Our Favorite Apple Pie
Our favorite recipe for making classic apple pie from scratch. This recipe guarantees apple pie with perfectly cooked (not mushy) apples surrounded by a thickened and gently spiced sauce all baked inside a flaky, golden brown crust. Jump to the Apple Pie Recipe or watch our quick recipe video showing you how we make it. There are also lots of tips in the article below!
Watch Us Make the Recipe
How to Make Perfect Homemade Apple Pie
It’s taken us a while to zero in on our favorite method for making apple pie, but I think we’ve finally nailed it. This simple recipe guarantees perfectly cooked apples surrounded with a thick gently spiced sauce. There’s no need for precooking the sauce or apples and the steps to make this pie are simple, you just need a little time.
As with all of the pie recipes on Inspired Taste, we start with this homemade pie crust. I’m a stickler on this one. It has never failed us and is our go-to recipe for pumpkin pie, tarts, and other fruit pies like blueberry pie. The crust can be made in advance and refrigerated or frozen. Definitely check our pie crust recipe for our tips on making it (it even has a video).
As for the apples, we use a lot of them and like to use two or more varieties for the most apple-flavored pie. I’ve listed some of our favorites below. It isn’t a complete list, but it should give you some inspiration when shopping for your homemade pie.
We don’t precook the apples before adding to the crust. Instead, we toss peeled and sliced apples with sugar, salt, and spices in a large bowl. When the apples are very well coated, we set the bowl aside and let the apples sit for about an hour.
In this hour, the sugar and salt work on the apples to help them release their delicious liquid (you can see how much in our photos and in the video). The apples also soften quite a bit. (We do this when making apple bread, too.)
Then just before adding the apples to the prepared pie dish, we toss in some starch — I usually use cornstarch, but tapioca starch works, too. This starch mixes with all that liquid released by the apples and will help thicken it as the pie bakes in the oven.
I’ve followed a few pie recipes that ask you to throw away some or all of that delicious liquid before filling the pie. There’s so much flavor there! Thankfully, with our pie making method, you can use all of the liquid, which with our slightly longer bake time will turn into a thickened sauce. I’ve measured how much liquid is released from the apples over 1 hour and consistently get about 3/4 cup. A little more or a little less is fine, though.
If you find that your apples released much more, you might want to consider leaving a little behind. (When apples are overripe, they can release more liquid than usual, which can make your pie a bit more runny.)
On this subject, make sure to read our tips below for cooling the pie. The cooling step is crucial with fruit pies and goes a long way to making sure the filling is actually thick and won’t run out onto your plate the moment you cut it.
The Apples We Use For Apple Pie
To make this apple pie, we use approximately 4 pounds of apples (or about 11 cups of sliced apples). For the best apple flavor, try adding more than one variety of apple to your pie. We especially love these varieties of apples for baked desserts and pie:
- Granny Smith — Your standard, never-fails baking apple. Tart, crisp, and they keep their structure after time in the oven.
- Honeycrisp — Extra crisp and always holds firm after baking. One of our favorites!
- Jonagold — Tart with a bit of sweetness. They also hold up well in the oven.
- Braeburn — Crisp, sweet apples that hold up well in pie and other baked desserts.
- Mutsu — Big apples that look like a large Golden Delicious. Has a sweet honeyed flavor and holds up well in pie.
- Pink Lady — A good balance of sweet and tart. Will also hold its shape when baked.
- Golden Delicious — Sweet and flavorful apple that’s very versatile. Will hold up in pie, but will become softer than some of the varieties mentioned above.
- Jazz — Sweet and crisp flavor. Will hold up nicely in pie.
How Long Does Apple Pie Take?
We bake a standard 9-inch pie in a 400 degree oven for about 75 minutes.
One of the biggest complaints with apple pie is that the filling is too runny, even after following a recipe. That’s why we’ve become such fans of this method of making apple pie. With this method (which we first tried after flipping through Bravetart), the pie bakes at one temperature for a long time. This extra long bake time makes sure the liquid in the apple pie filling has a chance to simmer and thicken.
