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Why Is My Apple Pie Watery

Why Is My Apple Pie Watery? Answered (2023 Updated)

Last Updated on January 27, 2023 by Lori Walker

Tart-cooking apples are high in pectin and can maintain their shape and juices while baking. Despite that, you may still end up with a runny apple pie.

So you start wondering, why is my apple pie watery? 

Here are some reasons and ways to prevent watery apple pie next time. 

5 Reasons Why Your Apple Pie Is Watery

freshly bake apple pie

1. You Used Overripe Apples

Generally, you can use any apple to make apple pies but expect varying results. For instance, overripe apples release more liquid than usual, giving you a runny or watery pie. 

You can use firm apples like Gala, Granny Smith, or Honeycrisp. These apple varieties will turn velvety soft but retain their shape despite the oven heat.

Golden Delicious, Macintosh, and Red Delicious are softer apples that will break down with too much heat [1].

2. You Skipped The Apple Soaking Process

It may seem like an extra step, but it can be one of the reasons for your watery apple pie. Many experts agree that treating apples before baking helps keep their crunchiness.

Some experts suggest soaking cut apples for 10 minutes by pouring boiling water over them, while others will tell you to roast them.

Moreover, others also recommend soaking the apple mixture in granulated sugar for 30 to 40 minutes to drain the natural juices. 

3. There’s No Thickening Agent

Apples can retain their juices when cooked because they are high in pectin. However, you can still end up making a runny apple pie.

That is when you need to include a thickening agent in your recipe. Thickeners absorb moisture from the apple slices, leaving your crust with less moisture.

Cornstarch, flour, and tapioca are among the most popular thickeners. For an apple pie, flour is an easy thickener because it is usually available on hand.

4. There Are No Cut Vents

The accumulated steam while baking is another reason for a watery pie. It happens when you don’t cut holes deep and long enough for steam to escape. 

Randomly pricking the top crust with a fork is not enough to release the evaporated liquid. Instead, the excess liquid would be absorbed back into the apples.

Releasing excess moisture makes the pie crisp and flaky rather than soggy. It also helps thicken the fillings of the apple pie.

5. You Took It Out Of The Oven Too Early

The main goal is to bake the pie until its color turns golden brown. But sometimes, you take it out of the oven too early, making your apple pie watery.

“There’s almost no such thing as over-baking an apple pie; I’ve baked apple pies for 2 hours and longer, and they turn out just fine.”

– PJ Hamel, Writer

Let your pie sit in the oven for at least 5 to 10 minutes after turning it off.

Can You Still Fix It?

Yes, you can still fix a watery apple pie even after cooking. Let the pie cool completely and leave the filling to thicken, even overnight, if necessary.

But if the filling remains watery after cooling, you can take the apple pie back to the oven and re-bake it.

It is almost impossible to overcook an apple pie, but you need to cover the edges of the pie crust with aluminum foil to avoid burning it.

How To Prevent Apple Pie From Being Watery

close up shot of a sliced apple pie

Precook The Filling

For extra-juicy apple varieties or those that need more cooking time, it is more convenient to precook the apple filling [2]

Creating the filling before the pie crust ensures its texture, leaving you with a less watery outcome for the apple pie. You can store the filling for at least 4 to 5 days.

Rejuice The Juice

Another smart way of preventing a runny pie is to deliberately withdraw its excess juiciness and save it for coffee, ice cream, or syrup.

Granulated sugar helps draw the juice from sliced apples. You can add a little cinnamon to this syrupy juice and use it to make a caramel sauce.

Check out these delicious and not-too-sweet cakes here.

Add Thickeners

Thickeners are necessary to prevent your fruit pies from becoming watery. You can use flour, cornstarch, and quick-cooking tapioca. 

Flour is the most commonly used thickener for apple pies, resulting in a cloudy and gummy filling. Cornstarch has no real flavor but is smooth, while quick-cooking tapioca needs high heat to activate.

Put Crumbs On Top

Adding crumbled graham to your pie crust can help absorb excess juice in the filling. If you prefer the traditional pie crust texture, incorporate 2 to 3 tablespoons of crumbs on the top layer.

You can also try sprinkling the bottom crust with crumbs, letting them absorb the extra juices from the fruit. But is it okay to use bread flour for your pie crust?

Put Vents On the Top

Covering the pie without vents on top will only trap the moisture from the apple filling, resulting in a runny pie. 

You can avoid this result by making a series of slashes on the top crust or cutting a 1-inch hole to help release the steam.

Let It Cool Overnight

You can avoid a watery apple pie by letting it cool on a wire rack overnight. One of the most common mistakes for pie makers is slicing the pie right after baking it. 

Set pie aside for at least 2 hours or leave it overnight at room temperature to help solve the runny fruit fillings.

Tips & Tricks When Cooking Apple Pie

  • Use cold ingredients and materials. The warm dough will result in a soggy crust when placed in the hot oven. 
  • Choose the right apple. Choosing the wrong apples, such as Red Delicious and Macintosh, will make your apple pie watery. 
  • Let the pie rest because some thickeners need more time to develop and work on the fillings. 
  • Stick to your apple pie recipe. Being familiar with the whole process will help you create the perfect apple pie.

Read: Top 10 Baking Recipes That Use Lots Of Butter

FAQs

How long should a pie cool? 

You should cool an apple pie for at least two hours at room temperature. You can also leave it overnight if necessary.

Is apple filling supposed to be watery?

No, apple filling is not supposed to be watery. It should be juicy but still hold its shape after baking. 

Is it better to cook apple pie filling first?

Yes, it is better to cook apple filling first because it ensures a less watery outcome. It also prevents a gap between the filling and the top crust.

Will the pie filling thicken as it cools?

Yes, pie filling thickens as it cools. That’s why it is best to let apple pie cool completely for at least 2 hours before slicing. 

In Summary

Baking a fruit pie without getting a watery filling may be overwhelming, especially for beginners. But there are simple ways to avoid this result.

Familiarize yourself with a recipe and start with cold pie dough, firm apple variety, and the right oven temperature.

References:

  1. https://www.prevention.com/food-nutrition/a20509802/apple-pie-mistakes/ 
  2. https://www.livestrong.com/article/443024-what-can-i-replace-corn-starch-with-when-i-bake-an-apple-pie/ 
Lori Walker

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