Making pies in advance

Every year I make pies for my neighbors for Thanksgiving, this year I am making 8 pies,2 pumpkin,2 sweet potato, 2 apple and 1 pecan. Keeping a schedule is crucial for me because i also have to prepare for my Thanksgiving dinner also and it entails a lot of prep work. My questions is, can I make the pumpkin, sweet potato and apple pies the day before and refrigerate unbaked on Tuesday. I bake them all on Wednesday so they are as fresh as possible for Thursday. If I can refrigerate the unbaked pies should I cover them with plastic wrap while refrigerated? I have never done this before I always do everything on Wednesday and I am trying to keep as much of Wednesday free to make things for my dinner so I don't have to pull an all nighter like I usually do. Thanks so much!



JadeTree October 5, 2013
Anyone else feel like they just earned a Master's degree in Advanced Pie Making just reading this thread? Seriously, this is a gem of a Hotline discussion. Just had to praise it - I've always has the luxury of either doing the entire Thanksgiving dinner *except* for pies, or just the pies. I am totally emboldened now. Excellent discussion.
ATG117 October 5, 2013
My moms cousin always froze assembled plum pies for at least 4 weeks. She was a good cook and baker, but she don't enjoy either or have the time; this way she killed a few birds with one stone. The pies were always delicious, and I would have never known they'd been frozen.
AntoniaJames October 3, 2013
ChefJune, have you ever made them this far in advance? I read somewhere that 3-4 weeks ideally is the maximum. Thank you! ;o)
ChefJune October 6, 2013
I've done them as far ahead as 6 weeks.
ChefJune October 3, 2013
If you have freezer space, you could make your pies up now and freeze them. Then bake them from frozen on the day you want to bake them. That will free up your time pre-Thanksgiving to attend to all the sides and such.
AntoniaJames October 3, 2013
Thanks, Suzanne! I don't usually blind bake my pecan pie crusts, either, but I always roll out all my crusts and freeze them in advance anyway -- we are "day of" pie snobs, and I find it's just so hectic rolling pie crusts on Thursday morning -- so I'm thinking about popping that pecan pie crust in the oven the night before. The oven will inevitably be on, so I figure I'll give it a try. By the way, you're the nicest person ever, to be baking pies for your neighbors like that. ;o)
sdebrango October 3, 2013
Lol, yes definitely fall into the day of pie thing. I am going to try what you are doing and make the pie crust in advance and blind baking, I inevitably have shrinkage no matter how many weights I use and I dislike the look when it shrinks even a little, I like my pies to look nice especially for a holiday. If you have any advice on how to bypass the shrinkage would love to hear it. Thank you, it's a holiday tradition on my block and every year I get requests and I can't say no.
sdebrango October 3, 2013
It is a great article, and works well for fruit pies but not for pumpkin or pecan. I do make lots of pie dough shape into discs and freeze, enough for at least a dozen pies. It really is a good article and next time will thaw in the refrigerator before baking. Good advise.
Pegeen October 3, 2013
Antonia's link to King Arthur's advice on freezing pies is excellent.
AntoniaJames October 3, 2013
Thanks, Pegeen, for bringing that link over to this thread. That article is so helpful! I wish I'd learned what's in it, and the other related articles linked from it, years ago. ;o)
AntoniaJames October 3, 2013
Here is the link to my recent question: ;o)
AntoniaJames October 3, 2013
Suzanne, how did things turn out with this? I recently asked a question about apple pies on the Hotline, and based on that (and an excellent Cooks Illustrated article linked to one answer), I'll be assembling and freezing right away, several weeks before I need to bake them. I'm really interested in what worked for you. I'll probably blind bake my pecan pie crust on Wednesday night. Thanks for any insights. ;o)
sdebrango October 3, 2013
Everyone picked up their pies on Wednesday and I made all of them on Tuesday late afternoon and evening for pickup Wednesday night. The other day I made an apple pie and froze it uncooked, and baked it the next day and it turned out great. I don't blind bake crust for pecan pie but may give it a try, I don't usually have time for an extra step. Hope it all works out for you.
amysarah November 18, 2012
sdebrango, I've tried doing the apple filling a day ahead (prepping/slicing, tossing with lemon, sugar, spices, etc.) but it didn't work out as well. They gave off a lot of liquid in the fridge overnight - like when you macerate fruit with sugar to serve over ice cream, only in this case soupy wasn't helpful. Sounds like others have had better luck with it, so maybe I just have bad apple pie karma. (That's ok, because apple tarts seem to like me.)
sdebrango November 18, 2012
There are some things you just cannot do in advance, I was worried about the apples giving off water. Oh well, thank you everyone for your advice, insight and help. Happy Thanksgiving to all!
see November 18, 2012
Holidays are lots of work and planning to get everything make your pies now and simply freeze them. Thaw on Thursday morning and put into oven around 300 degrees to heat through before serving dessert. This works well for me.. I hope it works for you.

