Tony’s Very Favorite Dutch Apple Pie
Baking pies is something I hold near and dear to my heart. In fact, a lot of the pie recipes I make have never ended up on the blog simply because I’m baking them for pure comfort and joy. I don’t think about making them perfect or how I’m going to photograph them for the blog, instead I bake them with somebody special in mind, aka my husband.
What I love most about pie baking is that I get to work creatively with my hands, which somehow feels therapeutic and soul soothing, especially this time of year.
So, what do you say? Wanna throw on that Mariah Carey Christmas album (it’s never too early), put on your pajamas and spend time by yourself for a few hours making the most delicious homemade magic? If so, then this dutch apple pie recipe is for you.
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What’s the difference between regular apple pie and dutch apple pie?
You might be wondering: what the heck is a dutch apple pie and why is this chick telling me it’s a must make?! Let me fill you in: dutch apple pie is traditionally made with a streusel topping made up of butter, flour, brown sugar and sometimes, nuts or oats. It’s just slightly sweeter than traditional apple pies made with a lattice crust or regular crust on top and perfect with ice cream on top.
Basically, a dutch apple pie is what happens when a classic apple pie and apple crisp had a baby. And yes, you very much need it in your life.
Ingredients in dutch apple pie
This homemade dutch apple pie is filled with warming spices, tender apples and a perfectly sweet dutch apple topping. It’s truly incredible and perfect for fall, winter & all holidays. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- Homemade pie crust: you’ll use my best-ever homemade pie crust recipe to kick off this amazing dutch apple pie.
- Butter: you’ll cook down the apples to tender perfection in a bit of butter.
- Apples: I recommend using firm, sweet-tart apples like honeycrisp, braeburn or pink lady.
- Spices: we’re using cinnamon, allspice & nutmeg to spice the filling.
- Sweetener: you’ll need a mix of brown sugar and regular sugar to sweeten the filling.
- Secret flavor trio: for an even more incredible flavor you’ll add bourbon or amaretto, vanilla extract & apple cider vinegar to the filling.
- All purpose flour & cornstarch: you’ll use a bit of flour and cornstarch to thicken up the apple filling.
- For the dutch apple topping: you’ll need some more all purpose flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, rolled oats and butter to make a golden dutch apple topping.
Can I use store bought crust?
Yep! Feel free to use your favorite store-bought crust. The pie will still be delicious.
What makes this apple pie extra special?
I made this pie twice in one month two years back: one for fun and one for our friendsgiving. Both times it got rave reviews; as in, people were practically begging me for the recipe! Here are the secrets to really, really good apple pie:
- Use a good pie crust. A good, flaky pie crust is essential. I used my all butter flaky pie crust, which can be made ahead of time and kept in your fridge for up to a week or freezer for 3 months until ready to use.
- Peel your apples. Don’t forget to peel your apples. It’s annoying but worth the effort.
- Use thicker apple slices. Cut your apples into 1/4th inch slices and then pre-cook them down a bit so they are tender, but still have a nice bite. Trust me, this makes all the difference! Keeping them as slightly thicker slices helps them maintain their texture, and cooking them down a bit in sugars and spices helps to release their flavor before baking.
- Use both sugars. My recipe calls for both brown sugar and regular granulated sugar. Brown sugar adds a nice hint of molasses and caramel flavor. Bonus points if you use dark brown sugar.
- Add the special trio. To make this apple pie extra special, I add three special ingredients: a splash of bourbon, vanilla extract and apple cider vinegar. This, along with a hint of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice make this apple pie recipe absolutely PERFECT.
How do you make dutch apple pie?
- Make your crust. Roll out your dough, place it in the pie dish, shape your crust as desired and then cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until you are ready to add your apple pie filling.
- Peel your apples and cut into slices. You should end up with about 9-10 cups of sliced apples. Pay attention to how thick you are cutting them. 1/4th inch is perfect.
- Make your apple pie filling. You’ll add a little butter to a skillet then stir in your apple slices. Add in brown sugar, sugar and spices a cook over medium low heat for 5 minutes until apples begin to soften a bit. Finally stir in the bourbon, vanilla, apple cider vinegar, flour and cornstarch. Cook for 3-5 minutes more until sauce thickens up a bit. Cool filling for 30 minutes.
- Make your dutch crumb topping. In a large bowl mix together the flour, brown sugar, oats and cinnamon. Stir in melted butter and mix together until a crumb topping forms. Place in the refrigerator.
