dutch caramel apple pie
Helllloooooo, fall! And HELLO to this Dutch Caramel Apple Pie, aka the tastiest apple pie to come out of your kitchen this season. With a flaky buttery crust, a sweet-tart caramel apple filling and a thick crumb topping drizzled with caramel sauce, every bite of this delicious dessert brings on that quintessential cozy autumn feeling. (Bonus: It makes your house smell pretty fantastic, too.)
I get excited to share almost every recipe I post on this blog with you, but every once in a while, I get THISEXCITED. Like, can’t-keep-my-mouth-shut, on-the-edge-of-my-seat, full-on Kristen Wiig’s “Surprise Lady“-style excited. My friends, this pie is one of those recipes. And I am so happy that today is the day I can introduce it to you! You’re gonna love it, I just know you will.
What is Dutch Caramel Apple Pie?
If you’ve never had a Dutch apple pie or even heard of it, it’s basically a classic apple pie with a crumb-style topping, instead of a second pie crust. If I’m being honest, I prefer a Dutch apple pie to a traditional apple pie, because the crust-to-filling-to-crumb ratio is perfection. The pie crust lends its buttery flakiness; the fresh apple filling lends its crunch and sweetness; and the crumb topping lends a tender crunch with a hint of spice. It’s the kind of pie I grew up enjoying at holiday dessert tables, the pie slice I’d order at Bakers Square or Perkin’s, the pie I serve to my own family when an apple pie is the right dessert for the occasion. And now I’ve gone and added caramel to the filling and to the topping. YOU’RE WELCOME.
Best Ingredients for a Dutch Caramel Apple Pie
There are four major components to this recipe: The pie crust, the pie filling, the crumb topping and the caramel sauce. In testing this recipe, I found no real difference between using a homemade pie crust vs. a store-bought pie crust (though I do really love my all-butter pie crust recipe), but I did notice that homemade caramel sauce makes a big difference over the store-bought variety. You can follow the Recipe and Recipe Notes below for my recommendations, but whatever works for you is good! In any case, here’s what you’ll need to make this pie masterpiece:
- Pie crust
- Brown sugar
- Lemon juice
- Caramel sauce
Many of the ingredients in the filling are repeated in the crumb topping, keeping the ingredient list more efficient and accessible — and since we’re making an over-the-top dessert here, we want to take the pressure off in other areas if we can.
How to Make Dutch Caramel Apple Pie
Thankfully, the process of making this pie is as simple as the ingredient list! The prep work takes the most time (that is to say: peeling, coring and slicing a whole lotta apples + making homemade pie crust and/or caramel sauce) but beyond that, this recipe is easy as pie (I had to). Here’s how to make it:
Time needed: 4 hours and 5 minutes.
- Step One: Assemble the pie crust.
Roll out your pie crust and transfer to a pie plate. Press the crust into the bottom and sides of your pie plate, fold over the edges and flute as desired.
- Step Two: Make the apple pie filling.
In a large bowl, mix together sliced apples, sugar, spices and lemon juice until combined. Mound the filling into the center of the pie crust, then top with caramel sauce.
- Step Three: Make the crumb topping.
In a medium bowl, cut the butter into a mixture of flour, brown sugar and spices until crumbs form. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the apple pie filling.
- Step Four: Bake the pie.
Bake the pie in a 400°F oven for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the crumb topping is a deep golden brown, the filling is bubbly and the pie crust is golden.
- Step Five: Cool, then top with more caramel.
Cool the baked pie completely, about 3 hours, then top with the remaining caramel sauce just before serving.
And that’s how it is done, folks. The hardest part, as always, is waiting for the pie to cool completely before devouring it. Also, sharing. Sharing is hard.
Tips for the Best Apple Pie
Let’s cover a few last things before we part and you get to baking this tasty treat, because as I always say, you never want to dive headfirst into a recipe without a few pro tips in mind (that’s like making a recipe without reading it through first and then realizing halfway through making it you’re missing a key ingredient and you yell for your husband to race to the grocery store to pick it up for you BUT I DIGRESS). Here’s what you need to know:
- You can use a regular pie pan OR a deep-dish pie pan for this recipe. The biggest difference is, obviously, you’ll end up with a taller pie if you use a regular pie pan. If you do use a regular pie pan, I’d recommend placing a sheet of foil or a rimmed baking sheet on a rack underneath the pie plate in the oven to catch any potential drips.
- The filling will be juicy. If you serve this pie at room temperature after it fully cools, the inside will have a lot of extra juice (not sogginess! if it’s soggy, the pie crust didn’t bake through all the way) and the slices might not stay together neatly. But, not to worry! It still tastes amazing. But if you’re really going for those perfect pie slices, I’d recommend giving this pie a chill in the fridge for an hour or two before serving.
