Tips for freezing homemade pies

Freezing homemade pies is easy and saves time later when you need a delectable dessert.

Unbaked pies | Photo by Jeannie Nichols

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:

  1. Prepare the filling as usual but add ½ tablespoon of cornstarch or 1-2 tablespoons of flour for each pie.
  2. Line the pie pan with foil with the foil reaching out over the pan and pour the filling into the pan.
  3. Place the pie pan of filling into the freezer until it is firm.
  4. Lift the filling out of the pan and seal it in foil or some other airtight wrap.
  5. Label and freeze to be used in a pie within 4 months.

When making fruit pies to freeze later:

  1. Add a ½ extra tablespoon of cornstarch or 1-2 tablespoons of flour to the filling.
  2. Put a small amount of cornstarch or flour in the bottom of the pie shell before adding the filling.
  3. 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:

  1. Bake the pie frozen – do not thaw.
  2. Place a cookie sheet in your oven and preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 

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