Perfect Apple Pie

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Brent Hofacker/shutterstock
8 servings
Preparation Method
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Abe Lincoln was a big fan of apples. Here is the perfect apple pie recipe for a beginner—with the right balance of sweet and tart (not mushy!) for a nice, clean flavor.

Picking the Right Apples for Pie

If you’ve had a lot of sub-par apple pies, it comes down to the right apple. Many types of apples just do not make a good pie on their own. 

They don’t hold their shape and release too much liquid when cooking, or they lack texture. Or, they are too tart for most taste buds (for example, Granny Smith), or they are too sweet (for example, Empire). That’s why we mix two types of apples. If the apples listed in the recipe below aren’t available, choose a mix of “firm-sweet” and “firm-tart” apples. See the list of apples for pies.


  1. Choose one “sweet” and one “tart” apple for best results. If you can only find one apple type, use a “firm” apple variety, which will hold its shape throughout the cooking process and not get mushy.
  2. Always use fresh, firm apples. If you don’t use them right away, put the apples in the refrigerator or they will go soft.

Making Your Pie Crust

Homemade pie crust truly isn’t that difficult! So, we’ve provided an easy, buttery pie crust recipe. It only requires a few pantry ingredients and comes out flaky and flavorful!

However, if you’re not up to making pie dough, don’t let that stop you. You can certainly purchase an easy refrigerated pie crust. 

More Apple Recipes

Apple Pie Filling

2 pounds large sweet apples (such as Jonagold, Golden Delicious)
1 pound large tart apples (such as Northern Spy, Granny Smith, or Rhode Island Greening)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 taplespoon cornstarch
Flour (for work surface)
Double-Crust Pastry Dough (see recipe below)
1 large egg, well beaten
1 tablespoon coarse or granulated sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Peel and core apples, slice them 1/4 inch thick, and put in a clean bowl. Toss to coat with lemon juice.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cornstarch.
  3. Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the larger disk of Double-Crust Pastry Dough into a 12- to 13-inch circle, rolling out from the center and turning the dough as you go. Transfer to a 10-inch pie plate; let extra dough hang over sides.
  4. Place a flat 1-inch layer of apples on the bottom and sprinkle with a layer of sugar mixture. Repeat until you’ve used all apples and sugar.
  5. Roll out the second piece of pie dough and cover the apples with it. Trim excess dough to about 1-inch overhang; tuck edges of top crust under the bottom crust and crimp.
  6. Brush egg over pie surface; sprinkle with sugar. Make decorative cuts to let steam escape. Bake 20 minutes.
  7. Lower oven temperature to 375° and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes longer.

Double-Crust Pastry Dough

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
18 tablespoons (2-1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
  1.  In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt until well combined.
  2. Sprinkle butter over flour mixture, and use your fingers to work it in (rub your thumb against your fingertips, smearing the butter as you do). Stop when the mixture looks like cornmeal, with some pea-size bits of butter remaining.
  3. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons ice water on top, and stir with a fork until dough begins to come together. If needed, add more ice water, a tablespoon at a time.
  4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead three times, or just enough to make a cohesive dough—don’t over mix!
  5. Gather into a ball; then divide into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Press each piece into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
About The Author

Catherine Boeckmann

Catherine Boeckmann loves nature, stargazing, and gardening so it’s not surprising that she and The Old Farmer’s Almanac found each other. She leads digital content for the Almanac website, and is also a certified master gardener in the state of Indiana. Read More from Catherine Boeckmann

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