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9 of Grandma’s Best-Kept Secrets for a Perfect Apple Pie

There's no need to stress over America's favorite dessert! Here are the tried-and-true secrets you need for a perfect apple pie.

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Taste of Home

Apple pies may be an American classic, but baking anything that lives up to your childhood memories is a daunting task! Luckily, grandmothers everywhere—including ours—have some techniques for the perfect flaky crust and flavorful filling.

Here are the secrets (and the recipe) for baking a perfect apple pie.

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Red apples or Gala apples with fresh leaf and water drop on wooden background.Shutterstock / PosiNote

Choose Sweet and Firm Apples

Whether you’re picking ’em from a tree or your local market, apples that are firm, sweet and just a little bit tart are a good bet. Almost any apple will make a good pie, but we’ll recommend Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Rome and Jonagold.

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Wrap the pastry in clear film and chill for 30 minutes. Making Puff Pastry Series.Shutterstock / ffolas

Leave Time for Dough to Chill

When planning out your baking, it’s easy to forget that you need time for the homemade dough to chill! Wrap your dough in plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge for a half hour to make sure your crust will cook to flaky perfection.

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Variety of organic apples in baskets on wood tableShutterstock / Arina P Habich

Mix Up Your Apples

If you happen to have a few different types of apples lying around—that works! Using a variety of apples creates a more complex and well-balanced flavor. This guide to apples will help uncover your perfect flavor and texture combination.

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Pouring cinnamon powder into apple filling. Shutterstock / ffolas

Pre-Cook Your Apples

Yes, they’ll cook in the oven, but to make sure the filling is juicy and flavorful, cook the apples before pouring them into your crust. (And there’s still hope for the shortcut-happy among us; some pro bakers skip the peeling step to add a pop of color.)

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Apple filling ready to make apple piesShutterstock / DD Images

Cool the Filling

We know we’re making you wait a long time! But once you’ve cooked your apples with butter and spices, it’s important to let the filling cool to room temp so air pockets don’t end up forming in your crust. (Give it 45 minutes or so.)

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Woman kneading dough, close-up photoShutterstock / Alex Tihonovs

Don’t Be Afraid to Use Flour

When you’re rolling out the dough, it’s important to make sure it doesn’t stick! Cover your countertop and rolling pin with liberal amounts of flour to avoid a sticky mess. (Trust us, you won’t regret it.)

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Homemade tart pie preparation, dough with yeast and rolling pin on white rustic kitchen tableShutterstock / GreenArt

Go Store-Bought

Hey, there aren’t always enough hours in the day to make your own crust, and many a delicious apple pie has been made not quite from scratch. (You can use that store-bought shortcut for quick and delicious savory pies, too.)

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Pie crust design ideas - various ways of pie decoration with lattice and leaves. Apple, strawberry and raspberry pies uncooked on white marble table.Shutterstock / Asya Nurullina

Get Creative With Your Top Crust

There’s no one way to make the top crust of an apple pie. You could go with a smooth top or a more challenging lattice, but how about using cookie cutters to turn your dough into shapes you can use to make a collage? Creative and delicious.

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TMB Studio

Know When It’s Done

Knowing when to take something out of the oven can be one of the most stressful things! Just bake an apple pie until the top is deliciously golden and the filling is lightly bubbling, and you’ll have a perfect dessert.

Loretta Kay
Loretta is a freelance culture and humor writer. She has written for Bustle,, Reductress, WBUR, and Time Warner Cable Central. She has also written content for and Literary Traveler. She specializes in movie reviews, TV reviews, satire, feminism, climate change, and social justice. She has extensive experience working in many content management systems, using SEO, HTML, and incorporating multimedia content.