Vegan Apple Pie: How to Avoid Non-Vegan Ingredients

Written by John Karrigan in Food

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Apple pie, one of America's iconic desserts, holds a special place in the hearts of dessert connoisseurs everywhere. However, vegans may face an uphill battle when it comes to finding an appropriate dessert choice; however, with some creative thinking and knowledge you can easily make this classic treat vegan-friendly!

Are apple pies vegan? Unfortunately, the answer is a complicated "yes." While the main components - apples, flour, and sugar - are vegan-friendly ingredients, it's often how they're prepared that introduce non-vegan elements. Butter for instance, which is often used in traditional crust recipes, is derived from animal milk and thus not vegan; additionally gelatin used in some apple pie filling recipes contains animal collagen which also cannot be vegan.

The good news for vegans is that there are several options for making apple pie free from animal-derived ingredients. Vegan butter, coconut oil or nut butter can be used in place of dairy butter in the crust; similarly vegan milk substitutes and ingredients like agar-agar or cornstarch can be utilized in place of traditional milk and gelatin in the filling.

In this article, we'll dive deep into the world of apple pie and veganism and provide you with all of the knowledge necessary to create a cruelty-free version. From ingredients used for vegan apple pies to best practices on how to prepare and serve vegan apple pies, we have it all in one comprehensive guide.

I. What Makes Apple Pie Non-Vegan?

At first glance, you might think apple pie is vegan-friendly. After all, its primary ingredients - apples, flour and sugar - are all vegan-friendly. However, as previously discussed in the introduction, many traditional apple pie recipes involve non-vegan elements during preparation.

Butter is a common ingredient in apple pie crust recipes, and unfortunately for vegans it's the primary non-vegan ingredient that would make the pie unsuitable. Since butter comes from animal milk, it cannot be veganized; some recipes can be adjusted to be vegan-friendly while others require total substitution of butter with alternative vegan-friendly ingredients.

Gelatin is a non-vegan ingredient often found in apple pie recipes as a thickening agent to create an even texture. Unfortunately, gelatin derives from animal collagen, so if your recipe calls for gelatin, be sure to replace it with vegan-friendly alternatives like agar-agar or cornstarch.

Butter and gelatin are the two most common non-vegan ingredients used in apple pie recipes. However, there are other elements you should be aware of as well. For instance, some recipes may call for milk when making the filling; traditional cow's milk is not vegan but there are several non-dairy alternatives which won't affect taste or texture of your filling. Examples include almond milk, soy milk and coconut milk - all great alternatives!

Another ingredient that may cause concern for vegans is honey. Some apple pie recipes use it as a sweetener, making the pie non-vegan and therefore not suitable for vegans. As honey is created from bees' labor, it cannot be classified as vegan-friendly; therefore maple syrup, agave nectar or other vegan-friendly sweeteners can be used instead of honey.

Now that you understand what makes apple pie non-vegan, you can take steps to modify recipes as necessary. In the next section, we'll look at vegan-friendly ingredients that can be used when crafting apple pies and provide some tips on creating an irresistible vegan apple pie from home.

II. Vegan-Friendly Ingredients to Use in Apple Pie

Vegans looking to enjoy apple pie can rejoice; there are several vegan-friendly ingredients you can use instead of butter, gelatin, milk and honey. By substituting these items with vegan alternatives you'll create a delectable treat free from animal-derived products.

is apple pie vegan?

1. Vegan-Friendly Pie Crusts

One of the most challenging aspects of veganizing apple pie is creating a crust that meets vegan standards. Traditional pie crusts usually contain butter, which isn't vegan friendly. Fortunately, there are several ingredients and alternatives that can be used instead.

  • Coconut Oil: This versatile oil is a go-to substitute for butter in many vegan baking recipes. You can even use it one-to-one in pie crust recipes!
  • Vegetable Oil: Vegetable oil can also be used as a substitute for butter in pie crust recipes. When using vegetable oil, opt for one with no flavor.
  • Nut Butters: Many nut butters, such as almond butter or cashew butter, can be used in place of butter in pie crust recipes. Nut butters will add a nutty taste to your crust.

If you don't have the time or inclination to make your own vegan pie crust, there are a few store-bought vegan-friendly options available. Be sure to read through the ingredients list carefully in order to confirm that it truly meets vegan requirements.

2. Dairy-Free Apple Pie Recipes

For vegans looking for an alternative to milk, honey and gelatin in apple pie filling recipes, here are a few vegan-friendly suggestions:

  • Vegan Milk: Replace traditional cow's milk with plant-based alternatives such as almond milk, soy milk or coconut milk. Make sure you select unsweetened varieties to reduce extra sugar.
  • Maple Syrup: An all natural sweetener that can replace honey in apple pie recipes.
  • Agar-agar: A seaweed-derived gelatin alternative that can be used in place of animal-based gelatin. It's an odorless and tasteless ingredient that will produce a texture similar to gelatin's.
  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch can be used in place of gelatin to thicken fillings. It works by absorbing liquid from the filling and creating a gel like consistency.

