Apple pie, a traditional, apple-filled dessert with sweet, flaky pastry, was brought to American culture during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and became a symbol of American national pride. But how did apples become such a symbol for everything that is good, wholesome, and all-American?
Apples, easy to store and grow, were an important staple in the diets of the early American settlers. The pioneer apple farmer John Chapman may be part of the reason apples and apple pie first became strongly associated with good, strong all- American values. Known in folklore as Johnny Appleseed, he was a visionary wanderer with a dream to grow so many apples that no American would ever go hungry, and he planted apple seeds across the country wherever he went.
There are thousands and thousands of apple pies sold in restaurants across America on a daily basis, served hot or cold, with whipped cream or à la mode, if you are looking for apple pie, you need not look far to find a slice. But where are the best apple pies in the country to be found? We scoured the internet, read every “best pie” list we could find and leafed through pages and pages of reviews to compose a list of the best apple pies in America (we also included some of our favorite apple pie recipes if you are feeling inspired). Some may surprise you, and some you may already know, but one thing is certain: These pie shops and bakeries are where you should seek the best apple pie in America.
The pies at Achatz Handmade Pie Company are handmade in a cherished tradition and with the same techniques that have been passed down through the generations on their 10-acre apple orchard operation. Their pies are always made from scratch, filled with fresh fruit (never canned) and they contain as many locally sourced ingredients as possible. The menu features three different apple pies — apple caramel nut, Dutch apple, and apple double crust — so there are plenty of options for all apple fans to choose from.
The pies at A La Mode taste as good as they look. They don’t rely on “sprinkles, frosting or grocery store gimmicks” to produce the simply delicious pies that Mom would be proud of. They make 9-inch pies using mostly organic fruit that is locally sourced. They have two apple pies on their menu: a classic French apple pie as well as an apple and ginger pie that is out of this world.
Each pie at Dangerously Delicious Pies is made by hand, from scratch with no additives or preservatives, and is full of the best ingredients from the area. Among their best sellers is the apple crumb pie, with a sweet filling topped with oats, brown sugar, and butter — delish! They even ship their pies so you don’t have to miss out just because you aren’t in Baltimore.
First Slice Pie Café in Chicago sells an apple pie that one customer described in the most heavenly way: “Under the double crust top are layers of granny smith apples, cinnamon and secrets! It’s a meditation in every mouthful.” The cafe works in connection with First Slice, a nonprofit founded by owner Mary Ellen Diaz over a decade ago that makes hand-cooked meals for the homeless.
This New York City bakery was founded in 2009 by sisters Melissa and Emily Elsen who were born and raised in rural South Dakota. They sell their Salted Caramel Apple (as well as many others) whole or by the slice. They also sell handmade pie crusts and toppings so you can make whatever pie is on your mind!
With flavors like apple cheddar bacon, brown butter bourbon appl,e and caramel apple (to name a few) there’s a pie for every taste at Honey Pie Café — a Milwaukee-based bakery that opened in 2009 and is dedicated to making “real food by hand with real ingredients.” They source most of their ingredients from Wisconsin, using as many local products as possible.
At Hoozier Mama Pie Company, they are not opposed to stealing grandma’s recipes! All the produce comes from local farmers, and their amazing crust (which took an entire summer to perfect) is 100 percent butter. Everything is made by hand and you won’t find any of their pies for sale in supermarkets — since they’re all about being local, their pies are not available for shipping. (“We suggest you might be able to find a great local baker, professional or not, that can make you a great pie,” they helpfully offer.) Their classic apple pie is a two-crust pie “not too sweet, with more fruit than goo in a delicious buttery crust.”
Julian is a town famous for apple pie in the mountains northeast of San Diego. Julian Pie Company is a family-run business, founded in 1986 by Liz Smothers, that specializes in apple pies (though other kinds are available). Their pies have become so popular that they are now delivered to San Diego and Riverside counties as well as shipped throughout the Unites States. Their Facebook page is filled with five star reviews and comments: “T'was the best apple pie I've had”; “The Dutch Apple Pie topped with the cinnamon ice cream is simply amazing”; “Best pie in the world”; and “super fabulous.”
Located in the Theater District of the Big Apple (tee hee) is the Little Pie Company, a bakery that has been making delicious pies from scratch since 1985. They use locally sourced ingredients that are cooked in small batches until their crusts are a delectable, golden brown. Their pies are made with hand-pinched crusts and are loaded with the best produce the season has to offer. Their signature pie is a sour cream apple pie made with fresh Granny Smiths; it can be shipped anywhere in the country.
Lynden Dutch Bakery, founded in 1907, has been providing the community with delicious baked goods for quite some time! Their pies, with hand-rolled crusts, are made using fresh cream, real butter, house-made caramel, local berries, and seasonal fruit.
As well as a traditional apple pie, they also make a tasty pumpkin-apple pie, a Dutch apple pie, and a caramel-apple pie (that features an apple filling spiced with cinnamon and is topped with a thick layer of caramel frosting) that people rave about.
