FREEZE: The fastest way to fresh-baked fruit pie.

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Wouldn’t you love to pull this stunning apple pie out of your oven in less than an hour, start to finish?

Impossible, you say?

Au contraire – your grandma could have done it. That is, if you had a grandma like mine, with a big chest freezer full of unbaked pies.

My grandma was born in 1894, in northern Wisconsin, in a house without what we’d consider amenities critical to daily life: running water, electricity, and central heating, for instance.

By the time I knew her, Grandma had worked her way up to a fully equipped kitchen: fridge, stove, sink. And in the pantry, a large freezer. I remember Grandma bending into the freezer, rummaging around a bit, and pulling out a frozen pie wrapped in waxed paper.

And shortly after that, taking a bubbling apple or blueberry or rhubarb pie out of the oven.

“Easy as pie” made sense to me back then. But once I started baking my own pie, “easy” was hardly how I’d describe the process.

After many years of practice, I can finally bake a pretty good pie. But getting the pastry just right, rolling it to the right size  (without cracks), nestling it into the pan just so, making sure the filling is perfectly thickened, sealing and crimping the crust, and having the whole thing come out looking like a page out of “Good Housekeeping” – not so easy!

So when I DO take the time to make pie, I like to make a bunch of pies at once.

Sure, it’s a lot of effort for pie #1, the single pie I bake the same day I make up a whole batch.

But pies #2, #3, #4 (however many I make), simply pulled from the freezer, thawed, and baked, are a piece of cake.

Figuratively speaking, of course.

What’s the best way to prepare pie ahead of time, then bake it fresh when you want it – without any effort at all?

I tried several methods, and have settled on the one I think works best. Read on…

The first thing I tried was making the crust, shaping it into disks, and freezing.

Ditto the filling: preparing the fruit, adding the sugar, spice, and thickener, and freezing.

This method was OK. And it was the best way for a small freezer, as disks of crust and bags of filling are easier to store than entire pies.

But when you want fresh pie, you’re only partway there; once you’ve thawed the crust and filling, you still have to roll, fill, seal, crimp… all that stuff.

I was after something that was absolutely painless, time- and effort-wise. And here’s the method I chose:

Make the entire pie up to the point it’s ready for the oven. Freeze it. When you’re ready for pie, thaw overnight in the fridge, and bake.

Here’s how-

First, unless you have LOTS of pie pans lying around (or can settle for the undersized throwaway foil pans), you’re going to want to make the pie, freeze it in the pan, then take it out so you can have your pan back.

First, grease your pan.

I’m using a 9”, 1 1/2” deep pan.

Next, line it with parchment, and grease the parchment.

Prepare your pie. I’ve made an apple pie here. Put the pie into a large plastic bag.

Into the freezer it goes. Freeze the pie for several hours, or until it’s stiff enough to handle easily.

OK, time out. Since you’re going to the effort with the dough and filling, you probably want to make more than one pie at a time, right?

However many pie pans you have (metal preferred; it freezes the pies faster), that’s how many pies you can prepare at a time.

But that doesn’t mean if you only have two pans, you can only make two pies. Make enough dough and filling for, say, four pies. Prepare two pies, leaving the extra filling and dough in the fridge. Once those first two pies are frozen and you have your pans back, prepare the remaining two pies, and freeze them.

OK, back to the frozen pie.

If you have a surfeit of available pie pans, you can certainly leave the pie in the pan in the freezer. But most of us don’t have multiple pie pans. So, once the pie was frozen, I moved this pie from its pan to a plastic bag.

First step: set the pan in a slightly larger pan of warm water, to thaw the underside just a bit.

Parchment helps with the release. Peel it off now; you won’t need it anymore.

Re-bag the pie, and stick it back in the freezer until you need it.

Fast forward 7 weeks. Time to think about Thanksgiving pies.

Well, look at that! An apple pie in my freezer, all ready to go.

Take the pie out of the bag, and put it in the same size pan you originally made it in. Put pie and pan back in the plastic bag.

Place the pie in the refrigerator overnight, to thaw. Tent the plastic bag up a bit, so it doesn’t rest right on the pastry.

Wait a minute – why not simply bake the pie right from the freezer? Isn’t that what Mrs. Smith has you do?

I tried it. And found that by the time the filling had thawed and cooked completely, the crust was unpleasantly dry. Thawing first cuts back on baking time, and yields a moister, more tender pie.

Brush the crust with cream or milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired.

Bake the pie as your recipe directs.

Hint: for easiest cleanup, be sure to place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment.

Ah, nicely juicy…

…VERY pretty…

…and totally tasty!

Pie without angst – it’s love at first bite.

If you’re interested in making this particular pie, check out our recipe for Guaranteed Apple Pie.

Words to the wise:
•This method is appropriate for fruit pies. Please don’t try it with egg- and/or milk-based fillings (e.g., custard, pumpkin, pecan, lemon meringue, banana cream, etc.).
•I found that adding an extra 2 tablespoons flour to the filling helps soak up some of the extra juice the fruit may exude during the freezing/thawing process.

Finally, please let us know about your solution (or your mom’s, or grandma’s) for make-ahead pies. I know this isn’t the only method that works; share your story in the comments section below. Thanks!

Want to read more about how to prepare and freeze just-in-time holiday treats?

•Read about drop cookies, sticky buns, scones, and flaky cheese twists.
•Read about cinnamon buns.
•Read about rollout cookies.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. bowreality

    Geez, why do I always read this blog when I am at work? I want to go home NOW and make some apple pie. I love the idea of freezing unbaked. Is there any difference in freezing single portion (i.e. small) pies or handpies? So far I only froze baked pies but they tend to taste “previously frozen”…

    I can’t see that there’d be any difference in freezing smaller pies, no. Good idea – I should make individual pies and freeze them. They could probably bake in a toaster oven, right? Now THAT would be easy… thanks for the inspiration! PJH

    Reply
  2. bowreality

    Never tried the toaster oven but I like single-serve pies, cakes etc. You never know how many guest are coming over (i.e. no guests needed to have pie). Thanks PJ!

