Easy Apple Pie Recipe – Add a Pinch


This easy apple pie recipe makes the best apple pie! Tender apples are tossed in cinnamon and sugar and baked in a flaky, homemade pie crust. It is a great make-ahead and freezer-friendly dessert.

Slice of homemade apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

What are the Secrets to the Best Apple Pie?

  1. Flaky pie crust. I use a double recipe of my homemade pie crust, but you can also use store-bought or frozen.
  2. Seasoned apple slices. Sweet and tart apple slices tossed in cinnamon and sugar. See below, where I list the best apples to use for making apple pie.
  3. Keep it simple. Apple pie is a basic recipe and one that can be intimidating. Just stick with this tried and true, perfected, and easy recipe.

My Favorite Apple Pie Recipe

This apple pie recipe was my Grandmother’s and is one that I will forever treasure. It is as simple, classic, and perfect as any apple pie recipe can be, and yet it holds so many memories. I first shared this recipe in 2013, along with the story of my Grandmother walking me through making it as a newlywed. I know recipe stories aren’t always loved by those simply looking for a tried and true recipe to make, but I can’t remove it from this recipe. It is too near and dear to me. I’ve just moved it below the recipe card so that if you’d like to read it, you can.

What are the Best Apples for Apple Pie?

While my Grandmother only used one type of apple in her apple pie, through the years of experimenting, I found I loved to use a combination of apples. Baking apples for how soft they become, eating apples for their crispness and texture, and Granny Smith for their tartness. But, of course, you can experiment with the combination, or lack of combination, of apples that you prefer.

Tart Apples: Granny Smith

Baking apples: Cortland, Braeburn, Rome

Eating Apples: Honeycrisp, Fuji, Sweetango

How to Make the Best Apple Pie Recipe

Ingredients used to make homemade apple pie on a marble surface.

Ingredients

Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full listing of ingredients, instructions, notes, and estimated nutritional information.

  • Pie crust. You’ll need two (9-inch) pie crusts. One for the bottom crust and one for the top of the pie.
  • Apples. I use a combination of various types of apples in my pie. However, you can use all of one kind of apple if you prefer.
  • Lemon juice. It helps to keep the apples from browning once peeled and sliced.
  • Sugar. I use a combination of brown and granulated sugar. You can also use all of one type if you prefer.
  • Seasonings. I use apple pie spice, but you can also use the same amount of ground cinnamon in place of the apple pie spice if you prefer. You’ll also use a little salt and a splash of vanilla extract.
  • Cornstarch. It helps to thicken the apple pie filling.
  • Milk. Brushed on top of the pie crust before baking. You can also substitute with an egg wash of 1 egg and 2 tablespoons of water whisked together and brushed on top.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Prep. Preheat the oven to 350º F.

Pie crust in a pie plate.

Make the pie crust. Prepare two pie crusts. Place the bottom crust into the pie plate and freeze as directed in the recipe. Roll the second pie crust and set aside while preparing the apple pie filling.

(Optional) Make Ahead Pie Crust: Alternately, you can prepare the pie crusts in advance. Place one in the pie plate, wrap well with foil, and freeze. Make the second pie crust, form it into a disc, wrap it well with plastic wrap, and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Remove the second crust from the refrigerator while you prepare the pie filling so that it will be easier to roll.

Prepare the apple pie filling. Peel, core, and slice the apples into 1/4-inch slices. Add the apple slices to a large bowl. Toss with the lemon juice to prevent the apples from darkening. Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, apple pie spice, salt, vanilla extract, and cornstarch. Toss the apples with the sugar mixture to coat.

(Optional) Cook the homemade apple pie filling: Pour the apple pie filling mixture into a Dutch oven or skillet set over medium heat. Cook the apples until the apples begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Apple pie filling in bottom crust.

Assemble the pie. Remove the pie plate from the freezer and pour the apple pie filling into the bottom crust. Mound the pie filling slightly in the center and make sure not to get any on the edges of the pie dough as it will prevent the pie from sealing properly.

Top pie crust dough halfway placed on top of apple pie filling.

Add the top crust. Roll the second pie crust on a lightly floured surface and place it on top of the apple pie filling. Using the pie plate as a guide, carefully run a sharp paring knife around the edge of the pie plate to trim away any excess pie dough. Crimp the edges of the top crust to the bottom crust.

(Optional) Lattice-Topped Apple Pie: Alternately, you can cut the second pie dough into about 10 even-width strips using a pizza cutter. These strips will be arranged in a woven lattice pattern on top of the pie filling.

Brushing milk on top pie dough with a black brush.

Prep the top crust. Use the paring knife and cut vents in the top pie crust. Place onto a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drippings. Brush the top crust with milk and sprinkle with additional sugar if using.

Baked apple pie with top crust.

Bake the pie. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the top crust has browned. Remove from the oven and allow the pie to cool for 1 to 3 hours before slicing. The juices of the pie will thicken as the pie cools. It will be too juicy if sliced while the pie is still warm.

Storage Tips

Store. Allow the pie to cool. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for 1 to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Make ahead apple pie. Prepare the pie as directed. After it has cooled, wrap it tightly and store it at room temperature for up to 2 days, in the refrigerator for up to 7 days, or see the freezer instructions below.

