A perfect homemade apple pie recipe, any way you slice it.
This homemade caramel apple pie recipe, made with brown sugar, cinnamon, a good amount of tart apples, and an all-butter crust, makes the best apple pie you’ll ever have. This recipe takes you step by step.
Meet This Homemade Caramel Apple Pie Recipe
How much do I love a good homemade mile-high apple pie? So much that I do not have birthday cake for my birthday. I have apple pie. This warm caramel apple pie recipe, made with brown sugar and topped with a pat of butter? Nothing better.
Three elements make up the holy trinity of good apple pie: A flaky, all-butter crust; tart, juicy apples; and the perfect combination of sugars and cinnamon. This recipe’s got it all.
You’ll also love: Lemon Curd Tart and Jewish Apple Cake
Crafting Your Best Caramel Homemade Apple Pie
Rather than a caramel sauce or any additional bells and whistles, this pie relies on the subtle butterscotch-molasses flavor of brown sugar to achieve a caramel flavor that tastes sweet and a little earthy, but does not overshadow the tart apple flavor.
People seem to be intimidated by pie baking. But since the apple filling is little more than sliced apples tossed with sugar, cinnamon, and a little lemon juice, the reluctance to dive into pie baking generally comes from the prospect of making a pie dough from scratch.
Never fear. Homemade pie dough is not hard; you just have to know the right technique. I fact, you don’t even need a rolling pin. A clean wine bottle will do (and has built-in happy hour). So the first step is to read How to Make Perfect Pie Dough for the step-by-step lesson and recipe.
Caramel Apple Pie: Recipe Pro Tips and Notes
What Are the Best Apples for Pie
Once your pie dough is chilling in the refrigerator, prepare the apples. Use crisp, tart apples that will not turn into mush when baked. Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Braeburn, and Northern Spy are best apple pie apples.
How to Peel and Cut Apples for Pie
To correctly slice apples for pie:
- Peel the apples and sit them upright. Slice each apple downward into two hemispheres, avoiding the core.
- Cut one slice of apple from each remaining side of the core.
- Then, cut each hemisphere into about three pieces.
The apple slices will then get tossed with sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and a little lemon juice to brighten the apple flavor. Flour is added as a thickener, so you don’t cut into cooked apples in a pool of juice. A pat of butter goes on top for extra lily gilding.
A couple more tips on how to make homemade apple pie:
- Serve apple pie warm, but not hot. The apples and juice need to set up a bit before slicing.
- This is a big one that I learned in pastry school: When you add the apples into the pie pan, press them down so they are compact in the pie shell. The apples will settle when they cook, but if they are already compressed, you won’t end up with a top dome of pie crust, several inches of air, and then the fruit far down below when you cut into it. (This is also the reason to add vents to the top of the pie.)
- Don’t forget the egg wash. This adds the golden brown gloss to the top of the pie.
Most of all: It is ok — better, even — to have an imperfect pie. Pies are homey and rustic. So do not worry if your edges look a little wonky, or the top comes out lumpy. It is all part of the charm, and tastes just as good. Maybe better.
If you like homemade apple pie, you will also love these other apple desserts and recipes:
- Deep Dish Apple Crisp With Oat Topping
- Easy Homemade Applesauce
- Apple Rye Spice Cake
- Apple, Sage and Gruyère Scones
Homemade Carmel Apple Pie
- 1 recipe Perfect Pie Dough (link in instructions, below)
- 8 to 10 crisp, tart baking apples, such as Granny Smith or Honeycrisp
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon cold butter
- pinch salt
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 egg, whisked with a few drops of water
- Prepare one recipe Perfect Pie Dough through Step 4. This will include dividing the dough into two halves, and chilling.TIP: The pie dough can be made up to two days in advance and chilled, wrapped, in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. While the pie dough is chilling, peel the apples. Cut each apple into thick wedges, about 8 wedges or so per apple, and place the wedges in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the lemon juice, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, pinch of salt, and all-purpose flour to the apples and mix well to combine. Let stand for about 15 minutes, until juices form.
- While the apples are resting, roll each chilled pie dough to 1/8" thick, using a little extra flour to dust the dough and countertop.
- Place the first pie dough into a 9" deep-dish pie shell, and lightly press into place. There will be overlap. Add the apples. Gently press the apples down to settle them into a compact mound. Add the tablespoon piece of butter on top.
- Drape the second pie dough over the apples. Using a knife or kitchen shears, cut the excess dough from the pie, leaving about a 1" drape on all sides.
- Tuck the draped dough lopping off the edge of the pie upward, folding it down onto the rim of the pie. Use the tines of a fork to crimp the edges and seal the two doughs. Lightly brush the egg wash over the pie. Do not do too thick of an egg wash or you will get little omelets on your dough.
- Bake 50 minutes to one hour, until the crust is golden brown and the apple juices are bubbling. PRO TIP: Put the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet or some tin foil to catch any apple juices that may spill out of the pie during baking.
- Serve warm.
For anyone reading this, I’ve baked this apple pie recipe about 5 times, and it truly is the BEST apple pie recipe!!!
I’m baking this recipe for Thanksgiving-but, I’m using a standard muffin tin to make mini individual pies.
How MANY mini individual pies will I get from this recipe?
Hi, Lisa! Happy Thanksgiving week! That’s a great question about the mini-pies. My instinct says about 24, but I am honestly not sure! One for-sure tip I’d share, though, is to cut the apples into a medium dice (more to scale with the mini-pie idea), instead of large chunks. Happy baking!
Happy Thanksgiving ?? to you too!
Thank you for responding so quickly (and thanks for the tip!!!).
I’ll let you know how to comes out …
I have a quick question, and forgive me if I’m overlooking “it” …
But where/when is the 1Tbls of cold butter added to the list of ingredients for the filling?
I’ve enlarged the writing, and gave reread about 7 times,and I’m not catching when to add the “1 Tbls of cold butter “…
I’m baking the pie right now
Hi, Lisa! Good catch. I realized that it was in the post text and not the recipe. The pat of butter goes on top of the apples, before you put the crust on top. But it is optional, so don’t worry if it gets omitted!
Thank you Lisa for responding..the pie came out so well,I didn’t refer back to comments until now. My boyfriend loooved the pie as did company.
I wasn’t surprised it was so good-all of your recipes have been “fail-proof.”
It looked beautiful & tasted just as good. Another wonderful recipe—THANK YOU!
BTW: I forgot to mention a year ago : I discovered your site through subscribing to Jenn @ “Once Upon A Chef.” She encouraged readers to check out your site. I refer to both sites, and have learned so much – thanks!
Thank you so much and I am just so happy that it came out well! Jenn’s the best. I’m so glad that she sent you my way!
I made this apple pie with Honeycrisp apples over the weekend and it turned out so beautifully. I did not do a lattice crust. I just draped a whole crust over the top, then egg washed and baked. It tasted so good, and a homemade pie crust is definitely better than the ready-made ones. Worth the extra work.
This has become my go-to apple pie recipe. Thank you.
Great recipe. I love the tartness of Granny Smith apples.
Pie perfection ! Thank you for the recipe !
Yea!!! You’re so welcome!
I am going to make this for our stay-at-home Thanksgiving tomorrow. Although we’re not having the “traditional” Thanksgiving meal, a homemade apple will will be the perfect comfort food that we need. Hoping my lattice top will look somewhat respectable.
We love this recipe and have made it several times since you first published it. I am hooked on my all-butter crust! I use honeycrisp apples.
Made this past weekend and was BOMB
Still working on my crust technique, but it tasted fantastic and everyone loved this.
Crust is hard to master! But don’t worry if it’s not perfect. It’s just “rustic,” that’s all. 🙂