Freezing homemade pies is easy and saves time later when you need a delectable dessert.
Unbaked pies | Photo by Jeannie Nichols
Homemade pies are a delicious dessert that can be prepared ahead of time, frozen and then baked when you want a very special dessert.
It is much better to freeze pumpkin and fruit pies before baking rather than after. The texture of pies suffers substantially if frozen after baking. If you freeze pies after baking them, thaw them at room temperature for about three hours and then crisp them in a 450 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 20 minutes.
Michigan State University Extension offers the following tips on freezing pies so that they turn out the way you want them to, attractive and delicious.
How to freeze only the fruit pie filling to be placed in a crust later:
- Prepare the filling as usual but add ½ tablespoon of cornstarch or 1-2 tablespoons of flour for each pie.
- Line the pie pan with foil with the foil reaching out over the pan and pour the filling into the pan.
- Place the pie pan of filling into the freezer until it is firm.
- Lift the filling out of the pan and seal it in foil or some other airtight wrap.
- Label and freeze to be used in a pie within 4 months.
When making fruit pies to freeze later:
- Add a ½ extra tablespoon of cornstarch or 1-2 tablespoons of flour to the filling.
- Put a small amount of cornstarch or flour in the bottom of the pie shell before adding the filling.
- Place the pies on a tray and freeze until firm and then wrap them in aluminum foil or any type of airtight wrapping, label and freeze for up to 4 months.
When baking frozen pies:
- Bake the pie frozen – do not thaw.
- Place a cookie sheet in your oven and preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
- Place the pie on the cookie sheet. The cookie sheet helps to cook the bottom pie crust so it isn’t soggy, which can be a problem with foil pans.
- Bake at 425 degrees F for the first 15-20 minutes and then turn down to 350 degrees F until done. The total baking time will be at least 20 minutes longer than the directions indicate for an unfrozen pie.
- Once baked, refrigerate all pies except fruit pies – you can refrigerate fruit pies too but it is not necessary.
Unbaked pumpkin and pecan pies freeze very well. Custard pies, meringue pies and cream pies do not freeze well. They will be watery and separate after thawing. A baked pie can be frozen for 6 months, a longer freezing time than an unbaked pie. Loss of quality increases with the length of time in the freezer. Pies can be frozen longer than recommended here but the quality greatly deteriorates with the extended freezer time.
The short answer is yes, pies can be frozen!
Many types of pies can be frozen and thawed, or frozen raw and baked fresh. Pro tip – both of the pies we sell in our online store, Bourbon Pecan Pie and Sea Salt Chocolate Chess Pie, freeze and thaw very well!
Which Kinds of Baked Pies Can Be Frozen?
Generally, you can freeze any kind of fruit or custard pie that gets baked in an oven and doesn’t have any other accompaniments (like whipped cream or meringue). There are two big exceptions to this rule:
1. Don’t freeze pies that use cornstarch in the filling.
Cornstarch molecules “thicken” pie fillings by trapping water as the starches are heated – but the freezing process breaks down the starch molecules. If you freeze and thaw a fruit pie thickened with cornstarch, it can “weep” and start releasing liquid. This is true for fruit pies (like cherry pie), as well as custard pies (like a vanilla pudding pie). Instead, use thickeners like tapioca, arrowroot starch, Instant Clear Jel, or flour.
2. Don’t freeze pies that use gelatin – unless you want to serve the pie frozen.
Freezing and thawing breaks down gelatin, and will cause your pie filling to “weep”. However, you can freeze a pie that uses gelatin if you will serve it frozen and don’t intend to thaw it again. For instance, freezing a key lime pie that’s stabilized with gelatin makes a delicious frozen dessert. But if you thaw that same pie – the filling will get watery and runny, because the gelatin can’t survive the thawing process.
Types of Fully Baked Pies That Can Be Frozen
- Fruit pies such as apple, peach, mixed berry, strawberry rhubarb, and cherry pies can all be frozen (as long as they aren’t thickened with cornstarch!)
- Chess pies – like lemon chess, chocolate chess
- Sweet potato pie
- Pumpkin pie
- Any baked custard pie (like buttermilk custard pie)
- Nut pies – like pecan pie or walnut pie.
Types of Unbaked Pies That Can Be Frozen
Fruit pies – like apple pie, peach pie, mixed berry pie, strawberry rhubarb, and cherry. Because the cornstarch in unbaked pies hasn’t been activated (i.e., it hasn’t been heated and thus hasn’t thickened the filling) you can freeze unbaked pies containing cornstarch.
