Classic Gluten Free Apple Pie

Classic Gluten Free Apple Pie

Baking your gluten free apple pie in a bag ensures perfect fork-tender apples and a light and flaky, perfectly browned crust every time. Long live pie season!

Baking your gluten free apple pie in a bag ensures perfect fork-tender apples and a light and flaky, perfectly browned crust every time.

Baking pie in a paper bag ?

You should know straight up that I haven’t ever burned my house down baking an apple pie in a paper bag. Don’t worry I’m only kidding a 375°F oven is not going to get the paper bag hot enough to have it burst into flames.

Just don’t even think about turning on the broiler with the paper grocery bag inside the oven. And keep the bag away from direct contact with the flame.

Baking your apple pie in a bag means that your apple filling is always always always perfectly tender. It also ensures that your crust is extra special flaky even without blind-baking the bottom crust.

Overhead image of a double crust pie

Then, all that’s left to do is to tear open the top of the bag and finish baking. The crust will be absolutely positively the most gorgeous golden brown color you have ever seen in your life.

This is my favorite way to make a classic gluten free apple pie. But it’s far from the only way to make apple pie. Remember that we have a recipe for gluten free Dutch apple pie and even a recipe for handheld gluten free apple pies. Both of those recipes will produce a filling with more of a bite to it, unlike the super soft filling here.

And if you’re worried about rolling out pie crust, I have a how-to video for making extra flaky gluten free pie crust. The same techniques apply to the pie crust recipe here as they do in the extra flaky crust.

You can even double that recipe and use it in place of the double crust recipe below to make this pie. That’s what I did in the recipe video and it was amazing. That pie crust recipe is even easier to handle than the ice water recipe reprinted here, but both produce a light, flaky result.

Overhead image of a double crust pie with a piece taken

Deep dish or standard shallow pie plate

When I first published this recipe on the blog in 2014, I baked it in a traditional shallow pie plate. In the video and newer photos, I used a deep dish pie plate.

In either a deep dish or standard pie plate, the baking time stays the same. The paper bag technique is designed to cook the apples perfectly by steaming them in the bag.

The crust is shielded from any direct heat of the oven until the inside is nearly completely cooked. The final 10 minutes of baking time is just to fully brown the crust.

Step by step images making apple pie filling and assembling in a pie crust

If you decide to bake this apple pie in the sort of standard shallow pie pan you see above, you won’t use all of the sliced apples. Just cook the remaining apples down on the stovetop in a small heavy-bottom saucepan until tender.

As the filling mixture has sat in the bowl, some of the moisture has been drawn out of the apples. They shouldn’t need any additional liquid to be cooked separately. If you’re concerned about the apples burning, just add a splash of water to the pan.

Baking your gluten free apple pie in a bag ensures perfect fork-tender apples and a light and flaky, perfectly browned crust every time.

Ingredients and substitutions

Despite having a few steps and stages, this is a relatively simple recipe. It’s naturally egg-free if you omit the egg wash, and actually has relatively little sugar added. However, there are a few substitutions you might like to make, so here’s the information I have on the subject:

Dairy-free: The apple pie filling is naturally dairy-free, but the crust calls for plenty of butter. My favorite dairy-free substitute for butter in pastry is Melt brand vegan butter. It has a similar moisture content to butter, and a great taste.

I don’t recommend Earth Balance buttery sticks for pie crust. They have a ton of moisture when tends to cause the crust to leak and never become flaky.

If you can’t find Melt, try using Spectrum nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening. You’ll definitely want to brush the crust with the egg wash, though, as shortening doesn’t brown particularly well.

Sugar-free: The only added sugar in this recipe is the half cup of granulated sugar in the filling. You can try replacing it with Swerve brand granulated sugar replacement.

Tapioca starch: You can replace the tapioca starch in the filling with arrowroot.

Baking your gluten free apple pie in a bag ensures perfect fork-tender apples and a light and flaky, perfectly browned crust every time. #Thanksgiving #GF #glutenfree #pieAn apple pie from the side with a slice taken

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 1 9-inch apple pie


Double Pie Crust
3 cups (420 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I highly recommend Cup4Cup, my Better Than Cup4Cup blend, or my Mock Cup4Cup), plus more for sprinkling

1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum (omit if your blend  already contains it)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

12 tablespoons (168 g) unsalted butter, roughly chopped and chilled

3/4 to 1 cup cold water, iced (ice cubes do not count in volume measurement)

Pie Filling
3 pounds medium-size Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced about 1/4-inch thick

1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon (9 g) tapioca starch

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For Finishing
Egg wash (1 egg + 1 tablespoon cold water, beaten) (optional)

Large paper grocery shopping bag, plus a stapler


  • First, make the pie crust. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt, and whisk to combine well. Add the chopped and chilled butter, and toss to coat it in the dry ingredients. Flatten each chunk of butter between your thumb and forefinger. Add 3/4 cup of water and mix until the dough begins to come together. Add the remaining water by the teaspoon until no part of the dough is crumbly.

  • Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured piece of unbleached parchment paper and press into a disk. Sprinkle the dough lightly with more flour, and roll it out into a rectangle that is about 1 inch thick, moving the dough frequently and sprinkling it lightly with flour if it begins to stick. Fold the dough over on itself like you would a business letter. Sprinkle the dough again lightly with flour, and roll out the dough once again into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Twice more, remove the top piece of parchment paper, sprinkle lightly with flour, and fold the dough over on itself like you would a business letter. This will smooth out the dough and make it quite easy to handle. Divide the dough into two equal parts, wrap each separately in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill.

  • Preheat your oven to 375°F. Make the pie filling. In a large bowl, place the apples, sugar, salt, tapioca starch, and ground cinnamon, and toss to coat the apples evenly. Set the filling aside.

  • Assemble the bottom crust and filling. Grease a 9-inch metal pie plate generously and set aside. Remove one half of the pie crust from the refrigerator. Place on a lightly floured piece of unbleached parchment paper, dust lightly with flour, and roll into a 12-inch round, about 3/8-inch thick. Roll the pie crust loosely on the rolling pin and then unroll it over the prepared pie plate. Press the pie crust gently into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate and, with kitchen shears, trim the excess crust so that only 1/4-inch of excess is overhanging the plate. Tuck the 1/4-inch of excess either under the bottom crust edge and crimp the edge gently all the way around the crust. Arrange the apples filling on the bottom crust in concentric circles, overlapping one apple slice slightly over the previous one.

  • Shape the other crust and finish assembling the pie. Remove the other half of pie crust from the refrigerator. Place on a lightly floured piece of unbleached parchment paper, dust lightly with flour, and roll it into a rough round about 3/8-inch thick and trim to 10-inches in diameter. Carefully lift the top crust and center it over the pie plate. Tuck the very edge of the pie crust under either the bottom crust or under itself. Crimp the edge all the way around and press together to seal the top and bottom crusts.* Place it in the freezer for 10 minutes (or the refrigerator for 30 minutes) to chill until firm.

    *Note: At this point, the assembled raw pie can be wrapped tightly and frozen for up to a month before baking and serving.

  • Brush the top crust and edges of the chilled pie generously with the optional egg wash. Place the paper bag open on its side, and slide the assembled and chilled pie inside so that the back edge of the pie is about 1-inch away from the bottom of the bag. Fold the bag opening over on itself and stable shut. Place the pie in the bag on a large rimmed baking sheet and place in the center of the preheated oven. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and cut a large hole in the top of the to expose the top and sides of the pie. Return to the oven and bake until the pie is golden brown all over (about another 10 minutes). Remove from the oven, and allow to cool slightly so the filling sets before slicing and serving.

  • Originally published on the blog in 2014. Recipe largely unchanged, most photos original, video and some text new.


Comments are closed.

  • Terri
    October 15, 2018 at 12:06 PM

    I just made this on Saturday. I am so happy to have a real pie crust again. Mine was a bit on the tough side maybe I overworked it so I will be careful next time, but it was still so good! I have been only having a bottom crust on my pies for years because I failed at making a crust when I was first diagnosed, I used a biscuit mix and just pressed a crust into the pie plate. No more of that for me now!
    Thank you

    • Nicole Hunn
      October 15, 2018 at 12:09 PM

      My guess is that you added too much flour to the dough as you shaped it (and/or possibly worked it too much). But it sounds like your first attempt was a great start. I’m so glad you’re feeling hopeful. That’s the best, Terri!