- Assemble the pie. Add the pie filling to pie crust, top with dutch topping mixture and bake! I recommend baking your apple pie on a baking sheet just in case the filling bubbles over. The pie is done when the filling is bubbly and the topping is slightly golden brown.
- Allow pie to cool for at least 4-6 hours. This is necessary to help the filling set. If you cut into it earlier, it’s likely to not be ready and the filling may not hold up as well.
What kind of apples are best for pie?
It’s best to use a sweet, yet slightly tart, firm apple in this dutch apple pie recipe. I recommend honeycrisp, braeburn or pink lady. A mix of honeycrisp and granny smith apples would also be delicious!
Do not use a soft apple or your apple pie filling won’t hold up as well.
Make it ahead of time
If you’re prepping this for the holidays or a special occasion, feel free to bake this pie 2-3 days ahead of time. It will hold up well at room temperature, then after a few days should be transferred to the fridge for optimal freshness.
How to store & freeze apple pie
- To store: after baking, you can keep the pie covered at room temperature for up to 2 days, then it’s best to transfer to the fridge and store for up to 3 extra days.
- To freeze: you can freeze dutch apple pie after baking by wrapping the pie tightly with aluminum foil and placing it in a heavy freezer bag. Pie can be frozen for up to 3 months. Once ready to eat, defrost the pie in the fridge and then reheat at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes or until warm.
More desserts you’ll love
Get all of our delicious dessert recipes here, and our fav Thanksgiving recipes here!
I mean come on, how delicious does this apple pie look? It’s perfect to bake for Thanksgiving or the holiday season! I hope you love it as much as my husband does — don’t forget to top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
If you make this dutch apple pie recipe, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe. I LOVE hearing from you and it helps other readers know how you liked it. xo!
Tony’s Very Favorite Dutch Apple Pie
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours
Incredible dutch apple pie made with an amazing perfectly spiced apple pie filling thanks to cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and a hint of bourbon. Topped with a traditional dutch apple crumb topping that gets golden brown and crunchy when baked. This homemade dutch apple pie recipe is my husband Tony’s absolute favorite and will be yours, too!
- For the crust:
- 1 recipe for pie crust
- For the filling:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 ½ pounds sweet-tart, firm apples (honeycrisp, braeburn or pink lady are great), peeled and cut into 1/4th inch slices (about 10 cups sliced apples)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon bourbon or amaretto
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- For the dutch apple topping:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup rolled oats
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- For serving:
- vanilla bean ice cream
Make the pie dough and shape the crust in a pie pan ahead of time, then store covered in the fridge. You can follow my recipe for an all butter flaky pie crust, use your favorite recipe, or a store-bought crust.
To make the apple pie filling: Melt butter in a large skillet or pot over medium heat. Add the sliced apples to the pan and stir to coat the apples with the butter. Sprinkle brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg over the apples and stir well to combine. Lower heat to medium low and cook for about 5 minutes or until apples soften. Next stir in bourbon, vanilla, apple cider vinegar, flour and cornstarch, and cook over low heat for 3-5 minutes so that the sauce thickens up. Remove from heat and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Make the dutch crumble topping: in a medium bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, oats and cinnamon. Add in the melted butter and stir together with a fork until it begins to form into crumbles and resembles wet sand. You may need to use your hands/fingers to form into nice crumbles. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until ready to use.
Remove pie pan with pie crust from the refrigerator and place pie pan onto a large baking sheet. I do this to avoid any spillage that may happen as the pie filling bubbles and bakes. Pour cooled apple pie filling into the crust, then top apple pie filling with the dutch crumble topping.
Bake for 50-65 minutes or until the filling is very bubbly and the crumble is slightly golden brown. Check pie after 30 minutes to make sure the crust isn’t burning. If it is getting too golden brown, simply cover pie edges with foil or pie shield.
Allow pie to cool on a wire rack for at least 4 hours before cutting into (this is annoying, but if you cut into it before then the pie filling won’t be set). The longer the pie rests, the easier it is to serve! Serves 9. Great with vanilla bean ice cream. Enjoy!
Feel free to make this pie with a store-bought crust instead of homemade. It will still be delicious.
To store: After baking, you can keep dutch apple pie covered at room temperature for up to 2 days, then it’s best to transfer to the fridge and store for up to 3 extra days.
To freeze: You can freeze dutch apple pie after baking by wrapping the pie tightly with aluminum foil and placing in a heavy freezer bag. Pie can be frozen for up to 3 months. Once ready to eat, defrost the pie in the fridge and then reheat at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes or until warm.
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats
This post was originally published on November 3, 2020, republished on October 27, 2021, and republished on October 11th, 2022.