These detailed instructions for how to freeze pies (both unbaked and baked) and pie crust dough will save you SO much stress this holiday season! Prep and freeze your pies in advance to free up your oven for other holiday dishes and to free up some of your time to actually relax and enjoy the holiday with loved ones!
I've said it before and I'll say it again: the freezer is your friend, and learning to properly freeze baked goods is a total game changer when it comes to prepping for holiday baking!
Thanksgiving dinner (and dessert!) is one of the best meals of the year, but it's also one of the most stressful meals of the year if you're on the hook to host (or even if you volunteered to bring something to the feast). Doing as much of the baking prep in advance as possible helps to free up time on Thanksgiving day so that you can actually enjoy the holiday. And when we're talking about doing baking prep work in advance, that's when the freezer comes in handy!
When done correctly, you can prep and freeze pies (and pie crust dough!) ahead of time without your guests ever knowing your secret! Keep reading for all of my tips for how to freeze pies and pie crust dough.
Before we begin, here's what you'll need...
- Freezer space (and a clean-smelling freezer). You'll obviously need to clear some space in your freezer to fit the pie or pie crust dough, but you'll also want to make sure that there aren't lingering odors in your freezer that could be absorbed by your pie. Remove any pungent foods (like onion) and wipe down the interior of the freezer if necessary to remove any smells before freezing your pie.
- Plastic wrap
- Freezer-safe containers or plastic bags (for freezing pie crust dough)
- Aluminum foil (for freezing pies)
- Marker (for labeling the items you'll be freezing)
How to Freeze Pie Crust Dough
- Prepare the pie crust dough and let it chill in the refrigerator according to the recipe. Once the dough has chilled, remove it from the fridge.
- Ensure the dough is wrapped tightly with plastic wrap. Place the tightly wrapped dough into a freezer safe container or plastic bag and label it with today's date.
- Store the pie crust dough in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- The night before you plan to bake your pie, transfer the dough to the fridge to thaw. Allow the dough to thaw overnight before rolling it out.
Note: Pie crust dough can be stored in the fridge (wrapped tightly in plastic wrap) for up to 3 days before rolling and baking, so you may not even need to freeze your pie crust dough if you wanted to make it just a few days in advance.
Oh, and be sure to check out my recipe and tips for perfect pie crust!
How to Freeze Unbaked Pies
Two important notes before you begin:
- First, consider the type of pie you're making before deciding to freeze an unbaked pie. Fruit pies (like apple pie) are the best candidates for freezing before baking. For custard pies (like pumpkin pie) you're better off baking the pie before freezing it (keep scrolling to see how to do this!).
- Choose the right pie plate. If you're going to thaw the unbaked pie before baking it, any freezer-safe pie plate will do (so long as you won't need it for other baking projects while the pie is in the freezer). If you want to take your pie straight from the freezer to the oven, I recommend a disposable aluminum pie plate. Do NOT put a frozen glass pie plate in the oven; it could explode!
Ok, on to the instructions for how to freeze unbaked pies:
- To freeze an unbaked pie, fully assemble the pie according to the recipe's instructions.
- Place the pie, unwrapped, in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours to set the filling and firm up the crust (so that you don't spill the pie's filling or squish the beautiful crust when you wrap the pie).
- Remove the pie from the freezer and wrap the entire pie and pie plate with plastic wrap so that it's completely covered. I recommend using three layers of wrap at alternating angles to ensure that it's well sealed.
- Wrap the entire pie again in aluminum foil and label it with the type of pie, today's date, and the recipe's baking instructions (temperature and duration).
- Place the pie on a level surface in the freezer and freeze for up to 1 month.
When you're ready to bake your pie, you have two options:
- Option 1: The night before you want to bake your pie, take the pie out of the freezer, remove the wrapping and replace with fresh plastic wrap, and place the pie in the refrigerator. Allow the pie to thaw overnight in the fridge, then let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes just before baking. Finally, bake the pie according to the recipe's instructions.
- Option 2: Take the pie directly from the freezer to the preheated oven (first removing the wrapping, of course). Remember to be careful about which pie plate you'll be using if you plan to do this. You'll need to bake the still-frozen pie longer than the recipe states (typically about 20-40 minutes extra, and this will vary based on the recipe).
How to Freeze Baked Pies
Note: This method works well for fresh fruit pies (like apple pie), custard pies (like pumpkin pie), and pecan pie. Do not freeze pies with whipped or meringue toppings; instead make the topping fresh and add it to the pie the same day you'll serve it.
- Bake the pie according to the recipe's instructions, then let the pie cool completely on a wire rack. This may take a few hours. If you're unsure if the pie has cooled completely, err on the side of caution and give it a little bit more time. It's critical that the pie be completely cooled before it goes in the freezer.
- Once the pie has cooled, wrap the entire pie and pie plate with plastic wrap so that it's completely covered. I recommend using three layers of wrap at alternating angles to ensure that it's well sealed.
- Wrap the entire pie again in aluminum foil and label it with the type of pie and today's date.
- Place the pie on a level surface in the freezer and freeze for up to 2 months for fruit pies and 1 month for custard pies.
- The night before you want to serve the pie, take the pie out of the freezer, remove the wrapping and replace with fresh plastic wrap, and place the pie in the refrigerator. Allow the pie to thaw overnight in the fridge. Shortly before serving the pie, let it sit at room temperature or briefly reheat it in a warm oven, depending on the temperature at which you'd like to serve it.
How are you planning to use these tips to make the holiday baking season less stressful? Let me know in the comments!
DON'T FORGET TO PIN THIS BAKING TIP FOR LATER!