Skip to Content

A Guide to Apple Pie Ingredients: Baking a Tasty Masterpiece

A Guide to Apple Pie Ingredients: Baking a Tasty Masterpiece

Share this post:

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click one of these links and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Did you know that apple pies aren’t an original American dish? Actually, apples aren’t even native to North America! Nutmeg and cinnamon aren’t native to the U.S. either!

Yet, you see it on Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, and maybe on your Christmas dinner table. Basically, any American holiday isn’t complete without an apple pie in the middle of the dishes.

So today, we’ll share with you all the primary apple pie ingredients that’ll help make the tastiest pie! Plus, we’ll give you some tips to improve its taste and texture.

Ready to start baking? Let’s go!

Creating the Perfect Crust

At first glance, an apple pie is simply a top and bottom layer of dough with apples in the middle. However, there’s so much more to it than meets the eye.

So, let’s start with the crust ingredients.


Unfortunately, not many people out there know that there are various flour types, each with its own unique characteristics. You have the following main types:

All-Purpose Flour

This is our go-to flour when it comes to pies. As you can tell by its name, this flour is suitable for almost everything!

Cake Flour

Though its name suggests otherwise, you can still use cake flour to make your pie crust. Of course, it’ll come out more flaky and crispy than usual, but it’ll still be great.

Pastry Flour

Pastry flour isn’t much different from cake flour as they contain similar protein content, around 8–10%. However, it’s best to use all-purpose flour if you’re still a novice, as it can be hard to roll pastry flour dough.

Bread flour

Higher protein content and more gluten await you if you use bread flour. It’s not a bad option, but the thickness of the dough can make the crust a bit too hard for it to be appealing.

That’s why we don’t recommend using it unless you have to.


The next ingredient in creating the perfect crust is fat. Generally, most people use butter as their choice of fat, and for a good reason.

The buttery aroma and flavor are an excellent complement to any dessert. Nonetheless, there are other options, including the following:


The most popular substitute for butter is margarine. Unlike butter, margarine isn’t made with concentrated dairy fat; it’s mainly created with vegetable oil.

On the one hand, it’s a good option if you’re even, but on the other, it’s less healthy than butter.


Compared to butter, lard has a higher smoking point, which makes it perfect for sauteing and baking.

However, when it comes to flavor, lard is mainly odorless and flavorless—sometimes, it can even have a porky scent, which won’t go that well with an apple pie!


Combine vegetable oils like palm oil, soybean oil, and cottonseed oil, and you got yourself a vegan-friendly butter substitute called shortening.

Additionally, shortening leaves you with no extra flavor whatsoever. So while you may miss the buttery aroma, you won’t have to worry about unwanted scents or flavors.

Salt and Sugar

Thankfully, there isn’t much to say here about salt and sugar. You can use whatever you have in the kitchen as long as you’re following the recipe.

The most important part here is that you don’t forget either one! The salt helps bring the pie together by highlighting the buttery notes and ensuring the crust isn’t too bland.

On the other hand, the sweetness of the sugar compliments the filling and adds a subtle touch of flavor to the crust as well.


Lastly, water is the glue that brings this entire list of ingredients together. Again, there are no particular types or preferences regarding the water you add.

You only need to watch out for the amount of water you add, its temperature, and if it has impurities.

Crafting the Tastiest Filling

If somebody asks what’s inside an apple pie crust and you say just apples, you got the wrong answer!

Though they are the most prominent ingredient, there’s so much more going on there that you don’t see—even the apples are different!

So, here’s what you need to know about the filling ingredients:


The secret to a mouthwatering apple pie lies in the variety of apples you use. Here are some of the best types and what they offer you:

Granny Smith Apples

Green apples or Granny Smith apples are the go-to apples for apple pies. That’s because these apples are very firm and don’t turn into mush when placed together under the oven’s heat.

The only problem with Granny Smith apples is that they’re a bit sour and taste less “apple-y” than expected. That’s why you need to add another variety!

Golden Delicious

Less firm than the Granny Smith but equally tasty are the Golden Delicious apples. This variety is known for its beautiful, bright golden color and its diverse flavor profile.

Some apples are sweet, while others lean more toward the tart side. Regardless, they make a great addition when combined with the Granny Smiths.

Honey Crisp

As the name suggests, Honey Crisp apples are almost as sweet as honey itself! Though they’re also less firm than the Granny Smith, they’re incredibly juicy and crunchy to boot!

Unfortunately, they only exist for a couple of months throughout the year, so you better be ready to stock up when they appear on the market.

Jonagold Apples

Because of their short harvest season, Jonagold apples are a rare treat to find! But if you manage to pick some, your apple pie will be a hit.

Jonagold apples offer a firm texture and a mix between sweet and tangy, sure to surprise and delight.


Unlike how you put it in the crust mixture, the sugar here goes on the apples directly—and in larger quantities.

Therefore, you must distribute it evenly on the apples so it doesn’t clump to one spot. You can use either a fork or your hands in this step to help coat the apples.

Extra Spices

The spices you add are your apple pie’s last and most essential ingredients! You can put in cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and even ginger!

There’s no wrong or right regarding this step, but make sure you don’t use too much of any one spice. Plus, don’t add something that’ll make your pie taste funny— flavor harmony is essential!

4 Tricks to Make Your Apple Pie Even More Delicious

Now that you know all the ingredients needed to make an apple pie, it’s time to learn some tricks to perfect it! Here are some of our favorites ones:

1 – Don’t Over-Mix the Crust

When you place all the crust ingredients together and start kneading them, make sure not to overdo it. It’s best to leave your dough a little bit crumbly.

This ensures that your pie crust is somewhat flaky and soft instead of hard.

2 – Use Cold Fat

Your key to a tender, flaky crust is to use cold fat! So, whatever your choice may be, make sure it’s cold before adding it the flour mixture.

A little extra tip is to use cold liquids (water or milk) to help keep the fat solid as you knead.

3 – Pre-cook the Filling

As you can imagine, apples can get pretty mushy when baked. Now, when you place them on top of a dough layer, you condemn that crust to be soggy too!

Hence, it’s best to saute all the filling ingredients in a pan before you bake the pie.

4 – Use a Thickener

Another trick to avoid a runny pie interior is to use a thickener! You can use some flour, cornstarch, or tapioca to help the apples stick together.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Apple Pie Vegan?

Technically, no. A traditional apple pie, which uses the ingredients listed here, isn’t vegan. There’s fat in the pie crust, and the final touch needs a whisked egg coating the top layer.

Nonetheless, you can substitute the necessary components if you want to make a vegan version.

Is Apple Pie Gluten-Free?

Again, the answer here is no. You see, gluten results from the proteins in the flour mixing with the water—which you need to create the crust. Also, some people love using flour to thicken the filling.

Hence, it’s definitely not the best option if you’re looking for a gluten-free dessert. However, you can still create one using special, gluten-free flour.

Is Apple Pie Filling Gluten-Free?

Yes, apple pie filling is gluten-free! Well, as long as you don’t use flour as a thickening agent, that is. Instead of flour, you can use cornstarch to help you out.

Final Thoughts

So, did our little guide help you understand all the necessary apple pie ingredients? We sure hope it did!

Apple pies are one of the easiest to make, requiring little effort and ingredients. You need flour, fat, water, and some salt and sugar for the crust. As for the filling, you need your apples, spices, sugar, and maybe a thickening agent.

And that’s it! All you need for a perfect apple pie summed up in three lines. So what are you waiting for? Head to the kitchen and start baking! Good luck!

Share this post: