An absolute classic, this Apple Crumble Pie is filled to the brim with juicy apples laced with cinnamon, inside of a buttery flaky pie crust and baked off with a delicious oat crumble.
Apple Crumble Pie Recipe
Can I let you in on a secret? I failed at making a good apple pie the first few years into my baking career. Even after I was making pies full-time, I never could make an apple pie I was entirely happy with. Despite trying multiple recipes, I just felt the apples were never the right consistency and it lacked that oomph of flavor I was after. Looking back now, I realize I was using whatever apple came my way from the farmer's market, or whatever my chef would order for apples and that was a big part of the problem. Things changed when I started personally working with a local farm and I got into the nitty gritty research of apples in general. I learned a lot, but most importantly I learned which apples are truly best for apple pie. For me, the holy grail is a combination of Gala and Granny Smith. Now, having found this magical medley, I've never looked back; they are not my go-to's.
The blend of Gala and Granny Smith are perfect in this Apple Crumble Pie! This pie starts off with a flaky pie crust (this one or this one works well), filled with juicy and tart cinnamon apples, topped with a crunchy oatmeal crumble. This pie is classic elegance.
Apple Crumb Pie Ingredients
Here is an overview of the ingredients needed for this recipe. The full recipe is listed below in greater detail.
- baking apples (see below for my recommendations)
- brown sugar + white sugar
- cinnamon + nutmeg
- lemon juice
- vanilla extract
Best Apple for Apple Crumb Pie
For a pie, you want to have an apple that can hold it's shape, has a nuanced flavor and a slight tartness to break up the sweetness of the sugar. Using a combination of apples is helpful because it introduces a few different types of flavors and textures to the pie.
Gala and Granny Smith apples are both good choices for apple pie because they don't get mushy after a long bake in the oven, and they have a sweet and tart flavor to them.
Here are some of the best apples for baking:
- Granny Smith
- Yellow Delicious
- Pink Lady
- Ginger Gold
Tips for Making Pie Crust
New to making pie crust? I suggest you take a look at my Ultimate Guide for All Butter Pie Crust. But here are some quick tips:
- Let the dough rest. I never advise making dough the same day you plan to bake it. It gives the dough less time to hydrate, and makes it harder to roll out. However, in a pinch, if you aren't a pie crust novice, you can make it work.
- Weigh your ingredients! Always weigh your dry ingredients, especially when it comes to baking. Check out this post on using a kitchen scale if you are new to weighing ingredients. If you absolutely refuse to weigh them, I recommend for my recipes (which use a standard 120 grams of flour per cup) that you spoon in the flour into your measuring cup, and sweep away once it's filled. If you scoop and sweep, your cup of flour will have much more than mine does. This can mess with the recipe.
- Work quickly. Especially if your kitchen is hotter than 70 degrees. Melted butter is the enemy here. If the kitchen is hot, utilize the freezer or refrigerator through the dough-making process to ensure the butter doesn't turn soft.
- The bigger the butter chunks, the flakier your pie will be. If you love the look of super flaky dough, that almost looks like puff pastry, leave at least some of your butter chunks the size of a marble. Though there is a limit for how big to leave your butter pieces, so take care to only leave a few pieces the size of a marble.
How to Make the Crumble Topping
Let's talk about that crumble topping. You can call it whatever you want: dutch apple pie, apple streusel pie, apple crumb pie; I just like to call it delicious! It's topped with a crunchy sweet oat streusel that is so straightforward to put together. Sometimes, streusel recipes call for you to cut the butter in the flour and sugar mixture. I've found that when you melt the butter, it produces a crisp crumble topping that partners so well with the juicy apple filling.
To make it you:
- Melt the butter, then turn off the heat.
- Then, stir in the streusel ingredients right inside the pot. That way you have 1 less dish to clean up!
What Causes the Pie Filling To Sink?
Apples have a ton of moisture. When the apples are cooked, they release their moisture and then shrink. When you bake an apple pie, naturally the apple filling will first puff up and then as it cools, it shrinks.
To avoid the filling from sinking too much there are a few tips to keep in mind.
