With its buttery, flaky crust and ooey-gooey filling, apple pie is a true classic. But it’s actually quite simple to create a vegan-friendly version sans butter that would fool even the most discerning apple-pie snobs.

Luckily, we live in an age when lots of convincing vegan butter alternatives exist. Earth Balance makes one that’s available in most grocery stores. For some next-level stuff, look for Miyoko’s Kitchen brand, available at Whole Foods and other health food markets; it’s palm oil–free and made with just a few wholesome ingredients. You can also use refined coconut oil, which doesn’t taste coconutty at all.

Whichever faux butter you use, the key to achieving a super flaky crust is to keep all ingredients, bowls and utensils freezing cold when prepping the crust. (Little tip: Put everything in the freezer for 30 minutes prior to prep.) This keeps the small pieces of butter from melting so that once combined with the flour and water, they create pockets of moisture throughout the crust, keeping it from becoming crumbly.

Ready for the recipe? Here goes.


For the crust

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup vegan butter or refined coconut oil, cut into small pea-sized chunks
  • Up to ½ cup ice water

For the filling

  • 6 apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt


  1. Prep the crust. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar.
  2. Add butter, and process, or mix with a cold wooden spoon, until the mixture becomes a coarse meal.
  3. Slowly add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, as you continue mixing. Add just enough water and mix for just long enough so that the dough is no longer crumbly but instead holds together without being wet or sticky.
  4. Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each into a disc and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Take both dough discs out of the refrigerator and let them soften for 10 to 20 minutes at room temperature.
  7. In a large bowl, combine apples, lemon juice, flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt.
  8. Dust flour over your work surface and rolling pin. Roll out one dough disc to about 1/8 inch thick.
  9. Place the rolled-out dough into the pie pan, gently pressing the dough against the sides of the pan. There should be about 1 inch of excess dough around the rim of the pan. Using a fork, poke several holes into the dough on the bottom of the pan.
  10. Add the pie filling into the pan. Dot with a little bit of vegan butter or refined coconut oil.
  11. Dust your work surface and rolling pin with more flour and roll out the other dough disc to 1/8 inch thick.
  12. Brush the edge of the bottom crust with water. Place the top crust on top, and tuck the edge under the edge of the bottom crust. Crimp with the tines of a fork to seal. Cut three 1-inch steam vents in the middle of the top crust.
  13. Lightly brush top with water and sprinkle with sugar, avoiding the edges. (Depending on your oven, you may want to cover the edges with aluminum foil to prevent burning.)
  14. Place pie pan on a baking pan to catch any filling that may bubble over. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at first. Then, reduce heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for another 60 minutes until golden brown.
  15. Cool the pie completely before serving, ideally overnight to let the filling optimally thicken.

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About the Author

Dana is a Los Angeles–based freelance writer and editor with a focus on eco lifestyle and beauty—from vegan cooking to natural, cruelty-free skin care. Also a wildlife enthusiast, naturalist, and advocate for conservation and environmental stewardship.