Apple Crumb Pie

Well, I couldn’t give you a stellar, no-fail pie crust and leave you without an actual pie to try it out with could I?

I would never leave you in that type of conundrum. So I present you today with a fabulous apple crumb pie. Here’s why you should make this pie:

1) It only requires one pie crust which eliminates having to roll out a second pie crust common to those apple-pies-that-everyone-else-is-making (rolling out another crust is no biggie, I know, thanks to the new tutorial, but still, you can use that 2nd pie crust for another delicious pie or just paint your toenails or stare at the wall with the time you saved).
2) The buttery, streusel-y topping makes this a really great apple crisp/apple pie combo and is a unique take on classic apple pie (especially with that little dab of sour cream in the filling).
3) It’s really, super, delectably yummy which should be the reason that trumps all others.

Apple Crumb Pie

I’ve made this dreamy pie a couple of times now and it’s one of those desserts that is instantly loved. It’s homey and comforting. And the smell of baked apple pie alone is enough to satisfy my need to actually taste it. Almost.

I’m in the middle of planning our Thanksgiving meal and this apple crumb pie will definitely have a presence. No matter that I have zero idea where we’ll be for the big day or who we’ll be with (the curse of living away from family and not wanting to drive through potential blizzards to get “home”). Even if it’s just my little family, we have been known to put away a lot of turkey, potatoes and pie and I’m sure this year will be no different.

Apple Crumb Pie

One Year Ago: Sweet Potato Casserole
Two Years Ago: Lasagna Soup
Three Years Ago: Baked Brown Spanish Rice

Apple Crumb Pie

Yield: Serves 8

Apple Crumb Pie

I've spent long hours debating and testing which apples work best in apple pies. It's a serious conundrum. Really. My favorite combination is McIntosh apples with a firm, sweet apple (like Fuji, Gala or Honeycrisp). Some people love using Granny Smith apples in pies - just taste for sweetness and add more sugar, if needed, to compensate for tartness. Basically, you just want 1-2 varieties of apples that hold their shape well. Granted, the McIntosh apples are more of a soft apple but I love them dearly in apple pie. Also, the sour cream is totally optional but adds a delicious creaminess to the pie. I've made this pie with and without - wonderful either way.


    Pie Crust:
  • 1 single crust pie dough (I used this no-fail sour cream pie crust)
  • Apple Filling:
  • 3 pounds apples (see note)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
  • Crumb Topping:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold butter, cut into small pieces


  1. Make the pie crust according to directions, roll it out into a 9-inch pie plate and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before filling with the apples.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Peel, core and slice all the apples to about 1/4-inch thick. It doesn't have to be exact - just try to get them all about the same thickness so the apples cook evenly.
  3. Toss the apples in a bowl with the lemon juice, sugar, and cinnamon, then stir in the sour cream, if using. Scoop the apple mixture into the chilled crust.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Add the butter pieces and cut in with a fork, your fingers or a pastry blender until the mixture is coarsely combined and makes a streusel-like consistency.
  5. Lightly press the crumb mixture on top of the apples. Place the pie on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 60-90 minutes until the apples are tender and the crust is golden brown. If the crust edges are getting too dark during the last 30 minutes of baking, you can cover them with foil for the remainder of baking.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature. This pie is divine with a bit of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Recipe Source: adapted from a 2007 Real Simple magazine (used a completely different pie crust, omitted walnuts and raisins, used salted butter in the topping and a different variety of apples)

60 Responses to Apple Crumb Pie

  1. Tamara says:

    Mine did not turn out so well… The topping tastes like flour. What did i do wrong?

  2. Courtney says:

    Once again my entire Thanksgiving menu is coming from your blog! Can I make this entire pie the day before Thanksgiving, or do you recommend only the crust in advance? Just trying to minimize my Thursday chaos. Thanks Mel!!

  3. Joni says:

    I really wanted to like this pie, but the best thing I can say about it is that the streusel was awesome. The lemon juice turned the bottom crust to a soupy, doughy mess. The cinnamon was overpowering, and I really don’t know what the sour cream added except a strange taste. I’m sorry, I am a huge fan of your blog, but this one just didn’t work for me.

  4. Andrea says:

    Mel, I just had to leave a comment to tell you – I’ve made many apple pies in my life but I’ve never made a recipe that had me saying, “I’ve got to make that apple pie again!”…until this one. Even my husband said that this is the best apple pie he’s ever had! I am soooo glad that I’ve finally found “MY” apple pie recipe!!! Thank you thank you thank you!

