A classic double crust apple pie recipe from scratch with tender, cinnamon-scented apples tucked into a flaky pie dough. Video included!
I don’t think there’s anything more beloved in the baking world than apple pie and consequently, anything more terrifying to make.
What if you mess it up and you leave everyone disappointed?!! It’s a lot of pressure.
I’m here to help. After baking possibly thousands (I never actually counted) of apple pies, galettes, and tarts as a pastry chef in San Francisco I have learned a thing or two about what kind of apples to use, to cook them first or not, and how to get that perfect crust.
I’ll walk you through step-by-step to how to make the best apple pie recipe from scratch!
What Are The Best Apples To Use For Apple Pie?
If variety is the spice of life, it is also the secret to the ultimate apple pie.
I try to use at least 2 different types of apples in my apple pie filling, but three or even four is better. Each apple’s texture and sweetness adds complexity. Choose varieties that are bursting with flavor like Cameo, Braeburn, Honey Crisp and Fuji and stay away from mealy water bombs like Red and Golden Delicious.
I always like to add a couple of Granny Smiths as well—they add needed tartness and bite—but too many in one pie will leave you with puckered lips.
Ingredients For An Apple Pie Recipe From Scratch
- All purpose flour. I always use King Arthur (not sponsored, I just love them) unbleached All Purpose flour unless otherwise specified.
- Granulated sugar
- Kosher salt I always use Morton Kosher salt unless otherwise specified.
- Vegetable shortening, specifically Crisco. It’s the best. Also makes this pie dairy-free!
- Apples. See above for which kind.
- Lemon juice
- Vanilla extract
- Ground cinnamon
- Ground nutmeg
- Ground ginger
- Ground allspice
- Anise seed
- Large egg
- Coarse sugar. Like turbinado or raw cane sugar, for decorating the top.
How To Make An Apple Pie Recipe From Scratch
Make the pie dough. Stick the Crisco in the freezer about 30 minutes before you plan on making the crust. I like to use the Crisco sticks. They’re much easier to measure and cut.
Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the cubes of frozen shortening and toss to coat in flour. Use a pastry cutter to cut the shortening into the dough until it mostly resembles sand with a few small pebble-size pieces of shortening here and there.
Drizzle the ice water over the mixture and gently mix in with your hands, tossing the dough with your fingers like you would toss a salad. Don’t knead the dough. Once it starts coming together, divide the dough into two pieces. Form them into disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 days in advance.
Make the filling. Chop the peeled apples into bite-sized cubes. Try to get them all the same size as possible this will help them cook evenly. Combine the apples with the remaining filling ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to coat the apples evenly.
Heat the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (to make clean up easier) and place on the bottom oven rack. Your pie will go on this hot baking sheet and ensure a crisp bottom crust. Heat oven to 450°F.
Roll out the dough. Place one piece of dough (leave the other in the fridge) on a lightly floured surface. Place the disk on top of the flour and sprinkle a little flour on top of the disk. Dust your rolling pin with a bit more flour. I love my French rolling pin—it’s the best.
Starting from the center of the disc work your way out in all directions, dusting the top and bottom of the dough with more flour as needed. Flip the dough if it feels like it is sticking on the bottom and sprinkle with a bit more flour. Don’t press too hard. Rotate the dough as it gets bigger to ensure even thickness all the way around.
If the edges look like they are beginning to crack, dip your fingers in ice cold water and meld them back together.
Roll the dough into a 1/4-inch-thick circle. It will be about 12-inches wide. Fold it in half then pick it up and lay it in the bottom half of a 9-inch pie plate. Flip the top of the dough up to cover the top half of the plate. Press the dough into the edges. Place in freezer while you roll out the other half of the dough.
Roll out the other dough. Roll the second piece of dough the same as the first.
Fill the pie. Give the filling one more stir then pour into the bottom crust. Press the apples down into the crust so there are no gaps.
Lay second piece of dough over the pie. Cut a few slits in the top to vent. Pinch the two pieces of dough together at the edge. Any dough that hangs over by more than an inch, trim off with a sharp pairing knife.
Decorate the edge and freeze. Tuck the top crust under the bottom crust to seal then create a fluted edge by pinching the dough around the pointer finger of one hand with the pointer finger and thumb of your other hand. To ensure the crust won’t loose its shape in the oven, I like to stick it in the freezer for 15-30 minutes before baking.
Beat the egg with a few drops of water and brush this egg wash all over the top of the dough and edge of the crust. Sprinkle with the coarse sugar.
Bake. Place pie on the hot baking sheet in the oven. Bake until the top is just starting to brown, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and continue baking until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling, about another 45 minutes more. The baking time will vary depending on your oven, what type of pie plate you use, etc. Use this time as a guide give or take 20 minutes.
