Deep Dish Apple Pie from Scratch

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This deep dish, mile high apple pie is jam-packed full of sweet and tart apple slices in a spiced brown sugar filling, nestled in a super-flaky deep dish butter and leaf-lard pie crust that makes for the best traditional apple pie you'll ever have.

Apple pie is my favorite year-round pie, it's sitting on the table at the 4th of July, at a Labor Day party, and a slice will most likely be on your dessert plate at Thanksgiving.

pinterest pin for deep dish apple pie with a side view of a tall slice of apple pie and a scoop of ice cream on top

I have been making apple pie for over a decade now, and for me...a deep-dish apple pie full of apples in rich, fall-spiced filling with a flaky and flavorful double crust...there's nothing more classic. It's just so good, y'all. I absolutely love this recipe, and I know you will, too.

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What type of pie plate should you use?

For this mile high deep dish, you'll want a 9 inch 'deep dish pie plate' which is at least 2 inches deep. If it's shorter, you'll run the risk of the apples toppling over.

There are three common types of pie plates: the tempered glass (like Pyrex or Anchor Hocking), the ceramic plate (like Emile Henry), or the metal pie plate.

Glass Pie Plates (like this Pyrex Pie Dish) are common in the home baker's arsenal. I use them all the time! Glass is a slow heat-conductor, so it evenly and thoroughly bakes bottom pie crusts. It's also very affordable! The only downside is that it cannot go from oven to freezer too quickly, as tempered glass can shatter from extreme temperature fluctuations.

a homemade deep dish apple pie with lattice crust sitting in a pie dish on a wood serving platter

Ceramic Plates (like the Emile Henry pie dish used in my photos) are my personal favorite. They're so pretty and present very well on the table, and they also have great heat-diffusion and retention, making for well-baked pie. They don't shatter like glass pie dishes when moved into a fridge or freezer to cool down quickly and can be used under the broiler, which is perfect for lemon meringue pie!

Metal Plates. (Which I've used for recipes like my Sister Schubert Copycat Rolls) They're great for pies that need their crust blind-baked or for pies that have just a bottom crust. But they're not great for pies that need to be baked for long periods of time, because they're such great heat conductors they can end up burning the bottom of the crust if you're baking for a long period of time. And you cannot cut the pie in that plate, it'll scratch and rust.

Making Old Fashioned Deep Dish Apple Pie

There are three components to that make this the best deep dish apple pie recipe: good juicy apples, the caramel-esque apple filling made with apple cider, brown sugar, and plenty of spices, and the perfect flaky homemade pie crust.

Fool-proof Buttery, Flaky Pie Crust

The first step to perfect pie is the perfect top and bottom crust. It needs layers, it needs flavor, it needs love, it needs vanilla ice cream on top!

My favorite pie crust recipe is one that uses both butter and lard. Leaf-lard to be exact. Leaf lard is the highest grade of lard you'll find, rendered from the soft visceral leaf-shaped fat on top of pig kidneys.

Because of that, leaf lard has a delicate, smooth consistency, high smoking point, and is decidedly light and not-porky in flavor unlike regular lard, which is made from fatback pork.

a view of the lattice pattern on the top crust of the traditional apple pie and turbinado sugar on top

Anyway, so the reason why we're using leaf lard (which can easily be found on Amazon) is because of that high-smoke point, or in this case the high melting point. Butter, which is where we are getting that highly desired buttery flavor, has an incredibly low smoke point. Why does that matter? Because we want flaky layers in our pie crust. And that comes from those bean-sized pieces of fat we cut up while making pie dough.

When you roll out the pie dough and see all those pieces of butter and leaf lard in the raw crust, those pieces of fat (and water, btw) are slow to melt away. They create pockets in the crust as it bakes, since they are just refusing to melt.

The butter melts much more quickly than the leaf lard, and the steaming water in the butter helps puff up the crust, but the lard helps the crust remain structurally sound, full of flakiness, as it slowly melts away. To me, leaf-lard and butter are the ultimate combo for a foolproof, flaky, buttery crust.

I've been loving making dough with a food processor instead of the usual pastry blender situation, it's much faster. I blend up all the ingredients in the processor and once the flour is like coarse crumbs and the fat is bean sized, it's ready to turn into disks of dough!

Homemade Apple Pie Filling

There is nothing more disappointing than a mile high apple pie that is watery, flavorless, mushy, and has a huge gap between the top crust and the filling. A mess that no one wants.