  5. Amanda says:

    Thanks so much for this recipe. It was a huge Thanksgiving hit and one I’ll be making again very soon. I changed one thing – I swapped out some of the flour in the crumb with oats. Highly recommend,

  6. Tina says:

    When you say cover the crust if it gets too brown do mean just the crust and not the whole pie?? Sorry first attempt at a pie, so I’m a newbie 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Yep, just get strips of aluminum foil and carefully place them around the edges of the pie (don’t cover the entire top of the pie). Good luck!

      • Tina says:

        Thank you!! It turned out not too bad for my first time. I also have to thank you. I just found your website about four months ago and use it every single day!! You’ve made me excited about cooking/baking again. I haven’t made one thing that wasn’t amazing. Pretty sure my husband would leave me for you in a heartbeat 😉 but in the meantime thank god for the Internet 🙂

  7. Sue says:

    When and where do you add the optional sour cream?

  8. Karen says:

    Tried this last night for Pie Night, a summer tradition in our family. Smelled delicious while baking, couldn’t wait to taste it. Good pie, but definitely too much cinnamon in the recipe. I thought it seemed like a lot, but I like to follow a recipe exactly the first time I make it. Next time I’ll reduce the amount of cinnamon, but keep everything else the same. Loved the sour cream tip too!

  9. Viktoriya says:

    How many small/medium granny smith apples would be in three poundd for this recipe?

  10. Amanda says:

    Loved, loved, loved this! We had it for Thanksgiving and it was a hit. I also loved that I only had to roll out one crust! You are a time saving genius! 😉

  11. Chelsea says:

    I was blessed with a tree full of apples this year and have made this pie twice. It has been delicious! I’ve definitely used the foil shield around the edges after 30 minutes but it has turned out perfect at about 80 minutes. I also made your banana cream pie with the sour cream crust (graham cracker dusted) for Thanksgiving. I felt like a rock star! My husband loved it and he doesn’t love bananas generally. Thanks for the amazing recipes.

  12. Ashley says:

    Just didn’t love this, the pie or the crust or the crumble! Wouldn’t make it again, although I’ve never said that before about a Melskitchencafe recipe!

  13. G says:

    I made this yesterday for Thanksgiving and the apples had completely turned to mush. Not even recognizable. I made this after being unable to initially find the normal recipe I use for apple crumb pie, which bakes for 45 min. This one looked almost exactly the same to me, so I knew I should have questioned the 1 hr 30 min baking time, but I was sooo swamped w/ everything else in the kitchen that I just stuck to following the directions. Why the extremely long baking time, is that a mistake? Everyone was so disappointed, it was completely unedible. I’m pregnant, and with my hormones and emotions running crazy, I just started bawling.

    • Mel says:

      G – I’m sorry about the pie! I’ve made it a handful of times and the first time when I baked it for only 60 minutes, my apples were still quite crunchy so I always bake it for an hour and a half. A lot will depend on how thinly you slice your apples since really thin apples will obviously cook in a shorter amount of time. When I bake this pie at an hour and half, the apples are perfectly tender. Another thing to consider is the type of apple. What variety did you use? Some are much softer than others and will cook faster. Again, I’m sorry this pie didn’t work for you. I added a note to the recipe to have people check after an hour to see if the apples are tender just in case the variables (like apple size and variety) will mean a shorter baking time.

      • G says:

        I used Granny Smith and the apples were cut to a 1/4 inch…But I’m looking at the apples in the pic and they look like they’re cut bigger than that to me..?

        • Mel says:

          I think it’s just because the picture is closeup. Either way, it’s just kind of an estimate. Anywhere from 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch will be fine.

  14. Kara says:

    I made this pie and the top crumble fell in the pie. It caramelized so there is no top or crumble to the pie! Do you know why this happened?

    • Mel says:

      Kara – I don’t know why that would have happened – but sorry that it did! The only thing I can think is that perhaps some of the amounts of your crumble topping were off somehow.

  15. Katrina Woolley says:

    I love a crumble topping on apple pie! Sometimes I mix in a handful of cranberries to give it a little tang and festive color (sweet and sour combo reminds me of my favorite strawberry rhubarb pie). Thanks for sharing your tips. I have worried about the crumbs burning if I cook it long enough to soften the apples. It sounds like it works for you, though, so I’m going to give it a try this time.

