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Grandma’s Apple Pie: The Perfect Way to Celebrate Harvest Season

There is quite simply, nothing like a homemade apple pie recipe from scratch. Especially if it’s made with Grandma’s method. Try our family’s favorite apple pie recipe (and see if my idea of the best apples for apple pie match yours)!

This homemade apple cobbler is pretty darned good, too.

7 apple pies on a white countertop

I grew up on an apple farm and the first apple pie of the season was reason for celebration. (Actually, it was usually on my dad’s birthday, so the two kind of went hand in hand.) This apple pie recipe from scratch is how we kicked off apple season!

Making Grandma’s apple pie recipe from scratch

Making apple pie is not difficult, though there is a little bit of time investment required for this family favorite dessert. There are two parts to this recipe: Making the pie crust and making the apple filling. Once you have these complete, you’ll assemble the pie and bake it. Ta da! 

Ingredients

Apples — What kind of apples is a matter of taste, really, but my absolute favorite is the Gravenstein apple. Check out this list of top pie apples for more ideas on which varieties work well. What’s available in one region might not be in another! How many apples does it take to make apple pie? You’ll need about a dozen fresh apples to fill a 9″ pie dish.

Pie crust — Yep, I make this from scratch, using my Grandma’s pie crust recipe. It uses basic ingredients (and one surprise one!) and is easy to make. It makes two crusts, one for the bottom, one for the top. If you don’t want to make your own pie crust, you can certainly use this recipe with one of those folded, frozen crusts.

Flour — When I bake with all-purpose flour I opt for the unbleached option. Bleached flour is very white, but it’s also treated with bleaching agents that I don’t really need in my food. 

Sugar — Use your favorite brand of granulated cane sugar. I prefer organic.

Seasonings — Cinnamon gives this recipe the flavor that we (or at least I!) associate with harvest season apple pie. 

Making pie doesn’t have to be fiddly. Be bold! Go forth and make pie! I like to serve grandma’s apple pie warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Or with a freshly brewed cup of coffee for breakfast in the morning.

4 way collage showing pie dough in a bowl, in a ball, rolled, and in a pie pan

Assembling the pie

Start by making the apple pie filling. Beginning with this step allows the apples to “juice out” a bit while you’re getting the pie crust ready. Peel and slice the apples into a large mixing bowl. Combine the flour, sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle it onto the apples, tossing to cover. Set aside.

Now make and roll out the pie crust. Roll the pie dough out so that it’s slightly larger than the pie pan. Transfer one of the crusts into the pie pan. I find it’s easiest to fold the dough in half to move it. Set the folded edge so that it is on the center of the pan and unfold. 

Use your hands to gently press the dough into the edges of the pie pan. Leave the excess dough hanging over the edge.

Apple slices in a pie dish with the bottom pie crust visible

Transfer the prepared apples into the waiting pie crust. Don’t be afraid to heap them a bit, since they’ll cook down as the pie bakes.

Take note of these photos. The one above is from my kitchen, many years ago. The one below is a pie made by a brand new pie maker. You can see the difference in the crusts, one being smoother than the other. But here’s the thing: practice makes perfect. And NOBODY’S belly complains about an imperfect crust when the end result is delicious!
pie crust filled with cinnamon coated apples

Lift the second pie crust onto the top of the apples. Crimp the edges of the crust to seal the two together. 

uncooked pie, pie with X, cooked pie, cooked pie with slice removed.

Use a sharp knife to cut an X or other design in the top of the pie to allow steam to escape. 

Bake the pie and remove when golden brown. Allow to cool somewhat before serving. 

slice of apple pie on a white plate

★ Did you love this recipe? Be sure to give it a star rating below! ★

Grandma's Apple Pie Recipe from Scratch

Grandma's Apple Pie Recipe from Scratch

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

The most important thing to know about making apple pie is that it's not hard. My grandma's pie crust might be new to you, but it doesn't have to be fiddly. Be bold! Go forth and make this apple pie recipe from scratch! 

