How To Make a Classic Dutch Apple Pie

published Aug 27, 2020
How to Make a Classic Dutch Apple Pie

A classic Dutch apple pie with a crunchy streusel topping.

Serves8 to 12

Prep45 minutes to 1 hour

Cook50 minutes to 1 hour 5 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

There are two types of people in this world: those who like their apple pies topped with a layer of flaky pie crust, and those who prefer a crunchy streusel-like topping. I fall into the latter category, favoring a crispy streusel topping over traditional pie dough any day. This is why I love Dutch apple pie.

Our Dutch apple pie recipe features a homemade butter crust that gets filled with spiced apples and topped with a cinnamon-y streusel. It’s everything you love about apple crisp in pie form, and when topped with vanilla ice cream, you have the ultimate end to a festive meal. Here’s how to make the best, classic version, worthy of a spot on your holiday table.

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

What’s the Difference Between Apple Pie and Dutch Apple Pie?

The difference between standard apple pie and Dutch apple pie comes down to the topping. Traditional apple pie has two crusts: a bottom crust and a top crust. The top crust can be latticed or simply draped over with a few venting slits to let the steam escape.

Dutch apple pie uses the same bottom crust, but forgoes the top crust for a streusel topping. The topping is usually made with a combination of flour, butter, sugar, and spices to create large clusters, then is scattered over the filling and baked until golden-brown. The result is crispy, crumbly, and sweet — similar to an apple crisp.

This recipe keeps the topping fairly simple to let the apples shine, but some recipes add nuts, oats, or other mix-ins for additional flavor and texture. Feel free to play around and make the topping your own.

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Is Dutch Apple Pie Actually Dutch?

Dutch-style apple pie as we know it in America can be thought of similarly to french fries: a beloved recipe that’s titled incorrectly. There is a real-deal Dutch version called appeltaart, but it’s a deep pie topped with crust, not crumble. The version we’re sharing here isn’t necessarily Dutch, but rather a result of “colonialism in the New World and old European traditions.”

If you’re interested in making Dutch appeltaart, there are several recipes online, but this recipe is for the streusel-style pie popular throughout America.

Read more: Regardless of True Origin, Dutch Apple Pie a Tasty Treat

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

3 Tips for Making Dutch Apple Pie

Before heading into the kitchen, keep these tips in mind.

1. Use Granny Smith apples. Granny Smith apples are considered the go-to baking apple, and for good reason! They hold their shape as they bake, and they have a wonderful tart, slightly sour taste that shines when paired with sugar. If you can’t get your hands on Granny Smith apples, Cortland and Fuji apples both make great substitutes.

2. Chill the streusel topping. After you prepare the topping, pop it in the fridge for at least 10 minutes to chill. This solidifies the butter and helps the large clusters of streusel hold together when baking. It also makes working with it much easier. By the time the filling is done the streusel will be perfectly chilled.

3. Cool the pie for at least two hours before slicing. Cutting into a hot pie can cause the filling to ooze out, so be patient and let your pie come to room temperature before cutting. One way to check if it’s ready to slice is to touch the bottom of the pie plate. If it’s still warm, give it more time.

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk
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Here's how to make a classic Dutch apple pie.

How to Make a Classic Dutch Apple Pie

A classic Dutch apple pie with a crunchy streusel topping.

Prep time 45 minutes to 1 hour

Cook time 50 minutes to 1 hour 5 minutes

Serves 8 to 12

Nutritional Info


For the crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups

    all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 1 tablespoon

    granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) cold unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons

    ice water, plus more as needed

For the topping:

  • 1 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 2/3 cup

    packed light or dark brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) cold unsalted butter

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    ground cloves

  • 2 pounds

    Granny Smith apples

  • 1

    large lemon

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract


  • Food processor (optional)

  • Plastic wrap

  • Peeler

  • Chef’s knife and cutting board

  • 9-inch pie plate (not deep dish)

  • Rolling pin

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Mixing bowls

  • Rimmed baking sheet

  • Aluminum foil or parchment paper

  • Cooling rack

  • Microplane


  1. Heat the oven. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.

  2. Make the crust. Place 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse a few times to combine. Cut 1 stick cold unsalted butter into 1/2-inch cubes and add scatter over the flour mixture. Pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal, about 10 pulses. Add 2 tablespoons ice water and pulse until the dough forms a cohesive mass, 10 to 15 pulses. If the dough is too dry and does not come together, pulse in an additional tablespoon ice water.

  3. Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap, gather into one piece, and press into a rough disk. Wrap tightly in the plastic. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling and topping.

  4. Make the topping. Place 1 cup all-purpose flour, 2/3 cup packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Cut 1 stick cold unsalted butter into 1/2-inch cubes and scatter over the flour mixture. Squeeze the dry ingredients and butter together with your hands until they form large, moist clumps. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

  5. Start the filling. Place 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

  6. Add the apples. Peel 2 pounds Granny Smith apples. Halve and core the apples, then cut into 1/4-inch thick slices (about 8 cups). Add to the bowl of spiced sugar. Finely grate the zest of 1 large lemon over the apples. Juice the lemon (about 3 tablespoons) over the apples. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and toss to combine, making sure there are no clumps of sugar or flour left in the bottom of the bowl.

  7. Line the pie plate with the crust. Place the pie dough onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out to a 12-inch wide round. Transfer the crust to a standard 9-inch pie plate (not deep dish). Press the dough into the plate, then roll the excess dough under itself on the edges of the plate. Crimp the crust with your fingers or a fork.

  8. Fill the pie shell. Pour the filling and any accumulated juices from the bowl into the crust and arrange into an even layer, slightly mounding them in the center. Scatter the chilled topping evenly over the top, going all the way to the edge of the crust.

  9. Bake the pie. Place the pie on the lined baking sheet. Bake until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling around the edges, 50 to 65 minutes. Check 40 minutes into baking: if the crust starts to brown too quickly, loosely cover the pie with aluminum foil.

  10. Cool before serving. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool at least 2 hours before slicing.

Recipe Notes

Making the crust by hand: To make the crust without a food processor, whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, add the butter cubes, and cut in with 2 knives or a pastry cutter until the butter is pea-sized. Add the ice water and squeeze mixture between your hands until the dough sticks together.

Make ahead: The pie dough can be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated. Let it sit out at room temperature for 20 minutes before rolling out.

Storage: Cover leftover pie in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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