  16. Marci says:

    Does this pie not need any flour or thickening agent to keep the apple filling from going soggy? I noticed one persons comment about adding it and wondered if it would be a good idea. I hate when my pies go watery!

    • Mel says:

      Marci – I make the recipe as written in the post and it works out just fine. If you like your pies on the thicker side of things, you can always try adding some cornstarch or flour to the apples.

  17. Stacie A. says:

    I made this pie today. I actually made the crust last night and assembled and cooked the pie this morning. The crust was starting to get pretty brown around 45 minutes, so I covered it up. I stopped cooking it around 1 hr 20 min because the crust was so brown. I was worried! The pie tasted great, but the crust was almost too hard to cut. 🙁 I was so sad. I wasn’t sure if I should have just taken it out after an hour of cooking. Would the bottom crust have been soggy? Should I have reduced the baking temp? I’ve made tons of stuff from your site, and if anything, I usually have to cook stuff longer than you say. Not sure I’ll make this again unless I can get the baking time figured out. Mel, I love your site and adore your recipes… just have some problems with this one. I’m sure it was user error.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Stacie – bummed this didn’t work out for you! I’ve been thinking about your comment wondering why your crust hardened up so much (I haven’t had that happen). Is there any chance our butter was in too large of pieces? Or conversely, too small? Both of those factors can make a tough crust. I know you are an experienced baker so I’m sure you did everything just right. I’ve made this pie several times and one of the times, I took it out after an hour. The crust was great (not soggy) but the apples weren’t cooked through. I suppose you could cut the apples in much tinier pieces so they cook through faster and then you could take it out after an hour.

  18. Silver says:

    I n e v e r bake but I’m going to make this to bring to my in laws for Thanksgiving! (& your crust) Got all my ingredients today! I have never baked a pie, but I have made cheesecake & cookies from scratch, and only anything else was pillsbury mix in the box lol so we will see how this goes…

  19. Ashley B says:

    Hi Mel!

    Two questions. Can I make the pie crust days in advance? And if so should I freeze it unbaked or just cover it in the fridge unbaked? Also I am bad with weight. If you use average sized apples how many is three pounds?

    Thanks! Ashley

    • Mel says:

      Ashley – yes, I’ve made the pie crust up to a week in advance and refrigerated it (all rolled out in the pie plate covered with saran wrap). Hmmm, good question on the apples, I think for this pie, I used about 7 apples total.

  20. Michelle says:

    This recipe restored my faith in making pies. Thanks for the delicious recipe. My husband said it was the best crust he as ever had. This is a keeper!

  21. Janet says:

    Hi, just wondering if you think greek yogurt would substitute well for the sour cream in the pie filling.

    Thanks for always sharing delicious recipes with the world!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Janet – I haven’t tried Greek yogurt as a sub for sour cream so I’m not sure but it’s worth a try since it usually subs pretty well. Good luck if you try it!

  22. Kim says:

    When do you add the sour cream, Mel? It’s not mentioned in the instructions. After you toss the apples, perhaps?

  23. Nichole says:

    My mom has an apple pie recipe that is almost identical to this one, except she grates her apples instead of slicing them so that they are all the same size/shape. She also freezes the filling for future use, but it does take longer to bake unless you thaw it first before putting it in the oven.

  24. Mel, have you tried Haralson apples for baking? When I lived in Minnesota they were my favorite and I miss them every time I make an apple pie now that we’ve moved away. They are almost too tart for fresh eating, but I’ve never seen a better apple for pies. They hold their shape, don’t weep too much, give great flavor and are never mealy. I love them mixed with a McIntosh or two for some sweetness and texture difference. They are definitely worth trying if they are sold in your neck of the woods.

  25. lynda mckinlay says:

    I made this last night and it was amazing. the only change i made was i added 2 tablespoons of flour to the filling because i was concerned about the pastry on the bottom being wet. I’m glad i did. the flavour was just fabulous. Also i used the australian measure for the butter which is 20mls/grams and i should probably have gone for the american one of 15mls/gms. the pastry was very delicious and I would make it again. It was easy too. Here in malaysia the variety of apples available are not like we get in Australia with very little choice but I did manage to find some fuji apples.
    The combination of the pastry with the cinnamon and sweet apples with the crumble topping.
    My husband and stepson just loved it. My husband is so fussy but he told me I could make this anytime and to put it in my folder which is where i keep only the best of the best recipes.
    Thanks Mel, I love your recipes and reading your blog and I always have great success making your food.