How to Tell When The Pie Is Done
Here are three simple methods for telling when apple pie is ready to come out of the oven:
- Visual cue: Apple pie is done when the juices are bubbling through the vents of the top crust or lattice. If you do not see bubbles, the pie needs more time.
- Internal temperature: The pie is done when an internal thermometer inserted into the middle of the pie reads 195 degrees Fahrenheit (90C).
- Texture of the apples: Piercing the pie is a good indication of how soft the apples are. If they feel too crunchy, the pie needs more time.
More Baking Tips for Apple Pie
- Use a trusted pie crust recipe. We always use this homemade pie crust recipe for our pies.
- Prepare the apple pie filling first and set it aside for 1 hour, allowing the apples to release their juices then mix the apples and the juices with a thickener like cornstarch or tapioca starch.
- Bake at 400 degrees F for approximately 75 minutes, turning a few times for even browning. The long bake time makes sure that the filling thickens inside the pie.
- If your crust starts to brown too quickly or looks to be turning too dark, mold a large piece of foil over a bowl that’s been placed upside down to make a foil dome. Place the foil dome over the pie for the remaining bake time. This will slow the browning.
- Let apple pie cool before cutting into it. For the best results, the filling should be room temperature or cold before slicing. Cooling the pie gives the liquid inside a chance to thicken even more, which means it won’t spill out into a pool when you cut into the pie. (This is true for other fruit pies, especially blueberry pie and homemade cherry pie.)
More Easy Apple Recipes
- Simple Apple Tart — How to make a stunning apple tart with a buttery crust, thinly sliced apples, and toasted almonds.
- Apple Pie Cupcakes — A fun and easy apple pie cupcake recipe made with cinnamon roll dough, spiced apples and a crumble topping. How can it go wrong?
- Dutch Baby Pancakes with Apples — How to make the best tall, fluffy Dutch baby pancakes with tender apples. The perfect breakfast or dessert!
- Easy Apple Crisp — This apple crisp recipe with oats has sweet tender apples and a crisp and crunchy topping made with flour, oats, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon.
- Baked Cinnamon Apples — These cinnamon baked apples are easy enough for tonight, but double as the perfect dessert for friends and family (or the holidays).
- Creamy Apple Salad with Celery and Fennel — We love this fresh and easy apple salad recipe made with crisp apples, celery, fennel, and an easy creamy dressing.
Our Favorite Apple Pie
We realize our apple pie recipe may seem longer than others, but don’t let that scare you off. We’ve simply added as many tips to the recipe to ensure you make the best apple pie possible. Use our recipe to achieve apple pie with perfectly cooked (not mushy) apples surrounded by a thickened and tasty sauce all baked inside a flaky, golden brown crust. The pie crust recipe we use for this apple pie is the same as all other pies on Inspired Taste. This Flaky Pie Crust Recipe never fails us. You can use any pie crust for this pie but, for the best results, we highly recommend our recipe.
You Will Need
Pie dough for top and bottom 9-inch pie, chilled (see our Flaky Pie Crust Recipe)
4 to 4 1/4 pounds baking apples (7 to 8 apples), see notes for suggestions
1/2 cup (100 grams) light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons cornstarch or use 4 tablespoons tapioca flour/starch
1 tablespoon butter
- Make Apple Filling
- Prepare Pie Crust
- Prepare Oven
- Assemble Pie
- Bake Pie
- Storing and Leftovers
Peel, and then cut the apples in half. Remove the cores, and then slice apple halves into thin slices, about 1/4-inch thick. Place the apple slices into a very large bowl.
Scatter both sugars, salt, and spices over the apples, and then use your hands to toss them, coating the apple slices as much as possible. Set aside for 1 hour at room temperature.
