Perfect Apple Pie
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With a crisp, flaky crust and thick, cider-flavored apple filling, this is my idea of the perfect apple pie.
Even with years of professional and home cooking experience, I still approach homemade pie with a bit of trepidation. I’ve said it before: the person who coined the term “easy as pie” had obviously never made a homemade pie! But making a delicious apple pie is totally doable as long as you have a tried-and-true recipe like this one. The key is to avoid the typical apple pie pitfalls — a soggy crust and waterlogged filling — by blind baking the crust and boiling down the juices before filling the pie. These steps add a bit of extra time but ensure a crisp and flaky crust and a cider-flavored filling that’s not the least bit watery. The perfect apple pie!
What you’ll need to make Apple pie
How to make Apple pie
Begin by making the crust. It’s easiest to use a food processor but you can also make it by hand if need be. Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. (The baking powder is added to prevent the crust from shrinking during baking — it helps the crust expand into the pan rather than slip down the sides.) Pulse a few times to combine.
Add the pieces of butter and shortening.
Pulse until you have coarse crumbs with lots of pea and chickpea-size clumps of butter and shortening within.
Add the water and pulse until the mixture is evenly moistened and very crumbly.
Dump the crumbly dough out onto a clean work surface and divide into two piles, with one pile about 15% bigger than the other.
Make two balls of dough and pat each one into a 5-inch disc. Wrap the discs in plastic and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.
Take the larger disc of dough out of the refrigerator. Dust your work surface lightly with flour and place the dough on top; sprinkle a little flour more over the dough. Use your hands to quickly knead the dough into a soft and malleable disc (don’t overwork it; you want it just supple enough to roll).
Roll the dough, adding more flour as necessary under and on top of the dough so it doesn’t stick, into a 13-inch circle.
Carefully drape the dough over the rolling pin and transfer it to a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan (at least 1-1/2 inches deep). Gently fit the dough into the pan, easing it inwards rather than stretching it outwards. Trim the edges to 1/2-inch beyond the lip of the pie pan. Turn the edges under to create a rim on the crust. Press the rim against the lip of the pan, forming it into an even edge as you work your way around. Use any scraps to patch in any tears or thin areas. Place the crust in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes while you heat the oven to 375°F.
Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator and cover with a piece of parchment paper. Fill the crust with dried beans or pie weights.
Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the parchment paper and beans/pie weights and tent the edges with a few strips of aluminum foil. (The foil will protect the edges from getting too dark.) Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the dough is dry and golden. Let the crust cool to room temperature. Increase the oven temperature to 425°F.
Meanwhile, combine the apples, lemon zest, lemon juice, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
Toss until the sugar is dissolved and the apples are evenly coated. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.
Drain the apples, collecting the syrupy juice in another bowl.
Pour the juice into a 2-cup microwave-safe measuring cup.
Heat on high power in the microwave until the juice is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. (Alternatively, you can boil the juices in a small pan on the stove.) The syrup should be just slightly thickened.
Add the syrup back to the apples, along with the flour and cornstarch; toss to combine.
Add the apple filling to the baked pie shell.
Take the other piece of dough out of the fridge and roll into an 11-inch circle, using the same process described above. Place the dough over the apples and crimp the edges with a fork or flute with your fingers, sealing the top and bottom crust together. Work quickly as the heat from the pan will soften the dough. Brush the top crust with the egg wash and sprinkle some sugar over top. Cut a few slits in the top crust to allow the steam to escape.
Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375°F, and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until the top is brown and filling is bubbly. Let the pie cool completely on a wire rack before cutting, about 4 hours. Enjoy!
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Perfect Apple Pie
With a crisp, flaky crust and thick, cider-flavored apple filling, this is my idea of the perfect apple pie.
For the Crust
- 2¾ cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled with a knife
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 14 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, sliced into 1-inch pieces
- ¼ cup cold vegetable shortening, in 4 pieces
- 7 tablespoons ice cold water
For the Filling
- 3½ pounds baking apples (see note), peeled, cored, sliced ¼-inch thick
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest and 1 tablespoon lemon juice, from 1 lemon
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
- Heaping ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- A beaten egg, cream, or milk, for brushing over crust
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, for topping the pie
For the Crust
- Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the pieces of butter and shortening and pulse until the mixture is crumbly with lots of pea and chickpea-size clumps of butter and shortening within.
- Add the water and pulse until the mixture is evenly moistened and very crumbly. Dump the dough crumbles onto a work surface and divide into two piles, with one pile about 15% bigger than the other (13 oz and 11.5 oz). Make two balls of dough and pat each one into a 5-inch disc. Wrap the discs in plastic and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.