SandyLaFleur November 17, 2012
Good idea, if you decide to freeze use store bought frozen pies as your guide. My local apple stand has their own pies and crisps ready to go in the freezer. Here is what you want to think about. How do you like the top crust? I think I might freeze the bottom without the top crust. Then put it on Thanksgiving morning right before baking.
If I was not baking the Turkey and only bringing pies, i would line all the pie shells for 8 pies the day before and refrigerate them. You need oven space to make 8 pies, so you have to plan that. My convection oven is pretty good loaded up, and some people have double ovens.
You need to think about the food storage and handling of pies with eggs and cream in them like pumpkin and sweet potato. So, I think I would do this.
Bake the pecan pies the day before or that morning. You handle that in or out of the fridge as you normally would do.
Bake the pumpkin/sweet potato the day before and refrigerate it. That is the one people will notice less that it is not made the same day.
Bake the apple that day, either by the freezing methods above (the apples come out more "poached" when they have been prefrozen) or just get it all set the night before and in the frigde so you can top off the pie and bake it early. I have stirred the sliced apples with lemon juice and the rest of the stuff and kept it over night, and it came out great.
I have an aunt that bakes the pie, apple or blueberry, freezes it whole and cooked, and thaws it out the day before the holiday, and rebakes it before the meal and serves them hot. The crust is pretty good.
I usually like to bake one pie early a.m. If I am ready, I bake the other after the Turkey.
I might make pumpkin pie the night before and refrigerate it, but usually like it at room temperature made the same morning.
I sometimes find that little pecan tassies fit the bill for holidays, instead of a whole pecan pie. Sometimes we do pie tasting in the evening, and not as dessert, a few HOURS after the meal, because us here don't like the feeling of over eating, we are too old for that. We reset the table and put everything out and make a hot pot of tea and put out china cups.
sdebrango November 17, 2012
Thanks Sandy, I have never frozen a pie baked or unbaked before and am a little nervous about it. I may just prep the apples ahead putting lemon on to prevent browning but will probably end up doing everything the day of. 2 of the pies are for my Thanksgiving dinner but I still make them ahead as my old clunker stove (one day I will buy a new one) only bakes 2 pies at a time. Thank you for all the advice, I become frantic about this time every year, so much to do, not enough time to do it and I am super picky about how things turn out. Happy Thanksgiving.
Windischgirl November 17, 2012
I have successfully frozen unbaked apple pies (I figured Mrs. Paul does it, why not me?). I bake them still frozen and add 15-20 min of extra baking time. I may make my pies this weekend and do just that! I have not tried it with pumpkin or pecan, though.
Happy Thanksgiving!
sdebrango November 17, 2012
Thanks, it's true you can purchase unbaked pies frozen, never thought of freezing. Hmmm... you say it turns out well? The pumpkin, sweet potato and pecan are not as labor intensive as the apple , peeling, coring, slicing etc... that might be an option thank you so much and Happy Thanksgiving to you too!
sdebrango November 17, 2012
Thanks Monita, thats what I thought but wanted to check in and see if anyone had done this before. I will do just what you advised. Thanks so much and Happy Thanksgiving.
Monita November 17, 2012
I wouldn't make the apple pie the day before and refrigerate because the filling is going to create excess liquid. I would bake it the day you fill it. For the pumpkin and sweet potato pies, I would make your fillings; get the pie crusts done. If you are blind baking; you can do that the day before. Then the day you want to bake, assemble everything. If you fill the pie crusts with the pumpkin/sweet potato overnight you may end up with a soggy crust
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