- Let the pie cool completely. For the love of Pete, let the pie cool for the full 3 hours. I know it’s an insanely long time to just see it sitting there on your counter, smelling all the warm spices and sweet apple fragrances, but trust. A fully cooled pie is a pie that doesn’t completely fall apart on you when you cut into it. (And I mean completely fall apart, rather than the less-than-neat slices I mentioned in the previous tip.)
- Use the right apples for apple pie. My favorite go-to apple for pie baking is a Granny Smith, but if you’re looking for something sweeter, I recommend Golden Delicious or Honeycrisp. Check out my Recipe Notes for more apple varieties that work for pie!
All right, friends, I could keep waxing poetic about this pie beauty, but instead I’ll leave you here so you can enjoy all the autumn coziness this classic dessert has to offer. And if you do make it, don’t forget to share on Instagram or Facebook and tag me so I can see it! Then you’ll definitely get the Surprise Lady reaction from me.Print
Dutch Caramel Apple Pie
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
- Yield: 1 9-inch pie 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
Prepare yourself for this apple pie. With a buttery crust, a caramel apple filling and a crumb topping drizzled with MORE caramel, you’ll never want to eat this classic dessert any other way ever again.
For the filling:
- 1 pie crust (store-bought or homemade)
- 8 cups peeled, cored and sliced apples*
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup caramel sauce**
For the topping:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup caramel sauce
- Heat oven to 400°F. On a well-floured surface, roll out pie crust and transfer to a glass or ceramic pie plate. Press crust into bottom and sides of pie plate, then trim excess crust to within 1 inch of edge of pie plate. Fold over pie crust to line up with the edge of the pie plate; press and flute as desired.
- In a large bowl, stir together sliced apples, granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and lemon juice. Pour apple filling into pie plate, mounding apples in the center. Drizzle top with 1/2 cup caramel sauce.
- In a medium bowl using a pastry blender or your fingers, mix butter, 1 cup flour, 2/3 cup brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon until crumbs form. Sprinkle mixture over apple filling in pie plate, covering apples completely.
- Bake pie 45 to 55 minutes, or until crumb topping is a deep golden brown and apple filling is bubbly (cover pie crust with foil halfway through baking if it browns too quickly). Cool pie on a cooling rack 3 hours or until completely cooled.***
- Drizzle remaining 1/2 cup caramel sauce over pie just before serving. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- *My favorite apple varieties to use for apple pie are Granny Smith, Braeburn, Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp and Pink Lady.
- **I used this easy caramel sauce recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction to add to this pie! You can also use store-bought caramel sauce, but I highly recommend using a high-quality caramel sauce since it lends so much flavor to the pie.
- ***The pie filling remains pretty juicy once cooled. If you don’t mind pie slices that fall apart a bit, you can serve the pie at room temperature; if you like more solid slices, I’d recommend refrigerating the pie for at least 1 hour before cutting and serving.
Keywords: crumb topping, dutch apple pie, fresh apple pie filling
YUMMY!!! I bet this is delicious. I love apple and cinnamon recipes. Caramel can’t hurt either. Ha!!
Charlotte, Thanks! The caramel definitely doesn’t hurt. 😉
I live in the mountains of NC and grow my own apples and black walnuts. I specifically made this pie today as a trial run for Thanksgiving. This is hands down the best pie I have ever made. Thank you for sharing. I made the caramel sauce as suggested and the only slight change I made was adding black walnuts to the topping. You are the best from one cook to all the others
Madeline, Thank you so so much! (Also, I am envious that you grow your own apples/walnuts!)
Amazing pie!! My boyfriend absolutely LOVES Dutch apple pies, but we have tried many local shops (we live in Vancouver, Canada) and none of them were up to his standards – it was disappointment after disappointment! Eventually I gave up searching and stumbled across this recipe. I am not an experienced pie baker per se, but I do bake my fair share of cookies and banana bread. Anyways, I followed the steps (though I just used 7 cups apples because my pie dish was a bit shallow) and it turned out perfectly!! My boyfriend (tough pie critic!) has expressed his deep love for this pie and even ranked it in his top 2 favourite pies of all time! 24 hours after Valentines Day and he had already eaten half the pie haha! I also used the recipe linked here for the caramel and it was divine. Thank you for the perfect dutch caramel apple pie recipe, I have officially added it to my favourite recipes book! Highly recommend if you are looking to try a new pie recipe. YUM!
PS- it is even tastier on day 2!
Allie, Thank you so so much!!
This pie is deadly delicious. I used Honeycrisps – 4 large ones were more than enough for nicely mounded pie. I must have slightly overheated the caramel sauce because it formed some toffee bits which only added an additional layer of deliciousness to the already decadent topping.