These adorable muffin tin apple pies are the perfect individual sized pie. The recipe uses fresh granny smith apples and has lots of cinnamon spice flavor. Easy options for pie crust, including gluten-free, are included.
Be sure to check out more of my muffin tin recipes including my fun sized muffin tin veggie quiches with an easy puff pastry crust, cheesy muffin tin baby potato stacks and my mixed veggie muffin tin egg bites that make a perfect portable breakfast.
The Best Apples for Pie
The best apples for pie are firm, crisp apples with a balance of sweet and tart. Granny smith apples are my favorite for pie. They have excellent tart flavor and hold up well to baking.
Other apples like pink lady, honey crisp, jonagold and Braeburn are also excellent for apple pie.
Lining 12 muffin wells (standard sized muffin tin) with pie crust is pretty time consuming. So I use a ready-made pie crust to speed up this recipe.
A slightly thinner crust works best for these mini pies and most ready-made crusts are too thick. So I roll them out a little thinner. Then cut out a 5 inch circle – just the right size for the muffin pan.
Top crust or not? A top crust does turn these into awesome portable hand pies but it needs quite a bit of dough and extra time. If you use a full top crust, be sure to cut slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape and minimize the filling bubbling out. .
If you are super motivated and patient, a lattice top crust is a nice touch. Create it by doing a large lattice pattern on parchment or a floured surface and use a round cutter the size of the top of the muffin wells to cut out top crusts, This is much easier than doing them one at a time.
If you want the quickest, easiest option to top your pie, cut out shapes using small cookie cutters and simply lay on top. If you don’t have small cookie cutters, look for small items in your kitchen that can substitute.
The filling in this recipe is already gluten-free. So a gluten-free pie crust is all you’ll need. If you want to make a crust from scratch, use 2 times the recipe of my gluten-free pie crust. An excellent ready-made option is Wholly Gluten-Free Pie Crusts. They can be found at most Sprouts Farmers Markets.
Apple Pie Filling Tips
The first tip for apple pie filling is to balance tart and sweet flavors to make it pop! Lemon juice and sugar help to enhance the tart and sweet in the apple. Cinnamon also adds a sweet pop. And my secret for even more pop is to add ground ginger.
The second tip for filling is to include just the right amount of liquid. If there’s too much it will bubble up all over the top and the crust will be soggy. If there’s too little the filling will be dry.
Lastly, because these are mini pies, they don’t bake as long as a full-sized pie. So it’s important to cook the apples a little bit before baking. Just 5 minutes on the stove top makes them soft enough to be perfect once baked.
Muffin Tin Fresh Apple Pies
- 2-3 ready made pie crusts1 gluten-free crust is okay
Apple Pie Filling
- 5 medium sized granny smith apples or other firm, apples like pink lady or gala should be 5 cups once diced
- ½ c water
- 5 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp ground ginger
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp corn starch mixed with 1 Tbsp water (slurry)
- 1 large egg mixed with 1 teaspoon of water for egg wash (optional)
- Remove the pie crusts from the package and tin pan and let them come to room temperature
Make the Filling
- Pour the lemon juice into a 2-3 quart pot and place it on the counter by your cutting board.
- Working with one at a time, peel and core an apple.
- Dice into ½ inch cubes.
- Transfer the diced apple to the pot and stir to coat in the lemon juice. This will keep them from turning brown.
- Continue peeling, coring and dicing the apples 1 at a time. You should end up with about 5 cups diced apple.
- Place the pot on the stove top over medium heat and add the sugar, water, spices and salt. Stir thoroughly to combine.
- Continue to cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.
- Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring the liquid to a boil.
- Stir the cornstarch slurry. The cornstarch tends to separate and sink to the bottom.
- While stirring the apple mixture, pour the slurry into the pot. Continue stirring until the liquid is thickened. It should take about 30 seconds.
- Immediately remove the pot from the heat and transfer the filling to a large plate or pan to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 350℉.
Assemble the Pies
- On a floured surface, roll out one of the ready made crusts. You'll need to flatten the edges and roll it a bit thinner than it already is. A regular pie crust is too much for a mini pie (see more tips below)2.
- Use a large round cookie/dough cutter, glass or something with at least a 4½ inch opening to cut circles from the dough.
- Transfer the dough circles to a standard sized muffin tin and gently press in. If they tear, patch with a scrap of dough.
- Pull the scraps together along with more of the pie crust and roll out again. When all 12 circles are cut out, cut shapes for the top using small cookie cutters. OR
- Cut circles the size of the top of the muffin tin wells for a full top crust.
- Divide the filling evenly among the pie crusts – a little more than 2 tablespoons per pie.
- Level the filling using the back of a spoon.
- Add cut out shapes OR press the top crust gently onto the bottom crust.
- For a top crust, use a pointy tipped knife to cut 7 slits in in the top crust. This will help minimize the filling bubbling out during baking.
- I prefer to leave my pie crust bare. If you prefer, brush your crust with an egg wash mixture.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the filling is bubbling.
- Cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before removing from the pan. The crust will be delicate when first out of the oven, so it needs time to rest.
- Serve with ice cream or my apple caramel sauce.
- If you want a full top crust, you’ll need 3 pie crusts. If you are using cut out shapes on top, 2 will work. Ready-made frozen gluten-free pie crusts can be used too. Wholly Gluten-Free pie crusts are an excellent option.
- If the pie crust is cracking when you roll it out, it may be too cold. Let it come to room temperature. Or pull it together into a ball and knead with your hands to warm it up and make it more pliable.