The California parents accused of imprisoning and starving their 13 children in the family's squalid home taunted them with apple pie as they were chained to their beds, according to prosecutors.
The father, David Turpin, 57, is also accused of sexually abusing one of his young daughters, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said before the couple's first court appearance.
Turpin and his wife, Louise, 49, each faces 94 years to life in prison if convicted on the more than two dozen charges that include torture, child abuse and false imprisonment.
The couple pleaded not guilty to all charges during a brief hearing before Judge Michael Donner, who ordered each defendant to remain held on $12 million bail and set the next hearing in the case for February 23.
Neither defendant, both dressed in dark street clothes, spoke during the proceedings.
The husband could be seen sitting hunched over the defence table with his hands in his lap.
"A case like that sticks with you and haunts you," Hestrin said. "Sometimes in this business you are faced with human depravity, and that's what we have here."
The couple was arrested on Sunday, and the conditions in their home in Perris, California, discovered after their emaciated 17-year-old daughter climbed out of a window of the family home and called police.