Brown-Bag Apple Pie

This pie is cooked on a cookie sheet or several sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil, in a large grocery store brown paper bag. I like to bring the bag right to the table on a serving tray, tear open the bag, and enjoy the reaction. Dole out succulent slices, with a slab of extra-sharp cheddar alongside each serving.–Rick Browne

Brown-Bag Apple Pie

A cooked brown-bag apple pie inside a torn paper bag
Rick Browne

Prep 25 mins
Cook 1 hr 5 mins
Total 1 hr 30 mins
6 to 8 servings
5 / 2 votes
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  • 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 5 tablespoons ice water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 8 cups sliced apples
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • Vanilla ice cream for serving (optional)
  • Extra-sharp cheddar cheese sliced thickly, for serving (optional)


  • Preheat a charcoal or gas grill to 400°F (200°C).
  • In a mixing bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups of the flour, the salt, and shortening. Using an electric mixer, beat until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the water, a little at a time, until the dough forms a ball.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to an 11- or 12-inch round and fit into a 9-inch pie pan, fluting the edges.
  • In a large bowl, combine the sugar, 2 tablespoons of the flour, the nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and lemon juice. Add the apples, stirring to coat. Transfer the apple mixture to the pie pan, smoothing out the filling; set aside.
  • To prepare the topping, in a bowl, combine the brown sugar and the remaining 1/2 cup of flour. Using 2 knives or a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the apple filling.
  • Place the pie in a brown paper bag and transfer the bag to a baking sheet; loosely fold the top of the bag under the pie. Transfer to the grill rack over direct heat. If you don’t have a cookie sheet or baking sheet, cut 3 large pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil and cover the grill with this triple layer of foil. Close the grill lid and cook the pie until the apples are tender, 50 to 60 minutes.
  • Carefully remove the pie from the bag, avoiding the hot steam when you open the bag. Serve with generous scoops of ice cream and slices of cheese, if desired.
Print RecipeBuy the The Best Barbecue on Earth cookbook

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This works best with a metal pie pan. If all you have are aluminum disposable tins, put one inside the other so you have two layers of aluminum. For a fun effect, I sometimes use a propane lighter and call folks out to see the bag when I open the grill. Since it’s extremely dried out, the bag ignites like flash paper and quickly burns away, while your guests are gasping, “Oh, no, the pie is burning!” But the pie will be perfectly okay, emerging from the flames a delicious golden brown.

Originally published August 03, 2008


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  1. 5 stars
    Such a fun way to bake a pie, and I love the idea of bringing the bag to the table for serving. A great way to ignite playful conversation.

    1. According to our research, Jamie, folks who’ve made this pie find that the bag ensures the apples are perfectly cooked by trapping steam and prevents the crust from browning too much by shielding it from the heat. On a more practical front, the bag contains all the drippy mess that you’d otherwise scrub from a baking sheet or the bottom of the oven. And perhaps most impressive of all, it creates something of a spectacle when you take the bagged pie to the table to slip it out in front of guests. We’ll be awaiting your assessment…!

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