Here is our favorite apple pie recipe, with an easy, no-fail, buttery, flaky homemade pie crust, and a filling with a mix of different types of apples, spices, vanilla, and a splash of brandy.
This apple pie is my family's most requested pie during the holidays. I usually make two of them so we can enjoy one for leftovers. Nothing better than pie for breakfast, right?
Video: How to Make Old-Fashioned Apple Pie
How to Make Apple Pie
What Are the Best Apples for Apple Pie?
It's best to use a mix of different types of apples in your pie. Some apple varieties cook up faster than others. Some cook up firm, some more soft; some apples are more tart, some more sweet.
By combining them, you'll get a more complex, deeper flavor. Look for a combination of tart and sweet apples, and a combination of apples that cook up firm and soft. That said, some apples are better for cooking into a pie than others. I like to use:
- Granny Smith - Green and tart, Granny Smith apples have wonderful flavor, but they they often lose their shape and turn mushy when cooked. So use no more than 2 Grannies in your pie, and combine with other varieties.
- Jonagold - A cross between a Golden Delicious and a Jonathan, Jonagolds have a lovely aromatic flavor, they're both sweet and sharp, and they hold their shape with baking.
- Fuji - Crisp, firm, juicy, balance of sweet and tart, holds its shape in baking
- Golden Delicious - Yellow and sweet, holds its shape after baking
- Braeburn - Sweet and crisp, bakes up firm and juicy
- Cortland - Juicy and tart, relatively soft, great all purpose apple for baking
- Honey Crisp - Honey sweet and tart flavor, crisp and juicy, holds shape in baking
- Avoid Red Delicious apples for pies, they don't cook well.
For more information on which apple varieties are best for baking, check out our Guide to Apples.
Make the Crust Ahead
To make apple pie, start with the crust. If you are making a homemade crust, you can make the dough a day or two ahead, and keep the dough disks chilled in the refrigerator. The dough recipe I'm recommending for this apple pie uses sour cream along with butter, and is especially delicious, flaky, and easy to make. If you would like to make an all-butter crust instead, see our All Butter Crust.
If using a store bought frozen crust, follow the directions on the crust package for working with the crust. (See our Review of the Best and Worst Store-Bought Pie Crusts.)
How to Make the Apple Pie
Peel, core and cut the apples, and sprinkle them with a little lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to keep from browning. Toss them with a little flour, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and vanilla, and let the filling sit while you roll out the pie crusts.
Remove the dough disks from the refrigerator and let them sit for 10 to 15 minutes before rolling one of the disks out to 12-inch circles, about 1/8"-inch thick.
Line the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate and line with the rolled out dough. Trim the edges to a half-inch from the sides of the pie pan. Scoop the apples into the pie plate and create a mound in the center. Don't worry if the apples are high in the pan, they'll shrink as they cook.
Roll out the second pie dough disk. If you want to make a lattice pie, see our directions for making a lattice pie here. (It's easy!) Otherwise, place the second round of rolled out pie dough over the apples, and tuck the edges of the top pie crust over and under the bottom pie crust edges. Crimp with your fingers to seal.
Score the top in several places to create vents for steam to escape (no need if using a lattice top).
How Long to Bake Apple Pie
To bake, place the pie on a baking sheet (to catch the drippings) in a 375°F oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the top starts to lightly brown, then lower the temp to 350°F and bake anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour or more longer.
The way you know that the apple pie is done is that the juices are noticeably bubbling. If you have an instant read thermometer, you can insert it into the center of the pie. A reading of 200°F is done.
At any point during the baking the top of the pie begins to brown too much, just tent it with aluminum foil. I usually tent the pie about halfway through the baking with foil.
Let the pie cool for an hour before cutting into it, and serve it plain or with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!
Best Toppings For Apple Pie
There's nothing better than a slice of warm apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, right? For something a little different, try cinnamon ice cream instead. You could also top it with homemade whipped cream or caramel sauce.
How to Store and Freeze Apple Pie
Apple pie will easily last a couple of days, lightly covered with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, on your counter at room temperature. (Keep the any wrapping loose, so the crust can breathe. Otherwise it will loose its crispness.)