    Reply
  3. Jaime

    I love having pies in the freezer! It’s a great way to deal with all those apples in the fall. I bake them right from frozen however. 15 minutes at 425 then an hour at 350 and they are perfect for last minute company.

    Reply
  4. Sarah H

    This isn’t a tip for freezing whole pies, but for shortening (slightly) the baking time for apple pies. My friend taught me to microwave on high for 10 minutes double crust apple pies, then bake for about 30 minutes at 375, or until the crust is golden brown. The fruit softens nicely, and the crust retains flakiness, which you would not expect. Weird! (use a glass pan, of course)

    Sarah, I’ll definitely give that a try sometime. Weirder things have been known to work – quite unexpectedly! Thanks for sharing – PJH

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  5. JuliaG

    OK, so I was thinking of doing this for my wedding (and am now kicking myself that I didn’t), but here’s my big question: how LONG can you keep these pies frozen? Is there an amount of time after which they lose significant quality? I was afraid that baking apple pies in the fall for a June wedding was a recipe for bland, freezer-burnt dessert…

    Julia, the longer they’re frozen, yes, they’ll very gradually degrade. The question is – how much, how fast, and how attuned would your guests be to slight changes in texture? They’d do better in a chest freezer for sure, one that doesn’t self-defrost. And I have a friend who bakes pies, then freezes them for more than a year, and then re-bakes them frozen, and she says they’re fine. I don’t think I’d risk it all on a wedding, but it would be a good experiment sometime… PJH

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  6. Marlene

    My mother has frozen and then baked her apple pies for as long as I can remember! Her tip is to sprinkle a bit of tapioca around the entire edge of the pie before placing on the top crust. This causes the apples’ juice to “thicken” instead of overflowing onto your cookie sheet.

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  7. JuliaG

    PJ–Thanks for the info! I forgot to say in my first post that I love KAF & the blog and really appreciate all the hard work you all do to communicate your delightful recipes to us! Best.

    Thanks so much for your kind words, Julia – and for connecting here. PJH

    Reply
  8. lisamills18175

    In order to help my 83 year old father who cares for my 80 year old mother with Alzheimer’s, I cook for the week on the weekends. Since I live alone most recipes yield enough for all of us and I freeze them in portions for my father to pull out, thaw and heat. This recipe is a FANTASTIC addition since my father has a big sweet tooth. I made them in the small pot pie sized aluminum pans and they turned out wonderful. Thank you for helping my make life easier for all of us!

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  9. wisejanie

    I’m a pie loving northern Wisconsin girl myself (Hayward). It’s a pleasant surprise to find someone from our locale at my favorite flour company. Just out of curiosity, where in the northwoods do you hail from? If you’d prefer not share that publicly you are welcome to email me at wise.janie@gmail.com. I also understand if you’d prefer to keep that info private.

    Reply
  10. hollyspaghetti

    A few years ago, after canning lots and lots of peaches, I decided rather than canning additional jars of peaches I would make up pie filling ahead and freeze, similar to your idea but not as complete. I made my pie filling as usual, lined a pie pan with plastic wrap and put it in the freezer. After it had frozen solid,removed it and placed it in a freezer bag. I made about 4-5 of these frozen pie fillings. It was a lot of fun to have a fresh peach pie in the middle of winter! Although, that idea is not too far from the same thinking that you had above. I didn’t have to thaw the filling before use, it dropped right into a fresh made pie crust. I do like your idea of making the entire pie and freezing!! I will be keeping that in mind next summer as all the fruit comes into season!! Thanks for all of your most wonderful and helpful tips and ideas!!! You’re the BEST!!!!

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  11. omaria

    PJ I have frozen fruit(apple) in the shape of a pie pan in the freezer.Am I o.k. with making the crust,dump the frozen fruit in and stick it back in the freezer ? Thanks . Ria

    Some of the bakers who freeze fruit in the pie plate, then place it in a thawed crust and it bakes up just fine! If it makes more sense for you to freeze it again, that should be fine as long as the fruit doesn’t thaw and refreeze. Irene @ KAF

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  12. larryagray117468

    Tried cooking pie first, then freezing, once. All the sugar came to the top.
    Not good. Have taken pies frozen for up to 3 years, thawed, and cooked
    no problem. I use real lard in my crust, (old fashioned way, I learned
    from my mother), makes really flaky, tender crust. Every one who
    samples it, loves it.

    Thanks for sharing your success – and your tips! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  13. Katietoo

    PJ – I always freeze the filling and the crust separately. I freeze the filling in a disposable pie tin (because it is slightly smaller than my regular tins). Then I pop it out, seal it and freeze it. Then I freeze a round of crust. I can just defrost the crust and roll it out so it looks fresh, and then I bake the pie with the filling still frozen. It works best with a metal tin that conducts heat better, and when baked on the bottom shelf of the oven. It tastes completely fresh. As an alternative, I just make a fresh crust (or buy one if I’m pressed for time) and throw the frozen round right in it. No defrosting required.

    Interesting, Katie – I actually did freeze filling like that, but then chickened out when it came time to bake – figured the fruit would take too long to cook and soften. Glad to hear it works! PJH

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  14. claritzy

    for several years I have frozen fruit pies, mostly apple . I use the glass pie pans that were purchased by the dozen at a nearby outlet mall. I make the complete pie and put them in pizza boxes, so that I can stack them. Many of the pizza places will give them free if you are a regular customer, or sell them to you at a very reasonable price. I have never had a problem with the frozen pies, They last a good six to eight months.