  • Helen Reynolds
    October 14, 2018 at 1:19 AM

    Hello Nicole
    Can I ask you about your all purpose gluten free flour, would you say it’s self raising or plain flour.
    I use Doves gluten free flours in England which I love…
    Can’t wait to try this recipe.
    Thank you
    Helen :)

    • Nicole Hunn
      October 15, 2018 at 8:09 AM

      Hi, Helen,
      I’ve never tried Dove’s, so I’m afraid I can’t promise that it will work in my recipes. I can only promise success if you use one of my recommended blends. But if you do use Dove’s, “plain” flour is what we refer to in U.S. as all purpose. Self-rising flour would always be specifically called for. Hope that’s helpful!

  • Tammi
    October 12, 2018 at 2:40 PM

    I am making this now for my daughter’s birthday.
    I have baked a turkey in an oiled paper bag before. I am a little nervous baking the pie in a dry paper bag.
    Thank you for the recipe.

  • Kayley Yu
    October 10, 2018 at 2:19 PM

    Why won’t the ratings change? They’re always only 5 stars.

    • Nicole Hunn
      October 10, 2018 at 3:17 PM

      Hi, Kayley, the star ratings are an average. Like any average, the more entries there are on either end of the spectrum, the less likely they are to change with new entries. I don’t ever rate the recipes myself, and I don’t edit them unless I can see that someone has gone in and starting adding 1-star reviews to 10 recipes at a time, which seems more like a vendetta. Just like rude comments, I won’t allow that.

  • Kristy B.
    November 17, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    I didn’t have a staple gun, so I sealed the bag shut with tin foil. Worked like a charm :)

  • youngbaker2002
    November 16, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    hi Nicole, I was just wondering, do we have to use kosher salt? is there a reason why your recipes call for kosher?

  • jillian
    November 10, 2014 at 11:30 PM

    I smiled when seeing this paper bag recipe. forty years ago I learned to cook a turkey in a paper bag (butter it all over and staple it in…cook as usual) and the results are so great that we have always done this. moist and delicious. so of course I will be trying this for a pie!

    • November 12, 2014 at 8:21 AM

      That sounds amazing, Jillian! I’ve never heard of that but now I simply must try it. Maybe even this Thanksgiving…

  • Cyn
    November 10, 2014 at 9:33 PM

    I was just wondering if you had ever figured out a dairy free hack for pastry flour?

    • November 12, 2014 at 8:20 AM

      Yes, Cyn, please use the search function. It’s there!

  • kittywitty
    November 10, 2014 at 8:00 PM

    Quick question…if I freeze the pie after assembling, do the baking instructions change? I’ve seen some recipes say to bake from frozen at a higher temp first, then lower the temp for the remaining time. Any pointers on baking your pie from frozen? Thanks SO much!! :)

    • November 12, 2014 at 8:22 AM

      Kitty, it’s not necessary to cook it at a higher temperature at first, and in fact I wouldn’t recommend that at all. You just might have to increase the baking time in the second stage (after cutting open the bag). That’s all.

      • kittywitty
        November 12, 2014 at 3:38 PM

        Thanks, Nicole! :)

  • Donia Robinson
    November 10, 2014 at 3:53 PM

    I just placed an order for Better Batter, and wanted to let any other Better Batter buyers ;) that they are having a huge sale right now. A 5-pound package is $12.50. This is the lowest price I’ve ever seen. Plus, if your order is over $50, you get free shipping. Just wanted to pass this along to all my GF peeps!

    • kittywitty
      November 10, 2014 at 8:32 PM

      Oooh…good to know, Donia! Thanks for sharing! :)

  • Mare Masterson
    November 10, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    Well I, for one, have never precooked apples for my pies. I will make my normal apple pie (with Macintosh apples and honey instead of sugar) using Nicole’s amazing pie crust recipe (had it last Thanksgiving for the first time and I was literally dancing and singing for joy). I turn Better Batter into the mock cup 4 cup. Only difference this year, I will cook it in the bag. Rock on Nicole!

    • November 12, 2014 at 8:25 AM

      Sounds perfect, Mare!

  • kittywitty
    November 10, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    This pie looks amazing, Nicole! I haven’t made GF pie crust yet, but this looks so good and I was looking for something to make this week that I could freeze for Thanksgiving. I think this is it! By the way–you have the BEST blog and cookbooks on gluten free baking, hands down. I’ve made so many of your recipes and they are all amazing. Thank you!!

    • Donia Robinson
      November 10, 2014 at 3:54 PM

      I second this!

    • November 12, 2014 at 8:22 AM

      Thanks so much for the kind words, kitty. That means a lot to me!

  • Rachel Porada
    November 10, 2014 at 1:11 PM

    Can you use a glass pie pan, or must it be metal for some reason?

