Here’s How to Store the Pie You Make Ahead of Time

(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. 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 stored a few different ways. You can either freeze it unbaked or baked for up to three months. Here are the details:

Freezing Fruit-Based Pies Months Ahead

  • Pie plates: Freeze the pie in a metal or ceramic pie dish, as 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.
  • Wrapping: Be sure to wrap the pie tightly 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.

Baking the Fruit Pie

  • 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.

Making a Fruit Pie a Few Days in Advance

If you’d rather avoid the freezer all together and simply bake a fruit-based pie a few days in advance, it can keep, loosely covered, for up to two days at room temperature, or up to four days in the fridge. Again, 10 to 15 minutes in a 375°F oven before serving will help re-crisp the crust and warm up the fruit.

How to Make a Classic Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Custard or Nut-Based Pies

The make-ahead rule for custard or nut-based pies are a bit more strict. This includes pies like pumpkin, sweet potato, and pecan. You don’t want to freeze these 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.

Freezing Custard and Nut-Based Pies a Month Ahead

The wrapping: Wrap the baked, cooled pies tightly in a few layers of plastic wrap and then place the pies in a large resealable bag or wrap it in aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Place the pie on a flat surface in the freezer.

Thawing 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.

Making a Custard Pie a Few Days in Advance

You can skip the freezer and bake your pumpkin or pecan pie a couple of days in advance; it will keep well, loosely covered, in the fridge for up to two days.

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