- Take the larger disc of dough out of the refrigerator. Dust your work surface lightly with flour and place the dough on top; sprinkle a little flour over the dough. Use your hands to quickly knead the dough into a soft and malleable disc (don’t overwork it; you want it just supple enough to roll).
- Roll the dough, adding more flour as necessary under and on top of the dough so it doesn't stick, into a 13-in circle. Carefully drape the dough over the rolling pin and transfer it to a 9-in deep-dish pie pan (it should be at least 1½ in deep). Gently fit the dough into the pan, easing it inwards rather than stretching it outwards. Trim the edges to ½ inch beyond the lip of the pie pan. Turn the edges under to create a rim on the crust. Press the rim against the lip of the pan, forming it into an even edge. Use any scraps to patch in any tears or thin areas. Place the crust in the refrigerator for 30 minutes while you heat the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Set an oven rack in the middle position.
- Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator and place on a baking sheet (this makes it easy to move in and out of the oven). Cover the crust with a piece of parchment paper and fill it with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes. Take the crust out of the oven; remove the parchment paper and beans/pie weights and tent the edges with a few strips of aluminum foil. (The foil will protect the edges from getting too dark.) Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the dough is dry and golden. Don't worry if the bottom puffs up; just press it down gently with a flat spatula, such as a pancake turner, taking care not to puncture it. Let the crust cool to room temperature.
- Increase the oven temperature to 425°F.
For the Filling & Baking
- Meanwhile, combine the apples, lemon zest, lemon juice, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Toss until the sugar is dissolved and the apples are evenly coated. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.
- Drain the apples, collecting the syrupy juice in another bowl. Pour the syrupy juice into a 2-cup microwave-safe liquid measuring cup. Take note of the quantity and then heat on high power in the microwave, checking frequently, until the syrup is reduced by half. This will take about 4 minutes but keep a close eye on it as all microwaves are different. You don't want to cook it for too long, or it will turn into sticky caramel (see note below on how to correct this if it happens). The syrup should be just slightly thickened and still pourable. (Alternatively, you can boil the juices in a small pan on the stove.)
- Add the syrup back to the apples, along with the flour and cornstarch; toss to combine.
- Take the other piece of dough out of the fridge and roll into an 11-inch circle, using the same process described above. If necessary, use a little dough to patch up any holes in the bottom crust. Add the apple filling to the baked pie shell, compacting the apples as tightly as possible. (Too many air pockets will cause the crust to dome, creating a gap between the apples and the crust.) Place the rolled dough over top. Crimp the edges with a fork or flute with your fingers, sealing the top and bottom crust together. Work quickly, dusting your fingers with flour as necessary, so the dough doesn't get too warm.
- Brush the top crust with the beaten egg (or cream or milk). Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over the top crust. Cut a few slits in the top crust to allow the steam to escape.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375°F, and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until the top is golden and the filling is bubbly. Let the pie cool completely on a wire rack before cutting, about 4 hours.
- Note: Be sure to use baking apples that hold their shape when cooked, such as Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Fuji, Granny Smith, or Golden Delicious. And use a mix of different varietals for the best flavor.
- Note: If you accidentally over-reduce the syrup and it seizes up when you pour it over the apples, transfer the apple mixture to a large sauté pan and cook over high heat until the caramel melts. Let cool completely in the fridge before proceeding with the recipe.
- Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The pie can be frozen for up to 3 months before or after baking it. (If freezing it unbaked, hold off on brushing the top crust with the beaten egg and sprinkling it with sugar; you can do that right before baking.) If baked, let it cool completely and place it in the freezer uncovered. When fully frozen, wrap the pie securely in foil and freeze. If the pie is unbaked, wrap it securely in foil and freeze. When ready to serve, proceed with baking instructions above (pie is likely to take a bit longer in the oven).
- Calories: 589
- Fat: 24g
- Saturated fat: 14g
- Carbohydrates: 91g
- Sugar: 48g
- Fiber: 6g
- Protein: 5g
- Sodium: 383mg
- Cholesterol: 53mg
This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.
Hey Jenn! I’ve made this pie before and it was fabulous, but I’ve always made it in one sitting. I read another comment that the pie crust wouldn’t be as crisp if made 2 days before but what if I made it a night before and then baked it in the morning?
Hi Daniel, Glad you like it! It should be fine if you made it the night before and then baked in the morning.
This apple pie recipe was a mishegas to make, more steps than any other apple pie I’ve ever made. That being said, the four hours after it came out of the oven was a long four hours. My husband’s first bite and he said it was the best apple pie I’ve ever made. I have to agree. The crust was crunchy, the combination of tartness from the Granny Smiths and the sweetness from the creamy Mackintosh apples (4 Granny Smiths and about six Mackintosh) was delicious and syrupy (not soupy). The recipe used a lot of apples but next time I’ll use more since there was a little air pocket between the filling and the top crust. I thought the amount of cinnamon was scant but it was spot on.
So, yes, I will be making this again. It’s that good.
Jenn, thank you for this amazing recipe! I’ve been making apple pies for 30+ years and have always had rave reviews, even a ribbon or two won at community events. My husband is crazy for my pies and last night told me this one is the best he’s had in his whole life! Wow! It’s the depth of flavor in the apples and the slightly caramelized taste. He loves the crispness of the crust as well. I discovered your site about a year ago and have made dozens of your recipes and have never been disappointed. I have told friends and family members about your site and get many comments back on how much they like your recipes too. I call you my new Ina. 😊 Thank you for sharing your fantastic culinary skills with us!
This pie took longer to make than the traditional apple pie, but it is by far the BEST apple pie ever!
0 stars and compilcated for nothing
easy to understand why so many low star comments when the recipe itself does not make sense. Crust states 3 tablespoons sugar which would make the crust far too sweet in taste. One reply to a commenter about the amount of sugar was informed only 1 tablespoon of sugar was to go into the crust, the other two were for sprinkling over the pie once the top crust was in place. Yet, reading the instructions it says 2 tablespoons of sugar for sprinkling. If those 2 tablespoons of sugar were supposed to be split from the original 3 tablespoons mentioned in the crust ingredient list, that should have been made very clear, especially for inexperienced home cooks wanting to make their first apple pie.
As for the apple filling, I’ve been making pies for 60 years plus, & never once have I prebaked the bottom crust of my two crust apple pies or any other two crust pies. Also, would not add lemon zest to my apple pie filling as the lemon flavour (along with the lemon juice) would overpower the taste of the apples. The lemon juice on its own would suffice.
I’ve never made my pastry in a food processor as I personally think it would be too easy to overwork the pastry ingredients. Always made my big batch pastry (makes enough for 6 single crusts or 3 double crusts) using 3/4 Lard, 1/4 butter, vinegar, egg and ice cold water. It’s never failed me and has helped me win quite a few first place ribbons in the pie category at fall fairs. I do use all butter for Pate Brisee if making savory tarts or quiche but do at times use an egg beaten with water instead of using all water for the liquid.
I don’t use dark pie pans or non stick pie pans as they just don’t give the results of the old-fashioned aluminum pie pans do, I also get great results with glass pie pans as the bottom crust bakes ups nicely in the glass pie pans. All in all, we all want to bake a lovely pie for our partner or family and friends even if your first try is not perfect!
My goodness, did you actually make this? Sometimes there’s “more than one way to skin a cat.” If you actually tried it and it was that bad, fine. If you didn’t make it, but just looked through the recipe, which apparently didn’t look like yours, you have no business rating this.
The crust was excellent, but the apples tasted too lemony, were undercooked, and runny. Used harolsens with a few honeycrisp
Great taste but apple quantities are completely wrong.
3.5 lbs is way too much and you don’t want to discover that after having peeled and cut that much, especially if you made a double recipe as I have done.
This recipe clearly hasn’t been tested at all.
I was frustrated to find that the curst ingredient of 3 Tablespoons of sugar were not designated to be split, 1 Tablespoon for the crust and 2 Tablespoons for the top before baking. That step was listed way below the recipe. Not making this clear resulted in a tender crust making it very hard to roll without breaking.
Hi Elaine, I’m sorry that you found the dough difficult to work with! The 3 tablespoons of sugar are actually intended for the dough for the crust.
Under the “For Baking” ingredients section, those 2 tablespoons of sugar are 2 additional tablespoons for sprinkling. Nevertheless, I’m sorry that you’ve had a hard time rolling it. Hope the pie came out OK.
Hello from England. Can I help or advise on UK alternatives to one or two of your ingredients please if I may?
Our ‘all purpose’ flour is called Plain Flour and vegetable shortening here in the UK is sold under the name of Trex, although there may be other makes in the market.
I’ve made your recipe and it is much much nicer than the recipes I have followed here at home.