    Great idea, using inexpensive glass pans and putting them in pizza boxes. I assume you have a chest freezer for storage; I got a second-hand one for $25, and oh, my, don’t I use it ALL the time! Thanks for your good ideas here – PJH

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  15. lneslo

    This post took me back to when my Grandmother was alive. She used to do this all the time, apple, peach, berry and stawberry rubbarb pies were always in her freezer. Now she did not defrost her pies, as she partially baked the bottom crust for about 10 minutes, cooled and then filled them. Her crusts were always flakey and nice. The only one who could beat her in the crust department was my Dad, but made and then baked his pies. When she did her pies this way, she would add a sprinkle of flour at the bottom to soak up the extra juice.

    Good idea about the extra flour in the bottom; I often sprinkle Panko bread crumbs in the bottom of juicy pies. Thanks for sharing! PJH

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    1. Mary Jacobs

      Your Grandmother had a great idea!
      The “test” pie I made pre-thanksgiving for my DH was kind of soggy on the bottom. The apples were juicier than usual. I decided to try blind baking the bottom crust of my apple and blueberry pies this year. Bottom was as crisp and flaky as the top.

    2. PJ Hamel , post author

      Mary, that’s a great idea – if I was more organized, I think I’d pre-bake ALL my bottom crusts. It just makes so much sense. Thanks for sharing – PJH

    3. Beverly Wood

      If you partially bake the bottom crust of an apple pie, how do you apply top crust? Although I haven’t tried it yet, I have considered using dried or, maybe, partially dried apples on the bottom of the apple pie filling to soak up the extra juices. It might work for any fruit pie.

    4. PJ Hamel , post author

      Beverly, you can completely bake the bottom crust before adding filling and top crust. The top crust won’t be incorporated into any crimping around the edge, that’s all. Just roll it round, trim it evenly to slightly larger than the diameter of the pan, then lay it atop the apples. Trim off any extra, so it comes right to the edge of the bottom crust. As it bakes, filling will bubble out around the edges. If you’re OK with that, then you might want to try this method to ensure a nice, crisp bottom crust. PJH

  16. www.everythingpies.com

    I like this topic. Not many talk about how to freeze homemade fruit pies.
    What happens if you fill your unbaked crust with pre-cook fruit filling and then freeze it and bake directly from freezer?

    Or try this one. Bake pie in oven directly from freezer for 15 minutes to set the crust then put in microwave for 15 mins. to thaw filling and then complete in oven again?

    Has anyone tried this or thought of it?
    Thanks,
    The cute Pie Guy
    Of the two options you mention, you’re much better off with the first; I wouldn’t microwave a pie, especially for 15 minutes. Even if the crust is mostly cooked, the microwave will boil what water is left in it, and the crust is going to be tough. You also want to make sure whatever pie plate you’re using can hold up to the thermal shock of going directly from the freezer to a hot oven. Susan @ KAF.

    Reply
  17. MAJIK0909

    I haven’t read all of the suggestions, so I don’t know if this one has already been made. After the pie is frozen, before long term storage, use one of the vacuum packaging tools to suck all the air out of the container. This will cut down significantly on freezer burn and ‘old’ taste and allow for a longer storage time. I’m not much of a pie baker, more cakes and sweet loaf breads, but I figure the same premise is true for any item you want to freeze. Protect it from the air and extreme cold of the freezer by removing the air and using the thickest barrier possible (i.e. heavy duty plastic designed for freezing).

    Great tip – I’ve always wanted one of those vacuum tools… this might be the excuse I need to get one! Thanks – PJH

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  18. suellen

    I just the Guaranteed Apple Pie for the first time to freeze. Before I spooned the apple mixture into the crust there was a lot of liquid (I’d say abot 1/4 cup) in the bottom of the bowl. I added it in and froze the pie. I hope I didn’t make a mistake adding in all that liquid. Hopefully the cornstarch and flour will absorb it.

    I had a lot of liquid too, Suellen – it’s the sugar drawing it out of the apples. You may experience some boil-over during baking, so be sure to put the pie on a baking sheet lined with parchment or foil. Could you have drained it off? Yeah, but you would have lost the opportunity for that good juice to bathe the apples as they bake. That’s my theory, anyway! :) PJH

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    1. Duane

      Ladies that make pies at my church. Use a salad spinner for the apples and then add the sugar and spices before freezing. See if this will help!

  19. jacquelinekraskouskas

    Just love King Arthur products.
    Thanks so much for the information on how to freeze pies. At this time of the year I make my grandmother’s/mom’s traditional French Canadian meat pie. I freeze anywhere from 12 to 16 pies but this year am low on pie plates so the advise given was much appreciated.

    Just made the Fruitcake Cookies and used the fruitcake fruit blend and the cookies are the greatest. Will surely add this recipe to my
    favorites.

    Reply
  20. bunnie1947

    OMG, you have just brought such memories of my mother back to me. I was reading this blog and tears came to may eyes. I can remember when I was much younger, during the fall when apples where the ripest with my mother, peeling applies for her apply pies. She would prepare several (and I mean several) pies and would freeze them. She had this huge chest freezer, just like your grama, that took up 1/3 of her kitchen. However, everything was put in this freezer from the apple pies to all kinds of vegetables. When spring and summer came around, we would have the best apple pies you have ever tasted. Thank you so much for the memories!