  26. mmm says:

    Love your site- use it and recommend it all the time! Can I make ahead and freeze? If so, at what point do I freeze? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      mmm – hmmm, I’m not sure how this would freeze. I haven’t tried it so you will have to experiment. I suppose you could freeze it assembled but unbaked and then bake for much longer (probably an hour or so) – but since I haven’t tried it I don’t know for sure.

  27. Favorite apple pie. I always choose the crumb over the double crust. Look perfect!

  28. Melanie from SLC says:

    My husband loves apple pie so I will have to try this one out on him! I just want to say thanks for providing so many great recipes that are all from scratch. I have been trying to do this more and more as well. I just read an article that says highly processed foods are slowly poisoning us and I believe it! Love your site!

  29. Christine says:

    Don’t often comment, but OM this looks delicious. Will be doing a trial run next week using the crust in your last post (great tutorial) and this filling as a Thanksgiving gift for a neighbor. Every Monday he pulls out my trash/leaf/recycle cans and every Tuesday he pulls them back in. Note: the cans are as big as me (landlord’s choice) and I walk with a cane so this is a huge favor! One quick question, do you use full fat sour cream for the filling, as recommended in the crust?

  30. Caitlin says:

    Oh man, this looks amazing! Plus, bonus! I have leftover sour cream in my fridge (that I used making your cinnamon roll cake that got gobbled up way too fast). And you better believe I gotta find a recipe to use the sour cream in cuz that stuff is SUPER expensive here in the Far East (China!)
    I forgot Thanksgiving was coming up . . . nobody here really gets the day off but we’ll have to see if some of our expat friends want to get together and have some turkey. Assuming we can find a turkey here. And fit it into our toaster oven. . . hmmm. . . 😉

  31. Emily says:

    You totally read my mind! I’ve been planning for a week now to make an apple pie with streusel topping so that I can avoid that second crust. I hadn’t hashed out a recipe yet, but this looks super solid, so I’ll be making it in the next couple of days 🙂

  32. Catherine says:

    Mel, yesterday’s post was JUST what I was looking for . . . until today’s. So, so excited to put this one out for Thanksgiving. Mel, to the rescue – AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN!! (and to think I stopped by to grab the recipe for the green enchilada sauce!)

    • Philip Seddon says:

      Sent recipe to my friend Lisa cos I love crumble and she made me one yummy lovely she promised to make another one for me soon. Can’t wait.

  33. Clarissa Meegan says:

    Crumb topping with a hot apple pie…seriously, you nailed it right on the head with this one. So excited to give the crust and the pie recipe a try!

  34. bluebaker says:

    This is my husbands favorite pie. There is something about a crumbly top and all those cinnamony apples….. I’m looking forward to trying your sour cream pie crust. The one I use now is pretty standard, but I like trying new things.
    This T-giving I am planning a roast pork loin for the main dish, but desserts will be more traditional- pumpkin cheesecake, and cranberry shortbread bars.

  35. This looks great! Now all I can think about is pie…

  36. Barbara Connor says:

    Noticed that you said, add salt but I don’t see it listed in the ingredients. I like the idea of no top crust.

  37. I am salivating, just seeing the chunks of apple in that pie. Though I’ve never made a pie before, this may have to be my first attempt.

  38. Charlotte Moore says:

    I needed this yesterday. Haha!! I had a small whole wheat pie crust in the freezer and needed to use it. Soooo, I pulled a couple big apples we had gotten at the apple house on Sunday. Put a little lemon juice, 2 kinds of sucanat, cinnamon, and vanilla on them. Put them on the stove to get them started with a dab of water. I added a little corn starch to the juice. Put into the pie crust and put a whole flour, oatmeal, butter, and sucanat topping on it. I didn’t measure anything and wish I had a little sweeter topping. My husband loved it though.

  39. Vanessa says:

    Looks so yummy! Can’t wait to try out your pie crust. I make a similar crumb topped apple pie but my recipe says to sprinkle chopped pecans on the crumb about 10 minutes before it is done baking, and when it comes out you drizzle half a jar of caramel sauce on top. Takes it to the next level!! 🙂

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