3. Tips for Baking a Vegan Apple Pie

To ensure your vegan apple pie comes out perfect, here are some helpful hints:

  • Chill the dough: As with traditional pie crust recipes, it is imperative to chill the dough before rolling it out. Doing so helps prevent shrinkage during baking; depending on which recipe you use, additional chilling may be required between filling and baking as well.
  • Use a pie shield: To prevent your crust from overbrowning, use a pie shield. This can be made out of aluminum foil or purchased ready-made from a kitchen store.
  • Brush the crust: For an all-over golden and glossy finish, lightly brush with non-dairy milk of your choice before baking.

These tips and tricks will help you make a delicious vegan apple pie that's sure to please even the pickiest non-vegans. In the next section, we'll provide best practices for both making and serving vegan apple pie.

III. Tips and Tricks for Making and Serving Vegan Apple Pie

Now that you have all of the knowledge needed to craft an irresistible vegan apple pie, it's time to put it all into practice. Here are some tips and tricks for crafting and serving an outstanding vegan apple pie:

  1. Specific Brands and Store-Bought Vegan Apple Pies: If you're in search of a store-bought vegan apple pie, several brands offer pre-made options such as Wholly Wholesome and Cherrybrook Kitchen. Make sure to read through the labels carefully to confirm there are no non-vegan ingredients used during manufacturing.
  2. Modifying Non-Vegan Apple Pie Recipes: If you want to experiment with veganizing traditional apple pie recipes, the key is finding suitable vegan substitutes for non-vegan ingredients. As previously mentioned, substitute dairy butter with vegan butter, coconut oil or nut butter; gelatin can be replaced by agar-agar or cornstarch; be sure to read through all instructions carefully and adjust as necessary.
  3. Pairing Apple Pie with Vegan Desserts and Beverages: Serve your vegan apple pie with vegan ice cream that comes in flavors such as caramel, vanilla or apple pie and watch all your non-vegan friends and family ask for second and third servings! Or for a healthier option, pair it with vegan coconut whipped cream or coconut yogurt.
  4. Storing Your Vegan Apple Pie: Once you've made your delicious vegan apple pie, you'll need to store it properly. Cover the pie loosely with aluminum foil, plastic wrap or a ventilated food storage bag and store in the fridge; this way, the pie can last up to five days in the fridge and be reheated easily in either the microwave or oven.
  5. Enjoy Every Bite of Your Delicious Vegan Apple Pie: Congratulations - now you are an expert at making vegan apple pies! Whether you're making this dessert to celebrate a special occasion or simply treating yourself and loved ones, the most important part is enjoying every bite while honoring your vegan lifestyle.
is apple pie vegan?

By incorporating vegan-friendly ingredients and adapting traditional apple pie recipes, vegans can enjoy this classic dessert just as much. It's not about sacrificing taste for philosophy or vice versa; rather, vegans have found a balance that allows everyone to savor an equally delectable dessert that's both healthy and cruelty-free.


In conclusion, the question of whether apple pie is vegan-friendly requires careful consideration of the ingredients and preparation process. While traditional apple pies typically contain non-vegan components like butter and gelatin, there are plenty of ways for vegans to enjoy this classic dessert.

Vegans can create apple pie that's just as delicious and satisfying as any non-vegan version by substituting non-vegan ingredients with vegan alternatives and adapting traditional recipes. Whether you make your own crust from scratch or purchase one from the store, using vegan substitutes for butter, milk and gelatin and carefully pairing your pie with vegan desserts and beverages; the possibilities are endless for vegans!

At the end of the day, it's essential that you enjoy your apple pie while remaining true to your vegan principles. With some creativity and knowledge, it is possible to savor this beloved dessert without compromising your dietary choices.

Next time you're in the mood for a comforting slice of apple pie, don't hesitate to follow our tips and tricks for making a vegan-friendly version. Your guilt-free dessert is sure to please even the pickiest critics!

In conclusion, as previously discussed in this article, apple pie can easily be made vegan-friendly with minor adjustments to the recipe. Simply swapping out non-vegan ingredients with vegan friendly alternatives will give you a delectable treat that satisfies both your sweet tooth and adheres to your dietary choices.

No matter if you're adapting traditional recipes or purchasing vegan-friendly items off the shelf, the possibilities for enjoying a vegan apple pie are endless. From gluten-free pie crusts to non-dairy alternatives for milk and gelatin, there's an array of alternatives that can be used when crafting this delectable treat.

Next time you're craving a decadent dessert, don't hesitate to try vegan apple pie. By following the tips and tricks outlined in this article, you can make it just as delicious and satisfying as any non-vegan version.


John Karrigan

As an animal rights and vegan activist, I dedicate my time to raising awareness about the advantages of a plant-based lifestyle. Through my blog, I hope to motivate and educate others on why adopting a vegan diet is so beneficial for our planet, animals, as well as personal health.