The bakers of King Arthur are here to solve the kitchen conundrums you share with us, whether it’s on the phone, computer, or by the good old postal service. In Ask the Baker’s Hotline, Annabelle will pick the brains of the talented King Arthur Baker’s Hotline team to tackle some of your most-asked questions.
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The season of plentiful pies is upon us. When preparing several pies for a holiday meal, you can prevent a lot of stress by planning ahead and putting your dough or pies on hold in the refrigerator. But just how long will pie dough keep in the fridge or freezer? And what about fully baked pies: Should apple pie be stored differently than pumpkin pie? David from our Baker’s Hotline is here with his expert advice to help.
How long can you keep pie dough in the fridge?
“Well-wrapped, pie dough can be stored in the fridge for two to three days, or in the freezer for up to three months,” says David. “After day three in the fridge, you can expect your dough to oxidize, turning a grayish color.” This is completely normal, but can be postponed by adding a bit of vinegar to your recipe. If you skip the vinegar and your dough turns gray, it will be a little floppier to work with, but the finished flavor and appearance of the baked crust won’t be noticeably different.
For a big timesaver, David advises rolling out your crust and freezing it in a pie pan, covered. Simply move the crust, pan and all, to the fridge to thaw overnight or let it rest at room temperature until it’s still cool but no longer solid. Proceed with filling and baking.
Can I store my baked pie ahead of time?
“Any pie is best served the day it was baked. However, baked pies can be stored if you have oven space issues or need a head start,” says David. “Just remember, the longer pies sit, the more moisture the crust absorbs, and the edges will become dry and stale."
For specific guidance on popular Thanksgiving pies, read on.
How long does apple pie last?
“Baked apple or other fruit pies can be kept covered, at room temperature, for one to two days. After that, they’ll keep in the fridge for one to two more days,” David advises. A 15-minute reheat in a 350°F oven can help revive some of that freshly baked flavor. Tent the pie with foil so it doesn’t brown further.
Interested in prepping ahead? David says that storing an assembled, ready-to-bake apple pie is a bad idea; the fruity filling will release moisture, which will make your crust soggy. Instead, roll out your pie crusts and prep your apples, but keep them separate. And wait to add the sugar and spices to the apples until you’re ready to bake the pie. This way, you can pour off any liquid that’s accumulated from the fruit without draining off your thickener, sugar, and spices.
Sliced apples turn brown, so you don’t want to keep your prepared apples in the fridge very long before baking. Aim for under 24 hours, but a squeeze of lemon juice could help them last another day or so.
And if you want to use your freezer to prep ahead, here’s how to freeze and bake fruit pies.
How long does pumpkin pie last?
David advises, “Baked pumpkin pie or other pies containing eggs and/or dairy such as pecan, custard, or chiffon pie should be stored refrigerated; they’ll keep in the fridge for three to four days. I like to transfer the pie to a shallow, lidded storage container, but plastic wrap or a storage top can be used as well.”
As with apple, if you’re making your pumpkin (and other custard) pie ahead, it’s best to keep filling and crust separate. Pumpkin pie filling can be made ahead; it’ll keep, refrigerated, overnight. In fact, that's actually what we recommend doing; the custard develops incredible flavor and aroma as it sits.
As for the crust, if you’re using a pastry crust, you can roll it out and even lay it in the pan the day before; just wrap the pie plate, crust and all, and refrigerate. If you’re making a cookie crust such as shortbread or graham cracker, you can store pre-baked and cooled crust on the counter for a few days, well-wrapped. Freeze for long-term storage.
Key pie points to remember
If you can, serve pies the day they were made instead of refrigerating them.
Reheat refrigerated pies in a 350°F oven for about 15 minutes prior to serving.
Apple and other fruit pies keep at room temperature for up to two days, then in the fridge for two more.
Pumpkin, custard, or other egg/dairy-based pies can be stored in the fridge for up to four days.
Pie dough can keep for two to three days in the fridge, or up to three months in the freezer.
If you’re making the crust and the filling ahead, keep them separated until it’s time to bake your pie.
Get more tips for holiday success in our Thanksgiving Baking Guide.
Cover photo (Apple-Pear Pie) by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne.