Hot Buttered Rum Apple Pie

Hot buttered rum apple pie from Tom Douglas–made from apples, spice, and a splash of rum–is perhaps the best apple pie we’ve ever experienced. It’s a combo of your favorite warm cocktail and your favorite pie.

A baked hot buttered rum apple pie on a wooden board.

Lotsa folks are calling this hot buttered rum apple pie recipe from Tom Douglas the best apple pie they’ve ever tasted. And we understand exactly why. Flaky and tender crust. Perfectly cooked apples that are suffused with booze, butter, sugar, and spice. And a sweetness that’s subtle rather than tooth-achingly sweet. Opt for a sweet-tart, firm apple for this pie, such as Gravenstein, Braeburn, Cameo, Granny Smith, or Pink Lady.–Renee Schettler Rossi

How To Make The Perfect Apple Pie

Chef Tom Douglas, whom some of us here at Leite’s have swooned to for more than a decade, magnanimously shares tips and tricks to ensure that the apple pie you pull from your oven is every iota as magnificent as what you’ll find in his bakery in Seattle. Here’s what he has to say:

A bit of pectin sets the apple pie juices perfectly, but if you don’t have pectin you can add a little more cornstarch instead.

After sautéing the apples, allow time for the apples to cool before filling and baking the pie. This is a good time to roll out your dough.

After assembling the pie, it takes about 2 hours to bake, which is a long time, but the slow baking ensures a deliciously crumbly, flaky crust, and a soft custardy filling.

Hot Buttered Rum Apple Pie

  • Quick Glance
  • (14)
  • 45 M
  • 4 H, 25 M
  • Serves 8
4.5/5 - 14 reviews
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Peel and core the apples and slice them 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. You should have about 8 cups apple slices.

Place 2 large (at least 10-inch) sauté pans over medium-high heat and divide 1/3 cup granulated sugar evenly between them. Cook the sugar, without stirring, until it melts and then caramelizes and turns amber in color, tilting the pans a little to swirl and distribute the color, adjusting the heat as needed. (As soon as the sugar melts, it will quickly start caramelizing, so be ready with the apples as soon as the color of the sugar turns amber.)

Add the apples, dividing them between the 2 pans, and sauté until they are about half-cooked and the juices that are released boil away and reduce until no liquid remains, 8 to 10 minutes. Toss and stir the apples regularly while they are cooking so they cook evenly on both sides. When the apples are done, they should have some give yet not collapse when you press one between your fingers. Transfer the apples to a bowl and allow them to cool completely to room temperature.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C).

When the apples are cool, add the brown sugar, rum, butter, cornstarch, vanilla extract, pectin or extra cornstarch, spices, and salt and toss to combine.

Tester tip: If your apples are exceptionally tart, you may want to add a little extra sugar at this point.

Dump the apple filling into the pastry-lined pie plate. Place the remaining pastry circle on top, roll the crust overhang up and over, and seal. Press or crimp the edge, then use a paring knife to cut a few vents in the top crust. Brush the top of the pie crust with the cream and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.

Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drips and bake for 30 minutes. Tent the pie with foil and continue to bake for 1 hour more. Remove the foil and bake for 20 to 30 minutes more, or until the pie is evenly golden brown. (The total baking time should be about 2 hours.) 

Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before slicing. The pie will still be warm after an hour. Or if you can wait, you can cool it to room temperature and then slice and serve it. Originally published September 20, 2013.

Print RecipeBuy the The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

This is hands-down the best apple pie I have ever eaten. The crust is phenomenal—a bit crunchy, just the right amount of sweetness, and perfectly flaky all at the same time. The filling is also delectable—if you don’t like your pie overly sweet, this is a delicious choice for you.

The only suggestion from the diners around the table was the pie could use perhaps 1 to 2 more cups of apples for the filling.

This was a very elevated adult apple pie. This is not your grandmother's apple pie for sure! I used Pink Lady apples, about 3.75 lbs. This yielded about 8 1/2 cups. When cooking the apples I felt that I needed to reduce the heat to more of a medium vs. the high heat as the sugar was almost burning in spots and not melting in others. With the medium heat in my ceramic coated pan I felt that it worked better for a more even heating.

My apples were more tart and I ended up putting in 2 extra tablespoons of sugar when making the caramel which coated the apples beautifully and then I didn't need to add any extra later in the recipe. It took about 9 minutes on medium heat to cook the apples properly. After they cooled I felt that I didn't need to add any additional sugar. When topping the pie with sugar before baking I only needed 1 tablespoon in total. I used turbinado sugar and it gave great texture and crunch.

My oven runs a little hot so I only needed to really bake this for 1 hour and 20 minutes total. Any longer and it would have over baked. The apple texture was great. Firm but soft, if that can be a thing, and not mushy at all. They really held their shape nicely. I was able to get 8 servings out of the pie. Also each slice really held together nicely once the pie cooled. It had a lovely hot buttered rum taste to it while it was warm from the oven and I felt like the taste dissipated slightly as it cooled. This is a beautiful and elevated apple pie, one I will be making again in the future!


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  1. Could you make this with a crumble topping and if so would you have to add it later due to the extended bake time?

    1. Thanks for your question, Melissa Pleva. I think you could absolutely make this pie with a crumble topping. But you are right—two hours is a long time for baking a pie. This recipe has you cover the pie for one of those hours, so the time the pie is completely exposed to the heat of the oven is 50–60 minutes, which, in my experience, most crumble toppings can withstand. One thing you might try to be extra cautious is to use a frozen crumble topping. (I make a lot of crumble at a time and freeze it in a large zip-top bag; it’s convenient for on-a-whim fruit tarts, etc. It’s a great time-saver.)

    2. Great question, Melissa. We’ve never tried it with a crumble topping, but it sounds like a lovely idea. I think you could add the topping after the first 30 minutes when you cover it. Do let us know how it turns out!

  2. 4 stars
    I gave my husband some pie recipe options for his birthday and this is the pie he chose. He was most excited for the rum aspect I believe. I must admit, I’m not much of a pie maker, so I was intimidated by this recipe. After searching for pastry flour at 6 different grocery stores, I gave up and used a different crust recipe from this site (it was delicious). I enjoyed the process of making this pie and everyone liked the end result. The birthday boy could not taste any rum in the pie, so I’m giving four stars. Otherwise, it was a hit!

  3. This pie is delicious. I didn’t have rum so I used apple infused brandy. It was a hit with my family

    1. Thanks, Jeremiah! The brandy would be a very nice swap. So glad you all enjoyed it.

  4. I made this exactly as written. None of us cared for it, and I generally love all forms of pie.
    I found it to be lacking sugar/sweetness and on the bitter side. With the long cook time, my apples turned to applesauce.

    Also, very odd, my crust “lost” all of the fluting. Its so bizzare…. The crust was delicious and I will definitely make it again!

    The next time I make it, I will not pre-cook the apples or make the caramel.

    1. Fawn, just to echo Angie, this is disappointing and we’re sorry to hear that. What type of apples did you use? Also, I have in the past had times when the fluting disappeared…and in my experience, it’s always when the kitchen was warm while I was working and/or I let the pie sit out at room temperature a while prior to slipping it in the oven. You may already be aware of this, but the butter in the crust needs to remain cold until it encounters the blast of heat from the oven. Ever since I had my slumped fluting encounters, I learned to slip the pie in the fridge or even the freezer for a short spell prior to baking it. I’ve never had that same problem since.

    2. We’re sorry to hear that this didn’t turn out as well as you’d hoped, Fawn. It certainly looks pretty! Perhaps a different variety of apple, or a little additional sugar could help with the sweetness?

  5. I have made close to 300 apple pies in my 68 years, and I wish I had discovered this one earlier. The flavor is deep and caramel-ly, with so much more going on than the usual apples with cinnamon. The rum is barely there, and the flavor of butter comes shining through. I used 4 large fresh Granny Smith apples, along with 2 wrinkled Galas and a Yellow Delicious that were languishing in the fruit bowl. My usual proportion of sugar to a mound of apples is 3/4 cup; I was glad to note that this recipe contains less sugar, but that didn’t make it less rich. I can’t wait to try this with Cosmic Crisp apples later in the season. I used them in some baking projects last year and I loved their flavor. I also loved how they held up in the heat. Thanks for passing this recipe along.

    1. Thank you, Bette, for taking the time to let us know! We so appreciate hearing from readers, particularly the ones with so much experience (300 pies!!) and we’re delighted that it turned out so well for you. We look forward to hearing how it turns out with the Cosmic Crisp apples.

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