Skip to Content

A Slice of Americana: Tips & Tricks for the Best Homemade Apple Pie

Nothing beats the taste of a classic American apple pie recipe. But how to achieve that perfect balance of flaky, buttery crust blended with the harmony of apples?

Read on to experience a slice of Americana by learning tips and tricks for the best homemade American version of apple pie!

Man holding a baked apple pie with lattice crust. American apple pie recipe.

Tips and Tricks for the Best American Apple Pie Recipe

* Cold ingredients are a must for the perfect flaky crust. Keep that butter as cold as you can and be sure to use ice-cold water when mixing it. Adding ice to your cup of water helps!

* Choose a variety of apples. Try mixing tart apples and sweet apples for a fantastic flavor!

* Let the pie cool completely before serving. Although the scent of fresh apple pie might be too appealing to resist, if you cut it too soon, you’ll end up with a runny mess. Allowing it to cool completely will make it easier to serve and you won’t risk burning your mouth!

A plated wedge of apple pie.

* Use the egg wash to brush the inside of the crust before adding your apple filling! This won’t affect the taste of the pie but it will keep the apples from making your crust too soft.

* Don’t skip the pre-cook. It may seem redundant to cook the apples before putting them in the oven to cook again. But the apples won’t reach full tenderness if they aren’t pre-cooked. Only cook them until they’re soft but still hold their shape to avoid mushy apples in your pie.

* Don’t use a food processor or other tools to mix the pie crust. Use your hands as you mold the dry ingredients and water together. This will help make the crust flakier!

* Vent your pie. If you don’t want to do the traditional lattice crust, be sure you add plenty of options for venting on the top layer of the crust. This will keep the crust crispy.

An unbaked lattice crust apple pie.

Which Apple is Best?

When it comes to the best homemade apple pie, you need to begin with a great main ingredient! But which apple is best for your pie?

Apple pie ingredients: apples, lemons, sugar, spices, flour, egg, vanilla.

The good news is, there is no wrong answer. The biggest factor to consider is finding an apple that is firm enough to retain its shape after it’s cooked. Mushy apples can change the apple pie experience for the worse.

Some of the best firm varieties of apples to consider are the Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Honey Crisp, Braeburn, and Jonagolds. Use a mixture of 2-3 varieties of apples to create an amazing flavor palette. Combining tart and sweet apples will make your apple pie unforgettable!

Time to Make Your American Apple Pie!

The Perfect Crust

To create the perfect, flaky crust for your apple pie, combine 2 ½ cups flour, ½ tablespoon sugar, and ½ teaspoon salt in a large bowl.

Flour, sugar, and salt in bowl for pie crust.

Next, cut 2 sticks of cold, unsalted butter into small pieces. Add these to the dry ingredients.

Cubes of butter added to dry pie crust ingredients.

Using a pastry cutter, cut together until the mixture resembles pea-sized chunks.

Butter cut into dry ingredients using a pastry cutter.

Add 2 tablespoons of ice-cold water to the mixture, blending fully. Repeat this until you’ve added 7-8 tablespoons of water in total.

Adding tablespoons of cold water to pie crust ingredients.

The dough is ready when it forms a soft lump that doesn’t crumble when pinched but also doesn’t stick to your hands.

Squeezing pie crust dough to check the texture.

Mold the dough into a ball. Then divide into two even portions. Continue to shape into two flat disks.

A ball of pie crust dough.

Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour before using it in the recipe.

Pie crust dough divided in half and flattened into disks wrapped in plastic wrap.

Soften to room temperature by removing it from the refrigerator 15 minutes before using.

Cook Your Filling

Begin by peeling, coring, and thinly slicing 7 apples. Set these aside.

Peeling and slicing apples on a cutting board.

Next, zest a lemon, reserving ¼ teaspoon of the zest. Using the same lemon, squeeze 1 tablespoon of juice into a small bowl.

Curls of lemon zest.

Add the juice, zest, and apples to a large skillet. Set to medium heat on the stovetop.

Closeup of apples and lemon zest combined.

In a small bowl, combine ½ cup sugar, ½ cup brown sugar, three tablespoons flour, ¼ teaspoon salt, one teaspoon cinnamon, ¾ teaspoon nutmeg, and ½ teaspoon cardamom (optional). Blend this mixture into the skillet with the apples. Gently stir them together.

Closeup of apples coated in pie spices.

Cover and cook the mixture for 15 minutes or until they are completely soft but still hold their shape. Stir every few minutes to check on them.

View of pie filling apples in skillet.

Take the skillet off the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

Spread the mixture onto a cookie sheet evenly. Allow the mixture to cool completely, a few hours if left on the counter, or 30 minutes if placed in the refrigerator.

Apple pie filling cooling on baking sheet.

Putting it Together

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and allow it to heat for 20 minutes before baking.

Next, roll out the room-temperature pie dough and prep it for a 9” pie dish.