    • November 12, 2014 at 8:23 AM

      I do not recommend using a glass pie pan, Rachel. The pie will bake too fast.

  • Sarah
    November 10, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    I made mine this morning. In the oven as I type, so excited to see how it turns out. By the way, this is the first time I’ve ever had a pie crust NOT fall apart!! Hurray!

    • November 12, 2014 at 8:23 AM

      That’s awesome, Sarah!

  • Rebecca Terry
    November 10, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    Do you think this pie would work with a mock apple pie, made with zucchini instead of apples? I would LOVE to try this but allergic to apples,(and other tree fruit as well).

    • A Living Doll
      November 11, 2014 at 8:31 PM

      What fruits can you eat? Are berries okay? Guava, pear and jicama taste similar to apples if that helps. Jicama is a root not a fruit so its worth the try. :) Its more potato like in consistency but apple like in taste. These are my opinions though so look into it first and see if its something you’d like. ^_^ If you can eat custard apple (its not an apples its a seed fruit) then that would be an amazing option too.

      • Rebecca Terry
        November 12, 2014 at 12:07 AM

        I can have berries, but no pears, nothing that grows on a tree, that I have found. I have never tried Jicama or Custard Apples. Nor have I ever heard of a Custard apple! I would be very intrigued to try it. I would probably have to order it as I live in a smallish town. If Jicama is like a potato I am probably allergic as I am allergic to potatoes as well. The list I am not allergic too is shorter than what I am allergic too. I know, ridiculous. Plus I think I am adding rice to that long list.

        • A Living Doll
          November 12, 2014 at 2:40 AM

          Aww, I’m sorry. :( I also have a lot of food allergies (more than 16 . . .) so I know what its like to dodge all sorts of foods. >_< I think berries would work well and zucchini would be good but I get the feeling it would be better for a savory pie than a sweet pie. Umm, custard apples grows on a tree but is more like a Lychee than a apple type fruit. Hmm, I suppose pumpkin and and kiwi are some other options too. o . o Jicama isn't a potato its a root like a potato but you can research it to see if its related to your potato allergies (I think its a nightshade allergy? Asking your allergist would be wise.) If you like savory pies then you can go really wild with the zucchini filling though. : D (Like with carrots and cauliflower too.) Oh! Carrots are good for sweet pies too. : D Anyways, I hope you get some awesome filling ideas. ^_^ If all fails why not try a banana filling? (It's technically a berry. o . o )

        • Rebecca Terry
          November 12, 2014 at 12:19 PM

          Thank you for the ideas! I have already tried a mock apple zucchini before, just not with your recipe.(which looks amazing!) The zucchini absorbs the spices and sugars and taste almost exactly like apples. But it can get a little mushy if not cooked correctly. But a savory pie sounds good too, now I am hungry!

  • Davida
    November 10, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    My grandmother baked in paper bags, and I had forgotten about this method. Thanks for the reminder. I think I’ll give it a try.

  • November 10, 2014 at 10:30 AM

    Fascinating, I’ve never heard of this method. The pie looks so uniformly golden and delicious!

    • November 12, 2014 at 8:24 AM

      It’s the only way to make apple pie, if you ask me, Lauren! ;)

  • Lucy
    November 10, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    Nicole, your pie looks wonderful… I have never tried the brown bag method, I’m sure to try it next time for sure.
    Your pie crust recipe it to die for! Look what I baked yesterday! And no one could tell it was GF and I even prefer this recipe over the gluten filled pie crust…many thanks Nicole…HUGS :)
    PS; My pic isn’t as fancy as yours …;)

    • Donia Robinson
      November 10, 2014 at 3:55 PM

      That is awesome, Lucy!!

    • November 12, 2014 at 8:24 AM

      That looks amazing, Lucy!!!

  • Donia Robinson
    November 10, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    I have never heard of this method! Where have I been? The pie filling looks very well cooked. I hate it when there are huge slices of barely cooked apple in a pie. I read through the instructions just to make sure you didn’t cook the filling in advance (which is cheating, in my book). I don’t make many pies, but maybe I’ll have to do this one for Thanksgiving. I think my mom would get a kick out of the process (and results!).

    Thanks, Trader Joe’s bag, for your ultimate sacrifice to our GF cause…

    • November 12, 2014 at 8:25 AM

      Nope, no precooked filling here, Donia. The beauty of making apple pie in a bag!

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