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grandma's apple pie (in a bag)

apple pie on a counter

Every year on Thanksgiving, I (Emma) spend the day before at my grandma's house making pies! We always go for the classics: apple & pumpkin.

As I type that sentence, I can see and feel with my hands, my grandma's vintage pyrex bowl and matching pie tins that every pie we make are baked in. Her kitchen is bright and airy with huge windows so the apple pie, quintessentially, cooling in the window is a real thing of my childhood. My grandma was a woman before her time. She worked in Hollywood for an advertising agency and was a self made woman. She met my grandpa and had her first baby at 27. She grew up in the mid-west during the Great Depression and tells me about making butter by rolling jars across the dining room floor with her sister and how an orange in her stocking was as good as gold on Christmas. She has lives a full and dynamic life. She just celebrated her 90th birthday.

This apple pie recipe isn't just a testament to my grandma; but, to the women on her side who spent hours in the kitchen crafting delicious recipes and making things from scratch and the empowering conversations and memories that came from those days in the kitchen. I am proud to be one of those women and am excited to share this recipe with you and my future family!

apples in cinnamon and sugar

Now, my grandma loves remembering those times but definitely is happy that the world has moved forward. We do not make our butter from scratch (my husband does and it's an every dish in the kitchen affair). This recipe doesn't even ask you to attempt a pie crust. But you could if you wanted to!

apple in pie tin

This recipe ensures that the apples are tender and sweet and that the pie is a few easy steps. My grandma says (in all her extremely polite sass), "You can use any type of apple but granny smith is the right choice". This apple pie is the culmination of the tricks that my grandma learned from her mom and what my grandma has taught me and the granddaughters in our family.

bag on cookie sheet with apple pie inside

We always serve it with vanilla bean ice cream but you can go traditional and serve it with a good cheddar cheese. A tip for Thanksgiving, cook it the day before and leave it overnight so all the flavors marry even more.

apple pie on counter

Much like my grandma, this recipe has a trick up its sleeve. The whole pie goes in a bag and that bag goes in the oven. It won't burn! I promise; just follow the instructions exactly! This is to ensure that the apple steam perfectly through and through and none of them have a crunch.

apple pie giphy


Apple Pie (in a bag)

Grandma's apple pie

prep time 30 minutes

cook time 60 minutes

total time 90 minutes

6-8 slices of pie



  • 9 inch pie dish

  • Heavy Brown Paper Bag (Large, like a grocery store paper bag)

  • Metal Paper Clips

  • Pre-made pie crust

  • Pie weights or dry beans

  • Parchment paper


  • 2.5 lbs Granny Smith Apples

  • ½ cup sugar

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • ½ tsp nutmeg

  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice


  • ½ cup sugar

  • ½ cup flour

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

  2. Roll out your pie crust into the pie tin. Follow directions on any thaw time from the manufacturer. Press and flute the edges as fancy as you'd like. Lay a piece of parchment over and fill with pie weights or beans. Bake for 10 minutes and set aside to cool slightly.

  3. Peel, core, cut apples into about 3/4 to 1" chunks.

  4. Make the filling: In a bowl, mix together apples, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Sprinkle on lemon juice. Stir well to coat all the apples. Spoon filling into pie crust.

  5. Make the topping: Whisk together sugar and flour. Chop butter into small pieces and mix with your hands into flour and sugar mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle topping on apples.

  6. Place the paper on its side on a cookie sheet for easy transfer. Slide pie into bag. Fold the opening of the bag twice and seal with paper clips.

  7. Bake for 1 hour. When finished apples will be soft and tender and the topping will be golden.

  8. Take cookie sheet with bag out of the oven. THE PAPER CLIPS WILL BE HOT. Cut the bag open with scissors and let the steam release for a few minutes so you do not burn yourself.

  9. Cool pie on a wire rack.

Enjoy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream!

apple pie with whipped cream

apple pie

apple pie pinterest image

apple pie pinterest image


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