Liquid accumulating on top of pies

I made my pumpkin pies this morning and let them cool completely, then put them in Rubbermaid pie carriers. About 30 min. later, I noticed that a lot of liquid was accumulating on the tops of the pies. Why is this happening, and what can I do about it?

Becky Brumley


Shuna L. November 24, 2015
Hello Becky,
I understand your woes. Before more fretting, know this: this is normal, and happens to many custard pies. There are a few reasons for liquid on top of pies.

In the perfect world of a pie it never sees the inside of a fridge anytime after baking, but if it needs to hang out in the fridge at all, try to do so uncovered or lightly covered or make the lid on the container slightly ajar.

I know it sounds odd, but baked goods continue to breathe, and exhale, long after they've come out of the oven. So it could be that the pie is still a little warm, and that air is condensing, or that the "room temp" of your kitchen is much warmer than the inside of your fridge, or that the custard is higher in moisture than in solids, or that the custard is slightly overbooked so it's separating. Don't sweat the last part of the last sentence! Most custard pies *have to be* slightly overbooked, in order for the crust to bake fully. It's like a physics equation that is useless when it comes to deliciousness.

I use a paper towel or an absorbent tea towel to eliminate my pie puddles. No one need know - and it shouldn't affect the flavor of the overall pie wonderfulness. If anyone asks, you can say it's the pie's secret sauce and maybe your guests will be vying for the piece with the most puddle!

Did this help? Happy pie making!
Becky B. November 24, 2015
Yes, that's very helpful. Thank you all for your super quick responses!
Lindsay G. November 24, 2015
My guess is the containers combined with not-quite-cooled pies are the culprit. Blot off excess moisture and then cool the pies in the fridge for an hour or so (until they're chilled) before putting them back in the container. Putting a layer of plastic wrap right on the top of the pie will help prevent condensation on the surface of the pie next time.
Kenzi W. November 24, 2015
I'm flagging some of your pie experts on this, but I'd think, as a quick fix, you could lightly blot the top where the liquid is collecting.
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