

    Excellent! My dad loved it! I used 1 cup of peaches to replace 1 cup of apples and it worked out just great! Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  57. Karen Swanson

    I make this pie all the time in the fall and winter. My friends crave it! I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t fallen in love with this pie. It’s the best recipe out there and so easy! Try it and you’ll never eat another apple pie the same.

  58. bklynchick

    Wow, this was a fantastic recipe! I just got some new harvest Ginger Golds and the pie tastes great with them. I’ll post pictures and a reference on my blog in a little bit.

    Thanks!

  59. Anne Fontaine

    I made this today. Entered it into a local pie contest….and WON FIRST PRIZE……!!! It is awesome…!! Love it…!! Thanks.

  60. jen

    So easy and so delicious. I’ve already made two this year! Thanks Elise.

  61. cleak

    Typically fruit pies do not have to be refrigerated — does anyone know if this one needs to be refrigerated because of the sour cream? I’m planning on making this today for thanksgiving (2 days) — how will it hold up?

    I hesitate to give advice when it comes to things like this. It does have sour cream in the filling, and an egg. One should probably refrigerate it. ~Elise

  62. Streusel Topping Soggy...

    I made this pie and I was really looking forward to it. I followed the directions very carefully and everything SEEMED to go well, however, when my family and I went to eat it the streusel topping had turned soggy. So…any suggestions?

    Did you cover it with foil or something after taking out of the oven, and before serving? That might do it. ~Elise

  63. lesterk

    My topping didn’t turn out soggy, but my crust did. The filling was delicious, but the crust was inedible. I used the pate brisee recipe. I really want to be able to make this again, but have to fix the problem. Any ideas?

    Sounds like your apples put out too much moisture. Granny Smiths may do that if that was the apple you were using. I just made the pie again for Thanksgiving and used Pippins which stayed quite firm. The crust was fine. You might want to try a mix of apple varieties. ~Elise

  64. Becky

    Just wanted to let you know about last year’s church Fall Fest Pie Bake-off. My (then) 9yo daughter decided she wanted to make a sour cream apple pie, so we googled and chose yours, as it sounded delicious, AND her name is Elise too. She baked it herself (1st pie) and won the “coveted” Golden Spatula for 1st place. This year she said, “mom, I want to make another Elise pie.”

    Thanks a bunch from this proud Elise mom. :D

    Ah, that’s wonderful! Thanks for letting us know. And a big hello to your Elise from me. ~Elise

  65. Julie

    FAT FREE VERSION… saw the debate of pros and cons of using regular sour cream versus light or fat free sour cream. I used fat free and mine turned out great, not soupy. I actually drained much of the liquid from the sour cream to thicken the consistency. You can do this by suspending a strainer over a bowl, lining the strainer with a coffee filter, and let the sour cream drain through the coffee filter in the fridge overnight or for a few hours. That should make the fat free thicker without adding fat.

  66. Brianne

    Thanks so much…this dessert was a hit at a recent get-together! Since then I’ve had a friend ask for the recipe and it was added to the Thanksgiving dessert line-up by request!

  67. Marsha

    Simply delicious. Mostly followed recipe as written but used a pre-made pie crust. This one is definitely a keeper.

  68. Ashley

    Hi Elise,

    Huge fan of your website- it’s my go to for all special occasions :) I baked this pie yesterday and let me tell you.. it was delicious! Follow the recipe exactly, put your crumb topping in the freezer prior to use, and voila… you’ll have an apple pie that’ll render your guests speechless.

  69. Loretta

    My husband grew up on a farm, and his mama made lots of homemade pies. I made this recipe tonight (never been a big pie maker myself). Hubbie said this was one of the best pies he’s ever had. It was incredibly good. These apples were picked just before they went in the pie…so I think fresh and tart helps.

  70. Villy

    I recently discovered your blog and I was an instant fan of it. I prepared this pie yesterday and it came out wonderful! Convinced by the comments here I put oats in the topping mix. Crusty as ever! I also made a type of sour cream by myself, mixing heavy cream with lemon and leaving it in the fridge for some time. All in all a very good recipe! Keep up the good work!

  71. Linda Colley

    I chop up my apples into small pieces before mixing them for the filling. DO NOT use low-fat or fat-free sour cream. This pie tastes just like it has ice cream baked into the filling. I think it’s a pretty darn good dessert…and easy. Make the topping ahead of time with very cold butter and keep in freezer until you put it on top of the filling during the second part of the baking. At this time, I put a ring of foil around the outside of the crust to prevent excessive browning.

  72. Cindy

    Do you think this would work with persimmons instead of apples?

    The sweet-when-hard fuyu persimmons? Yes, I think it would work. ~Elise

  73. Tanya

    I debated playing with this recipe and I am so glad I didn’t. Its almost like a creme brulee – the crisp streudel topping and then the creamy goodness inside. My husband made a face when I told what I was making and one day later the pie is gone (and its was not me or my three year old). This recipe is a keeper. It is that good. Thanks Elise!

  74. Elle

    LOVED this pie. So easy, and really was yummy.

    However i personally found it *way* too sweet, next time i will cut the filling’s sugar to a half cup… maybe even .25 cup. With the brown sugar on top and sweet apples i found it a bit cloying.

    Some lemon zest would be good in the cream mixture as well. everyone else in the house loved it as-is though, its a great pie!

  75. CaT

    Once a week I have allowed myself to make something sweet from your website. It is hard, I would love to make something everyday!! But then I would have to live in the gym… :(
    Anyways… I wanted to make this recipe and asked the boyfriend. He replied: “beehh. this cannot be as good as the apple pie from my grandfather” (his grandfather’s recipe is a secret. and the Dutch and apple pie anyways is a special story… as you might know). But then he said; “ah, lets make it, then we know it is not as good!”
    Possibly, he loved it even more than I did. It was so good! And this week we made it again, this time with strawberries, which was amazing too. He could not wait the hour after it came out of the oven, and kept asking like a little boy when we finally could eat a piece. :)
    Thank you for all these great and not too difficult recipes!

  76. Cattery

    O.M.G.!!! I just took this out of the oven and tried a small bite. (You WERE kidding about letting it sit an hour before serving, right?@@??!!!!) My sister is heading right over to try it, lol!

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