    Food, especially baking, seems to elicit so many memories, doesn’t it? Glad we gave you a “memorable moment” this morning – PJH

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  21. rdr

    I know you posted this nearly a year ago, but I was scouring your site for a new pie recipe to try out on my Thanksgiving guests and I just found this advice for freezing fruit pies. I’m DELIGHTED! I’ve got a big crowd coming this year, and I’ll definitely have two pumpkin pies (one for me, one for everyone else — hah!) but I wanted to do a couple of fruit pies as well. I already do a buttercup squash soup that I make ahead and freeze and just reheat on T-Day; I am SO EXCITED that now I know how to do the same thing with strawberry-rhubarb and apple pies! I’m thankful for KING ARTHUR and the KNIGHTS OF BAKING!! :-)
    Sounds like you’re on your way to a stress-free Thanksgiving! Happy Holidays! ~Mel

    Reply
  22. brenda-from-the-cape

    On the filling moisture control issue: I learned a little trick a couple of years ago. Once the apples have been peeled and cored, toss them in some sugar and place in a colander set over a large bowl and allow to drain for 1 and 1/2 hours. Then transfer the drained liquid to a sauce pan and reduce to 2 Tablespoons over medium heat. Once the pie has been put together, brush the top crust with the reduced liquid, but not around the edge of the pie. (Too sticky.) This makes the top crust nice and brown, and adds a little flavor/sweetness.
    What a great tip! Thanks for sharing! ~Mel @ KAF

    Reply
  23. hheventer

    Have done this for YEARS!!! Every year our golden delicious apple tree produces bushels of apples, which make the best pies! For about 2 weeks (give or take) we pretty much do nothing but make and freeze pies. We’ve made up to 30 in one year (could’ve made more, but we decided we were “done” even if the tree wasn’t!), and freeze them. The longest we’ve “lost” one in the freezer was 4 years, and though the crust was a tad bit freezer burned, overall it was great. (We wrap in heavy duty foil and several layers of plastic wrap.)

    These are great, because you can have hot apple (or any) pie even in January with no mess or more time involved. They also make great gifts. We count them as part of our food storage….

    Reply
  24. susanmca

    Funny coincidence–I just emailed your bakers on Wednesday and asked them if I could make the parts of my pie ahead of time and then assemble and bake them on Thanksgiving because I need to make them early this year. This would certainly be easier! (Though I always worry about enough room in the refrigerator at Thanksgiving, so thawing them might be a problem.) My question: I make apple pies with crumb topping (flour, sugar, butter, and cinnamon). Would that freeze all right too? Thanks for your help!

    Absolutely, Susan, the crumb topping would do just fine in the freezer. Anything with fat tends to freeze very well. Enjoy your Thanksgiving! PJH

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  25. tommix

    Should the pies be totally unfrozen or what condition they’re in after spending the night in the freezer is okay?

    Fully assembled frozen “raw” pies are never defrosted before baking. They go straight into a preheated oven. Frank @ KAF.

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  26. allisongenco

    Wait, I’m confused. I thought PJ’s original article said to fully assemble the raw, unbaked pie in its entirety, freeze it, then thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before baking it the next day. But Frank’s recent comment says raw, unbaked pies go “straight into a preheated oven.”

    Which is it? Straight to the oven from the freezer, or in the fridge overnight first?
    As with many things, there are different ways to get to the same end…and with freezing and baking pies, it’s no different. In this blog, PJ recommends allowing the pies to thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then bake as directed. However, you can also freeze pies, then bake them directly from the freezer without thawing. If you do this, you’ll want to add at least an additional 20 minutes to your baking time to account for it being frozen. Both methods will work. In the end, both ways will give you a delicious pie with less “last minute” work. ~Mel

    Reply
  27. mandycroushore

    I don’t understand your comment, Frank. It seems to contradict the recipe which says to defrost the frozen pie overnight in the fridge before baking. Am I reading it wrong? Thanks~
    As with many things, there are different ways to get to the same end…and with freezing and baking pies, it’s no different. In this blog, PJ recommends allowing the pies to thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then bake as directed. However, you can also freeze pies, then bake them directly from the freezer without thawing. If you do this, you’ll want to add at least an additional 20 minutes to your baking time to account for it being frozen. Both methods will work. In the end, both ways will give you a delicious pie with less “last minute” work. ~Mel

    Reply
  28. Jreid69

    Thank you, thank you, thank you – my family now has three pies to choose from in the freezer – apple, peach, and blueberry – I think I might be looking forward to Thanksgiving now. I love your products, your recipes and your blog!

    Thanks so much for your kind words, and Happy Thanksgiving! PJH

    Reply
  29. "Midnite Baker"

    After reading this post I had a “duh!” moment. I’m thinking I can make a better pie than Mrs. Smith! I made your “Guaranteed Pie” recipe. Thankfully, I had a 10″ pie pan. Well, my guys are asking for more. So, I’ll take that as a compliment. Thanks for the recipe and now I won’t waste any more fall apples. I’ll just make pies to freeze. Thanks, KAF bakers for the recipes and ideas. They are appreciated in this house. Happy Baking. And, yes, I bake at midnight.
    Bake any time of the day or night, use the flour with the knight! Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  30. caroline6224

    Have you ever tried putting a few dried apples in the bottom of the pie to absorb some of the excess juice that is released in the freezing-and-thawing process?

    No, Caroline, but that certainly sounds like a great idea! Thanks for the inspiration – PJH

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  31. lisakay1029

    Do you think there would be any issue with using frozen fruit (in my case, frozen pie cherries) Can I simply thaw cherries slightly, add the sugar, cornstarch, etc and proceed with the pie as PJH suggests?

    Don’t see why not, Lisa – go for it! PJH

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  32. metoo

    OK, the baked pie is not even the same pie you showed from the freezer?? The freezer pie had a crust that was edged with a fork and the baked pie had a fluted edge????

    We often bake the same recipe many times – both to perfect it, and to take photos at various stages. Since this was kind of a generic “how to freeze and bake a pie” blog, rather than truly specific to any particular recipe, I figured it was OK to simply use the best shot – even if it wasn’t the same pie… PJH

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  33. patti bradfield

    Wow PJ, fancy meeting you here to walk me through my amazing apple crop and what to do for pies. Thanks for this great step by step learning method.
    WA state is seeing the hottest and driest time in ions and my gravenstein tree is really abundant (if I can keep the squirrels away.
    Well, the ladder is put away and the sink is full of beautifully ripe apples, will now take your ideas and ‘go for it’.

