If you’re having an apple pie emergency because it’s way too runny, you’ve come to the right place!
Here’s everything you need to know for how to fix watery apple pie after baking.
Related: 100 American Pies (+ Easy Recipes)
How to Fix Watery Apple Pie After Baking
1. Place It Back In The Oven
Easy as pie!
- Use an oven thermometer to ensure the right oven temperature (if your dial isn’t accurate).
- Cover the pie with aluminum foil, place it back in the oven and bake it at 425 to 450 F for about 12 minutes.
- Wait until the pie cools/sets (about 2 hours at room temperature) before cutting into it. Or, it’s almost certain that you’ll end up with a juicy, wet mess when you slice it.
Can you blame your oven for a runny apple pie? Some ovens don’t heat evenly and/or display the wrong temperature. Bad oven, bad!
Tip: Try a toaster oven if your gas oven has hot spots, fluctuating temperatures, or the dial isn’t accurate. Gas ovens also release moisture which can cause baking issues. Toaster ovens use less electricity than electric ovens and don’t heat up your kitchen as much.
Important note: If you didn’t follow a reliable apple pie recipe — use strategy #2 or #3 below instead.
2. Scoop Out The Filling (Crumble Topping)
A more time intensive strategy involves: re-heating the pie filling, re-baking the bottom crust, and making a crumble topping:
Here’s how to fix watery apple pie after baking with a crumble topping, step-by-step:
- Remove the pie’s top crust and scoop out the filling.
- Put the pie back in the oven (bottom rack) and allow the bottom crust to cook all the way through.
- Simultaneously heat the pie filling on the stove (over a low simmer) until the juice reduces. Let cool.
- Once the bottom crust cooks –and cools– reinsert the filling.
- Replace the top crust with a crumble topping.
3. Scoop Out The Filling (Whipped Cream Topping)
A little whipped cream, and all is forgiven:
Here’s how to fix watery apple pie after baking with whipped cream topping:
- Remove the pie’s top crust and scoop out the filling.
- Put the pie back in the oven and allow the bottom crust to cook all the way through.
- Simultaneously heat the pie filling on the stove (over a low simmer) until the juice reduces.
- Once the bottom crust cooks, reinsert the filling.
- Wait for the pie to cool.
- Then top with whipped cream instead of a crust.
4. Make A Festive Holiday Sundae Or Parfait
The best kind of mess.
Soupy pie fillings make great ice cream toppings.
Here’s how to fix watery apple pie after baking by making a sundae:
APPLE PIE SUNDAE INSTRUCTIONS
- Scoop ice cream into individual serving bowls or glasses.
- Top with the apple pie filling and crust.
- Garnish with whipped cream and nuts.
APPLE PIE PARFAIT INSTRUCTIONS
Here’s an easy, step-by-step, parfait video tutorial on how to fix watery apple pie after baking by making a parfait.
Just use apple pie filling and crust instead of pecan!
*A parfait is similar to an ice cream sundae, only it’s layered instead.
5. Make An Apple Pie Bourbon Shake
Easy. Boozy. Beautiful.
This is the one time you’ll want to make a baking mistake.
You’ve got a festive & easy holiday shake or smoothie and your guests are none the wiser.
It’s totally healthy, its got has apples AND milk! ????
Here’s the recipe:
Serves: 1 thirsty person
- 3 scoops vanilla ice cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 oz. bourbon
- 1/2 cup chopped apple pie
- Optional toppings: Whipped cream, pecans, & cinnamon powder
- In a blender, combine vanilla ice cream, milk, bourbon, and chopped apple pie.
- Blend until desired consistency. (Add ice cream if too thin, or more milk if too thick)
- Pour into a tall glass or shake glass.
- Garnish with crumbled apple pie. Or optional whipped cream, pecans and a dash of cinnamon.
Related: 20 Best Apple Pie Cocktails
15 Ways to Prevent Watery Apple Pie
How to prevent runny apple pie:
Prevent runny apple pie by using a thickener made for fruit pies, measure ingredients accurately, use tart-firm apples and pre-cook them, do not overfill your pie plate, vent your top crust, and let the pie cool before slicing.
Making your first apple pie this holiday? Want to impress everyone with your baking skills?
1. Use Instant ClearJel Thickener
The secret to perfect apple pie!
Professional bakers have been using this pie hack forever to avoid watery apple pie filling. Instant ClearJel is an instant, corn-based thickener for (high-acid) fruit based pie fillings.
It’s called “Instant” because is gels & swells instantly upon contact with liquid (hot or cold).
How to thicken apple pie filling:
Watery apple pie filling can be prevented by using a good thickener before baking.
For smooth results, combine with dry ingredients before adding liquid.
Unlike other corn-based thickeners — (ahem, corn starch) — ClearJel does well at high temperatures and doesn’t lose its thickening abilities. It also tolerates acidic ingredients (like apples).
Other options for apple pie thickeners include: Quick-cooking tapioca, flour, and arrow root powder.
Hint: Tapioca has a milder taste than wheat flour and is more forgiving than other thickeners.
Whichever thickener you go with, make sure to follow a recipe specifically for that thickener.
2. Choose A Reliable Recipe
Apple pie is very finicky & unforgiving. Make sure to use the a good apple pie recipe and follow it exactly, for the perfect pie every time.
Tip: Read the whole recipe once or twice before getting started. You’ll be much more likely to get it right the first time!
3. Measure Ingredients Accurately
Baking is more science than art. Eyeballing ingredients isn’t good practice for baking!
Also, don’t make substitutions that may add moisture and cause runny apple pie. For example, if a recipe calls for an ingredient of a specific brand, don’t use a generic brand.
4. Use Tart-Firm Apples
Tart apples are high in pectin. Pectin is the glue that holds plant cells together. When sweet apples are cooked, pectin breaks down, and they turn mushy.
You can choose other tart apples like: Granny Smith, Royal Gala, Empire, Cortland, and Golden Delicious. Avoid Red Delicious, McIntosh, and other sweet varieties for baking apple pie.
5. Soak Your Apples In Sugar
Soak your sliced, tart apples in sugar. The sugar will draw out excess liquid. Use the amount of sugar your recipe calls for. Soak for 30 minutes then strain through a colander.
6. Par-Cook Your Apples
Par-cooking is short for “partially cooking”.
Heating apples between 140 and 160°F will increase the enzyme activity that converts pectin into a more heat stable form.
Your apples will lose some of their water and retain their shape better.
7. Use Apple Syrup (instead of water)
Step 1: Bring one cup of apple juice to a boil over medium heat (in small saucepan). Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until mixture has reduced to 1/4 cup.
Step 2: Combine sugar, thickener, and other dry ingredients in a bowl. This will ensure that the thickener is evenly dispersed throughout the filling.
Step 3: In a large bowl, toss dry ingredients with the other ingredients.
8. Put a cold pie into a hot oven
“Make it cold, bake it hot.”
Putting a cold pie into a hot oven will help avoid a soggy bottom.
- Everything should be chilled: ingredients, bowls, and materials.
- Refrigerate the pie crust dough until your filling is ready. Warm dough causes butter to soften—which will cause a soggy instead of a flaky crust.
- You can also chill your pie in the fridge for 15 minutes before baking.
9. Use An Oven Thermometer
Pre-heat your oven and verify the baking temperature with an oven thermometer (don’t trust your dial). If your oven bakes unevenly you may want to rotate your pie half-way through baking.
Tip: Double crusted pies should be placed on the middle rack.
10. Use A Glass Pie Dish To Bake
Don’t use an aluminum pie pan. Bake in glass pie baking dish in order to monitor the doneness.
11. Partially Blind-Bake Your Bottom Crust.
As an alternative to blind-baking, you can also sprinkle cornstarch (or flour) on top of your bottom crust. This will soak up excess liquid. Sprinkle before adding your pie filling.
If you opt for a frozen crust, place a cookie sheet in preheated oven. Pour filling into frozen crust and bake on the preheated cookie sheet.
12. Do Not Overfill Your Pie Plate
Extra fruit can cause a soggy crust due to the extra juice. Stick with the amount of apples that your recipe calls for to avoid watery apple pie filling.
13. Vent Your Top Crust
You’ll need vents to allow evaporation of excess moisture.
A lattice style or crumbly topping pie does not need vents.
14. Cool Before Slicing Or Refrigerating
- Cutting a hot pie will cause it to collapse.
- Do not place a hot pie into the fridge, the temperature difference is too drastic.
- Cool for at least 2 hours on wire rack before serving.
If you don’t allow apple pie to rest until it is cooled, it’s almost certain that you’ll end up with a juicy, wet mess when you cut into it.
15. Adjust Recipe In High Altitude
If you live in a high altitude, adjust the recipe (ingredients and oven temperature).
Apple Pie Q&A
Do I need to refrigerate apple pie?
Yes! Refrigerate within two hours of baking to prevent food borne illness. A warm pie is okay to place in the fridge.
How hot should an apple pie be?
Bake until the apple pie filling temperature registers at about 175 degrees F with a kitchen thermometer. The filling should bubble through the vents. Your pie is done when the top crust is golden brown and the apples in the filling are tender.
How do you know when your apple pie is done?
How long do you bake apple pie at 400 degrees?
Bake apple pie at 400 degrees for approximately 30 to 45 minutes (or longer), until the crust is browned and apples are tender. Take a toothpick and insert it into the pie vents, if you can insert the toothpick easily, it is fully cooked. The filling should bubble for at least 5 minutes before removing the pie from the oven.
Tip #1: Don’t use the brownness of pie crust to judge doneness. Use aluminum foil to prevent over-browning the crust (add foil to the crust, halfway through baking). Do not shorten cooking time or lower oven temperature to avoid over-browning your crust.
Tip #2: If you’ve over-browned your crust, you can slice the top crust off once it’s cooled and cover your mistake with some whipped cream!
How do I pre-cook apple pie filling?
To par-cook (or pre-cook) apple pie filling, all you’ve got to do is heat up a pre-determined amount of water (I use 3 quarts per 4 pounds of apples) on the stovetop to a boil and pour it directly over your room temperature apples in a bowl.
If everything is measured right, you end up with apples sitting right at around 160°F. Cover the bowl, let it rest 10 minutes, drain the apple slices, and you’re good to go.
What is blind-baking?
Blind-baking is pre-baking the crust without the filling. This step ensures a crispy crust. For extra crispy apple pie crust – partially blind bake the crust before adding filling.
How do I partially blind-bake a crust for apple pie?
To partially blind bake, pierce the pie dough in the pie plate with a fork. Chill for an hour. Then line with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake at a moderate temperature (350 degrees F) for about 5 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned, removing the pie weights halfway through.