Roll out the first half of pie dough on a lightly-floured work surface. To prevent the dough from sticking and to ensure uniform thickness, roll from the center of the dough outwards and keep lifting up and turning the dough a quarter turn as you roll. Check for the correct size by inverting the pie dish over the dough. The dough should be about 1 1/2 to 2 inches larger than the dish.
Being careful not to stretch it, place the dough into the pie dish, and then trim overhanging dough to within 3/4-inch of the edge of the dish. Refrigerate while you make the pie filling.
Roll out the second half of dough to a similar size as before and transfer it to a large parchment-lined baking sheet. Keep this in the refrigerator until needed.
Position an oven rack towards the center of the oven, and then heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200C).
Toss cornstarch (or tapioca) with the apples. Transfer most (if not all) of the apples into the prepared bottom crust, using your hands to really pack them down into the pie. Fill the pie until apples are mounded at the same height as the edge of the pie crust. If you have too many apples, save them (see notes).
Pour the juices that have accumulated at the bottom of the bowl over the apples. (If it looks like there’s more than 3/4 to 1 cup of liquid, you might want to leave some behind, see notes below). Cut a tablespoon of butter into 8 or so small pieces and dot them over the pie.
For a double crust pie, place the second pie dough round over the filling or cut it into strips and lattice the top (See our video in the article above or read this tutorial for how to lattice pie crust). If you are not adding a lattice crust and instead are adding the top crust in one piece, use a sharp knife to cut a few slits in the top of the crust to allow steam to vent.
Trim excess dough from the top crust or lattice strips, and then fold the overhang underneath itself, forming a thick rim. Press it together or crimp it with your fingers (or use a fork).
Whisk the egg with a tablespoon of water, and then use as an egg wash by lightly brushing the top crust. This adds shine and helps the crust brown.
Place the prepared pie onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (this can be the same lined baking sheet used for chilling the top crust). Bake the pie for about 75 minutes, turning a few times for even browning.
If you notice that the pie crust is browning too quickly, mold a large piece of foil over a bowl that’s been placed upside down to make a foil dome. Place the foil dome over the pie for the remaining bake time. This will slow the browning.
Apple pie is done when the juices are bubbling through the vents of the top crust or lattice. If you do not see bubbles, the pie needs more time. Another way to check for doneness is to use an internal thermometer. Pierce the pie in the middle then test the temperature. The pie is done when it reads 195 degrees Fahrenheit (90C). Piercing the pie is also a nice indication of how soft the apples are. If they feel too crunchy, the pie needs more time.
Be sure to cool the pie, without slicing into it, for at least 1 hour, preferably longer. Keep in mind that the pie filling does not fully thicken until it is completely cooled. So, for the absolute best results, cool the pie to room temperature, and then place it into the refrigerator for an hour or two.
Waiting to cut into the pie until cool will prevent a soggy slice.
Leftover pie will keep, at room temperature, for 2 to 3 days or in the refrigerator up to a week. Rewarm slices in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 5 to 10 minutes before serving them.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Best apples to use: For the most apple flavor, try a couple varieties of apples in your pie. We especially love Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Jonagold, Braeburn, Mutsu, Pink Lady, Golden Delicious, and Jazz
- Leftover apples: Sometimes, not all the apples we sliced make it into our pie. That’s okay, though! To use them up, add them to a skillet with a splash of water, apple juice, or nothing at all and cook until softened. A little butter or coconut oil added to the pan is also quite delicious! Serve the apples over ice cream or oatmeal.
- Liquid amount: After 1 hour of letting the apples sit with the sugar, salt, and spices, we consistently get about 3/4 cup of liquid left at the bottom of the bowl. A little more or a little less is fine, but if you find that your apples released much more, you might want to consider leaving a little behind. (When apples are overripe, they can release more liquid than usual, which can make your pie a bit more runny.)
- Recipe has been inspired and adapted by Bravetart’s apple pie.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.