Dutch Apple Pie

4.86 from 28 votes
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It’s not a holiday feast without a big Dutch apple pie on the menu. This recipe offers the best of both worlds: tender apples nestled in a flaky crust and a buttery crumble shell on top.

Best Dutch apple pie recipe made from scratch.

Recipe Science

  • Break the butter into pea-sized pieces for the crust. This creates a sturdy, flaky texture, ideal for supporting two pounds of apples.
  • Melting the butter for the crumble topping allows it to develop rich butterscotch notes as the dairy solids brown in the oven.
  • As the apples cook and release their juices, the flour’s starches absorb the liquid and create a glaze, preventing a runny slice.

Why It Works

Each year I make my classic apple pie, but I’m switching things up this holiday. Instead of a traditional layered double crust, there is a cinnamon streusel topping. The crumble contains sugar, spices, and butter. This combination delivers crunchy bites that add a pleasant contrast in texture when baked. The recipe for Dutch apple pie may seem intimidating, but it’s pretty straightforward.

The components are simply pie dough, apple filling, and crumble topping. You can make some in advance so it can be quickly assembled and baked on the day of serving. What makes the Dutch apple pie style special is adding a touch of cream to the fruit, adding a luxurious element that you’ll love.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Apples: I recommend using two types of apples for a balance of sweet, tart, and juicy flavors. Granny Smith apples hold their shape well so that you can bite into the fruit. Honeycrisp apples are sweet and provide more juices that reduce and coat the slices.
  • Apple Filling: The apples are tossed in dark brown sugar for molasses notes and granulated sugar for pure sweetness. Warm baking spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves are included in the mixture. A little lemon zest adds a pleasant citrus taste without the sourness. Flour is added as a thickening agent. Vanilla adds a sweet baked aroma.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream: Dairy is added in traditional Dutch apple pie recipes. I use just enough for richness but not too much where it will cause sogginess.
  • Pie Dough: I use a homemade pie crust recipe called Pâte Brisée. It’s a simple combination of all-purpose flour, butter, water, and salt. It only takes a few minutes to prepare.
  • Crumble Topping: The topping for Dutch apple pie is a type of streusel, similar to making apple crisp. I use a combination of all-purpose flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, vanilla, and butter for binding.

See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).

Ingredient Substitutions

Now that you know how to make the best Dutch apple pie recipe, give these flavor variations a try!

  • Apple Options: Fuji apples are a great substitute with a strong floral note. I like to use them year-round. Other suitable baking apples include Braeburn and McIntosh, which don’t get mushy when cooked.
  • Pie Crust: To make preparation faster, you can use a store-bought crust. If using frozen pie crust, defrost before filling.
  • Spices: In addition to cinnamon, add nutmeg, mace, cardamom, or allspice to the apple filling and crumble. Try my apple pie spice mixture, which has a combination of the ingredients.
  • Flavoring: Instead of vanilla, add almond extract, squeeze lemon juice and zest for a citrusy taste, or drizzle caramel sauce over each slice.

How to Make Dutch Apple Pie

Step 1: Prepare the Crust Ingredients

Fill a measuring cup with ice and water, then refrigerate. Cut the butter into 1/4″ cubes and chill it until you’re ready to use them. This ensures your ingredients stay cold and your recipe turns out perfectly!

Chilled cubes of butter in a stand mixer bowl with flour inside.

Step 2: Break Down the Butter 

I use my stand mixer to quickly break the butter into coarse pieces, the size of a pea or smaller. This process gives the butter a sturdy structure with a flaky texture, perfect for supporting the two pounds of sliced apples.

Pie dough in a stand mixer after using the paddle attachment and water to hydrate it.

Step 3: Hydrate the Dough

Gradually add 1 tablespoon of ice-cold water, mixing for 2 to 3 seconds after each addition. Use 5 to 7 tablespoons until the dough is lumpy and hydrated, not wet or sticky. It should hold when pinched.