Here are my best tips to ensure we have a perfect apple pie filling:

First, cook down your apples before baking! Basically making the filling before you even need to make the pie. This helps so so much in making sure you have perfect apple pie. If you've never cooked the filling before baking, it's a total game changer!

It releases the excess water from the apples (which then thickens up with the other filling ingredients), the apples are only par-cooked so they finish cooking in the oven, and have extra time to absorb all the flavor from the spices. I have a whole post and recipe on cooking and canning/freezing apple pie filling to make it ahead of time and have it ready for whenever you're ready for pie.

apple pie filling that has been cooked and canned sitting int a basket

This filling can last a couple of days in the fridge so it's perfect for getting that Thanksgiving game plan going. This is also why you want to make sure you have the right apples for baking, ones that aren't too soft and will mush up under the crust.

Here are my best tips to ensure we have a perfect apple pie filling:

First, cook down your apples before baking! Basically making the filling before you even need to make the pie. This helps so so much in making sure you have perfect apple pie. If you've never cooked the filling before baking, it's a total game changer! It releases the excess water from the apples (which then thickens up with the other filling ingredients), the apples are only par-cooked so they finish cooking in the oven, and have extra time to absorb all the flavor from the spices.

a close up view of the flaky layers in the lard and butter crust of the apple pie

We need plenty of spice and flavor in this filling. Of course there's the usual cinnamon but I love adding ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom. Mix the apples with this, brown sugar, unsalted butter and cornstarch while cooking them down on the stove top with lemon juice and lemon zest until tender, syrupy, and perfect.

This filling can last a couple of days in the fridge so it's perfect for getting that Thanksgiving game plan going. This is also why you want to make sure you have the right apples for baking, ones that aren't too soft and will mush up under the crust.

What apples to use in pie?

Use a variety of baking apples. There are several 'types' of apples: some good for baking, some for applesauce or apple butter, and some are just good to eat fresh! You need to know what apples are the right kind for baking so you don't end up with mushy, shapeless, watery filling.

side view of a very tall slice of mile high deep dish apple pie with vanilla ice cream on top served on a dessert plate

The best baking apples are ones that stay firm and hold their shape after both baking and cooking down. Tart apples like Granny Smith apples are really popular to make the best apple pie, but I help it out a little with a sweeter type or two like Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Fuji, or Empire. All of these hold their shape and flavor really well in a pie.

How to Make Apple Pie from Scratch

an overhead shot of the apple pie before getting cut into

Okay so now let's put the whole thing together!

Make the double crust pie dough. This recipe makes two crusts for a deep dish 9-inch pie plate and you can either use the food processor technique or a pastry cutter. Using really cold butter and lard is super important for tender, flaky crust.

Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and turn into two thick 4-inch disks with a little help from a bench scraper and your hands, then wrap with plastic wrap to chill in the fridge for at least half an hour before rolling out. We have to get those fats back to being cold. The pie dough can last in the fridge for up to 3 days, so if you're doing holiday prep keep that in mind!

Next, make your apple filling. Peel, slice, and core your apples evenly. I use an apple peeler that does all these things, it's pretty amazing.

We want them to be ¼ inch slices, so they cook evenly and aren't too thick. No one wants a huge chunk of undercooked apple lurking beneath a tender crust. Then saute the apple slices in the sugar, spices, apple cider, cornstarch, and lemon juice/zest. I like using a hefty teaspoon of Some people like using all purpose flour, but I prefer cornstarch for a clearer filling.

Roll out the bottom pie crust. To have the pie dough easily transfer from the work surface, turn the pie dough after rolling from the center and away from you a couple of times and repeat.

Pro Tip: I like blind baking my bottom pie crust so I don't risk sogginess with my pie. The crust ends up flaky and lovely. I don't suggest this if you decide to use a metal pie dish, though.

Pile the pie filling compactly. The apple mixture shouldn't be just tossed all willy-nilly in there, we want there to be as minimal air pockets as possible so things don't shift around and have big gaps.

side view of the cut into apple pie, showing the flaky crust and many layers of apple pie filling

Roll out that second disk of dough. This one should be a 12-inch or 13-inch circle to ease dough all the apples and the pie dish (use a sharp knife to cut about 2-inch slits in the top of the dough). You could also make this a lattice topping, cut out cute patterns for the top crust, or make a whole 'nother pie and top this one with streusel for a dutch apple pie instead.

If you're using that second dough as a top crust, pinch edges of top and bottom of each edge of dough together by fluting with your fingers or crimping with a fork or other pie crust tool.