First, you want to make sure your fruit is cut into semi-thin slices of apples, that are all similar in size. Aim to slice your apples no bigger than ½" thick. I use this apple peeler (affiliate link), and I highly recommend it. It's worth the money and space in the kitchen, even if you only use it a few times a year.
Second, you can macerate the fruit before you begin to bake. Macerating the fruit in sugar helps draw out the moisture from the fruit, causing the fruit to soften and shrink before it enters the pie. This step alone will drastically reduce any gap between the crust and the filling with the fruit. A trick I sometimes use (that I learned from Rose Levy Beranbaum) is to let the apples macerate longer, then strain the juice into a pot and boil it down until it has slightly thickened. This will heighten the apple flavor and ensure you don't have a thin filling.
And finally, layer in your fruit. Instead of just pouring in apple slices haphazardly, you want to literally layer in the slices of apples and try to eliminate gaps between the slices of apple. If there are large gaps between the apples, once they cook and soften that space will be filled in with the juices and cooked fruit and the pie will sink further.
If you really wanted to avoid sinking fruit filling all together, you could cook pre-cook the apple filling all together. Check out this post about making a Mile High Apple Pie for how to cook fruit filling beforehand.
Pies are one of the easiest desserts to prepare ahead of time!
As with most pies, there are a few steps you need to complete to get to the finished product. A lot of these components can be broken down into steps and done days (or weeks) in advance.
You can make the pie dough ahead of time. You can prepare the dough up to 2 days ahead, or up to 3 months in the freezer.
You can roll out the pastry up to 1 day ahead of time. Roll out the bottom crust and place in a pie pan. Keep in the refrigerator, covered completely, until you are ready to make the pie.
Can this be made ahead of time and frozen?
Apple Crumble Pies are great to prepare ahead of time in totality, up until the point of baking.
To freeze this pie: place the whole pie on a sheet pan first, and place it in a freezer. Once frozen (at least 12 hours), wrap the whole pie in plastic wrap very tightly twice, and then cover with aluminum foil. Don’t forget to label it!
It is best to cook any frozen pie within 3 months, because the longer it is stored in the freezer, the less pronounced the flavor is. However, you can wait as long as about 1 year if frozen properly.
How to Bake this Apple Crumb Pie From Frozen
You can actually bake a fruit pie directly from the freezer. In my opinion, doing this is even better than a fruit pie baked fresh. The reason is that the crust has a chance to cook first before the filling does, so you can ensure you have a beautifully crisp crust and perfectly cooked filling.
- Unwrap the frozen pie and let sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes, or until the dough is tacky. Pre-heat oven to 425ºF.
- Bake on the lower middle rack for 10 minutes.
- Lower the oven temperature to 400º for another 50-60 minutes, or until the pie filling is bubbling or has reached an internal temperature of above 200ºF. Cover the pie with aluminum foil if it is browning too quickly.
How to Serve and Store It
Serve this pie slightly warm or at room temperature. It can be served as is, with whipped cream, or a la mode with vanilla ice cream!
To store the pie, you can leave at room temperature, covered, for 1 day. For longer storage cover and place in the refrigerator.
More Apple Recipes
I am so honored when you make a recipe from my site! If you make this Apple Crumble Pie, please leave a comment and a star rating with your experience! If you have any questions about this recipe, feel free to comment here, too!Print
Apple Crumble Pie
This Apple Crumble Pie starts with a flaky pie crust, filled with juicy cinnamon laced apples and topped with an oat crumble. It's a classic, and for good reason! Be sure not to skip the step of macerating the apples, for at least 20 minutes. You can let them macerate longer, for a better texture, if time allows. If you do macerate them for longer and you find you have a lot of juice in your bowl, you can strain the juice into a pot and boil it down until it has slightly thickened. This will heighten the apple flavor and ensure you don't have a thin filling. When you are placing the apple filling in the pie, layer the apples closely together helps prevent the crumb topping from sinking in from shrinkage from the apples.