A disk of pie crust dough on a pastry rolling mat next to a rolling pin.
Rolling the crust onto the pin to move it to the pie dish.
Bottom crust for pie in pie dish.

Scrape the cooled filling into the prepared dish.

Pie filling poured into the crust.

Roll out the second pie crust and cut as desired to top the pie. If a lattice pie crust technique isn’t used, make some cuts along the top to allow space for it to vent.

Second pie crust rolled out and cut into strips for lattice top.

Assemble the lattice top crust on your pie.

Pastry strips in woven lattice design on pie filling.

Crimp the edges of the pie together using a fork or your fingers.

Lattice stripes and bottom crust crimped together.

In a small bowl, beat one egg. Using a pastry brush, apply the egg wash to the crust.

Using a silicon brush to brush egg wash onto pie crust pastry.

Top the crust with a final sprinkle of sugar.

Sprinkling sugar onto egg wash glazed crust.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and cover the edges of the pie with tin foil to prevent burning the edges. Bake an additional 35-45 minutes.

Apple pie with foil wrapped around the edges to prevent overbrowning.

The pie is done when the center of the crust is golden brown and the juices from the pie are bubbling up through the center.

Closeup of baked apple pie.

Allow the pie to cool for 2-4 hours before serving.

Using a knife to cut into the apple pie.

Vary the Recipe

Interested in changing the flavor and adding creaminess to your pie? Try adding ¼ cup sour cream to the filling before adding the apples to the crust.

Instead of topping your pie with ice cream, try using Crème Anglaise! This combination of sugar, eggs, vanilla, and hot milk can be made at home, or you can find it at grocery stores!

Add a twist by drizzling ½ cup caramel sauce on top of the apple filling before covering it with the dough. Save more to drizzle on your slice of pie when you serve it!

How to Flute Your Crust

If you want to make the best homemade apple pie then you’ll want it to look as good as it tastes! Creating a flawless crust doesn’t have to be hard.

Man using thumb and fingers to flute the edges of the pie crust before baking the apple pie.

To create a fluted pie crust, simply push the thumb of one hand between the pinched thumb and the first finger of your other hand. If the dough along the fluted edge feels a bit thin, you can always pat the top of it down after you’ve fluted it to give it some depth.

A Slice of Americana on Your Table

Closeup of a wedge of apple pie with a scoop of ice cream on top.

Now you know a few tips and tricks for the best homemade apple pie! Which ones will you use in your next pie?

For more information about apples, visit our parent page about the Apple Tree.

A plated wedge of lattice-crust apple pie.

A Slice of Americana: Homemade Apple Pie

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 45 minutes

Dazzle your friends and family with this quintessential American apple pie recipe. Don't let the lattice top crust intimidate you -- it's easier to make than you think! This is THE apple pie for summer gatherings and also for later in the year when apple season is in full swing.


  • For the Crust:
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • ½ TB sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 sticks of cold unsalted butter cut into ¼” pieces
  • 7 TB ice cold water
  • For the Filling:
  • 7 apples peeled and cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp cardamom (optional)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 TB flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp lemon zest
  • 1 TB lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg beaten (for egg wash)
  • 1 TB sugar (to sprinkle on the crust)


Directions for making the crust:

  1. In a bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and sugar.
  2. Add butter. Using a pastry cutter, cut together until it’s pea-sized chunks.
  3. Add water 1 TB at a time until mixed in, resembling large clumps. Press a small bit of dough between your fingers. If the dough sticks together without crumbling apart or sticking to your fingers, you’ve added enough.
  4. Move to a new work surface and work together into a ball. Divide into two portions.
  5. Continue to shape into flat disks.
  6. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before using in a recipe.
  7. Can store for up to 3 days.
  8. Soften to room temperature for about 15 minutes before using.

Directions for making the filling:

  1. Zest lemon. Slice apples to ⅛” thickness.
  2. Add juice, zest, and apples to a large skillet and put on the stovetop on medium heat.
  3. Add sugars, flour, salt, and spices and gently stir.
  4. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until they are completely soft but still hold their shape. Stir every few minutes to check on them.
  5. Take off the heat and stir in vanilla.
  6. Spread the mixture onto a cookie sheet and cool completely, a few hours if left out, or 30 minutes if you place it in the fridge.

Assemble the pie:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and allow it to heat for 20 minutes before baking.
  2. Roll out room temperature pie dough and prep it in a 9” round pie dish.
  3. Scrape the filling into the prepared dish.
  4. Roll out the other pie crust and cover the top. (Either use the lattice pie crust technique or place it on whole. Be sure to cut a design or an X on top of the whole crust for the filling to have space to vent.) Crimp the edges.
  5. Brush crust with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
  6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  7. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and cover the edges of the pie with tin foil to prevent burning the edges.
  8. Bake for 35-45 more minutes. Pie is done when the center crust is golden brown and the juices from the pie are bubbling up through the center.
  9. Allow to cool for 2-4 hours.
  10. Store covered tightly in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Pinterest image for American Apple Pie Recipe/

Skip to Recipe