Brush with egg wash. That egg wash is quintessential for a deep golden brown and glorious crust. It also is needed for raw sugar to stick to the crust, if you're going to be extra like me...well, you're here so you'll probably be really extra like me! #teamextra

overhead view of entire apple pie after baking, with cinnamon sticks and apples

Bake. Watch as your beautiful pie gets those juices a'bubblin' through the vents you made on the top crust it turns golden brown and crisp for one hour. Ugh, so good. And for the love of all that is your oven not having burnt sugar and gunk on the bottom of it, place the pie dish on a baking sheet just in case there's just too much juice going on in your deep dish pie plate.

Serving, Storing, and More

The hardest part of making this apple pie is the wait. The cooler the pie, the more set the filling. For that picture-perfect slice, you'll need your deep dish pie to cool for at least 2 hours, or until the entire pie is room temperature.

Apple pie can stay out on the counter top for up to 2 days, make sure to cover it loosely with plastic wrap or aluminum foil so the crust doesn't get soggy. Past that, it can stay in the fridge for another 3 days.

To freeze, wrap pie tightly with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place in heavy-duty freezer bag. Use the pie within 3-4 months of freezing for best quality.

Defrost the apple pie in the refrigerator and then reheat in a 350 degrees F oven until warm (about 10-15 minutes).

  • To freeze unbaked apple pie, wrap the assembled pie in plastic wrap, with as much air pressed out as possible. Wrap the pie in aluminum foil and freeze up to one month.
  • To bake frozen, raw pie, remove it from the freezer, unwrap the foil and plastic wrap, and place it into the oven. Bake as directed, adding on about 15 minutes to the baking time, or until the top is golden and the filling is bubbling.
  • To freeze a baked pie, wrap and freeze the pie as above.
  • When ready to serve, unwrap and let the pie thaw at room temperature. Warm it up in a 350 degree F oven for about 15 minutes to crisp up the top and warm the filling.

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📖 Recipe

Deep Dish Apple Pie from Scratch

Eden Westbrook
This deep dish, mile high apple pie is jam-packed full of sweet and tart apple slices in a spiced brown sugar filling, nestled in a super-flaky deep dish butter and leaf-lard pie crust that makes for the best traditional apple pie you'll ever have.
4.94 from 15 votes
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Rest/Cooling Time 3 hours 25 minutes
Total Time 5 hours 30 minutes
Course Desserts
Cuisine German
Servings 8 -10 servings
Calories 544 kcal

Ingredients
  

Butter + Lard Crust

  • 2 ½ cups 350 g all-purpose flour, + more for work surface
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon 10 g kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoon unsalted butter 112 g, chilled and cubed
  • ½ cup 105 g leaf-lard or vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 7 tbsp-½ cup 104 to 120mL ice water

Filling

  • 4 tablespoon 57 g unsalted butter
  • ½ cup 96 g granulated sugar
  • ½ cup 96 g brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon 5 mL vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoon 7 g cinnamon, ground
  • ¼ teaspoon 1 g nutmeg, ground
  • ½ teaspoon 2 g ginger, ground
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom ground
  • 1 teaspoon 4 g lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon 15 mL lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoon 23 g all-purpose flour
  • 5 lbs apples peeled, chopped into ¼ inch slices
  • 2 tablespoon 15 g cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoon 30 mL apple cider*

Baking

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon 15 mL cream or milk
  • 2 tablespoon 24 g turbinado sugar

Instructions
 

Make the Crust

  • In a large bowl or food processor, whisk together kosher salt and all-purpose flour. Add the eight tablespoons of butter and the leaf-lard or shortening.
  • With a pastry cutter or the food processor on 'pulse', cut the fats and flour together until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Most of the fat should be the size of sweet peas or beans, and larger sized bits of fat are encouraged.
  • Using a tablespoon measuring spoon, pour one tablespoon of ice water at a time in and stir with a large rubber spatula or spoon. Stir after each addition of water. Stop adding water when the dough begins to clump together.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. It should be slightly, slightly tacky and come together easily. Form the dough into a ball, then divide it into two halves. Flatten each half into 1 inch thick discs. Wrap each dough disc tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour (but they can stay in the fridge for up to 3 days).

Make the Apple Pie Filling

  • In a large pot over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Stir in both sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, lemon zest and juice, and flour. Add apples and toss with a wooden spoon.
  • Cover pot and cook the apples, stirring occasionally, making sure the sugar doesn't burn and the liquid is bubbling. The apples should begin to soften in 10 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and apple cider. Pour into the apple mixture and turn the temperature to low. Let cook for another 5 minutes, or until apples have softened and become a little tender.
  • Let apple filling cool for one hour to overnight before assembling apple pie.

