Julian apple pie is famous throughout Southern California. If you live in the Los Angeles/San Diego metro areas or somewhere in between, a trip to Julian for a stroll along Main Street, picking apples, and an afternoon at the gold mine is a fun tradition for many. And eating apple pie is always part of the itinerary. But which one is the best apple pie in Julian?
I know this is a loaded question. Many locals have “their” apple pie bakery in Julian and straying from it is considered cheating. So on our last trip to Julian, my husband and I decided to make a taste test. I know. I had to twist his arm real hard to agree to that 😉
Apple Pie Bakeries in Julian, California
For a population of just over 1000, Julian boasts a lot of bakeries. Most restaurants and shops have hopped on the Julian apple pie wagon and they sell their own homemade apple pies, but we focused on the true Julian bakeries.
Mom’s Apple Pie Julian Julian
Started in 1984, this traditional bakery was started by Anita Nichols, a mom of four and passionate baker. She has perfected her apple pie skills for over 35 years now and you can still taste the motherly love in each individual pie.
What we tried: Caramel Apple Crumble – whole pie
Our verdict: A good, balanced pie. The crumbs have a good taste and texture and the filling itself is not too sweet. The caramel drizzle pushes it over to the sweet side. If you perfer something a little less sweet, get the original apple crumble.
Julian Apple Pie Company
Liz Smothers’ dream of Julian Pie Company started in 1986 and came to fruition when she and her husband bought an apple orchard in Julian in 1989. This bakery is a true family-owned multi-generational business. Liz is still helping out with making the pies, and her sons and granddaughter are running the two locations of the bakery (Julian and Santa Ysabel) and orchard.
What we tried: Traditional Apple Crumble – whole pie
Our verdict: The perfect apple crumble. Not too sweet, great texture, and tasty apples. The bottom crust was tasty and did not turn soggy. This was our favorite Julian apple crumble.
Julian Cafe & Bakery
Julian Cafe is the oldest of the Julian bakeries on this list and is often referred to as the “Home of the Famous Julian Apple Pie.” The café/restaurant serves some hearty and traditional Western fare that is perfect for a trip to Julian. Just make sure you leave enough room for a slice of apple pie!
What we tried: Traditional Apple Pie with Pastry Top – slice
Our verdict: By far the best crust from all the pies we tried. Flaky, but not soggy and tasty all by itself. To be honest, the pie filling was a bit uninspiring and overly cinnamon-y.
Apple Alley Bakery
Apple Alley Bakery definitely wins in regards to the cutest name, don’t you think? But their pies are also amazing. They have quite a few innovative pies on their menu as well, so if you want to stray from the traditional apple pies, this bakery is a good choice.
What we tried: Traditional Apple Pie with Pastry Top & Caramel Pecan Apple Pie – slice
Our verdict: Let’s talk about the traditional apple pie first. This was our favorite filling by far, as it wasn’t overly sweet, but more tart and refreshing. The crust, while flaky and not soggy, was a bit bland, however. The Caramel Pecan Apple Pie was amazing if you like it sweet. The crunchiness of the pecans, the flaky crust, the tart apple filling, and the drizzle of caramel – a great combination.
Final Verdict: Best Apple Pie in Julian:
Greg and I, as well as our neighbors, with who we shared the whole apple pies, had one clear favorite: The traditional apple crumble from Julian Pie Company. This pie has the best balance of flavors and textures and simply tastes how a great apple pie is supposed to taste. I can’t wait to go back and try their traditional pie crust, next time we are out in Julian!
Honorary Mention: The most photogenic and specialty apple pie by far was the Caramel Pecan Apple Pie from Apple Alley Bakery. I mean, look at this beauty! Don’t you want to dig in and eat the whole thing? Absolutely delicious and worth the calorie splurge.
Best Apple Pie in Julian, California – Pin for Later:
Last Updated on February 22, 2021 by Maria Haase