- Prep Time: 00:40
- Cook Time: 01:00
- Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
- Yield: 8-12 servings
- Category: Sweet Pie
- Method: Bake
- 1-½ cups (180 grams) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons (112 grams) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1" pieces
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) apple cider vinegar
- 3-4 tablespoons (60 grams) ice water, more as needed
For Apple Filling:
- 4 lbs. (about 9) baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (about half a lemon)
- ¼ cup (30 grams) all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup (70 grams) light brown sugar, packed
- ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1-½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 8 tablespoon (113 grams) unsalted butter
- ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (110 grams) packed brown sugar
- ¾ cup (90 grams) all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup rolled oats
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch salt
Prepare the pastry:
- Add the flour and salt to the bowl of a food processor.
- Pulse 2-3 times until combined.
- Add in the butter and pulse 5 times.
- Add the vinegar to the water. With the motor running, slowly pour the water into the flour. The dough should be crumbly and it should hold together when squeezed. Drip in more water and toss together if needed.
- Empty the flour mixture onto a work surface. Quickly form the dough pile together. If there are any dry spots, drip a bit more water on them and knead together if you have to. Place each in a piece of plastic wrap and wrap tightly. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out until it stretches to the corner of the plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
- Roll out pie dough to an 11" circle. Fit pastry in a 9” pie plate, tucking in and crimping the edges as desired. Set in the refrigerator to chill until ready to use.
- Pre-heat oven to 425ºF and place oven rack on the second to lowest level.
Make the filling and crumble topping:
- Combine the sliced apples and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl. Add in the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla and mix together. Let sit until the apples have released some of their juices, at least 20 minutes.
- Melt butter in a medium pot, then turn off the heat. To the pot add granulated sugar, brown sugar, flour, oats and cinnamon and mix until completely combined.
To assemble and bake:
- Place the macerated apple pieces inside of the pie, taking care to layer them together, leaving very little space in between the apple pieces. Pour any remaining apple juices inside of the pie pastry. Place the pieces of butter on top of the filling and then sprinkle the crumble mixture on top of the pie.
- Bake the pie on a rimmed baking sheet on the lowest rack for 15 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 400ºF and bake for an additional 45-55 minutes, or until pie filling is bubbling and it’s reached an internal temperature of above 200ºF. If the crust or streusel is browning too quickly, loosely cover with aluminum foil.
- Let pie cool for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight. Serve at room temperature.
Use a mix of baking apples, such as gala and Granny Smith.
Pie can be stored, covered, at room temperature for up to 1 day. For longer than 1 day, store in the refrigerator.
Want to make this apple pie without the crumble? Make the recipes as is but top it with another pie crust to make it a double or lattice crust pie.
Keywords: apple crumble pie
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This sounds so good! I’ve had trouble with my apple pies that I stopped making them. You’ve given me some great tips I never knew. I’m gonna give it a try after at least 4 yrs of not making them. Thanks for the awesome tips!
I'm so glad you found this useful! Happy baking!
This is such a perfect looking pie! Looks so delicious!
Thanks so much, Rosie!
Such a gorgeous apple pie! Looks so delicious and perfect for the season ♥
Fabulous recipe! Super easy to make. I did use the basic butter crust instead of the one with cream cheese. Highly recommend !
I'm so glad you liked it! Here's to many more apple pies!
Hi, can we bake the filling for this pie before making it or is the result better if the Apple are not cooked?
Yes you can cook the filling before making it! I have similar instructions for the Mile High Apple Pie if you need the guidance. Let me know how it goes.
Excellent pie! Subbed Country Crock Butter sticks (to make dairy-free). Turned out spectacular.
I'm so happy you enjoyed it! Thanks for stopping by and sharing!
I love this pie recipe! Thank you for sharing it. Is there any way to make it a few days ahead and still have it taste fresh? How long in advance can one make it? Would cooking the filling make that possible.
You can bake it and freeze it if you want! Or it can be made up to two days ahead and refreshed in the oven before serving!
