American Apple Pie

The Recipe: How to make a classic homemade American Apple Pie with a double flaky, tender crust, brimming with just-sweet apples. A good one (and this "is" a good one) is a thing of beauty.

The Conversation: Pi Day is on March 14th. Let's practice our pie and pastry skills between now and then, then share our best pie recipes and our best tips for producing tender, flaky crusts.

Need help with your crust? Readers rave about their pie crusts after studying my step-by-step photo tutorial, How to Make Flaky Tender Pie Crust. I (re) learned to make pastry from our friend Ann, we call her the "pastry whisperer".

Homemade American Apple Pie with a double crust brimming with just-sweet apples. Home cooks rave about the flaky, tender crust recipe! Weight Watchers PointsPlus 12 and worth it!

A perfect French tart is a thing of beauty. An American pie is homely, and rustic-looking. But done well, pie is so delicious that we’re happy to eat pie without ice cream; so comforting that a double crust is worth the calories; so tempting, we break off ‘mouse bites’ of crust from the edges to eat on the spot.

‘Pi Day’ is Friday, March 14th. (Get it, 3.14?!) Between now and then, I challenge us to practice our pie and pastry skills. A month before, I’ll invite home cooks to participate in the Great American Pie Bake, sharing our best pie recipes and our best tips for producing tender, flaky crusts.

TIPS For pie apples, favorites vary. Experts call for Jonathans. Many pie-bakers swear by McIntosh apples that ‘melt’ into something akin to applesauce. I like Galas but often mix varieties. To gauge how many apples to use, fill the pie pan with a single layer of whole apples. If the apples are taller than the pie pan, remove one. That’s enough! Taste for sweetness varies too. With just 1/2 to 2/3 cup sugar, intense apple flavor emerges. However, many Americans prefer a sweet pie made with a generous cup of sugar. Cinnamon is classic but ginger or nutmeg, or a blend, work too. Use cornstarch or potato starch for thickening, avoiding the unappealing gumminess of flour. Fill the unbaked pastry just higher than the top edge of the pie pan. Raw sugar’s large, golden crystals create a lovely sparkly top. To prevent a raw bottom crust, I’ve learned to bake pies for 20 minutes on the bottom rack, then switch to the center rack for the remaining time.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite homemade pie recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Savor every single tender, flaky apple bite
Hands-on time: 50 minutes (including crust)
Time to table: 2-1/2 hours
Serves 8
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Baking apples (see TIPS), peeled and sliced (5 - 6 cups of sliced apples)
  • 1/2 cup – 1 cup white or brown sugar (see TIPS)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (see TIPS)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch (see TIPS)
  • Egg wash of 1 egg yolk & 1 tablespoon water, whisked
  • Raw (turbinado) sugar, optional (see TIPS)

Set oven to 375F/190C.

CRUST Make pie crust dough.

APPLES Squeeze juice into a large bowl. Add apples as they’re sliced, tossing to coat with juice to prevent browning. Toss sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch into apples.

CRUST Roll bottom crust and arrange in pie pan, patching if needed, letting rough edge hang over the side. Refrigerate while continuing. Roll top crust.

FILL Fill bottom crust with apple mixture (see TIPS). Gently smooth the fruit, tucking in any slices that stick out.

TOP CRUST Arrange top crust over filling. With a knife, slice off excess crust, leaving about a half-inch beyond the pan’s edge. To form the crust, tuck the outer edge under itself and gently press to seal, then gently crimp between thumb and forefinger to form a decorative edge.

TO FINISH Brush top (but not the edge) with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

BAKE Bake for about 45 minutes (see TIPS) or until top crust is golden brown and juices inside are bubbling.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Slice, including double crust: 478 Calories; 26g Tot Fat; 11g Sat Fat; 59g Carb; 2g Fiber; 301mg Sodium; 30 mg Cholesterol; 4g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 11 & WW PointsPlus 12 (and worth it!)