Which Pies Can’t Be Frozen?
Some kinds of pies can’t be frozen because the freezing and thawing process breaks down ingredients in the filling.
- Chiffon pies – because the filling is thickened with whipped egg whites, this pie can’t be frozen.The freezing and thawing process will cause the egg whites to become rubbery.
- Lemon meringue pie – similarly, meringue pies can’t be frozen because the meringue layer is made with whipped egg whites, which will become rubbery if frozen and thawed.
- Custard pies made with cornstarch– it bears repeating that custard pies, where the filling is cooked on the stove and thickened with cornstarch, can’t be frozen and thawed.
- Pies or tarts topped with fresh fruit – pies and tarts topped with fresh fruit can’t be frozen and thawed. The fruit will get brown, wet, and generally unappetizing when thawed.
How to Freeze a Baked Pie
Freezing a baked pie is all about protecting the pie from freezer burn and off-odors of other items in your freezer. Follow these steps for a perfect freeze every time!
- Make sure your pie is fully cooled.
- Wrap the pie in plastic wrap.
- Place the pie in a freezer bag, making sure to squeeze all the air out of the bag.
- Label and date the pie, so you can tell what it is in the freezer.
How to Thaw and Serve a Fruit Pie
- Let thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
- Remove plastic wrap from the pie.
- Bake on a sheet pan in a 350 degree oven until the filling is warm and bubbling. “Tent” with foil if the crust starts to get too brown.
- You can also thaw a frozen pie in a low oven. Unwrap the pie, place on a baking sheet, and bake in a 300 degree oven until the center is warm (45 minutes – 1 hour). “Tent” with foil if the crust starts to get too brown.
How to Thaw a Sweet Potato, Pumpkin, or Other Custard Pie
- Let thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
- Remove plastic wrap from the pie before serving.
How to Bake and Serve an Unbaked, Frozen Fruit Pie
- Unwrap the pie and place on a baking sheet.
- Add 20 – 40 minutes to the baking instructions in your recipe.
So don’t be afraid if you make too many pies one weekend (which, let’s be honest, can totally happen). Freezing extra pies is a great way to preserve the seasons, or get ahead during the holidays. Imagine how much easier your Thanksgiving will be if you can make all your pies the week before – and then just thaw and reheat them on the holiday? Or imagine eating a warm cherry pie in December, made with fruit that you picked in July?
Freezing pie opens up a whole world of possibilities for your baking, and at Whisked! we think anything that gets people eating more pie is a good thing. Of course, if making pie is too much of a hassle, you can always order a mail order pie from Whisked!
About the author, Jenna Huntsberger
Originally from Eugene, Oregon, Jenna moved to DC in 2005 to work in nonprofit communications. After deciding her real passion was pastry, she founded Whisked! in 2011, selling baked goods at a local farmer’s market. Today, Whisked! cookies and pies are carried in more than 100 retail locations, and have been featured in publications like the Washington Post, Washington City Paper, and NPR.
Dessert’s always on deck when you have an unbaked pie in the freezer! Here’s how to prep and freeze a pie so it's ready to bake later on.
Every time I make a pie, it feels like both a privilege and an undertaking. I love baking pie, but it takes a good chunk of time.
That’s why freezing an unbaked pie to bake when you need it can be such a boon. You break the steps up into two distinct and manageable chunks, and have a glorious, freshly baked dessert to show for it.
I’ve frozen unbaked pies before, but hadn’t in a while, so I made, froze, and baked our Old Fashioned Peach Pie as a refresher. I’d never have guessed it was frozen if I didn’t know myself. I felt like I’d outwitted someone! Here’s what you need to know to try it yourself.
What Kinds of Pies Can You Freeze?
When it comes to freezing unbaked pies, stick with fruit pies. Nearly all straight-up fruit pies, such as cherry, blackberry, and apple, hold up great in the freezer. Some custard fruit pies, like our Rhubarb Custard Pie, also freeze well. It doesn’t matter if they have a lattice top, a crumb topping, a double crust, or no top crust at all: freeze away!
Pies you should not freeze: Do not freeze fruit pies with sour cream (like Sour Cream Apple Pie), as sour cream can curdle in the freezer. Meringue pies and cream pies also don’t freeze well, baked or unbaked. Same goes for most custard pies, with the exception of baked pecan and pumpkin pies, which freeze wonderfully! They’re also a lot easier to freeze after baking.