Thank you for your excellent instructions. The pie was delicious. However, is there something I can do next time to keep the pie crust on the bottom of the pan from coming out soggy? I followed all of the instructions, yet did have to substitute Country Crock Butter Sticks for the butter due to an allergy. I let the apples rest overnight just I did the dough The following morning I reduced the liquid from the apples to a very thick sauce with which I coated the apples before adding them to the uncooked refrigerated crust, placed the crumble on top and baked as described. Thank you for your guidance!
Hi KD. I'm not sure if the butter substitute you are using made a difference. But my best advice for getting the bottom crust to cook is to make sure the oven is preheated to the correct temperature, bake it on the lowest rack..and if you are still having trouble, put a pizza stone in the bottom of the oven. Or cook it longer!
Could you please clarify step 5? I get a little confused here. Thanks in advance!
Sure! In step 5 you are forming the dough into "pie disks". Once they are formed and wrapped into the disk, I instruct to roll them out while in the plastic wrap, as this stretches the dough into the corners of the plastic wrap. This is done for two reasons, the first is that it helps the dough come together better without touching it with your hands. The second is that is makes it an airtight seal which helps it stay fresher longer. Please reach out if you have any other questions.
Is there a replace for apple cider vinegar?
Hi Andre, you can just replace it with water if you don't have apple cider vinegar.
I combed through many other recipes before finding this one and it was absolutely perfect. The pie came out so well - thank you for a fantastic recipe!
Samantha, I'm so happy to hear! Thanks for sharing! -Kelli
Hi, We prefer a double crust. Are there any difference in baking instructions?
Check out this post: How to Bake a Double Crust Pie
This was great! My kids said that it was ten times better than any pie they had ever had. My topping looked a lot different than the photo (but tasted great). Just to make sure I did that part right... it's out correct that on top of the apple filling and 2T butter chunks I add the crumble which is made with melted/ not cold butter?? The directions on filling through the stages are very helpful. I loved the crust, it came out just as I'd hope. I chilled it until I was ready to fill it and bake it and it turned out great. The apples had a nice texture, not too soft or too hard. Thanks again Kelli!!
Hi Natalie! The 2 tablespoons butter chunks go on top of the apple pie filling. And then the crumble topping uses 8 tablespoons of melted butter! I'm going to look into the instructions to see if I can make sure it's very clear! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! -Kelli
Thank you so much your recipe. I made it my own and used corn flakes as the crumble. I added whipped cream on the top and it was delicious.
Wow, that sounds interesting! Thanks for sharing! -Kelli
Best apple pie I have ever had! It is so easy to make and taste incredible. I highly recommend this recipe.
I have been explicitly asked to make this pie several times by family members and a neighbor. Someone even offered to pay! It's super simple and absolutely delicious. It's now my go-to apple pie recipe.
Love this pie! It’s been requested for this thanksgiving. Any tips if I’m baking two? Can I bake them at the same time or should I do them separately?
Hi Candace! You can definitely bake them at the same time. If you are baking them on separate racks, make sure to switch them halfway through! Enjoy <3 Kelli
I am going to make this pie for Thanksgiving. Just want to know if the apple mixture can stay in the refrigerator for a day before using.
Amazing pie. I prepared days ahead of time for Thanksgiving, froze, then baked the day before. Worked out great and flavor is the best!
I made this with like 2lbs of apples and it fit a pretty big pie tin so I'm not sure how many people are eating this 9 apples one. I even used the same measurements as written above for the 2lb amount of apples and it looks great. But overall, the measurements seem proportionate to the taste and it smells amazing in the oven right now.
If you're like me and you always end up with excess crumble, you can easily half the crumble topping recipe and have the perfect amount for a nice layer.
I had the same issue! I prepared 4 pounds worth of apples and then only used half 🙁 No idea how others are using 4 lbs.
Did you use 4 pounds of apples and then cut and prepare, or did you use 4 pounds of cut and prepared apples?
Hi Kelli- I started with 4 pounds of apples, then peeled, cored, and cut them, and then let them macerate for almost 40 minutes. Are you using a deep dish pie pan? It wasnt mentioned so I assumed a standard 9” aluminum pie pan would work. Perhaps thats the issue?