How to Make and Store All Your Thanksgiving Pies Ahead of Time

updated Oct 26, 2023
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Making your Thanksgiving pies ahead of time can be a lifesaver when it’s crunch time in the moments leading up to the holiday dinner, but there’s a right and a wrong way to do it. Whether you’re making an apple pie or pumpkin pie, there’s a few things you can do to ensure they’re as delicious as possible on Thanksgiving day. Here’s exactly what you need to know to prep and store your holidays pie in advance.

Fruit-Based Pies

Fruit pies, like apple or pear, can be made ahead and stored a few different ways. You can either freeze them unbaked or baked for up to three months. Here are the details:

How to Freeze Fruit-Based Pies Months Ahead

  1. Freeze the pie in a metal or ceramic pie dish: Both can go straight from the freezer to the oven if needed. Avoid glass or Pyrex dishes, as they can be prone to shattering from the temperature difference of reheating.
  2. Wrap the pie tightly: Be sure to wrap the pie in a few layers of plastic wrap and then place it either in a large resealable bag or wrap it in aluminum foil to be absolutely certain it won’t get a touch of freezer burn.

How to Bake a Fruit Pie After Freezing

  • Unbaked pies: To bake an unbaked fruit pie, remove all wrappings and bake at whatever temperature the recipe calls for. You’ll need to tack on an extra 20 to 45 minutes to the baking time since it’s frozen.
  • Already-baked pies: If already baked, you can defrost it on the counter for an hour or two or in the refrigerator overnight, and then rewarm it in the oven at 375°F for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

How to Make a Fruit Pie a Few Days in Advance

Want to avoid the freezer all together? You can bake a fruit-based pie a few days in advance as long as it’s stored properly.

  1. Loosely cover: After baking and cooling your pie, loosely cover it with aluminum foil.
  2. Store: store for at room temperature for up to two days, or up to seven days in the fridge according to USDA guidelines.
  3. Bake: Bake pie 10 to 15 minutes in a 375°F oven before serving to help re-crisp the crust and warm up the fruit.
Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Stylist: Jesse Szewczyk

Custard or Nut-Based Pies

The make-ahead rule for freezing custard or nut-based pies are a bit more strict. This includes pies like pumpkin, sweet potato, and pecan. Avoid freezing custard or nut-based pies unbaked because the uncooked egg filling can curdle when it’s thawed. These pies freeze successfully after they’ve been baked — but for no more than one month.

How to Freeze Custard and Nut-Based Pies a Month Ahead

  1. Wrap in plastic: Wrap the baked, cooled pie tightly in a few layers of plastic wrap and then place in a large resealable bag or wrap it in aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn.
  2. Freeze: Place the pie on a flat surface in the freezer.
  3. Thaw the pie: Let the pie thaw in the fridge for at least 12 hours or overnight. Thawing it at room temperature can cause the filling to exude liquid and make for soggy crust.

How to Make a Custard Pie a Few Days in Advance

You can skip the freezer and bake your custard pie a couple of days in advance. Loosely covered with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, you can store your pie in the fridge for up to four days.

According to, homemade pies such as pumpkin or pecan can be safely stored in the refrigerator for three to four days.

Thanksgiving Pies to Make Ahead Now