Gallery: Step-by-Step: How to Make a Perfect Apple Pie

A great apple pie can be as simple as picking the right type of apples; chopping them up; tossing them with sugar, spices, and a thickener; dumping them into a killer homemade pie crust; topping it; and baking it. A perfect apple pie, on the other hand, takes just a little bit more work. Here's how to get there, fully illustrated with step-by-step photos.

  • Perfect Apple Pie

    Perfect Apple Pie

    A perfect apple pie should have a tender, crisp, and flaky crust with juicy, flavorful apples inside that hold their shape as you slice.

  • Heat Apples

    Heat Apples

    Start by peeling and slicing 4 to 4 1/2 pounds of Golden Delicious, Braeburn, or other baking apples into pieces about 1/4 inch thick. Place them in a bowl, then pour 3 quarts of boiling water or cider over them. This will activate an enzyme in the apples that helps them retain their shape and texture as they bake.

  • Cover and Rest

    Cover and rest

    Cover the apples with plastic wrap and set them aside for 10 minutes to allow those enzymes to get to work.

  • Dry Apples

    Dry Apples

    Transfer the apples to a colander and let them drain, tossing occasionally, until they are completely dry, about 10 minutes.

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  • Add Sugar, Cinnamon, Salt, and Cornstarch

    Add sugar, salt, cinnamon and cornstarch

    Transfer the apples to a large bowl and add 10 tablespoons of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon (or more if you really like cinnamon—I like to keep my spicing light), 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.

  • Toss to Combine

    Toss to combine

    Toss the apples to combine, making sure that the sugar and cornstarch evenly coat them. Using 2 tablespoons of cornstarch yields a very loose and juicy pie. If you prefer your pie with a thicker filling, add up to 2 tablespoons more starch.

  • Line and Fill Pie Plate

    Line and fill pie plate

    Roll out one disk of pie dough (see our step-by-step guide to pie dough for instructions), transfer it to a pie plate, then fill it with the apple mixture, mounding up the apples in the center. Discard any excess juices in the bottom of the bowl.

  • Pile High!

    Pile High!

    Pile the apple slices on top of each other to completely fill the pie plate.

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  • Cover With Top Crust

    Cover with top crust

    Unroll the second disk of pie dough over the apples, allowing it to overlap the edges of the pie plate by an inch on all sides.

  • Trim Dough

    Trim dough

    Use a pair of kitchen shears to trim both the bottom and top pie crusts so that they overlap the pie plate by 1/2 inch on all sides.

  • Tuck Dough Underneath

    Tuck dough underneath

    Fold the top and bottom crusts together and tuck them underneath themselves to sit even with the edge of the pie plate all the way around.

  • Flute Edges

    Flute edges

    Use the thumb and forefinger of one hand and the forefinger of the other to flute the edges of the pie all the way around.

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  • Cut Vents

    Cut vents

    Use the tip of a knife to cut five vent holes into the top of the pie crust.

  • Brush With Egg Wash

    Brush with egg wash

    Lightly beat an egg white and brush the top of the pie with it. This will give the pie a shiny crust that browns more evenly as it bakes.

  • Sprinkle With Sugar

    Sprinkle with sugar

    Sprinkle the pie with a tablespoon of sugar to add texture to the finished crust.

  • Bake


    Refrigerate the pie while you preheat the oven to 425°F, with a heavy rimmed baking sheet placed on the lower middle rack. Once the baking sheet has preheated, place the pie on top of it. Bake until light golden brown, about 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375°F and continue baking until deep golden brown, about 25 minutes longer. Remove the pie from the oven and let it rest until completely cooled so that the juices thicken, at least 2 hours. Slice and serve.