How long frozen pies last in the freezer: You can freeze unbaked pies up to two months. After that, you’re flirting with freezer burn. Pies with a top crust may be a little more protected than pies with their fruity insides on display. To be honest, I’ve never had a pie in the freezer longer than two months, so I can’t tell you for sure.
How to Freeze an Unbaked Pie
NOTE: Use a ceramic or metal pie plate. Glass ones, such as Pyrex, are brittle and may shatter because of the drastic temperature change from the freezer to hot oven.
- Make the pie: Assemble the pie exactly as you would as if you were going to bake it that day. You can even glaze the pie with an egg wash.
- Freeze the pie uncovered for 2 hours: Clear out a level space in the freezer, then freeze the pie, uncovered, for 2 hours, or until it’s mostly frozen. This way you won’t mar the top of the pie when you wrap it, and it keeps the wrapping from sticking to the pie itself.
- Wrap the pie, then freeze again: Once the pie is set, triple wrap it in foil. Label and date the pie. Write the baking temp and time on the foil, too, so it’s handy when you’re ready to bake the pie.
How to Bake a Frozen Pie
No thawing needed! Pop that pie right from the freezer into your hot oven.
- Preheat the oven. You can stick with the temperature given in the recipe, though some sources say to bump it up to 425°F. Position a rack in the lower third. If you have a baking stone, use it.
- Unwrap the pie: When the oven is ready, unwrap the pie, keeping the foil intact. Use the foil to line a rimmed baking sheet and set the pie on it to catch the juices that will bubble over.
- Bake: Bake the pie as long as it takes for the filling to bubble vigorously. This will be longer than the baking time for an unfrozen pie, of course, but exactly how many minutes longer depends on how much filling is in the pie, the type of pie plate you’re using, and the personality quirks of your oven. Set a timer for the recipe’s standard baking time so you can check on the pie’s progress, but expect to bake it anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes longer.
A lot of sources say to add 10 to 20 minutes to the baking time, but when I froze and baked our peach pie recipe, it took 30 minutes on top of the suggested baking time of 1 hour for an unbaked pie, so be patient. You pie may need even more extra time than mine did.
Remember, fruit pies must bubble like lava for their filling to properly thicken. If the top of the pie starts to brown before the rest of the pie is finished baking, tent the top of the pie loosely with foil for the remainder of the baking time.
More Tips for Fruit Pies!
Add a few teaspoons of acid, such as lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, to peach, apple, and pear pies to prevent the uncooked fruit from browning in the freezer. (Recipes for these kinds of pies usually call for lemon juice in the first place, fortunately.)
If you have a baking stone, use it. Put pie and foil-lined baking sheet on the stone, which will hold more heat and give your frozen pie a boost, helping to prevent a soggy bottom crust.
At the height of summer, when fresh fruit is at its prime, it's hard to resist the idea of saving some for later—especially when it's too hot to bake. While you can freeze fruit all by itself, if you have a pie pan to spare, there's nothing better than freezing the whole dang pie. And besides, in the midst of the holiday rush, I'm always relieved when I can fall back on a ready-made pie.
Fruit pies that have been frozen have a denser, jammier texture than those baked right out of the gate, but they still have the same thickness and consistency overall. This is also true of freshly baked pies made with frozen fruit—a great option if you don’t have space to freeze a whole pie.
But if you do have the space (and extra pie plate) to spare, freezing the whole pie means you can whip it up at your leisure, rather than putting off that chore till a later date. The process is simple overall, but it's important to start with the right kind of dough, because not all recipes will freeze equally well.
Relatively lean and dry doughs are thirsty, eager to soak up moisture from fruit fillings over time, which makes for a soggy, wet crust. Doughs formulated with a higher proportion of butter and water are less absorbent, so they’re better able to resist soaking up moisture, even after long-term exposure to a juicy layer of raw fruit filling. For that reason, I highly recommend my super-buttery Old-Fashioned Flaky Pie Dough; if you’re baking a frozen (or really any) pie, it’ll always come out flaky and crisp.
Using the right type of pie plate is helpful, too, and I highly recommend glass or disposable aluminum—pie pans affect how pie crust turns out more than you might expect.
With the right dough and equipment squared away, simply make your cherry pie, blueberry pie, or mixed-fruit pie as directed, and refrigerate it until the decorative border is cold and firm. Wrap your pie in several layers of plastic to minimize exposure to air, then stick it in the freezer. Plastic wrap can sometimes slip loose when cold, so I recommend using a layer of foil to help hold it in place. Bonus: It’ll also provide a final, more impermeable barrier against odor absorption, particularly if your freezer is jam-packed with pungent savory things.
When you're ready to bake, unwrap the pie and rewrap it in a fresh layer of plastic—the old plastic may contain ice crystals that harbor funky odors, or can melt and give the top crust a blotchy appearance. Thaw it in the refrigerator to an internal temperature of about 40°F (4°C), and let the pie stand at room temperature until it warms to about 50°F (10°C) before baking. Use the recipe's visual cues as your guide, and bake it until the interior is bubbling-hot; this may take a little longer than the recipe suggests, so don't hesitate to cover the pie in foil if it's starting to look too brown.
As mentioned, freezing will give fruit pies a slightly jammier consistency, but the filling should be just as thick overall, and even more delicious when cold and dreary weather has you missing the fresh flavor of summer fruit.
Yes, you can freeze pie maker pies! Learn how to freeze your pies so they don’t get frosty or stick together, and find out the best way to reheat them so they’re crispy outside and hot inside.
You can easily freeze pie maker pies after they’ve been cooked. Follow these simple tips to freeze pies and avoid them frosting over or sticking together in the freezer. Then reheat them in the oven or a pie maker following the steps to get crispy pastry and hot filling.
1. Let pies cool completely
3. Freeze for up to two months
4. Defrost in fridge
5. Finish in the oven or pie maker
Have you tried making other recipes in your pie maker yet? These pizza scrolls work perfectly in a pie maker, and can also be frozen and reheated using the steps above.
GET THE RECIPES: Easy Pizza Scrolls
These pizza scrolls can be cooked in either a pie maker or the oven. They make great snacks or lunchbox fillers.
Get the recipe: Fast Family Chicken Pie
You can also cook this recipe in a mini pie maker or a full sized pie maker before freezing.
Bake and freeze your Thanksgiving and Christmas pies now and stress less when you cook your holiday meal
Photos: Scott Phillips
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Apple Pie with Poached Dried Cherries
Brown Sugar & Sour Cream Pumpkin Pie
Pear-Cranberry Linzer Tart
For many years around the holidays, customers at our bakery would plead with us to make a pie that they could take home and bake; they’d get the taste (and all those great aromas) of a home-baked pie without having to actually make it.
I began testing and soon came up with methods for freezing our most popular pies—unbaked—without compromising their quality. As a result, when Fine Cooking called to see if I had a solution for time-pressed readers who really enjoy the process of making a pie—but who would rather not have to do it on the same day as all that other holiday cooking, I had some great tips to offer, not to mention some delicious recipes, too.
The three desserts you see on these pages—Apple Pie with Poached Dried Cherries, Brown Sugar & Sour Cream Pumpkin Pie, Pear-Cranberry Linzer Tart—aren’t difficult to prepare. Rather, they just require a couple of tricks to smooth the transfer into the freezer and then eventually into the oven. And their convenience is hard to beat: Prepare these pies up to six weeks before the holidays, freeze them, and then bake them on the big day. The crusts will be tender and flaky, not soggy, the fillings will be full of flavor—and your holiday entertaining will be that much easier.
Want more make-ahead ideas? Visit the Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner Guides to get more ideas for pie and hundreds of holiday recipes.
Freeze fruit pies fully assembled, custard pies in two parts
How I choose to freeze a pie or tart depends on whether the pie is fruit- or custard-filled. Holiday fruit pies are more forgiving than custard pies, because firm-textured fruits like apples and pears retain a little of their own moisture while they bake, preventing that sogginess that can afflict some fruit pastries (berries come to mind) and custard pies. I assemble these fruit pies completely, freeze them immediately, and then, I’m ready to bake, I transfer them straight from the freezer to a hot oven. By not defrosting them first, I’m further protecting them against sogginess because the crust starts to bake and firm up before the fruit begins to give off juices. These frozen pies take a little more time to bake than a freshly assembled one, but the payoff is worth it.
I freeze custard pies in a “kit” made up of the filling and the pie shell. I find that keeping the custard and the pie shell separate is the best protection against sogginess. The day before I plan to bake the pumpkin pie, I pull the custard from the freezer; it needs to thaw in the refrigerator, not at room temperature. The next day, I blind bake the pie shell—that is, I bake it without the filling to let the pastry get golden brown and slightly crisp—and then I add the filling and finish baking. (For more tips, see below.) By handling the two elements this way, I keep the custard from weeping.