Step 4: Rest the Dough

Form the dough into a 1-inch-thick round disc. The dough needs 4 hours to chill to rest the gluten proteins and prevent it from tasting tough. I always make this part of the recipe a day ahead of time so I can roll it out when I’m ready to bake.

Step 5: Roll the Dough 

Let the disc sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before rolling. The chilled butter pieces will be firm, so waiting a few minutes will help them become more pliable. Dust the board and rolling pin with flour to help prevent sticking.

Pro Tip: Roll the dough to a about ¼-inch thick circle, about 12 to 13 inches in diameter. This size will be thick enough to hold the heavy fruit.

Knife cutting around the edges of a pie plate to trim off the excess crust.

Step 6: Form the Crust

Lower the rolled-out dough into the pan, pressing the bottom and sides to remove any air gaps. Trim a ½-inch overhang around the rim, then tuck the excess under to give a thicker edge. 

Person using their fingers to shape and form the edge of a pie crust.

I like to make a fluted edge using my fingers to crimp, or you can use the tines of a fork to make a pressed design.

Freeze the shaped pie crust for 20 minutes before baking. This duration will help firm up the butter and create flaky layers during baking.

This recipe is for a single-layer pie crust, with just the bottom of the pie pan covered with dough. I prefer to use a 9-inch glass pie pan to monitor whether the sides of the crust are turning golden brown. I don’t use a deep-dish pie plate because I like a taller slice.

Expert Tip: Glass takes a little longer to heat than metal or ceramic, but once removed from the oven, it holds heat well for carryover cooking. The crust will become even more profound in brown color.

Flour and sugars in a bowl being mixed with a blue spatula.

Step 7: Make the Crumble Topping

Combine flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, melted butter, and vanilla.

A bowl of crumble topping for a Dutch apple pie.

The crumble should resemble coarse pebble-sized pieces. Let the mixture chill to make it easier to break up, and sprinkle it on top of the pie.

Ingredient Chemistry: Because the butter fat is melted, it can quickly develop deeper butterscotch notes as the dairy solids heat up in the oven. It’s called browned butter, and it’s delicious! I use it in my apple crumble for contrasting textures.

Step 8: Preheat the Oven

Place the oven rack in the center position and preheat to 375°F (190°C). Line a half-sheet pan with aluminum foil.

Brown sugar and spices being whisked together in a bowl.

Step 9: Make the Apple Filling

I use plenty of bold spices and sweeteners to make a flavorful filling. In a small bowl, whisk flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and lemon zest.

Sliced apples in a bowl tossed with a sugar mixture.

Sprinkle the mix over the apples and toss to coat until it resembles wet sand. Add the heavy cream and vanilla extract, and toss to combine.

Tips for Perfect Execution: For a dense pie, cut the apples to ¼-inch thickness. I cut the wedges in half crosswise to make about 1 ½-inch pieces. This size allows the slices to be arranged tighter together. After peeling and coring, there is about 20 to 25% loss, about 2 pounds of apples per pie.

Apple pie filling inside a pie crust that's ready for the crumble topping to be added.

Step 10: Add the Filling to the Crust

Make sure to layer the apple pieces closely together in the crust. When stacked up, it will look high, but as the fruit cooks and releases its juices, they will compact together.

Ingredient Chemistry: As the fruit cooks and releases its juices, the starches absorb and swell, creating a lovely glaze over the apples. This prevents a runny slice.

Crumbles of sugar on top of a Dutch apple pie that's ready to bake.

Step 11: Add the Crumble on Top

Cover the surface of the apple pie filling thoroughly with the pebbly pieces or crumble.

Experimentation Encouraged: For a golden crust, lightly brush the edges and sides with whisked egg before baking.

Step 12: Bake the Pie

Bake the pie at 375 degrees on a foil-lined baking sheet. The crumbles take about 60 to 70 minutes to deepen in color and develop caramel aromas. The crust should become golden in hue, and the crumbles should be dry to the touch. The apple should feel tender when pricked. When finished baking, the filling should reach about 190 to 200 degrees.

Dutch apple pie cooling in a glass pie plate.

Step 13: Cool After Baking

Let the pie cool completely on a wire rack to allow for carryover cooking of the filling and crust.

Slice of pie taken out of a pie plate.

The starches in the filling will gel and set, trapping the delicious juices. A cool pie makes for cleaner slices!

Slice of Dutch apple pie on a white plate with a scoop of ice cream on top.

My family loves it when I serve each piece à la mode with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between French and Dutch apple pie?

Dutch apple pie has a buttery and sweet streusel topping, aka crumble. Cream is often added to the apple filling for a richer texture. French apple pie has been referred to synonymously with the Dutch version. However, traditional French apple pie or tarte tatin is sweetened apple slices cooked in a skillet, then topped and baked with a crust-like pastry. It’s flipped over with the fruit exposed for a stunning upside-down effect.

What is Dutch apple pie topping made of?

It’s a streusel-style topping made of all-purpose flour, sugar, spices like cinnamon, and melted butter. The mixture creates pebble-sized pieces to scatter on top of the pie. I add baking powder to add extra crunch and deeper brown hues to the topping.

How do you make a crunchy crumble topping?

The secret ingredient for extra crunch is the baking soda contained within the baking powder. This leavening agent bubbles up and puffs the dough, making for a more hollow and crisp texture. It also accelerates browning and creates a visually stunning surface. It’s like eating mini cinnamon cookies! You can try the recipe without it. It will still be delicious, but it will be slightly pastier in flavor.

Can you make the Dutch apple pie ahead of time?

Make the pie dough two days before and store it in the refrigerator. 
Freeze the dough for up to 1 month, then defrost it in the refrigerator overnight. The crumble topping can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

More Pie Recipes

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Dutch Apple Pie

A holiday favorite, Dutch apple pie with tender spiced apples nestled in a flaky crust and a buttery crumble shell placed on top.
4.86 from 28 votes
Prep Time5 hours
Cook Time1 hour 40 minutes
Total Time6 hours 40 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Course Dessert
Cuisine American


Pie Crust

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ¼" cubes, chilled
  • ½ ice-cold water, chilled

Crumble Topping

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Apple Filling

  • 1 ¼ pound granny smith apples
  • 1 ¼ pound honeycrisp apples, or Fuji
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, beaten for egg wash, optional


  • Prepare the Crust Ingredients – Add ice cubes and water to a measuring cup. Cut the butter into 1/4" cubes. Place both items in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • Break Down the Butter – In a stand mixer bowl, add the flour and salt. Combine using the paddle attachment on the lowest speed (Stir) for about 10 seconds. Add chilled diced butter to the bowl. On the lowest speed, turn the mixer on and off quickly for a few seconds to coat the butter with the flour to prevent the flour from spilling.
    Continue to mix at low speed until the flour and butter resemble wet sand with coarse crumbles and pea-sized pieces remaining, about 60 to 75 seconds. Use your fingers to break up any large pieces. Do not over-mix. The dough should not bind together before adding the water.
  • Hydrate the Dough – Gradually add 1 tablespoon of ice-cold water to the bowl. After each addition, turn the mixer on for 2 to 3 seconds. Add enough water until the dough looks lumpy and hydrated but not wet or sticky. It should just begin to clump together with small crumbles on the bottom of the bowl.
    All of the water may not be needed, about 5 to 7 tablespoons is typical. When the dough is pinched together, it should compress and hold, not be dry or crumbly. Do not over-mix. The dough will be pressed together before resting.
  • Rest the Dough – Press the dough into a 1” thick round disc and wrap it in plastic, then place it in a resealable bag. Store in the refrigerator to rest for at least 4 hours, overnight, or up to 2 days.
  • Roll the Dough – Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to sit at room temperature for about 5 to 10 minutes to make it easier to roll. If it’s still too hard, let it sit longer until more pliable.
    Dust the counter and dough with flour. Rotate and dust with flour underneath and on the top to prevent sticking and make it easier to transfer. Roll into a 13-inch circle, slightly less than 1/4" thick.
  • Form the Crust – Place the rolled-out dough into a 9-inch pie dish and gently press against the sides and bottom. With a paring knife, trim the excess leaving a 1/2" overhang. Tuck the excess underneath the bottom crust edges. Crimp by pinching the pointer and thumb fingers. Place the crust in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  • Crumble Topping – In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
    Add the melted butter and vanilla. Stir with a spatula to combine and press to make large clumps. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Preheat the Oven – Place the oven rack in the center position. Preheat to 375°F (190°C). Line a half-sheet pan with aluminum foil.
  • Apple Filling – Peel the apples and discard the core and stems. Slice into 1/4" thick wedges, then cut each piece in half crosswise so they are about 1 1/2" long. This should yield about 8 cups of sliced apples (about 2 pounds, 908 kg). Place them into a large mixing bowl.
    In a small bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and lemon zest. Sprinkle the flour mixture on top of the apples, and toss to coat. This should have a consistency of wet sand. Add the heavy cream and vanilla extract, and toss to combine.
  • Add the Filling to the Crust – Layer the apples in the pie crust so that the slices lay flat and fill in the gaps.
  • Add the Crumble on Top – Remove the crumble topping from the refrigerator. Break them into dime-sized pieces along with some smaller ones. Sprinkle over the surface of the apples to fully cover them.
    If desired, lightly brush the whisked egg on the edges and sides of the crust to add a more golden color when baked.
  • Bake the Pie – Place the pie dish on the foil-lined baking sheet and bake until the topping is golden brown and the apples are tender and bubbling, about 60 to 75 minutes. If the crust or surface is getting too brown, loosely tent it with foil.
  • Cool After Baking – Let the pie sit on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then cool on a wire rack until warm or room temperature, at least 3 hours before serving. If desired, serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Recipe Video

