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.

dutch apple pie filling in a skillet with a wooden spoon

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.

apple pie in a pie pan before topping

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Peel your apples. Don’t forget to peel your apples. It’s annoying but worth the effort.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

dutch apple pie topping being sprinkled on top of apple filling

How do you make dutch apple pie?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

slice of apple pie on a plate with a fork

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.

slice of dutch apple pie on a plate topped with ice cream

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!

Recipe by: Evi Madison // SRCooking | 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.