Deep dish apple pie is a classic, old-fashioned American dessert. A mildly spiced apple filling is covered in a light and flaky crust, and then baked to perfection. My recipe tips (and secrets!) absolutely will help you create the best homemade apple pie you’ve ever tasted.

A piece of deep dish apple pie is sliced off from the entire pie in a pie dish.

You can’t deny that apple pie, along with pumpkin pie, is the highlight of a Thanksgiving feast. My deep dish apple pie always gets rave reviews at Thanksgiving and other holiday parties.

Not every apple pie is created equal. If you are searching for the perfect apple pie, this made from scratch deep dish apple pie recipe is, hands down, the winner!

The mildly spiced and caramelized apple filling completely fills the crust, making this pie burst with goodness. Each slice presents a glossy, buttery finish, with a soft texture in every bite.

The light and flaky homemade pie crust is to die for – thanks to the perfect combination of leaf lard and butter! It’s flaky and tender, and the bottom is never soggy. That’s the idea of the perfect deep dish apple pie.

A deep dish apple pie is showing the soft apple filling inside.

Recipe tips to make the perfect apple pie

In order to maximize the taste and texture, follow these tips. You will bake a truly amazing apple pie every single time.

  1. Use 3-4 different types of apples – Most people use only one type of apple to make their pie. Try mixing with other baking apples that are suitable for pies. Your apple pie filling will be well balanced with taste and texture. A list of baking apple choices is below. (FYI, I used Granny Smith, Gala, and Golden Delicious)
  2. Uniform apple slices – Make sure your apple slices are uniform in size so that they bake evenly.
  3. Lightly spice the apple filling – It’s a personal preference but I like the apple flavor to shine through without being overpowered by the spices. A hint of cinnamon is all you need.
  4. Precook the apple filling prior to baking – It makes the filling soft and balances the sweetness. It also maintains the even consistency of your pie and prevents an unsightly hollow gap between the crust and the filling.
  5. Use both white sugar and brown sugar – While white sugar dominates the sweetness to the filling. Precooking apples with brown sugar will help bring a caramel taste to the filling. Who wouldn’t love it?
  6. Use the correct pan – I love my deep dish pie pan, but the standard pie pan will work great too. This recipe will make a pie about 2 inches in height.
  7. Enjoy pie making time – Peeling and slicing apples takes time, and you shouldn’t try to bake an apple pie in a hurry. Find some quiet time in your kitchen and enjoy yourself making an apple pie from scratch. Make the time a therapeutic one for yourself.
A variety of baking apples for making deep dish apple pie are collected in a basket.

Best apples to use for apple pie

  • Granny Smith – The most common baking apple. Super tart and very firm. It holds up well during the baking process.
  • Gala – Multi purpose apple for baking and eating. Mellow sweetness and holds shape and texture well. Available all year round and easily found.
  • Honeycrisp – Sweet and crisp (as name says). Creates less juice when baked.
  • Golden Delicious – Mild flavor. They tend to break down easily when cooked, so they need to be combined with other firmer apples
  • Jonagold – Sweet and tart. Firm fleshed apple.
  • Pink Lady – Sweet, tart and super crisp. They hold their shape very well.
  • Northern Spy – One of the best apple for pie but not always available. Sweet, slightly tart, and firm. Look for them in farmers’ markets in the fall.
  • Braeburn – Well balanced taste, not too sweet nor tart. They release very little liquid when baked, which makes them very suitable for making pie
  • McIntosh & Cortland – Although most people consider these apples as baking apples, I find them to be too soft, and even mushy, when baked. Great for making apple sauce.

Perfect pie crust

A great apple pie should start with a perfect pie crust. You can’t beat a tender, flaky, homemade pie crust. Try my light and flaky pie crust recipe to bring the best of both worlds: leaf lard and butter.

It’s buttery, light, tender, and flaky. Once you have tried this pie crust recipe, you won’t go back to whatever you were doing before, I promise.

You can even make the crust a few days in advance and keep it in the fridge (or freezer) until your pie is ready to assemble.

Helpful Pie Baking Tips

  • Lower your oven shelf to the bottom 1/3 or 1/4 position: Pies need a long baking time. And the higher the oven shelf is, the more browning occurs. If you bake the pie on the lower shelf, it prevents the top crust from browning too much.
  • Place a large baking pan (lined with foil) underneath the pie pan to catch overflowing juice dropping – easy clean-up!
  • Bake at high temperature first: Bake at 425˚F for 25 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375˚F and continue baking. (If using a convection oven, reduce the heat in both cases by 25 degrees.)
  • If you have a baking stone or baking steel, put it on the lowest rack of your oven, but not touching your baking pan directly. The heat from the baking stone (steel) will rise and cooks the bottom crust quickly, making it nice and crisp. Big difference!
A deep dish apple pie is cooling on a rack lined with a napkin.

What you will need to make deep dish apple pie

For the equipment:

You don’t need fancy equipment to make a pie. You can make pie crust with an inexpensive dough blender if you don’t have a food processor. It’s easy as pie! Here are a few of other tools to make the job easier:

For the apple pie

  • Pie crust: recommend using homemade double crust pie dough
  • Baking apples: Use 3-4 different varieties. I used Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Gala
  • Lemon juice: A touch of lemon prevent the apples from browning and keeps the pie flavor bright.
  • White sugar & brown sugar: white sugars for sweetness and brown sugar for the hint of caramel flavor
  • Salt: balances the sweetness
  • Cornstarch: thickens the pie filling
  • Cinnamon: adds warmth to the filling without an overpowering taste
  • Egg white (well beaten): it prevents the bottom of pie crust from getting soggy. It’s optional but recommended.
  • Egg wash: I use the leftover egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon of water.