Hi Geoff, I’ve learned that all-purpose flour is referred to as plain flour in the UK, but good to know that vegetable shortening is known as Trex – thanks for sharing from across the pond! 🙂
Hi. I always blind-bake the pastry case, as you have done, and this gives dry firm bottom to the pie. I’ve watched a lot of videos on baking but you do it the right way so now I am a fan.
Thankyou for sharing.
Holy moly this pie is good. I probably never would have braved it if my son hadn’t requested it for his birthday… it was a labor of love but the end result did not disappoint! I did not wait for the bottom crust to cool completely before adding the top, just threw it on there after about 5-10 mins and quickly crimped and it worked just fine. The top and bottoms were both crunchy and flaky and the sauce in the filling set nicely after cooling. This is definitely a special occasion or lazy baking day recipe… but the end result is worth it!
Several years ago my daughter and I took a dessert class. Our instructor told us rather than using flour to roll out the crust, use powdered sugar. We both stood there with our mouths open. The crust is so much better. It actually eliminates mushy crust along with reducing the juices from the fruit and blind baking.
Thank you so much for this recipe! I made it for my son’s teacher and she loved it!
Is the 1/4 tsp cinnamon a mistake?
No, that’s correct, but feel free to use a bit more if you’d like. 🙂
Definitely a labor of love to make this pie, but worth it! Extremely tasty – the crust is amazing, and I didn’t have any issues with gaps between crust and filling. The perfect pie!
Can I make this 2 days before and then leave it in the fridge until ready to heat up and serve?
Hi Kara, the crust may not be as crisp when you go to serve it but I think you can get away with making it two days ahead. Hope you enjoy!
Hi chef, the pie had perfect flavor. Packed the apples tight and still had separation of crust and apples at the top. Any other tips to prevent this? Precooking the apples perhaps?
Hi Nicole, Yes, the one surefire way to avoid a gap between the apples and the crust is to cook the apples on the stovetop first until they soften. I thought it would be one step too many for this recipe (it’s already a project and a half!) but it definitely works. It’s also helpful to really pack the apples in compactly. Hope that helps!
Made the apple pie. My question is how do you prevent the gap between the crust and the apples as it bakes. I have read precooking the apples helps. What is your advice?
Hi Monique, That happens to me occasionally as well, although typically the crust sinks down the level of the apples after the pie cools. As you mentioned, the only surefire way to avoid a gap between the apples and the crust is to cook the apples on the stovetop first until they soften. I thought it would be one step too many for this recipe (it’s already a project and a half!) but it definitely works. It’s also helpful to really pack the apples in compactly. Hope that helps!
The pie is in the oven as I write this, and the entire house smells like Thanksgiving. In response to an earlier post, I had read through the entire recipe at least three times and knew what I was getting into– if I had wanted an easier or quicker recipe, I would have chosen another one.
But based on all of Jenn’s other recipes I’ve tried, to great success, I decided it was worth the effort. Many steps, yes, but none of them especially difficult. I can’t wait to serve it this evening. Jenn, so many of us love your recipes, thank you, keep ’em coming, and Happy Thanksgiving!
Thanks for your kind words — hope you had a nice Thanksgiving and enjoyed the pie!
I’ve been using another apple pie recipe for a long time until I tried Jennifer’s Crisp and flavourful recipe. This is the best pie ever! I followed the instructions, it was easy to follow. My family loved it. Ever since I found your recipe on your website l started to cook your recipes. My son gave me your cookbook on Mother’s Day 😊 and l love your cook book! I enjoyed reading cooking tips and learned many things from it.Thank you for sharing your true and tried recipe that let us enjoy meals every time. You are great chef. I will definitely get your second cookbook, thank you!
oh boy, first timer here and I think I messed up the filling. I added the flour and cornstarch along with the cinnamon, sugar, etc,. to the apples. Collected the juice and microwaved. It did not reduce, but it did thicken up nicely and tastes yummy as well. I am scared to mix it all back in with the apples and complete the bake. Should I re-do the filling portion just in case? Darn, I thought I was doing such a good job. Thanks.
Hi Kari, I think it will be just fine so I would just proceed with the recipe. Hope it turns out well!
I love all of your recipes and have had great success preparing them.
Thank you for your attention to detail when explaining the instructions.
I am baking the pie for tomorrow and am wondering if it needs to be refrigerated or if it should sit on the counter overnight?
Hi Jody, So glad you like the recipes and find them easy to follow! You can let the pie sit on the counter overnight. Enjoy!
Hi there! My husband is allergic to soy and soybean oil is the first ingredient in vegetable shortening 🙁 Can I use a different substitute in the pie crust?
Sure, Krista — you can replace it with lard or more butter.
