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.