Mission Pie, founded in 2007, is run by co-owners Krystin Rubin and Karen Heisler and their warm and friendly colleagues.
They credit the quality of the apples for the delicious flavor of their apple pie. They take care to source seasonal ingredients for their pies, pastries, and soups, stews, and salads from organically certified or ecologically and socially responsible growers throughout the state — an expression of love for the bounty of California.
Their classic apple pie (à la mode) is popular among patrons, with a crust that reviewers have described as “flaky and flavorful” and “the best apple pie I’ve ever eaten.” So do yourself a favor the next time you’re in San Francisco and buy a slice — or order a whole pie if you want to feed a crowd.
We couldn’t write a best pie list without including a pie from Pie Town, could we? This café (formerly known as The Daily Pie Café) is famous for its New Mexican apple pie which is loaded with apples as well as pine nuts (grown in NM) and hot green chiles for a surprising hit of heat that, with the sweet, flaky crust and tart Granny Smith apples is unbelievably and intensely, delicious.
Petsi Pies is an independent bakery that has been serving tasty handmade pies and pastries since 2003. They bake everything fresh daily and use only natural ingredients — you won’t find any fillers or mixes in these pies. Their bestselling apple pie is hearty and sweet and sells out fast, so hurry up and get a slice before it’s gone!
Next to a furniture store in Greensborough, Alabama, is Pie Lab, an eatery that does more than sell delicious homemade pies with a delicious, flaky, almost puff pastry-like crust. Chef Seaborn Whatley, who worked in New York before returning to his home town, set up Pie Lab in an effort to bring people to the area — since opening, the eatery has helped start a rejuvenation of downtown. The young people of the town are an integral part of Pie Lab, which hires and trains local teens in an effort to break the impoverished system that has been in place for so long. Of course, the pies are the center of this community-minded business, and the pies that they make are some of the best in the country, if not the world.
The Tahitian vanilla sugar-salted caramel apple is the pie to get at Random Order Pie Bar. A divine combination of Granny Smith and Pink Lady apples, coated in a homemade caramel, covered with a Tahitian vanilla sugar-salted crust. Their award winning pies are made by hand, with the best, fresh ingredients.
The pies at Royer Pie Haven (which opened in 2011) are all handmade from scratch. As well as their Not My Mom’s Apple Pie — which is made with Granny Smith apples “in a sinful filling of brown sugar and whipping cream AND topped with a pecan and brown sugar streudel” — they also make wedding pies!
That’s right: If you are looking for something not-so-ordinary for your wedding day, you can order a 5- or 10-tier wedding pie!
If you don’t live locally, never fear — this bakery ships their delicious pies all over the country!
Scratch is a seasonal bakery whose menu reflects chef/owner Phoebe Lawless’ love of local sourcing and classic Southern technique. They make their popular apple crumb pie with locally sourced apples that sit under a layer of toasted oat streusel in an all-butter pastry crust.
Sugar Pie Bakery, opened in January 2012, is a locally owned and operated business that is a real family affair — owner Gina Watts along with her husband and children work together to make sure things run smoothly. All of their menu items are made from scratch, and their apple crumb pie, with tart Granny Smith apples and a crumbly sweet topping, is sure to hit the spot.
This Missouri-based bakery’s Levee High Caramel Pecan Apple Pie, a decadent skyscraper of a pie, is filled with 18 (!) Golden Delicious apples, measures 9 inches, and weighs an incredible 10 pounds!
This monster of a pie also happens to be one of Oprah’s favorite things (if you needed another excuse to buy one) and is available to order online.
The classic apple pie from Three Babes Bakeshop is made with organic apples, organic sweet cream butter, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and their own homemade spice blend. The pies are then topped with a hand-woven lattice and the edges are hand crimped. The final result is a pie that is flaky, buttery, and delicious!
The Elegant Farmer is perhaps most famous for their signature apple pie baked in a paper bag. The unique cooking method, using a brown paper bag, creates a crunchy top crust and light, flaky, old-fashioned bottom crust that has earned it the title of best pie in America on more than one occasion.
Tower Travel Center/Yelp
This truck stop, located off of exit 307 on Interstate 94, is a a must-stop location that is famous for its good food and in particular its pies, which are made from scratch and freshly baked every day.
Reviewers on Yelp praise the pies at Tower Travel Center, saying:
“Best Pie between Fargo and Bismark. We drive 20 miles just for the pies.”
“Crust on the apple pie was buttery and flaky.”
“The food is excellent. Service is excellent and friendly. But above all else; there is pie. Real homemade fabulous pie. There are whole pies for sale and there are slices of pie begging for attention. If you do not stop when you drive by, you will almost immediately regret your error and the thought of perfect pie will haunt you for miles.”
The crew at Whidbey Pies, located on 151 acres of publicly owned farm, produces over 1,000 pies a week, all of which are handmade. No two pies are the same, and each piemaker has a unique style of crimping which acts like a signature upon each pie they make. The salted caramel apple pie is a popular choice for visitors, and according to Yelp reviews it is “unbelievably delicious.” Which make these pies some of the best food and drink in America.
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