Make ahead pie crusts. Make the two pie crusts and form into discs. Wrap them well in freezer-safe wrap. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 3 months.

Freeze apple pie filling. Store the mixed apple pie filling in a freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before use.

Freeze baked apple pie. Prepare the pie as directed in a freezer-safe pie plate. After it has cooled completely, wrap it tightly with freezer-safe wrap and freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and serve cold, or allow it to come to room temperature for serving.

Freeze unbaked apple pie. Assemble the pie as directed in a freezer-safe pie plate. Do not bake. Wrap it tightly with freezer-safe wrap and freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and bake as directed.

Slice of apple pie topped with vanilla ice cream on a white plate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you use cornstarch or flour to thicken apple pie filling?

For a clear and glossy apple pie filling, I recommend using cornstarch. You will need at least double the amount of cornstarch to thicken the filling if using all-purpose flour. Using too much flour can cause the pie filling to become cloudy and leave the taste of flour in the recipe.

Can apple pie be left at room temperature?

Fruit pies such as this apple pie can be stored at room temperature for one to two days or in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Source: USDA

Should you pre-cook apple pie filling?

This easy apple pie recipe does not require the filling to be precooked before baking. However, precooking the filling does ensure that the apple slices are incredibly tender in the baked pie if you prefer.

Why does apple pie have to cool for at least an hour?

If the apple pie is sliced prior to being completely cooled, it will be too juicy. Cooling the pie allows the cooked pie filling to set and allows for the prettiest pie slices.

favorite pie recipes

Here’s our Apple Pie Recipe. It is most certainly a keeper.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Cooling Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 8

Prevent your screen from going dark

  • Prep. Preheat oven to 350º F.

  • Make the pie crust. Prepare 2 (9-inch) pie crust recipe. Place the bottom crust into the pie plate and freeze as directed. Roll the second pie crust and set aside while preparing apple pie filling.

  • Prepare the apple pie filling. Toss the apple slices with the lemon juice to coat them to prevent them from darkening. Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, apple pie spice, salt, vanilla extract, and cornstarch.

  • Assemble the pie. Remove the pie plate from the freezer and pour the apple mixture into the bottom crust. Top with the second pie crust and turn the bottom crust on top of the edges of the top crust. Crimp or press closed. Cut slits into the top of the pie crust, and place on top of a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drippings. Brush the top of the pie crust dough with milk and sprinkle with the coarse sugar, if using.

  • Bake the pie. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes, until the top crust has browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 1 to 3 hours before slicing.

Apples: See the blog post for my recommendations on the best apples to use for apple pie. I like to use a combination of 2 baking apples, 2 eating apples, and 1 tart apple. You can also use only one type of apple (I would recommend Granny Smith).  Cooling Time: The pie should cool between 1 and 3 hours before slicing to allow the pie filling to be properly set; otherwise, the pie filling will be too juicy.

Storage Tips

Store. Allow the pie to cool. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for 1 to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Make ahead apple pie. Prepare the pie as directed. After it has cooled, wrap it tightly, and store it at room temperature for up to 2 days, in the refrigerator for up to 7 days, or see the freezer instructions below. Make ahead pie crusts. Make the two pie crusts and form into discs. Wrap them well in freezer-safe wrap. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 3 months. Freeze apple pie filling. Store the mixed apple pie filling in a freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before use. Freeze baked apple pie. Prepare the pie as directed in a freezer-safe pie plate. After it has cooled completely, wrap it tightly with freezer-safe wrap, and freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and serve cold or allow it to come to room temperature for serving. Freeze unbaked apple pie. Assemble the pie as directed in a freezer-safe pie plate. Do not bake. Wrap it tightly with freezer-safe wrap and freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and bake as directed.

Calories: 146kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.5g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 0.5mg | Sodium: 8mg | Potassium: 153mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 70IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 0.4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Grandmother’s Apple Pie

With dustings of flour flying all over my kitchen as a young bride, my spirits soared as I mastered my first apple pie as a newlywed.

I felt pride in being able to serve it to my husband and my parents who were visiting for supper that evening as we finished our meal, even though I’d been on the phone with my Grandmother every step of the process with her talking me through all the way.

Years later as I poured the apples into the pie plate and then gently placed the second crust of my homemade pie crust atop all of the apples, I felt the warm flow of tears on my cheek.

It was the fall of the year my Grandmother passed away on Easter Sunday and the weightyness of her passing finally hit me.

Now as I make apple pie, my heart isn’t as heavy as that year following her passing. I realize the gift she gave me was much more than her pie recipe, she selflessly gave me love, and most importantly, the understanding that life passes quickly, but the legacy you leave behind is the lifetime of simple moments you share with those you love.

She truly made me feel like one of the most special people in her whole world and through her time and love, instilled in me the confidence and courage to try new things.

I remember telling her during that pie making phone call how I was so nervous that it wouldn’t turn out like hers. “What if it isn’t right, Grandmother?,” I’d asked her.

“Well, honey, it’s just pie. You can always try again tomorrow.”

And my love of experimenting in the kitchen was born.

Enjoy!
Robyn xo

From the Add a Pinch recipe archives, originally published 2013. This post has been updated to include step-by-step photographs.


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