Brown Sugar & Sour Cream Pumpkin Pie.
Tips for freezing:
The fruit pie & tart:
- Freeze immediately after assembling. It’s important to freeze the fruit pies as soon as you finish preparing them. Once fruit is mixed with sugar, it begins to exude moisture. This can cause ice crystals to form during freezing, which would melt and dampen the crust during baking.
- Wrap the pies tightly in several layers of plastic and label them.Wrapping well will keep out moisture and prevent ice crystals from forming. (If freezing for longer than a week, add an outer layer of foil as well.) To remember where to find the baking instructions for the pies, label the pie with the issue and page number from Fine Cooking’s Holiday Baking—and the date, too.
The pumpkin pie:
- Immediately freeze the custard to prevent off flavors. Put the finished custard mixture in a clean, airtight container and put it in the coldest part of your freezer. If allowed to sit even overnight in the refrigerator, the pumpkin can start to ferment, thickening the custard and eventually giving it a sour flavor.
- Immediately freeze the pie shell. Freezing pastry quickly prevents the butter from melting, which will mean a flaky, tender texture when the shell is baked.
Tips for baking:
The fruit pie & tart:
- Go directly from freezer to oven. Don’t defrost the pie first. Unwrap it and put it in the heated oven so that the crust begins to bake before the fruit has a chance to start thawing.
- Use a heated baking sheet or pizza stone for the crispiest crust. To cook the frozen pies evenly, I recommend baking them on the bottom rack of the oven on a heated baking sheet. This setup mimics the strong bottom heat of my bakery’s oven. Using a pizza or bread stone is even better. A stone does a wonderful job of radiating heat and crisping the pie shell to a beautiful golden brown.
The pumpkin pie:
- Defrost the custard a day ahead. I thaw the pumpkin custard in the refrigerator overnight and then thoroughly whisk it to make it smooth and incorporate any icy bits that might be floating in the liquid.
- Blind bake the shell. For a crisp crust, bake the shell first (see the recipe directions) and then fill it with the pumpkin custard and finish baking.
Want to skip the freezer?
If you want to skip the freezer and go straight to the oven, just watch the clock. While these pies are versatile enough to withstand the stress of freezing, you can also bake them immediately after assembling them. Bake the pies according to the recipes’ instructions, but start checking for doneness about half an hour before the indicated times. On average, these desserts should take about 15 minutes less time to bake than the frozen ones.
These detailed instructions for how to freeze pies (both unbaked and baked) and pie crust dough will save you SO much stress this holiday season! Prep and freeze your pies in advance to free up your oven for other holiday dishes and to free up some of your time to actually relax and enjoy the holiday with loved ones!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the freezer is your friend, and learning to properly freeze baked goods is a total game changer when it comes to prepping for holiday baking!
Thanksgiving dinner (and dessert!) is one of the best meals of the year, but it’s also one of the most stressful meals of the year if you’re on the hook to host (or even if you volunteered to bring something to the feast). Doing as much of the baking prep in advance as possible helps to free up time on Thanksgiving day so that you can actually enjoy the holiday. And when we’re talking about doing baking prep work in advance, that’s when the freezer comes in handy!
When done correctly, you can prep and freeze pies (and pie crust dough!) ahead of time without your guests ever knowing your secret! Keep reading for all of my tips for how to freeze pies and pie crust dough.
Before we begin, here’s what you’ll need.
- Freezer space (and a clean-smelling freezer). You’ll obviously need to clear some space in your freezer to fit the pie or pie crust dough, but you’ll also want to make sure that there aren’t lingering odors in your freezer that could be absorbed by your pie. Remove any pungent foods (like onion) and wipe down the interior of the freezer if necessary to remove any smells before freezing your pie.
- Plastic wrap
- Freezer-safe containers or plastic bags (for freezing pie crust dough)
- Aluminum foil (for freezing pies)
- Marker (for labeling the items you’ll be freezing)
How to Freeze Pie Crust Dough
- Prepare the pie crust dough and let it chill in the refrigerator according to the recipe. Once the dough has chilled, remove it from the fridge.
- Ensure the dough is wrapped tightly with plastic wrap. Place the tightly wrapped dough into a freezer safe container or plastic bag and label it with today’s date.
- Store the pie crust dough in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- The night before you plan to bake your pie, transfer the dough to the fridge to thaw. Allow the dough to thaw overnight before rolling it out.