To Assemble

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C; gas mark 5).
  • Remove one pie crust disk from the fridge, unwrap it, and place it on a work surface. Roll out the disk from the center outward, lifting crust slightly and rotating it 90 degrees after every few rolls. Lift and dust underside with flour every so often to prevent the pie crust from sticking. Roll dough out to be about 11 to 12 inches, and about ⅛" thick.
  • With your rolling pin, roll pie crust off the work surface to loosely wrap around the pin and carefully it roll out into the pie dish. Trim the edges to ½ inch beyond the lip of your pie dish, then turn the edge under to create the rim. Press the rim against the pan to form an even edge. Use scraps to fill in any tears, thin spots, or holes in the pie crust. Refrigerate the pie crust for 15 minutes to chill the fats.
  • Remove the crust from the fridge and cover the crust with a large piece of parchment paper. Fill the parchment paper with dried beans or pie weights, then cover the edges with strips of aluminum foil to prevent browning. Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the parchment paper and pie weights and bake for 15 more minutes. This is pre-baking the crust so it won't be soggy once your apple pie is fully baked. Let it cool for 10-15 minutes.
  • Raise oven temperature to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C; gas mark 7).
  • While baked crust is cooling, roll out the second pie crust on a floured work surface.
  • Add the apple filling to the pie dish, making sure to compact the apples into the crust in the pie dish, as air pockets will cause a gap in between the apples and the top crust. Place the rolled out second crust over the top, then crimp the edges with your fingers to seal the top crust to the bottom.
  • Whisk the egg and cream together in a small bowl, then brush that egg wash over the crust. Sprinkle raw sugar over the crust as well. Using a sharp knife, cut some slits into the top crust to give the steam a place to escape. Disregard if you are doing a pattern.
  • Place pie on a baking sheet to ensure any bubbling filling doesn't burn onto your oven, then put in the oven on the middle shelf. Bake the pie for 15 minutes and check to see if the edges are browning faster than the rest of the crust. If so cover the edges with a crust protector or carefully cover the edges with a strip of aluminum foil.
  • Reduce heat back to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C; gas mark 5) and continue to bake for 40 minutes. The top should be golden brown and the filling bubbly.
  • Let apple pie cool completely (2-3 hours) before serving to let the filling set up. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Notes

*If you don't have apple cider, apple juice or even water works well for its purpose.

Serving, Storing, and More

For that picture-perfect slice, you'll need your deep dish pie to cool for at least 2 hours, or until the entire pie is room temperature.
Apple pie can stay out on the counter top at room temperature for up to 2 days, make sure to cover it loosely with plastic wrap or aluminum foil so the crust doesn't get soggy. Past that, it can stay in the fridge for another 3 days.
To freeze, wrap pie tightly with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place in heavy-duty freezer bag. Use the pie within 3-4 months of freezing for best quality.
Defrost the apple pie in the refrigerator and then reheat in a 350 degrees F oven until warm (about 10-15 minutes).
  • To freeze unbaked apple pie, wrap the assembled pie in plastic wrap, with as much air pressed out as possible. Wrap the pie in aluminum foil and freeze up to one month.
  • To bake frozen, raw pie, remove it from the freezer, unwrap the foil and plastic wrap, and place it into the oven. Bake as directed, adding on about 15 minutes to the baking time, or until the top is golden and the filling is bubbling.
  • To freeze a baked pie, wrap and freeze the pie as above.
  • When ready to serve, unwrap and let the pie thaw at room temperature. Warm it up in a 350 degree F oven for about 15 minutes to crisp up the top and warm the filling.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 544kcalCarbohydrates: 89gProtein: 9gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 157mgFiber: 6gSugar: 28g
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11 Comments

  1. This looks so yummy, saving this to make for Thanksgiving!

  2. Andrea Metlika says:

    Definitely a perfect homemade classic pie. Looks fantastic.

  3. This is a delicious and classic apple pie recipe. I'll be making it again for Thanksgiving!

  4. This was amazing! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  5. I love the sound of all the spices you've used in this apple pie - can't wait to try it!

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  10. Armelle Dee says:

    I love this recipe! And Minnesota honey crisp is my favorite. I afraid to use lard but like you said a great crust will call for lard. I am learning the "GOAT" expression hear for the first time 🙂 ! Boy I am being too old school :). Thanks for sharing this

  11. Jeff Honeywood says:

    I've been working on a puff pastry apple tart, but looking at those pics makes me want to roll out some dough and make a pie. I LOVE apple desserts, and I wanted to make something unique. Now, I think I need to go back to the classics.