Absolutely scrumptious apple pie recipe and what great crust. I am using the pie crust recipe for assortment of pies for Thanksgiving. Not sure of all the fillings but truly easy to work with. Thank you for sharing!
I’m intrigued by the idea of blind baking the bottom crust but it seems like it would be really difficult to fit and seal the top crust over the bottom crust while it is still hot. Why not let the bottom crust cool almost completely before assembling the full pie?
Hi Scott, Good question. I wrote the recipe that way to make it less time consuming, but I’ve had enough people ask a similar question that I’ve decided to update the recipe and have people let the crust cool to room temperature. It is definitely possible to seal the top crust to the hot bottom crust, but you do need to work quickly. This removes that variable. Hope you enjoy the pie if you make it!
Is it possible to prepare and freeze the apple portion of the recipe and then defrost and proceed with the rest of the recipe when ready to prepare? Or is it best to assemble whole pie and freeze?
Sure, Emily, freezing the apple portion should be fine. 🙂
If I prebake the pie, what are the instructions for when I want to serve it? Do I thaw it out and warm it up or put it frozen in the oven until hot? If so, temperature and time would be appreciated.
Hi Sona, I would thaw the pie in the fridge. Once thawed you can let it sit at room temperature. And don’t recommend serving apple pie too warm, as it tends to get soupy when hot. But you could pop it in a 300°F oven for 15-20 minutes to warm it up just a bit.
Love apple pie I use Granny Smith always leave juices in and add one Large Mackintosh cubed it melts and thickens the juice plus a little sweetness to offset the semi bitter Granies my MOM taught me they in the 1950s. ” Good Appetite “
I make this every year with our apples from our tree. I like to cook, not bake, so the precise step by step instructions are AMAZING for someone like me that doesn’t know what I’m doing Thank you so much for this!
Hi Jen, I love your recipes and have been making them for years with rave reviews! Thank you. I have a question about this pie – can I cheat and use a crumble topping rather than another crust?
Thanks for your time and input and your excellent recipes!! Betsy
So glad you like the recipes, Betsy! I do think a crumble topping would work here. If you need a recipe, the topping that goes on my Apple Crisp would work very nicely here. I’d love to hear how it turns out if you try it this way!
I’ve loved all your recipes this far! I have a question at the moment. Can you peel and slice the apples ahead of time? A day before? I was thinking some lemon juice might keep them from discoloring??
Hi Maggi, Yes, I think you could peel and slice them ahead and toss with a bit of lemon juice. (And so glad you enjoy the recipes!)
Maggi – did you try this? I was thinking about doing the same (peeling and slicing the apples a day before). If so, how did it come out?
I absolutely love this recipe, I’ve made it a few times now (with extra cinnamon though). What I’d like to know is if you can assemble the pie one day ahead of time before baking , and then bake fully the next day? Thanks as always for your help! And your delicious food!
So glad you like this! Unfortunately, I don’t think the apples will hold up well if you assemble the pie ahead. You can, however, bake the whole pie a day ahead. It will still be delicious the next day. Hope that helps!
I have a different recipe for the crust. But the filling was perfect! This will be my go to recipe from now on.
I had already made the filling and then realized I didn’t have any shortening! Would using only butter in the crust work? Btw I love this recipe! I’ve made it once before, my husband doesn’t even like pie and we ate the whole thing!
Sure, Joss – you can definitely use all butter in the crust.
Can this dough be used for “hand pies”? About 4 inch stand alone circles without any formed pans? Just baked on a sheet.
I like the flavour of this pie, my apples completely broke down essentially to apple sauce – I used Granny Smith would a different apple held its form better?
Hi Marina, I’m sorry you had a problem with the apples! Granny Smiths should work. Next time, I’d try a combination of varietals including any of the following: Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Fuji, Granny Smith, or Golden Delicious.
I don’t make pie often as I haven’t had much luck in the past (plus my in-laws make outstanding pies so why bother:). I was a bit skeptical about blind baking and then baking again but I have to say, the crust on this pie was fantastic! I got a bit sidetracked when preparing the filling and missed the step about adding flour/cornstarch but it didn’t really need it – maybe it had to do with the apples I used (Mac and Granny Smith). The filling was perfect! Another amazing recipe – thank you Jenn!
My daughter wanted me to make an apple pie, found your recipe, took the time to make it, and it was well worth while. We all enjoyed it and it didn’t last long.
I had to use dairy free butter and the pastry turned out great. I will definitely be using this recipe again and maybe try it without the cinnamon. Thank you.