Who needs a double crust when you can top your apple pie with with a buttery cinnamon-brown sugar crumble topping? Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to a warm slice of this apple crumb pie for the perfect fall dessert!
Easy Homemade Apple Crumb Pie
While the traditional American versions of apple pie often feature a lattice top or some other variation of a double crust, I’m partial to using a crumb topping instead. You still get the flaky pastry crust on the bottom, but then you also get the added bonus of butter, brown sugar, oats, and cinnamon on the top. Basically, it’s the best of both worlds! The topping is a little bit like what you might expect from an apple crisp—crunchy, golden brown, and completely irresistible.
The other thing that makes this pie special is that the apples are cooked first. With apple pie, it’s standard practice to toss the sliced apples with the filling ingredients, then add them to the crust raw. Cooking them on the stovetop first is my secret to a perfect pie. The few minutes of stovetop time softens the apples enough that the pie doesn’t have to bake quite as long, keeping your crust in good shape. Plus, it lets the apples, brown sugar, and spices all meld together to coat the apples in a caramel-like sauce.
What You’ll Need
Don’t be intimidated by the length of this ingredient list! If you have a well-stocked pantry, you probably have most of these on hand.
For the crust and topping:
- Pastry for a 9-inch pie – I usually use my all-butter pie crust, but feel free to use your favorite pie crust recipe.
- All-purpose flour
- Light brown sugar
- Ground cinnamon
- Unsalted butter – This butter needs to be cold! If it’s too warm, you won’t get that nice crumbly texture.
- Old-fashioned rolled oats – Not to be confused with quick or instant oats! Those oats are finely chopped, but we want to add texture here so a whole rolled oat is key.
For the filling:
- Apples – Use your favorite baking apple. Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Braeburn, and Pink Lady are all excellent choices.
- Light brown sugar
- Cornstarch – Some apple pies use flour to thicken the juices, but I prefer cornstarch.
- Ground cinnamon – Check all your spices with a simple sniff test. They should smell fragrant and fresh.
- Ground nutmeg – Use freshly ground nutmeg if you can.
- Ground ginger
- Ground cardamom
- Ground allspice
- Unsalted butter
How to Make Apple Crumb Pie
This apple pie is surprisingly easy to make once you get past the crust! Here’s what you’ll need to do.
To prepare the crust and make the crumb topping:
Roll out the crust. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface, and use a rolling pin to roll it until you have a 1/8-inch thick circle.
Form the crust. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate, then trim and crimp the edges as desired. Place the pie plate in the refrigerator until you’re ready to fill it. That will help it keep its shape as it bakes.
Mix the dry ingredients for the topping. Whisk together the flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl.
Add the remaining ingredients. Add the butter, and incorporate it using a pastry blender, a fork, or your fingers until the mixture forms crumbs. Stir in the oats. Refrigerate the topping while you make the pie filling
To make the filling:
Prepare. Preheat your oven to 375°F and toss the apples with the brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, and spices in a large bowl.
Cook the apples. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add the apple mixture. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar melts and starts to bubble. Continue cooking about 5 minutes, or until the liquid has thickened.
Assemble. Pour the apples into the chilled pie crust and sprinkle the crumb topping over the filling.
Bake. Place the pie plate on a lined, rimmed baking sheet and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the crust and topping are golden brown, and the filling is bubbly.
Tips for Success
Here are some tips and tricks to help you along the way.
- Substitute your go-to pie crust. I use my go-to all-butter pie crust, but you can use your own favorite 9-inch pie crust if you like. If you’re in a time crunch, you can also use a store-bought dough.
- Freeze the butter if necessary. If you’ve never made pie crust before, you can place the butter in the freezer for 30 minutes to make sure it’s extra cold. This gives you a little bit of leeway if it takes you longer. Cold butter is key to a flaky crust!
- Use good apples. Your apple pie is only as good as the apples you use! Cosmetic imperfections are fine, but you want to make sure the apples taste fresh and flavorful. Learn more: The Best Apples for Baking
How to Store
You can store Apple Crumb Pie at room temperature for up to 2 days, or refrigerate it for up to 5 days. Wrap it tightly or transfer it to an airtight container.
Can This Recipe Be Frozen?
Yes, you can either freeze any uneaten pie or freeze the whole pie to serve later. Wrap it tightly with at least two layers of plastic wrap and store it for up to 2 months; let it thaw in the refrigerator.