How to make deep dish apple pie

For the apple filling

Apples are peeled and sliced into small pieces.

Step 1. Prepare apples

Peel, core, and slice apples into thin slices to make 12 cups in volume.

Apple slices are combined with sugars and cinnamon in a large shallow pan.

Step 2. Combine apples with sugars and cinnamon

In a large shallow pot or skillet, gently toss the apple slices, lemon juice, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, salt, cornstarch, and cinnamon, until well combined.

Cook apple filling until it is soft and thickened.

Step 5. Cook apple filling

Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until apples are tender when poked with fork but still hold their shape, about 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, about 15-20 minutes.

Step 6. Preheat the oven

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 400˚ F. 

For the pie crust

Homemade pie crust is rolled out with a rolling pin.

Step 7. Rolling out the pie crust

On a floured work surface, roll out one of the chilled pie dough disks (keep the other one in the fridge) to a 13-inch diameter. Place the dough into a pie dish.

Roll out the other pie dough disk into a circle that is about a 12-inch diameter. This will be the top crust.

Tip to prevent the soggy pie crust bottom: Brush the bottom of the pie crust with the beaten egg white (if using). Then keep it in the fridge while you roll out the top crust.

pie crust

To bake the apple pie

Cooked apple pie filling is placed on a pie crust in a pan.

Step 8. Add apple filling

Reclaim the bottom crust from the fridge and put the cooled apple filling on it.

Step 9. Flute the edges

Cover the pie filling with the top crust. Trim or arrange the loose crust around the edge of pie pan. Crimp or flute the edges to seal.

Step 10. Brush and bake

Lightly brush the top crust with the egg wash. Sprinkle the top with granulated sugar or sparkling sugar. Cut a few slits on the top to allow steam to escape during baking.

Place the pie onto a large baking sheet and bake for 60 minutes total. After about 40 minutes of bake time, check the pie crust to see if it is browning too much. If needed, place a loose foil tent over the pie to prevent it browning, and return the pie to the oven for the last 20 minutes of baking.

Allow the pie to cool to room temperature, about 2-3 hours before serving. This will allow the filling to thicken up.

A slice of apple pie is showing its filling. is placed on a serving dish.

How to freeze apple pie

For unbaked pie: Don’t brush the top crust with egg wash or sprinkle with sugar. Tightly wrap unbaked pie in 3 layers of plastic wrap, making sure all sides of pie are completely sealed and unexposed to the air. Place pie in an extra large freezer plastic bag and freeze for up to 3 months.

For baked pie: Place the pie uncovered in the freezer for 2 hours. Once frozen solid, wrap the pie in plastic wrap and place it back into the freezer for up to 3 months.

A piece of deep dish apple pie is sliced off from the entire pie in a pie dish.

Old-Fashioned Deep Dish Apple Pie Recipe

My deep dish apple pie has mildly spiced apple filling, covered in a light and flaky crust, and then baked to perfection. Use 2-3 different apple to create the best homemade apple pie you’ve ever tasted.
5 from 2 ratings

Ingredients

  • 1 homemade double pie crust, or your favorite pie crust recipe
  • 3 to 3 1/2 lb baking apples, Use 3 different varieties of apples such as Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Gala, Northern Spy, Jonagold, Honey Crisp, and Braeburn
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • granulated sugar or sparkling sugar, for sprinkling

For the egg wash

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp water

Instructions 

  • Make the Homemade pie dough recipe and chill according to the instructions while preparing the filling. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and preheat oven to 400˚ F. 

For the apple filling:

  • Peel, remove cores and thinly slice apples to make 12 cups in volume. Place them in a large shallow pan.
  • In a large shallow pot or skillet, gently toss the apple slices, lemon juice, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, salt, cornstarch, and cinnamon, until well combined. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until apples are tender when poked with fork but still hold their shape, about 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, about 15-20 minutes.

To roll out the pie crust

  • On a floured work surface, roll out one of the chilled pie dough disks (keep the other one in the fridge) to a 13-inch diameter. Roll out the other pie dough disk into a circle that is about a 12-inch diameter. This will be the top crust.

To bake the pie

  • Place the pie onto a large baking sheet and bake for 60 minutes total. After about 40 minutes of bake time, check the pie crust to see if it is browning too much. If needed, place a loose foil tent over the pie to prevent it browning, and return the pie to the oven for the last 20 minutes of baking.
  • Allow the pie to cool to room temperature, about 2-3 hours before serving. This will allow the filling to thicken up.

Notes

Make Ahead / Freezing Instructions:

For unbaked pie: Don’t brush the top crust with egg wash or sprinkle with sugar. Tightly wrap unbaked pie in 3 layers of plastic wrap, making sure all sides of pie are completely sealed and unexposed to the air. Place pie in an extra large freezer plastic bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
For baked pie: Place the pie uncovered in the freezer for 2 hours. Once frozen solid, wrap the pie in plastic wrap and place it back into the freezer for up to 3 months.
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