    Thank you
    Patti

    Reply
  34. Chefsteph55564

    I always make my holiday pies in October from apple to pumpkin. I freeze the apple before baking as you showed and the pumpkin after they are baked. I put a little extra clear gel in the apple to prevent the juices from being too runny after being frozen. The pumpkin I cover the top with a piece of paper towel on top of the filling to absorb the frost/ice that sometimes collects. I defrost both in the frig. The apple gets baked as I would if baking it when first made. I have also made individual pies and done the same. I do thank you for the idea of parchment on the bottom so they an be removed to freeze. I will that this week..

    I am so glad our little tip could be of use, it sounds like you have a great method for freezing and baking your pies. Happy Baking!-JDB

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  35. G Roekle

    Oh, my gosh, what a great post! Thank you for the tips and I’ll give it a shot. Especially endearing that the idea came from your grandmother’s industriousness and creativity years ago. Love that. Great pictures as well; you can’t NOT want to eat pie after looking at those! Think that’s what made the final case for me. Every salivary gland I possess woke up and said, “whoah, check this out guys.” ;)

    Just a great article with some good follow-up posts to get us all baking, eating, and sharing; pies!

    Thanks so much – ’tis indeed the season for pies, both fresh – and frozen. :) PJH

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  36. SaintJude6

    Bless you for this information. I had an apple pie completely assembled last week. I turned on the oven, waited for it to preheat, and waited, and waited, and waited… So first I cried, because my family had really been looking forward to my first apple pie of the year. (The temps here in Texas are finally out of the nineties.) Then I remembered seeing something on your website once about freezing a whole pie. I popped it in the freezer and called for an appliance repair man. Had to wait several days for the replacement part to come in. Today the repair man made his second visit, put in my new baking element, and I am all set to go. Many thanks.

    Reply
  37. "mjwilken@juno.com"

    I have just loved this entire thread of useful information! I started out only wanting information about freezing and baking frozen pies, and ended up enthralled by the dialogue.
    Now that I feel expert in dealing with frozen pie, do any of you wise people have clever advice about ways of stacking pies in the freezer so they don’t get smashed?
    You would need to freeze each pie first before stacking them. ~Amy

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    1. Caroline

      Just made 50 pies before Canadian Thanksgiving this month. I had the kids help peel and slice apples. We placed them in a large bowl with water a bit of salt and lemon juice to prevent browning. Then cooked up apple pie filling and froze in plastic wrap lined foil pie pans. Then on another day I made enough dough for 50 bottom crusts and formed them in my Birds Hill manual pie machine – took about one hour. Froze those too. Few days later I made 50 top crusts with my manual pie machine and stacked between dry waxed pizza sheets and froze. Then when I had some time I took out 10 filling, 10 tops and 10 bottoms and assembled the pies. The pastry thawed enough to crimp and flute the edges. The. Back into the freezer. Did this until they were all done. Then bagged frozen pies in large freezer zip lock bags and labelled with baking instructions. We sold them to raise funds for a school trip for our kids. It was a lot of fun!

    2. PJ Hamel , post author

      Holy mackerel, Caroline, I’m exhausted just reading this! Congratulations on a job very well done – I’m glad you could support a good cause, and enjoy yourself a in the process. Cheers – PJH

  38. Brenda

    Yeah, PJ, you do definitely want a vacuum sealer if you don’t have one yet! Love my Food Saver and the many different types of bags. I buy the rolls–8″”, 11″, portion pouches (11″ sealed & perforated down the middle–my most-used size), and a new pleated one which I used to seal a 5# bag of frozen red hot dogs shipped to my cousin in TX as extra insurance against leaks of either hot dogs or cooler packs. Recently bought the 2 sizes of canning jar sealers and love them already! Use that for packaging kale chips & jerky for Christmas gifts, keeping brown sugar moist…The bags even work well for rolls–freeze, vacuum seal, & poke a hole in the bag as soon as you take it out of the freezer. Not sure if the hole’s necessary, but figured the pressure in the bag would squish baked goods as they thawed.

    Reply
  39. "Mollys Mom"

    Want to make a cherry pie with a lattice top crust for Thanksgiving and it would be very helpful if I could do that this week and freeze it. Is this method possible with a lattice top fruit pie?
    If you bake the pie first, allow it to cool completely, and then wrap it well in plastic wrap, finishing with a good wrap of foil, you can freeze the pie. To thaw for Thanksgiving, I would let it thaw overnight in the fridge and to serve warm, bake at 300F for 15-20 minutes. Good luck! ~Kim

    Reply
  40. "Mollys Mom"

    So, can’t freeze it before baking? If I cook it first, do you think freezing it will affect the taste or the texture?

    Yes, this blog post outlines how to freeze a fruit pie before baking. You can also freeze it after it’s baked. If you know you’re going to do that, I’d bake it slightly less before cooling and freezing. Then, once it’s thawed, put it back in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes or so, to “freshen” and heat it thoroughly. Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  41. dianehagopian

    So enjoyed all the comments and suggestions. I have frozen pies without baking for many many years and after freezing I wrap in plastic then vacuum seal. This is the best investment anyone can make – for everything they put in the freezer. I vacuum seal everything from soups, sauces, pastries, paklava, meat, stews, meatloaf – it is the only way to ensure no freezer burn with no compromise to taste. Looking forward to following more of your wonderful suggestions and ideas.
    Nana of 4
    It is always best to listen to Nana, right? :) Thanks for sharing. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  42. Baker's Wife

    Just reading up to see how to cook frozen apple pie and found your information to be extremely helpful! I am not the pie baker, my husband is and every pie MUST be perfect! I noticed that you suggested cooking a cherry pie with lattice top first, then freezing it. Is this due to the fruit used or the lattice design? Can a lattice top apple pie be frozen unbaked using the methods you have described?- Dawn Dawn–you can certainly freeze an unbaked lattice top pie. I think the suggestion was to a question someone asked about freezing a baked pie. I recommend freezing the unbaked pie first so that the crust stays as tender as possible. Re-baking a baked pie could lead to over-cooked pastry crust! -Kim@KAF

    Reply
  43. scooterpie

    I’m trying to plan for Thanksgiving and I’ve never made a pie in advance before. What if you want to make a pie just a day or two ahead of when you want to serve it fresh baked? Is it better to make it on Monday and freeze, or make it on Wednesday and just put it in the refrigerator? With any fruit pie, I recommend freezing it as soon as you assemble it–this prevents the fruit from leaching out liquid. With a pumpkin pie or a custard pie, you would do best to bake it off once put together. Then let it cool completely, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until you want to serve it. Warm in the oven at 350F for about 10 minutes if you want it served warm, otherwise it should be fine kept cool a day or two before Thanksgiving. Happy Baking! Kim@KAF

    Reply
  44. gardenergirl

    I have frozen a two crust cherry pie in a glass pie plate, and a streusel top apple pie in a pyrex pie plate. Can I bake them directly from frozen? I didn’t think to put them in tin. Thanks!