Cool. Remove the baked pie from the oven and let the pie cool for at least 1 hour before slicing. The longer you let it sit, the more it will set up. I think 3 hours is ideal, unless you really like a warm piece of pie, then you have to be okay with a juicy filling.
Serve. Slice the baked apple pie and serve with vanilla ice cream and maybe even some salted caramel sauce—oolala!
Storing and Freezing Instructions
There are several ways you can make this pie ahead of time. Here’s how to store and/or freeze this apple pie:
- Make the pie from start to finish up to a day in advance. Let cool completely, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and keep out on the counter.
- Prepare the dough, wrap tightly and store in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw the frozen dough completely in the refrigerator before continuing with the recipe.
- Bake the pie, let cool, wrap tightly and freeze the baked pie for up to 3 months. Thaw the pie overnight before eating.
- Assemble the pie but don’t bake it. Wrap tightly and freeze the unbaked pie for up to 3 months. Bake as directed from frozen but add 15-20 minutes to the bake time.
- Make the filling in advance. Refrigerate overnight or wrap tightly and freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
What Makes This Apple Pie Recipe From Scratch The Best?
- Layers upon layers of tender, but not mushy sweetened and perfectly spiced apples tucked into a flaky crust.
- No need to cook apples before baking the pie!
- The perfect crust. Using Crisco ensure flakiness plus baking the pie on a hot baking sheet guarantees a crisp bottom.
- Starting out in a hot oven crisps the outside of the crust immediately giving it no opportunity to get soggy.
- It’s dairy-free! Which is a bonus when you are serving different dietary needs around the holidays.
Apple Pie FAQ’s
Can I use butter instead of shortening? Yes, there is a flavor advantage to using butter but I believe the texture from using Crisco in the finished pie crust overrides the flavor of butter. If you want to use butter (or even 1/2 and 1/2) its fine. Make sure to use a cup of fat total.
Why is my crust tough? You overworked the dough. The more you handle the dough the tougher it will be. Try your best to knead it as little as possible and make sure the fat is cold and the dough is cold before rolling it out.
What kind of pie plate should I use? A classic 9-inch glass pie plate is perfect or a metal pie plate is second best.
Why is my dough crumbling and cracking? You didn’t use enough water. Start with 1/2 cup of ice water, drizzle a little in at a time while mixing. Once the dough starts holding together stop adding water. I almost always use 1/2 cup of water, sometimes a little more if it is really dry outside.
More Baking Recipes To Try!
- Double Chocolate Cookies
- Soft Pumpkin Cookies
- Authentic Tres Leches Cake
- Soft Ricotta Banana Bread
- Easy Carrot Cake Recipe with Pineapple
- Pumpkin Spice Mexican Wedding Cookies
- Pumpkin Layer Cake with Dulce de Leche
Show Off Your Perfect Pie
Making an apple pie recipe from scratch is no walk in the park, I want to see all your hard work. When you try them, let me know how it goes by snapping a pic and tagging me on Instagram @katesbestrecipes so I can see or leave me a comment below (don’t forget to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating)!
OLD FASHIONED APPLE PIE RECIPE
- 1 9-inch pie plate
- 1 Rolling Pin
- 1 pastry cutter
- Parchment Paper
- 2 large bowls
for the crust:
for the filling:
- 3 1/2 pounds apples (about 13 small apples) peeled, cored, and cut into medium dice
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon anise seed
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 large egg
- Turbinado sugar for sprinkling
for the crust:
- Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and stir to incorporate. Add shortening and toss until the pieces are coated with flour. Using a dough cutter, cut shortening into the flour until pea-sized pieces form.
- Add water, a couple tablespoons at a time, and blend into dough by tossing with your fingers (don't knead the dough). Once dough starts coming together, divide into 2 balls then flatten into compact disks. Wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
for the filling:
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss until apples are evenly coated.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place on the bottom rack of the oven. Heat oven to 450°F.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll 1 disk of dough into a 11 to 12-inch circle (about 1/8-inch thick), and place in a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Press into plate so the dough is snug against the edge.
- Give filling a few more stirs to distribute all the juices and pour into pie shell. Press down on the filling so the apples are compact.
- Roll out remaining disk of dough the same as the first and lay over filling. Pinch the two edges of dough together and trim off any that hangs over the lip of the plate by more than 1 inch.
- Make a decorative edge by pinching sections of dough around the pointer finger of one hand with the thumb and pointer finger of the other, making little triangles as you go around the perimeter of the pie.
- With a sharp knife, make a few slits on the top of the pie to let steam escape. Place in the freezer for 15-30 minutes before baking to make sure the pie dough holds its shape.
- Beat egg with a teaspoon of water and brush egg wash over the top of the pie. Sprinkle top with sugar and place on heated baking sheet in the oven. Bake until just starting to turn golden, about 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F. Continue baking until crust is a deep golden brown and filling is bubbling in the middle, about 45 minutes more. Remove from oven and let cool at least 1 hour before serving.