Can You Use Granny Smith Apples For Apple Pie?

Granny Smith apples are famous for their lovely tart. Their flavor is the reason people use these apples in many dessert recipes to balance the sweetness. But, can you use these apples for apple pies? If you have some Granny Smith apples handy, and you’re also craving an apple pie, we've researched the question for you. Here's what others had to say!

Granny Smith apples are one of the best choices for apple pies because of their firm and tart nature. These delicious green apples can make a great pie with a savory kick. You can use them alone if you like the savoriness. Or, if you prefer your pie to be a little sweeter, you can combine them with more flavourful apples for a more dynamic taste.

Now that you know you can use those green apples for a pie, all you need is a good recipe. We will look at the most liked Granny Smith apple pie recipe below, give some tips to bake a good pie, and answer some commonly asked questions about apple pies, so keep reading.

Slice of apple pie dessert on a plate, Can You Use Granny Smith Apples For Apple Pie?

Granny Smith Apple Pie Recipe

A good apple pie recipe should be in everyone’s baking repertoire. This recipe is for Granny Smith apples, but you can tweak it to your personal preferences if you’re familiar with the basics of baking.

Slice of freshly baked Dutch apple pie


You will need one batch of all-butter basic pie crust. The following are the ingredients required for the Granny Smith apple filling.

  • Eight Granny Smith apples
  • Half cup (50g) of white sugar and half cup (60g) of packed brown sugar 
  • Two tbsp flour
  • One tbsp lemon juice
  • Half tsp salt
  • One tsp cinnamon
  • One tbsp butter

You will also need one large egg, one tablespoon of water, and coarse sugar each for the assembly of the pie.


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and prepare the dough. Place the dough in a pie tin.
  2. The first step is to prepare the filling. You should peel the apples and thinly slice them. While peeling or not is a matter of preference, remember that Grannies with the peel on will have a very unpleasant taste.
  3. Add the sliced apples to a bowl with the rest of the filling ingredients and stir well.
  4. Place the coated apples in the dough and cover them with small pieces of butter. Put the top crust over the filling and brush it with egg wash and coarse sugar.


  1. Put the pie in the preheated oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 425°F, or until the pastry starts turning brown.
  2. Lower the temperature to 375°F and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the pastry turns dark golden. 
  3. After it is fully baked, let it sit for around three hours before serving.

General Tips for a Better Baking Experience

  1. You can replace half the apples with other apples like Golden Delicious or Braeburn for a sweeter taste. 
  2. Apple juices can usually bubble off the edges of the pie tin. These juice bubbles dripping down the bottom of the oven can be tough to clean. To avoid this, add a baking sheet to the oven rack.
  3. You can always start with a high oven temperature and then lower the temperature to avoid a soggy bottom and achieve a good crisp.
  4. Do not serve a pie right after you bake it. Freshly baked pies have a runny filling and ruin the experience. Let it sit for two or three hours before cutting into it.

What Are Granny Smith Apples Best Used For?

Collection of healthy organic fresh produce

These apples have been around since 1868 and have always been used in a wide variety of ways. Their hardness and resistance to browning make them perfect for lunchboxes and traveling. While some may enjoy eating them raw, they're also present in many pies, cake, cobbler, and muffin recipes. They are also used in salads, antipasti platters, and cheese plates.

What Can I Substitute for Granny Smith Apples?

Granny Smith apples are preferred because of their rigid texture and how well they can hold up against high temperatures. If you do not have these apples for your pie, you need something that's firm and doesn't turn to mush while baking. Honeycrisp apples are the best alternative as they offer both the tartness of Grannies and the ability to survive in the baking process.

You can also try Jargonalds and Cortlands as a substitute. Both of these options will provide a blend of sweetness, savoriness, and firm texture. If you find Grannies too tart for your taste, Braeburns are a type of Grannies that are a little sweeter and can also hold their shape in the oven.

If you want a more definitive answer, Braeburns and Gold Delicious apples seem to be the best substitutes if you want a mix of good texture and sweetness. Braeburns are the descendants of Granny Smith apples. So, they'll achieve similar results to them - but it suits those with a sweet tooth. 

Gold Delicious will deviate from the firm texture of Braeburns or Granny Smith variations. They will soften much more than the two when baked. But, it's the best of both worlds. It's sweet, tart, and buttery.

What Apples Should Not Be Used for Apple Pie?

Fresh ripe apple fruits in different colors

One of the essential characteristics of an apple pie is that the fruit’s flesh should not deteriorate by the high baking temperature. A good pie has layers with depth which makes it stand out. So, we should avoid apples that cannot withstand cooking temperatures, such as Red Delicious and Gala. 

These apples are undoubtedly delicious but not a good fit for a pie.

Apart from firm flesh, apples that are too succulent and juicy should also be avoided. Extra juice can make the filling runny and soupy. You can use cornstarch to deal with extra juice, but it’s better to start with suitable apples. That is why you should avoid McIntosh, Fuji, and Rave since they are the apple types that are too juicy for a pie.

Should You Peel Apples for Apple Pie?

Peeling your apples or not for a pie has been a never-ending debate. It is just a question of preference. You'll want to familiarize yourself with what happens if you bake with the peel and without it.

Baking a pie with unpeeled apples will give it a unique color and texture. However, it also prevents the apples from fusing while they bake. As some suggest, it also depends on the skin of the apple. Some will have tough skin that can get stuck in your teeth. Others warn the skin has the potential to harden.

On the other hand, peeling the apples will help you achieve a soft filling with a more melded taste if you're using different apples. In other words, there won't be a slight element of surprise when you take a bite into it. It will be a thick and soft consistency. 

How Many Apples for Apple Pie?

Homemade apple pie

The number of apples needed depends on the type of apples you want to use and the size of your pie. The general pie size is nine inches with ½-2 inches of depth. Let’s talk about how many apples you would need for the typical pie size.

  • You will need eight to ten medium-sized apples. Granny Smith, Ida Red, and Jonathan are some medium-sized apple types. 
  • For large-sized apples, the requirement for a general size pie is five to six apples. Cortland, Golden Delicious, and Honeycrisp are some large-sized apples. Grannies and Ida Red are also available in large sizes.

Can You Use Frozen Granny Smith Apples for Pie?

Granny Smith is one of the best varieties of apples to be used as frozen. You can undoubtedly use these apples for pies if you have frozen them using proper preservation methods. However, you should not thaw the apples as it will make the apples mushy. The appropriate way to use these apples is to mix the fillings and bake while they’re still frozen.

Do You Pre-Cook Apples for Pie?

Pre-cooking the apples will make the filling more tender and succulent compared to raw apple pie. If you are going for a mushy filling, you can pre-cook the apples. But, that will take away the depth and layers of the pie that we all love. 

Generally, if you are using fresh apples, you do not need to pre-cook them. Just peel the apples, slice them, and put them in cold water to avoid browning. However, if you plan to use canned or dried apples for your pie filling, you should pre-cook the apples.

Final Takeaway

What makes the best pie depends on your preference. If you value an apple that holds up well as it bakes, Granny Smith apples are one of the best options to use. However, others - like the Golden Delicious and Braeburn apples - can be unique choices. We hope you found the information above helpful!

Before you go, would you like to know if you can use any frozen apples for pies? To learn more, check out our post - Can You Use Frozen Apples For Pies?

Now that you have an idea of what to use for filling, you might want to know if your pie needs a top crust. If you'd like to learn more, check out our post - Does Apple Pie Need A Top Crust?

Good luck baking sweet and savory goodness!

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