Are you ready to wow your friends and family with a showstopper pie this Thanksgiving or Christmas! I’ve gathered together some of my favorite holiday pies from traditional Thanksgiving pie recipes to some that are a little more non-tradtional that will be talked about long after the meal.
I think everyone has a favorite holiday dessert but when it comes to the holidays whether it’s Christmas or Thanksgiving dessert recipes, most stick to a traditional apple pie. While your guests may claim they love the sides and fluffy dinner rolls, they always have room for Thanksgiving pie.🥰
Try changing it up this year with a cream pie or fruit pie. Or maybe you’ll be having a large gathering and need more than eight pieces, a slab pie is so much easier that making two pies and you can cut it into smaller pieces if you have additional guests or are serving multiple desserts.
Maybe you’ve been tasked with bringing dessert to the holiday potluck, try some apple pie bars that taste just like apple pie but can be eaten with with your hands.
Table of contents
The Pie Crust debate
Don’t worry about the crust this year, a homemade butter crust is my favorite and I’ve given you simple and easy to follow steps for the perfect pie crust. But I get it, sometimes you need something quick, so go with a pretzel crust, or if you’re in a hurry grab a prepared graham cracker crust from the grocery.
How to make a traditional pie crust
Step 1: A food processor works great for making pie crust, but you can also use a pastry cutter. Combine the dry ingredients into the food processor and then add very cold butter. Process so that the butter is a little smaller than a pea.
Step 2: Add very cold water and vinegar and process until it’s shaggy, it should not be smooth.
Step 3: Form into a disc and wrap in plastic and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use but at least for an hour.
Step 4: Roll out and place over pie dish, crimp the edges if desired and refrigerate for 30 minutes before filling or baking.
Pro tip: if you roll out the pie crust onto plastic wrap, it’s easier to pick up the dough and place it in the pie dish. Once you have it situated, you just peel off the plastic.
How to pre-bake a pie crust
For cream pies that aren’t baked like Coconut Cream Pie or Lemon Chiffon Pie, you’ll need to either bake a pie crust or use a graham cracker or pretzel crust. If you’re making a fruit pie or chess pie, it helps to partially bake the pie crust to keep the bottom from getting soggy. Here are some simple steps to keep your pie crust looking beautiful before you add the filling.
For a partially baked pie crust: Place the pie crust in the pan, prick it with a fork and place a piece of parchment inside, then add pie weights. Pie weights keep the crust from falling down the sides of the pan. Bake at 400º for 15 minutes.
For a fully baked pie crust: Follow the above directions but remove the pie weights and cook an additional 12-14 minutes.
How to make a pretzel crust
I love the salty crunch a pretzel crust adds to a cream pie and they are so easy to make. All you have to do is smash about 3 cups of pretzels in a ziplock with something hard like a rolling pin or a wine bottle. Add ¼ cup of sugar and 12 tablespoons of melted butter and place it in the pie pan. Let it refrigerate until the butter firms up and add your filling. It couldn’t be easier.
Of course you can skip the crust altogether and make hand pies using puff pastry.
Tips on how to plan ahead for making a holiday pie
Whatever you have planned for your holidays, whether it’s cooking at home, bringing dessert, or taking a pie to your holiday potluck, it helps to plan ahead when it comes to pies. Here are some tips to make your holiday meal a little less stressful.
- Try making the pie crust up to a month ahead of time. Traditional butter pie crust dough can be frozen. When you’re ready to make your pie you just have to thaw it. If your pie calls for a pre-baked pie crust, this can be done a day ahead of time. Once it’s cooled, place in a ziplock or wrap in plastic wrap and leave on the counter until you’re ready to fill.
- Prepare any cooked fillings in advance, like the cherries for Black Forest pie or the filling for Cherry Hand pies. These can be done days in advance.
- If making a cream pie, check to see how long it takes for it to set, most need to refrigerate for several hours. You can make these the night before and just add the cream or topping the day you are serving.
- Fruit pies and pecan pies can be made a day ahead and then reheated before serving. Try putting them in the warm oven while you sit down to dinner.
- Pies like a chocolate pie or chess pie are served at room temperature, so make them in the morning and you don’t even have to think about dessert.
Here are 14 of some of my favorite pies to serve for the holidays. So grab your favorite pie dish and start baking!
Chocolate Pecan Pie Recipe
Peppermint Chocolate Pie
Peppermint Chocolate Pie Recipe (from Grandbaby Cakes) – A melt in your mouth decadent chocolate creamy peppermint hinted filling offset by a buttery flaky crust topped with whipped cream!
Coconut Cream Pie
This is the best coconut cream pie recipe (from Pip and Ebby) you’ll ever taste and you will WOW guests at any gathering. A creamy homemade custard filling is topped with fresh, sweet whipped cream and toasted coconut flakes. This is the perfect light dessert to enjoy any time!
Chocolate Pie Recipe
Lemon Chiffon Pie with Pretzel Crust
Pecan Praline Pumpkin Pie
There is nothing like pumpkin pie for the fall, particularly around the holidays. If you’ve never had the chance to try a Pecan Praline Pumpkin Pie (from A Red Spatula), you will be amazed at just how great it tastes! It’s a wonderful twist on two old classics.
Gluten Free Key Lime Pie
The absolute best Gluten Free Key Lime Pie (from Mama Gourmand) beats out all other recipes in taste, affordability, and ease! This effortless recipe will bring you back to Key West with a traditional creamy lime pie flavor and easy substitution for graham cracker crust!
FAQs and tips
If you are making an apple pie, you should use fresh apples. However for cherry and most fruit pies, you can use frozen fruit. Frozen fruit might have more water then fresh, so you might need to add a little more flour or cornstarch depending on the recipe.
Yes, almost all pies will freeze, even pies topped with meringue. If your pie is topped with whipped cream, the whipped cream can get watery when it thaws. It’s best to wait to add the whipped cream until you are ready to serve it.
Pie crust dough freezes perfectly. I always make enough pie crusts for two pies and freeze one for later. Just form it into a disc and place in a freezer bag. It will stay fresh for at least a month. Let it thaw in the refrigerator so that it’s cold when you roll it out.
As you roll out your pie dough if it gets too warm, it will be hard to work with. Roll it out on parchment paper or plastic wrap and just slide a cookie sheet under it and if it gets to sticky, put it in the refrigerator until it firms up again.
More holiday desserts
Butter Pie Crust
- 2 ½ cups flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 20 tablespoons cold butter 2 ½ sticks cut into cubes
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup cold water
- In a food processor, add flour, sugar and salt and pulse to combine. Add cold butter, cut into 1 inch pieces, and pulse until you have pea size chunks of butter. Add vinegar and water and pulse until the dough starts to come together. Place on floured surface and knead until all flour is incorporated, it won’t be smooth. Divide in half and pat into two flat disks about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- Roll out the dough onto plastic wrap, this makes it easier to place in the pie dish.
- If the dough gets too hard to handle, place it back in the refrigerator
- You can freeze this dough for at least a month.
- Use ice water and keep the butter very cold.