YouTube video


  • Apple Substitutes: Fuji, Golden Delicious, Braeburn, or Gala apples taste like Honeycrisp.
  • No Stand MixerUse a dough/pastry blender or your fingers to break the butter into the dough.
  • Make-Ahead: The dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, frozen for up to 1 month, and defrosted in the refrigerator overnight. The crumble topping can be refrigerated for up to 7 days or frozen for up to 1 month.
  • Storing: The fully baked pie can be covered and left at room temperature for one day before eating or refrigerated. Wrap and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • To Reheat: Place the pie dish on a parchment-lined sheet pan and loosely cover it with foil. Bake at 225ºF (107ºC) until warmed through. It takes about 20 to 25 minutes, depending on if it’s been at room temperature or cold from the refrigerator. Individual slices can be reheated on a foil-lined baking sheet until warmed through.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 12 servings
Calories 287kcal (14%)Carbohydrates 48g (16%)Protein 3g (6%)Fat 10g (15%)Saturated Fat 6g (30%)Polyunsaturated Fat 1gMonounsaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 1gCholesterol 26mg (9%)Sodium 148mg (6%)Potassium 173mg (5%)Fiber 3g (12%)Sugar 27g (30%)Vitamin A 351IU (7%)Vitamin C 4mg (5%)Calcium 37mg (4%)Iron 1mg (6%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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  1. Debra Greenberg says

    I had another random recipe for Dutch apple pie, but what made *your* recipe so successful was the scientific approach to making the crumble. The ingredients of the crumble melded together better, adhered to the apples atop of the pie, and created a lovely caramelized effect. Thank you, Jessica❣️

  2. Russell Thomas says

    You mentioned baking soda in the tip. But I don’t see the ingredient listed on the recipe. How much do you use. Also, can any 9” inch pie dish work?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Russell- The baking soda is an ingredient in the baking powder in the crumble recipe, so you don’t have to add additional. I use a regular 9-inch glass pie dish, not a deep dish. However, you can use a deep dish, but the filling will look slightly lower since the sides are higher. What kind of pie dish do you have?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      You can refrigerate the pie one day ahead. The texture of the apples will be better. I would keep the crumble topping separate, then add on top of the pie before baking so it doens’t get soggy from the juices of the apples. Let me know how it goes!