Note: Pie crust dough can be stored in the fridge (wrapped tightly in plastic wrap) for up to 3 days before rolling and baking, so you may not even need to freeze your pie crust dough if you wanted to make it just a few days in advance.
Oh, and be sure to check out my recipe and tips for perfect pie crust!
How to Freeze Unbaked Pies
Two important notes before you begin:
- First, consider the type of pie you’re making before deciding to freeze an unbaked pie. Fruit pies (like apple pie) are the best candidates for freezing before baking. For custard pies (like pumpkin pie) you’re better off baking the pie before freezing it (keep scrolling to see how to do this!).
- Choose the right pie plate. If you’re going to thaw the unbaked pie before baking it, any freezer-safe pie plate will do (so long as you won’t need it for other baking projects while the pie is in the freezer). If you want to take your pie straight from the freezer to the oven, I recommend a disposable aluminum pie plate. Do NOT put a frozen glass pie plate in the oven; it could explode!
Ok, on to the instructions for how to freeze unbaked pies:
- To freeze an unbaked pie, fully assemble the pie according to the recipe’s instructions.
- Place the pie, unwrapped, in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours to set the filling and firm up the crust (so that you don’t spill the pie’s filling or squish the beautiful crust when you wrap the pie).
- Remove the pie from the freezer and wrap the entire pie and pie plate with plastic wrap so that it’s completely covered. I recommend using three layers of wrap at alternating angles to ensure that it’s well sealed.
- Wrap the entire pie again in aluminum foil and label it with the type of pie, today’s date, and the recipe’s baking instructions (temperature and duration).
- Place the pie on a level surface in the freezer and freeze for up to 1 month.
When you’re ready to bake your pie, you have two options:
- Option 1: The night before you want to bake your pie, take the pie out of the freezer, remove the wrapping and replace with fresh plastic wrap, and place the pie in the refrigerator. Allow the pie to thaw overnight in the fridge, then let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes just before baking. Finally, bake the pie according to the recipe’s instructions.
- Option 2: Take the pie directly from the freezer to the preheated oven (first removing the wrapping, of course). Remember to be careful about which pie plate you’ll be using if you plan to do this. You’ll need to bake the still-frozen pie longer than the recipe states (typically about 20-40 minutes extra, and this will vary based on the recipe).
How to Freeze Baked Pies
Note: This method works well for fresh fruit pies (like apple pie), custard pies (like pumpkin pie), and pecan pie. Do not freeze pies with whipped or meringue toppings; instead make the topping fresh and add it to the pie the same day you’ll serve it.
- Bake the pie according to the recipe’s instructions, then let the pie cool completely on a wire rack. This may take a few hours. If you’re unsure if the pie has cooled completely, err on the side of caution and give it a little bit more time. It’s critical that the pie be completely cooled before it goes in the freezer.
- Once the pie has cooled, wrap the entire pie and pie plate with plastic wrap so that it’s completely covered. I recommend using three layers of wrap at alternating angles to ensure that it’s well sealed.
- Wrap the entire pie again in aluminum foil and label it with the type of pie and today’s date.
- Place the pie on a level surface in the freezer and freeze for up to 2 months for fruit pies and 1 month for custard pies.
- The night before you want to serve the pie, take the pie out of the freezer, remove the wrapping and replace with fresh plastic wrap, and place the pie in the refrigerator. Allow the pie to thaw overnight in the fridge. Shortly before serving the pie, let it sit at room temperature or briefly reheat it in a warm oven, depending on the temperature at which you’d like to serve it.
How are you planning to use these tips to make the holiday baking season less stressful? Let me know in the comments!
DON’T FORGET TO PIN THIS BAKING TIP FOR LATER!
I wish I could give you a simple answer on this, but there are probably as many ways to freeze pies as there are pies!
Some pies simply don’t freeze well, regardless of how you do it. For example, custard pies and meringue topped pies are better off fresh baked.
On the other hand, fruit pies are ordinarily considered a successful candidate for freezing. Also, pumpkin pies, mince meat pies, pecan pies, and chocolate pies are freezer friendly.
With that said, there is still more to consider. Namely, should a pie be frozen unbaked or baked?
Many experts state simply that it is better to freeze an unbaked pie than a baked pie. They claim that the baked filling and crust goes through a transformation during baking that makes it perfect for eating, but not for freezing.
I have had wonderful success freezing unbaked pies. I keep my method very simple. Here’s what I do:
- For a two crust pie, prepare pie crusts as usual, put the bottom crust in the pie pan, and lay the top crust on a piece of parchment paper.
- Put both pie crusts, covered lightly with more parchment paper, in the refrigerator until chilled completely.
- Prepare the filling and chill it as well.
- Fill the pie, put the top crust on, and crimp.
- Do NOT put any slices for vents in the top crust before freezing.
- Wrap the entire pie carefully with plastic food wrap, then put it in two layers of zippered freezer bags, squeeze out all the air, and put in the freezer. I like to use it within 2 to 3 months, but it will last in the freezer up to 4 months.
- To bake an ‘unbaked’ frozen pie, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Take the pie out of the freezer, remove from plastic wrapping – do NOT thaw – and put directly in oven on center rack for 15 to 20 minutes depending on thickness of pie. Then lower the oven’s temperature to 350 to 375 degrees F and continue cooking according to the recipe for the fresh baked pie.
But, is it okay to freeze a baked pie?
If you choose to freeze an already baked pie, it certainly is possible. The main thing in this case is to be sure the pie has cooled COMPLETELY before freezing. Once it is cool, put it in the freezer UNWRAPPED for at least 1 or 2 hours before wrapping it. This will keep any moisture from forming on the crust and making it soggy. Then, remove and wrap tightly with plastic food wrap and double bag it in freezer bags, pushing out the air. Return the wrapped pie immediately to the freezer.
- To bake a pre-baked frozen pie, remove it from the freezer, unwrap it, and let it sit at room temperature until slightly thawed, about 1 to 2 hours. To crisp up the crust a bit, put the pie in a preheated oven at 400 to 450 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the type and thickness of the pie.
What about freezing the pie crusts and pie filling separately?
This is an alternative that some people prefer. There are space saving advantages in baking a batch of crusts and stacking them inside each other. It all depends on how fast you want to produce a pie. If preparing the filling takes too much time in your book, having pre-prepared and frozen filling ready and waiting to pop in the prepared pie crusts may be a good solution for you.
To freeze baked crusts, just prepare your crusts as usual, put in your pie pans, and bake. Be sure to completely cool the crusts before packaging in freezer bags. You may wish to remove the crust from the pie pan and start a stack of crusts, using parchment paper to separate each crust. To protect them from breaking, put the stack inside a box before you store them in the freezer. You can keep a pre-baked pie crust frozen for about 3 months. To use, just thaw at room temperature on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes before setting the crust back in the pie pan (if you removed it.)
To freeze unbaked crusts, prepare your crusts as usual, lay the crust in a pie pan, prick a few holes in the bottom, then wrap in plastic wrap and put inside a freezer bag. You can stack several crusts together, one pie pan inside another if it works for you. Lightweight pie pans work best for this. You can bake these crusts, frozen, at a high heat, about 450 to 475 degrees F until light brown in color. Or, if your recipe calls for an unbaked crust, just fill and bake according to your pie recipe. These unbaked crusts last in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Regarding the pie filling, many pre-cooked pie fillings freeze just fine. If you are hesitant about freezing uncooked ingredients (like eggs), I would skip it. But, typically, you’ll get good results with fruit pie fillings as well as pecan pie filling.
I hope this cleared up a bit of the confusion and didn’t add even more! My rule of thumb is if I can freeze a pie unbaked, I will. If I had to freeze an already baked pie, I would just be very particular about the freezing and thawing process.
Have fun and don’t be afraid to experiment.
The Hillbilly Housewife Recommends:
You’ll find even more tips, along with FAQ’s covering all sorts of reasons why a pie may have failed, in my new Kindle book: Pie Recipes from Scratch-The Only Pie Cookbook You’ll Ever Need.
Of course there are also plenty of recipes including:
- Apple Cheese Streusel Pie
- Rhubarb Cream Meringue Pie
- Pear Crumble Pie
- Blueberry Crisp Pie
- Perfect Pumpkin Pie
- Stewed Apple Pie
- Cranberry Raisin Pie
- Peach Orchard Pie
Click on here and download your copy today and you’ll be baking Blue Ribbon worthy pies before you know it!
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Make pies to freeze and bake later. Making holiday pies has never been easier with this make ahead method to freeze pies and bake them later! Working ahead can be done with delicious results!
