These Homemade "Fried" Hot Apple Pies Beat The Pants Off McDonald's

We're not clowning around.

October 10, 2017
Copycat mcdonald's apple pie recipe
Photograph courtesy of Karen Shimizu

Apple season has a way of triggering hard-core autumnal nostalgia at the Rodale Test Kitchen—but not in the way you would expect from a crew of organic recipe developers.

We’ve got those fond memories of picking apples in the dappled sunlight of a local orchard, sure. And of helping mom peel bushels of apples to make applesauce  and apple crisp. But most of all, we remember that blazing hot, crisp-crusted, super-sweet, straight-out-of-the-box confections from the drive-through: hot apple pies.


(Brag your love of gardening with the Organic Life 2018 Wall Calendar, featuring gorgeous photographs, cooking tips and recipes, plus how to eat more—and waste less—of what's in season.)

One recent afternoon, we had a craving for them, so in spite of those grown up voices in our heads telling us we knew much, much better, we procured a couple of pies from our local fast-food chain. And they were definitely not up to snuff.

Related: I Replaced All Of My Cookware With The Instant Pot For One Week—Here's What I Learned

First, we noticed that the box design has changed from that folded tube-like contraption (that was very fun to open) to a regular old box. Sigh. Next, we noticed that they are baked, not deep fried as we remembered. No more bubbly-textured tops hiding that hot filling. (We hear you can still get deep fried pies in Australia and other overseas locations.) But the insides tasted the same: gooey cinnamon and brown sugar over tiny cubes of apple.


Related: This Is The Apple Crisp Recipe That Made Me Ditch My Mom's

Still, we figured that we could make it better. And we did.

Our version is still baked, but uses real pie dough for that shatteringly-crisp texture we craved. Our filling uses the same ingredients that the original has, minus all the preservatives and unpronouncable stuff. Sure, they aren’t as fast as the drive-through, but they will hold for a few days and freeze for even longer. So any time can be apple pie time.

Try drizzling these babies with homemade whiskey caramel sauce for a truly grownup treat.

Copycat Fast Food “Fried” Apple Pie

Serves: 6

1 Tablespoon butter
1 large apple, peeled, cored and chopped
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 recipe Incredibly Flaky Pie Dough or your favorite pie dough
1 egg white, whisked

1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the apple, brown sugar, cornstarch, ¼ tsp cinnamon and a pinch of salt and stir. Cook until apples have softened slightly and a thick sauce has developed, 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

2. Heat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Stir together the granulated sugar and remaining ¼ tsp cinnamon.

3. Meanwhile, on a lightly floured surface, roll the pie dough into a 9” x 12” rectangle. Cut twelve rectangles of dough, each 4 ½” x 2”.  Cut vents into 6 of the rectangles and set aside.

4. Drop a tablespoon of the apple filling on each of the remaining 6 dough rectangles. Place the vented dough pieces on top of the apple mixture and use a fork to crimp the edges all around, sealing in the filling.


5. Brush the tops with egg white and sprinkle liberally with the cinnamon sugar. Place on the prepared baking sheet, and bake until golden, 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven, cool 10 minutes then remove to a baking rack to cool completely. Cardboard serving boxes are optional!