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Measure dry ingredients into large bowl. Peel, core, and slice apples into the bowl. Toss apples and dry ingredients.
  2. Divide pie crust dough in two portions, and then roll out on a liberally floured surface. Your crust should be about an inch bigger than the pie pan, all around. Fold the dough in half for easy lifting, then move into a pie pan. Poke the dough a couple of times with a fork to prevent the bottom crust from getting air bubbles. (I do this because my mom says I should, but I've not once seen a bottom crust do anything weird.)
  3. Spoon the apple filling into the crust. The filling should be heaped three or four inches above the edge of the pie pan. The apples will cook down, so you want to be generous. If you end up with a few excess apple slices, consider them a snack. (I used to wait for this part of the pie baking process when I was a kid!)
  4. Roll out second crust, fold in half for easy moving, and gently place it on top of the apple filling. Gather the edges of both crusts, and turn them under as you work your way around the pie, crimping the edges together. Use a knife to cut a couple of slashes in the top crust to allow steam to escape.
  5. Place pie on a foil-lined cookie sheet to catch drips. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn heat down to 350 degrees. Continue baking for another 45 minutes or until pie is nicely browned.
  6. OPTIONAL: Brush top of pie with milk (to give it a shine) and bake for five more minutes.

Notes

The best apples for apple pie are - in my opinion - Gravenstein apples. They're spicy and tart and make a lovely pie. This is very much a matter of opinion, though!

If you want to freeze your pie for later, assemble it in an aluminum pie tin, then wrap it in a double layer of foil. Do not thaw pie to bake; unwrap and put frozen pie in the oven, then follow the cooking instructions above. Freeze for no more than two months for best results. This is a great way to have fresh pie on hand during the busy holiday season!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 230Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 0gSodium: 89mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 6gSugar: 23gProtein: 2g

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white bowl full of apple pie filling with apple pie crust on a floury countertop - ready for making an apple pie recipe from scratch

Originally published November 2016; this post has been updated.

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11 comments… add one
  • Norrie Wise Sep 21, 2021 @ 12:58

    I like to make more than one pie at a time if I am going to be making any at all. Then I like having one in the freezer. Only I can’t get it right on how long or hot to cook the frozen pie. I pack my apples pretty tightly together in there so there won’t be so much open, empty crust space after the apples shrink. Can anyone tell me how to cook the frozen pie? Do I need to thaw it out first? In the fridge? Cook it frozen? Thanks

  • Kelsey Aug 31, 2020 @ 1:36

    I really enjoyed reading your apple pie recipe. I also have many good memories of making apple pie with my grandma each year and I recently started my own blog, Minnesotaminifarm.com. One of my first posts was my canned apple pie filling recipe. I will definitely be coming back for more recipes.

  • Linda Sep 4, 2019 @ 3:25

    My son and his family recently went apple picking and he brought me a huge bag of Gravenstein apples. When I asked him what kind of apple they were he said “something Stein’s so I had to look them up. I’m making pies today! I usually use Granny Smith but can’t wait to see how these compare.

    • Kris Bordessa Sep 5, 2019 @ 11:44

      I hope you love them!

  • Stacey Oct 7, 2017 @ 23:48

    Made the most wonderful apple pie!!

    • Kris Bordessa Aug 14, 2018 @ 17:58

      I’m glad you liked it!

  • Judy Aug 15, 2017 @ 16:29

    Poking a fork all over the bottom crust is usually done only for a pie shell that you’re baking, e.g. lemon meringue, where you add the filling after the pie shell is baked.

    • Kris Bordessa Aug 23, 2017 @ 7:19

      Ever hear the story about why a cook cut the ends off the pot roast? 😉 (In short, because her mom did. When mom asked grandma, it turns out that it was to fit the roast in a too-small pan.)

      • Liz Nov 6, 2018 @ 3:25

        Agree with you Kris! That roast shrinks anyway, haha. I remember my mom freaking out because my husband put glasses away right side up instead of upside down 🙂

  • Denise Milne Nov 23, 2016 @ 11:07

    Poking holes is only necessary when baking a pie shell without filling (like a cream pie that will fill the crust later). If you don’t, then the shell will bubble up (just like your mom said). You don’t have to post this. It’s just for your information.

    • Cate Feb 24, 2017 @ 13:47

      I beg to differ. I recently made a pie in which I did not poke the sides with a fork. The crust crept down the sides of the pie plate and almost underneath the filling. Had I poked the sides before baking, I could have prevented this.

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