Every time I make a pie, it feels like both a privilege and an undertaking. I love baking pie, but it takes a good chunk of time.
That’s why freezing an unbaked pie to bake when you need it can be such a boon. You break the steps up into two distinct and manageable chunks, and have a glorious, freshly baked dessert to show for it.
I’ve frozen unbaked pies before, but hadn’t in a while, so I made, froze, and baked our Old Fashioned Peach Pie as a refresher. I’d never have guessed it was frozen if I didn’t know myself. I felt like I’d outwitted someone! Here’s what you need to know to try it yourself.
What Kinds of Pies Can You Freeze?
When it comes to freezing unbaked pies, stick with fruit pies. Nearly all straight-up fruit pies, such as cherry, blackberry, and apple, hold up great in the freezer. Some custard fruit pies, like our Rhubarb Custard Pie, also freeze well. It doesn’t matter if they have a lattice top, a crumb topping, a double crust, or no top crust at all: freeze away!
Pies you should not freeze: Do not freeze fruit pies with sour cream (like Sour Cream Apple Pie), as sour cream can curdle in the freezer. Meringue pies and cream pies also don’t freeze well, baked or unbaked. Same goes for most custard pies, with the exception of baked pecan and pumpkin pies, which freeze wonderfully! They’re also a lot easier to freeze after baking.
How long frozen pies last in the freezer: You can freeze unbaked pies up to two months. After that, you’re flirting with freezer burn. Pies with a top crust may be a little more protected than pies with their fruity insides on display. To be honest, I’ve never had a pie in the freezer longer than two months, so I can’t tell you for sure.
How to Freeze an Unbaked Pie
NOTE: Use a ceramic or metal pie plate. Glass ones, such as Pyrex, are brittle and may shatter because of the drastic temperature change from the freezer to hot oven.
- Make the pie: Assemble the pie exactly as you would as if you were going to bake it that day. You can even glaze the pie with an egg wash.
- Freeze the pie uncovered for 2 hours: Clear out a level space in the freezer, then freeze the pie, uncovered, for 2 hours, or until it’s mostly frozen. This way you won’t mar the top of the pie when you wrap it, and it keeps the wrapping from sticking to the pie itself.
- Wrap the pie, then freeze again: Once the pie is set, triple wrap it in foil. Label and date the pie. Write the baking temp and time on the foil, too, so it’s handy when you’re ready to bake the pie.
How to Bake a Frozen Pie
No thawing needed! Pop that pie right from the freezer into your hot oven.
- Preheat the oven. You can stick with the temperature given in the recipe, though some sources say to bump it up to 425°F. Position a rack in the lower third. If you have a baking stone, use it.
- Unwrap the pie: When the oven is ready, unwrap the pie, keeping the foil intact. Use the foil to line a rimmed baking sheet and set the pie on it to catch the juices that will bubble over.
- Bake: Bake the pie as long as it takes for the filling to bubble vigorously. This will be longer than the baking time for an unfrozen pie, of course, but exactly how many minutes longer depends on how much filling is in the pie, the type of pie plate you’re using, and the personality quirks of your oven. Set a timer for the recipe’s standard baking time so you can check on the pie’s progress, but expect to bake it anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes longer.
A lot of sources say to add 10 to 20 minutes to the baking time, but when I froze and baked our peach pie recipe, it took 30 minutes on top of the suggested baking time of 1 hour for an unbaked pie, so be patient. You pie may need even more extra time than mine did.
Remember, fruit pies must bubble like lava for their filling to properly thicken. If the top of the pie starts to brown before the rest of the pie is finished baking, tent the top of the pie loosely with foil for the remainder of the baking time.
More Tips for Fruit Pies!
Add a few teaspoons of acid, such as lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, to peach, apple, and pear pies to prevent the uncooked fruit from browning in the freezer. (Recipes for these kinds of pies usually call for lemon juice in the first place, fortunately.)
If you have a baking stone, use it. Put pie and foil-lined baking sheet on the stone, which will hold more heat and give your frozen pie a boost, helping to prevent a soggy bottom crust.