    I wouldn’t risk it. Pyrex pie plates are supposed to be “shock-proof,” but why take the chance? Thaw and warm to room temperature first. Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  45. pjk7

    I have frozen a couple of apple pie fillings ahead in storage bags, molded to the shape of my pie pan, but I did not make or freeze any crusts. Can I make a fresh pie crust, then drop the unthawed frozen filling in the unbaked crust and bake immediately? Or should I thaw the filling before putting it in a fresh crust and baking. I have read the comments that say you can bake direct from freezer to oven but they all seem to be talking about a whole assembled pie. Any difference? (I have never submitted a question before in a discussion like this so this will be really neat if it works! Thank you.)

    If it were me, I’d thaw first, drain off excess liquid, boil it down, and add back the syrupy remains – YUM. You could certainly do as you say, though, so long as you bake it for probably a couple of hours. Don’t worry, the crust won’t burn if you tent it with foil after the first 45 minutes or so… PJH

    Reply
  46. "Beth Colbert"

    I got on here to see if going from freezer to oven with an unbaked pie would crack my pan, and came across all the comments. I tend to cook a lot of pies and even pot pies when the mood takes me (or when I need to get use specific ingredients before they go bad). A friend of mine’s mother mentioned that she puts readymade pies in her freezer until she is ready for them. So I already have a pie in there and came across it yesterday and wondered about baking it. I did not get through all the post/comments, so I don’t know if anyone already addressed this comment. Sullen in December of 2010 made a comment about a lot of the liquid left in the pan that she did not drain off and you replied that it would let the apple marinate and make sure to have a cooking sheet under it. The cooking sheet has always been a definite in anything I ever bake, because cleaning the oven is a pain. I keep an extra broiler pan (from my last oven that died) in the bottom of my oven in case there is anything that I want cooked from the bottom and it overflows. But that is not the comment I was going to make. :) I was going to say .. You probably want to keep the liquid as much as possible, because as you said, it is the sugar pulling the liquid out of the apples .. but what I noticed years ago is when I took out a lot of the liquid – the flavor of the apples went with it, so now I always try and keep as much of the liquid as I can, usually try and thicken it up so it does not overflow, but I keep the liquid now from all fruit cooking and freeze it and use it for other projects when I need a sweet liquid. – I also keep the juices from canned fruit and use it in recipes instead of adding water. (If it is heavy syrup I dilute it first). But even if you already have the flour and spices in the liquid – I use that in my hot apple cider each year that I make in my crock pot that makes my whole house smell like apple pie. :) — who needs Plug In air freshners. :)
    Thanks so much for sharing Beth. I can just smell the pie now, wish I had a nice big piece! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  47. chris

    Thanks for the thawing tip. I have been making and freezing pies for awhile and just baking them frozen. Will now try your way. :-)

    Reply
  48. elcshine

    This July morning I picked wild blackberries and also some blueberries. I’m going to make a “Black and Blue” pie using your freezing method. Can’t wait until Thanksgiving to savor our sweet Carolina summer!

    Sounds like the makings of a great pie. Please let us know how it turns out!-Jon

    Reply
  49. Eileen

    Last night I finally finished the making of 10 fruit pies (two pies a night) from scratch and froze them for my son’s graduation party on Saturday. Now the baking starts tomorrow. A little each day makes it easier! I wouldn’t of sanely been able to do this for the party without the great tip and instruction of KAF! Thank you!

    My goodness! What an undertaking–10 pies is no small feat! Congratulations on the pies and your son’s achievement! Happy Baking, Kim@KAF

    Reply
  50. Trish

    Thanks for the tips, but I need some help…
    I am baking already frozen fruit pies (fruit filling has not been cooked first), for a wedding–never have done this before– and I am using rented space large commercial convection ovens to bake them. I had a trial run and the 2 pies I baked were perfectly golden brown, but the filling did not thicken–not enough baking time??? and the bottom crust was soggy. How does one accommodate for the confection oven baking time and temp. ??? I baked them at 375 for 1 hour. Thank you for your help–needed very soon!!!

    Trish, hard to say, since there’s no telling how much thickener or what kind is in the filling. if I were you, I’d tent with aluminum foil to avoid over-browning, and bake a lot longer – like at least 2 hours, maybe longer. Do a trial run with 1 pie first, see what happens. Also – when you say the filling didn’t thicken – did you let it sit for at least 6 to 8 hours, preferably overnight, before making that assessment? It will continue to thicken as it sits. For more info, try calling our baker’s hotline: 855-371-2253. Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  51. Diane

    Trish,
    I do the assemble/freeze/bake method all the time. It is wonderful. Lots of work at first, but worth the effort as you only make one mess. Always put approx 2-3 Tbsp flour (or small tapioca) in with the apples, sugar, spices, lemon juice and butter. I do not use glass or foil pans. Go to the 2nd hand store and look for the tin pie pans with a ‘lip’ on the edge which has an indentation that will support some of the juice that will run out when baking. Seal it well with plastic wrap, then foil, then I put it in Tupperware for further protection. Mark the date and the pie name. You can thaw in fridge overnight before baking or simply lower the rack in your oven and bake for 45 minutes @ 425 degrees. Then turn oven down to 400 degrees and finish baking. I always cover crust edges with foil or covers made specifically for that during the entire baking time. Can also lay a flat piece of foil over the top of the pie if the crust seems to brown too much. Watch for the pie to ‘bubble’ and once it has started bubbling bake approx 10 minutes more. Don’t want it to be mushy, just baked through. I have recently found that instead of using shortening for your crust use coconut oil. It is wonderful. Here’s my recipe which makes 5 double crust pies:

    Fabulous Pie Crust Makes 5 double crust pies!

    5 ¼ cups Gold Medal Flour 3/4 cups virgin coconut oil (solid form)
    1 Tbsp salt 1 tsp vanilla
    1 ¾ cups butter, cold but in pieces 1 cup ice water

    In large bowl sift flour. Stir in salt. Add cold butter cut in 28 pieces and coconut oil. With pastry blender cut into flour mixture until about half way mixed. Add vanilla to ice water. Slowly pour half of water mixture into flour mixture and blend with pastry cutter for a few minutes. Add 1/2 of remaining water, blending until smooth. You may not need all of the remaining water, so continue working with pastry cutter and if dough is smooth and not dry then you are done. If dough is somewhat sticky add a little more flour. Mixing thoroughly with pastry cutter is key. Make sure it is smooth. Dots of butter here and there are good. Divide dough into 10 equal parts. I prefer to make thick coin shapes and leave them covered in a bowl so they don’t dry out.Roll out one section at a time between pieces of parchment paper with sifted flour on each side of dough. With large pastry brush dust off all excess flour from parchment paper/dough. Pick up bottom layer of parchment paper, turn quickly upside down and place over top pie pan. Slowly peel back parchment paper taking care to watch crust so it doesn’t split. Refrigerate assembled pie for 30 minutes before baking (this keeps crust from shrinking while baking), or seal with plastic wrap then foil then Tupperware before freezing. Label w/date.

    Diane, have you tried this crust with King Arthur Flour? Sure makes a tasty pie… PJH

    Reply
    1. Carl

      Agreed, PJH! I was about to make the same recommendation. I never buy those ‘other’ brands anymore. KAF is my go-to for everything now. A friend who is also a baker stopped by the other day and commented on all of the KAF I have in my baking supplies. I offered to let her try some, so maybe she’ll convert as well. So glad I can now buy it locally, too. Saves me tons on shipping.

  52. Ethel Monk

    A couple of suggestions for freezing and baking frozen pies. Brush the bottom crust with egg whites, this keeps the bottom crust from getting soggy. Fill your pie and freeze.
    I do not thaw the pie, preheat your oven and put the pie in for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes, cut the top of the crust to vent and continue baking.
    This was my mothers method. I have done this for 57 years and it works for me.

    Reply
  53. Joanne

    Love all the great and useful comments. I am definately going to try them. For my pie crust I tried something different yesterday and it worked. A friend of mine gave me her fantastic recipe for butter tarts and the pastry, so I made the pastry a second time because the first time I couldn’t pass up making her butter tarts lol So the second batch of dough I used for a few pies and my friends and family couldn’t stop saying how great my crust was, and the pie of course.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Joanne, would love to know your friend’s crust recipe – I assume it’s all butter? Would you mind sharing it? I’m sure there are many readers out there (me included!) who are always on the lookout for a wonderful pie crust recipe. :) PJH

  54. Nicole Stocks

    I had a problem with the pie freezing fully enough. After an over night in the freezer the crust was still pliable which made trying to turn it out impossible. Has anyone else had this problem or an explanation for it? I used a ceramic pie dish so maybe this was the problem. Other than that i followed these directions exactly.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Nicole, this might have happened if you used a recipe that had a lot of fat and not much water; fat doesn’t freeze as solidly as water. Could be your freezer’s not at 0°F and, as you said, it might be the ceramic pan – ceramic tends to insulate. For more possibilities, call our bakers’ hotline, 855-371-BAKE (2253) _ I
      m sure they can help you get to the bottom of this! PJH

  55. Karin

    My tried and true apple pie recipe utilizes a pie bird (old school I know–but it always turns out perfect so I’m scared to NOT use it). Do you think I can just freeze the whole thing, bird and all? Or should I attempt it without the bird and just vent the crust like normal people probably do? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hmm, not sure Karin! It is possible that the temperature change could cause it to shatter. Maybe err on the side of caution and use venting slits? Jon@KAF

    2. Lily

      Just butter some crushed foil or anything hard and freezable the size of your bird and put in pie before freezing. Remove and replace with bird prior to or when temperature is right while baking.

  56. Steven

    I didn’t read all of the questions/suggestions, but I’m wondering: will this method also work for apple pies that have a streusel-type topping, as opposed to a top crust? Streusel is my preferred topping. Hope you’ll tell me it works!
    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Your streusel-topped pie should freeze well. Best of luck with your holiday pre-baking.~Jaydl@KAF

  57. Joan DelPozzo

    Great looking pie and method.. I’d like to share what I do. I have accumulated a lot of Pyrex pie plates and when I do up crusts I make half a dozen at a time, just the shells. I put them in an oversized zip-loc bag and stack them then zip after air is removed. They take up very little space that way. On Thanksgiving I’m all set for my pumpkin, pecan, chocolate cream, and apple with streusel topping. I do make a two crusted blueberry too, but rarely freeze that. When strawberries and/or rhubarb come in in the summer, I just pull a shell out and do my thing. Time to get that chore and the cranberry sauce done before the kids arrive.

    Reply
  58. Terry Golson

    I made over 20 pies for Thanksgiving (usually about 10 types of pie, up to 4 different crusts) and so I make pies and pie crusts ahead of time. I don’t like to freeze the mound of pie curst, as by the time it thaws enough to roll, the edges get gummy. So, I roll out my crusts, cut into circles using an extra large tart pan, and freeze flat, with parchment in between each one. These thaw quickly. You can see what I do here: http://hencam.com/faq/2013/10/perfect-pie-crust-to-use-or-freeze/ I also freeze whole, unbaked fruit pies. I do bake off from frozen, no problem.

    Reply
  59. Cheryl

    My mom started cooking her apple pie filling before she placed it into the pie dough to bake. I came up with the idea – when the apples are in season and cheaper we would cook the filling and just freeze that in bags and it works great. When we want apple pie, which is a family favorite, I’d make the dough and place the thawed filling inside and bake as normal. This work fantastically for several reasons – the top crust stayed nice and pretty and didn’t have the pie filling dripping out while cooking.

    I am one of the odd balls – I love making pie dough and with the extra we make cinnamon sticks. The other odd thing is that my Mom’s apple pie is made with Red Delicious apples – it’s awesome.

    Reply
  60. Lee Anne

    I make and freeze apple pies, I brush the empty bottom crust with soft butter. I bake them at 425 and they come out fine. Not soggy or dry.

    Reply
  61. Barbara

    I make individual pies for the freezer, just got done a batch of chicken pot pies and steak and kidney pies. I found a place to get the deep dish foil pie pans in 5″ size, they take 1 1/2 cups of filling which is simular to a 7″ pie or half of a 9″ pie. This summer was a banner berry year, so now I have raspberry, blackberry, blueberry and elderberry pies along with apple, too bad the peaches didn’t do as well! So far I have been cooking them straight from the freezer, but these are small pies so they cook quicker then a larger one without the drying out.. I will try taking them out ahead of time if I remember. I have long made pie crusts and froze them for the custard and cream pies, it is not bad to make a couple of extra large pie crusts and stick them in the freezer, makes it easy to make a pie quickly, but they do take up a lot of freezer space so I only keep a couple at a time.

    Reply
  62. Susan

    When a devastating tornado came through Paris, TX, in 1982, a wonderful Mennonite group came in to help with cleanup. The wives cooked (in the school cafeteria; it was spring break) for everyone working, and made dozens of pies each day. Here is their recipe for 18 9″ pie crusts (9 double crust pies), which I use every time I make pies in quantity for the freezer:
    5 lb all-purpose flour (King Arthur, of course!)
    3 lb can of Crisco
    2 Tbsp. salt
    1 cup white Karo syrup
    2 cups cold water
    Cut the shortening into the flour and salt using your mixer (I actually use about one cup less shortening than the full 3 lb. can, but using it all makes a very tender crust). Pour the syrup and water over all. Toss together until the crust begins to cohere and make a ball. If you have kitchen scales, weigh out 240 grams (a smidgen more than 1/2 lb) of dough for each crust. Depending on my freezer space, I either roll these out and cut big flat circles, or shape in 1″ thick rounds and separate with waxed paper in a bread sack. (That is after I fill all the pie plates I own with fruit pie filling :) ). Tupperware used to make a 12″ diameter pie saver that would hold 6-8 rolled crusts so that they were easier to store in the freezer.

    Reply
  63. Sara

    So much information !! I wanted to try freezing pies but never really felt I had enough of information to do it – well I do now ! Thanks !!

    Reply
  64. Jennifer

    You may want to make a note about why your pies are not the same pie for all the stage pictures. The crust edge is distinctly different. While I will still try your method- the difference gave me the ‘what are they trying to pull’ feeling. Just a thought.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Yes keen reader, the pie edges are fluted differently. Please trust that the pies pictured in this blog were indeed made using the same freeze method. Thanks for letting us know so we could take this opportunity to reassure other readers. Happy Baking – Irene@KAF

  65. Ted

    The beginning of this post mentioned not to use this method for custard type pies. My favorite rhubarb pie uses a custard type filling along with the rhubarb. What happens when you do freeze such a filling? We have tried to use frozen rhubarb in pies before but never liked the outcome: tough rhubarb, much less flavor, etc. Many attempts have never satisfied, but we have never tried the frozen unbanked pie approach. Is the only satisfactory filling plain rhubarb with sugar and thickener?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Unfortunately, custard based fillings don’t freeze well. They usually tend to separate and break when they are thawed back out. However, you could freeze a rhubarb filling pie and then just top it with a custard once it is baked off as an alternative. Generally the rhubarb filling you described would be the best base (rhubarb, sugar, and thickener), but you can always add flavorings or other fruits into the mix to change it up a bit. You could give some of these fillings a try if you like:

      Strawberry-Rhubarb: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/strawberry-rhubarb-pie-recipe
      Apple-Rhubarb: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/rhubarb-apple-crisp-recipe

      Happy Baking! Jocelyn@KAF

  66. Brenda

    Our church needs to make a lot of pies for an event. We did our apple pies this method. Wondering if it will work with a pre-made filling such as cherry or blueberry as well?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      One month is a good rule of thumb, although the blog suggests up to 7 weeks is fine. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

  67. Barbara Wildes

    I use the same freezing method except when ready to cook I microwave for twenty (20) minutes then pop into a 400 degree oven to brown the crust.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Good idea, Barbara – this shortens your oven time considerably, doesn’t it? Thanks for sharing – PJH

  68. Lisa

    I’m ready to freeze individual pies (Apple, cherry, blueberry). After reading just about every comment I’m going to brush bottom crust with egg white and half bake it, let cool, then fill, apply top crust and freeze. I have a food saver so that will work great. My question is this, once I’m ready to bake my mini pie straight from the freezer, at what temp and for how long? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Lisa- It sounds like you have really done your homework and have a great system worked out! When you do bake them off, you can use the same temperature you would have if you just made the pies fresh, but you will just need to watch the pies to know when they are done (with nice crust browning and bubbly filling) which will most likely be an extra 5-10 minutes from what was called for in the original recipe. Happy Baking! Jocelyn@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Kyle, a standard, uncooked fruit filling works beautifully with PJ’s make-ahead method.~Jaydl@KAF

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