Make Ahead Makes Life Easier
When it comes to cooking a large meal, I’m all about doing as much work ahead of time as possible. I’ve got enough going on when I’m planning to feed a crowd, the last thing that I want to do is spend all of my time in the kitchen when I could be socializing with my guests. Making pies ahead of time is a great way to save time over the holidays, especially on a such food-centric holiday as Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is the biggest pie consumption day of the year…for me. I’m pretty confident that I’m not alone in that statistic. While the Thanksgiving feast can be vary between simple to elaborate depending on personal preferences and traditions, there is always room at the table for pie. More than 36 million Americans vote apple to be our favorite pie, with strawberry-rhubarb pie, pumpkin pie, and cherry pie rounding out the top Thanksgiving picks.
According to the National Pie Council, 90% of Americans agree that a slice of pie represents the simple pleasures in life. How can it not? A slice of pie is pure comfort, invoking the warm feelings of home. To quote my favorite Pie Maker, “Pie is home. People always come home.” (–Ned, Pushing Daisies.)
Pie is Home
If pie is home, it’s only natural that pie should be served when people come home for the holidays. It’s symbolic! Do you know what pie isn’t? Complicated. The fact that pie isn’t complicated or fussy is a baker’s best kept secret. Pie crust can be made at home in about 5 minutes with just 4 simple ingredients. Fill that crust with some sliced fruit, a little sugar, and a touch of thickener and you’re well on your way to one of life’s simpler pleasures–a warm slice of pie!
Do you want to know another secret? Fruit pies can easily be made well ahead of time and frozen to be baked another day. True story! Fruit pies freeze beautifully. A frozen crust also shrinks less when baked than a freshly rolled crust, so it holds its shape in the oven. In fact, filling and freezing a pie before baking it virtually eliminates the threat of a soggy bottom crust! I learned that cool tip from Rose Levy Beranbaum in her The Pie and Pastry Bible. Rose knows what’s up when it comes to pie!
So plan your holiday party menus to cook the day of, but save time by making the pies ahead of time.
1. Choose a good, well tested recipe.
Choosing a good recipe and using the best quality ingredients available makes all the difference in baking really great pies. I frequently bake and freeze my classic apple pie, favorite cherry pie, blueberry pie, and very cherry berry pie with fresh cranberries with excellent results. I do not recommend freezing custard or cream pies, as the texture of the filling doesn’t hold up well to freezing. Stick with fruit pies when it comes to making them ahead of time.
2. Entirely assemble the pie.
Line a pie plate with pie crust dough. Combine the fruit, sugar, and thickener for the filling. Spoon the filling into the bottom crust. Roll out and place the top crust over the filling, crimping the edges as desired. I always use standard Pyrex Glass Bakeware Pie Plate 9″ x 1.2″ Pack of 2 pie plates because glass heats slowly and the heat builds evenly so that my pies bake perfectly every time. I have a stack of these little gems in the cupboard. You should too.
3. Wrap the assembled pie well and freeze immediately.
Wrap the assembled pie thoroughly in a double thickness of plastic wrap, pressing to the surface of the pie to release any air trapped between the plastic and the pie. Then wrap the pie again with aluminum foil. Doubling wrapping with both plastic wrap and aluminum foil creates a vapor barrier to help keep the moisture that causes freezer burn out. Label the wrapped pie and freeze on a level surface in the freezer. I have frozen pies for up to two months with good results.
4. Bake the pie directly from the freezer.
Once the oven is preheated, unwrap the frozen pie and place it on a aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Apply a light egg wash over the top of the pie and sprinkle with coarse raw or granulated sugar, if desired. Baking the frozen pie on the baking sheet will gradually warm in the oven and keep the glass pie plate from being “shocked” (read: shattered) when put in the hot oven. The aluminum foil on the baking sheet makes clean up a breeze by catching any pesky juices that may bubble up and over the edge while baking.
5. Extend the baking time outlined in the recipe by 15 to 20 minutes.
Since the pie is baking directly from the freezer, it needs a few extra minutes for the filling to thaw and cook all the way through. Simply extending the baking time stated in the recipe by an additional 15 to 20 minutes (on average) is all it takes. Once the filling nice and bubbly and the crust is golden all the way around the pie is complete.
I should mention that although it is possible to freeze a pie after it’s been baked, I find that they don’t hold up as well or taste as fresh as pies that are frozen first and baked later. If you plan to make pies ahead of time to freeze, then save the baking until the day you plan to serve the pie.
Simply pop the pie in the oven as you sit down to dinner. Before the dishes are clear, the intoxicating aroma of a fresh pie will invoke that comforting feeling of home with your guests.