After a couple days, you can keep the pie chilled for a few more days in the fridge. If you want, warm the pie in a 350°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
- To freeze the unbaked pie, wrap the assembled pie in plastic wrap, with as much air pressed out as possible. Then wrap the pie in a layer of foil; this will help keep the plastic wrap in place. Freeze for up to a month. When ready to bake, remove it from the freezer, unwrap, and place it into the oven. Bake as directed, adding on about 15 minutes to the baking time, or until the top is golden and the filling is bubbling.
- To freeze a baked pie, wrap and freeze the pie as above. When ready to serve, unwrap and let the pie thaw at room temperature. Warm it up in a 350°F oven for about 15 minutes to crisp up the top and warm the filling.
More Great Apple Pie Recipes
- Apple Slab Pie
- Mile High Deep Dish Apple Pie
- Sour Cream Apple Pie
- Apple Cranberry Currant Crumble Pie
- Apple Crostata
Homemade Apple Pie
- 3 pounds good cooking apples such as Granny Smith, Jonagold, Golden Delicious, Fuji, or Braeburn (about 6 to 8 apples, depending on the size of your apples and the size of your pie dish)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (to toss with the sliced apples so they don't brown as you slice them)
- 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup sugar, depending on how sweet you like your pie
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour for thickening
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon brandy (Optional. By the way, if you have Calvados apple brandy, use it!)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 recipe double crust sour cream pie dough, OR all-butter crust, OR your favorite pie crust recipe
- For the egg wash:
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon cream
Peel, core, and slice the apples:
Peel, core and slice or roughly chop the apples into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch slices or chunks.
As you cut your apple slices, add them to a large bowl and sprinkle them with a little lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to help keep them from turning brown.
Make the apple pie filling:
Combine sugar, flour and spices (allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon) in a bowl. Add the flour mixture to the apple slices and use your hands to distribute the flour through the apples so they are well coated.
Then sprinkle with brandy and vanilla extract and stir to coat all the apples.
Place one oven rack in the lowest position and put a large rimmed baking sheet on it (to catch any drippings from the pie.) Position a second rack the next rung up (still in the lower third of the oven) and preheat to 375°F.
Roll out the dough and line bottom pie plate:
Remove one disk of pie dough from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. Place disk on a lightly floured, clean, flat surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out the pie dough to a 12-inch circle, about 1/8 of an inch thick.
As you roll out the dough, check to make sure it isn't sticking. If and when it starts to stick, gently lift it up and sprinkle a little more flour on the table surface or on the pie dough to keep the dough from sticking.
Gently place the rolled out dough onto a 9-inch pie plate. Press down to line the pie dish with the dough.
Place apple slices on top of the bottom crust:
Arrange the apple slices in the dough-lined pie plate. Mound the apples in the center.
Roll out top crust, place over apples, trim and crimp edges:
Roll out the second disk of dough, again to 12-inches. Gently place the second round of pie dough over the apples. Trim excess dough with kitchen shears, leaving a 3/4 inch overhang from the edges of the pie pan.
Fold the dough under itself so that the edge of the fold comes right to the edge of the pan. Press the top and bottom dough rounds together as you flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with a fork.
Brush with egg wash, cut vents:
Place egg yolk and cream in a small bowl and use a fork to stir until well combined. Use a pastry brush to brush the egg wash over the top and fluted edges of the pie. Use a sharp knife to cut slits in the top of the pie crust for steam vents.
Place pie on oven rack centered over the baking sheet on the rack below it to catch any drippings. Bake the pie at 375°F until crust begins to lightly brown, about 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F.
Bake until crust is golden and juices are bubbling, anywhere from an additional 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the type of apples you are using. (About halfway through baking check to make sure the pie isn't browning too much. When it's nicely browned, tent the pie with a large piece of aluminum foil to keep the pie from browning further.)
Transfer the apple pie to a rack to cool for at least 1 hour. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Great with a side of vanilla ice cream.