A Great Pie Starts with a Great Pie Crust

For pastry tips and photo illustrations, see How to Make Flaky Tender Pie Crust. If it's been awhile since I've made a pie crust, I still like to review these tips before getting started.
For the recipe for pie crust in traditional recipe format, see Flaky Tender Pie Crust.

Playing Around with American Apple Pie

Elsah Landing Grape & Green Apple Pie, a variation of American Apple Pie.

My favorite variation of this simple apple pie recipe is to substitute homemade butterscotch for the brown sugar (for sweetness) and the cornstarch (for thickening). I make it while peeling the apples, watching carefully. If you're new to butterscotch, Simply Recipes has a great photo tutorial on how to make butterscotch.
Granny Smith apples work beautifully, too, just be sure to use the higher amount of sugar to contrast with the sourness.
For many years, Elsah Landing was one of the famous places for pie here in St. Louis. It was a tiny country place, right alongside the Mississippi River in Elsah, Illinois. It's closed now but in 2015, our "gourmet group" cooked a dozen or more recipes from the Elsah's Landing cookbook to sample. I was assigned the double-crust "Grape and Green Apple Pie" (pictured above). Harumph, as an apple-pie purist, just didn't see the point of mixing green grapes with apple for apple pie. Turns out, those folks from Elsah Landing are brilliant! Use 5 - 6 cups peeled and chopped Granny Smith apples (that's four large apples) and 1 cup green grapes, 1-1/2 cups sugar (yeah, way more than I usually use), 3 tablespoons cornstarch or instant tapioca, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon allspice and 1/4 teaspoon table salt. Before adding the top crust, dot the pie with 1 tablespoon butter, then sprinkle with top crust with raw sugar. Bake at 450F for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350F and bake for another 35 - 45 minutes. Let the pie cool and firm up for several hours before serving. We loved this pie, a kind of sweet 'n' sour, I definitely want to remember the recipe!

More Pie Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Pumpkin Pecan Pie Apple-Butter Pumpkin Pie Frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
~ more pie recipes ~

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PIE? Win a copy of a great 30-minute teaching video (VHS format) called 'Perfect Pies' by the Pie Whisperer Anne Cori. Just leave a comment mentioning your favorite kind of pie on any of these three articles by midnight CST, Tuesday, November 13th. When you do, your name will be entered into a drawing, the winner will be announced here the next morning. (In your comment, please leave some bit of information that will help me identify and notify you later, "Alex from Houston" is plenty.)

  2. Anonymous11/09/2007

    My favorite kind of pie is chocolate, my dad's is apple though til recently he was keener on crumbly than pie

  3. Anonymous11/09/2007

    In summer, strawberry rhubarb --

    Elsie from Springfield

  4. There's nothing better than warm apple pie and a scoop of french vanilla ice cream.

  5. Anonymous11/11/2007

    Sitting outside eating cool peach pie with a light flaky crust is the perfect way to spend an August afternoon.

    Angie from Toronto

  6. Apple with cranberries. Especially for the holidays

  7. Anonymous11/13/2007

    My favorite pie is a tie between fresh blueberry double crust or fresh peach with a lattice crust.

  8. My favorite is without a doubt pumpkin.

  9. Believe it or not, my favorite pie is chocolate tofu! It sounds a lot healthier than it is. Yes, there's tofu, but there is LOTS of butter and chocolate too. It's so rich and creamy and deep, dark-chocolatey! I always emphasize the tofu element in hopes that others will be turned off before trying it so there will be more left for me.

  10. WHAT's YOUR FAVORITE PIE? "Diane from Michigan" is the winner of the video about how to make perfect pie crusts.

  11. Anonymous1/21/2008

    WOW! Thank you for the pie, Alanna!

    Gregg said, "She nailed the 'flaky & tender'..." And we had our first quiet moment of the day; we all had our mouths full and were savoring the apple pie.

    Sarah suggested we tell the not-here-yet family members & guests that you didn't show up (so we could eat it all). And that is a very un-Sarah thing to say!

    Lizzie looked disconcerted when we said we should divide them each into equal eighths.

    It was just such a fun and very welcome surprise.

    Many, many, many thanks!!!

    Happy Pie People


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna