To reduce holiday baking stress, follow my quick guide on how to prepare pie crust in advance, how to freeze pie crust, and how to freeze a whole pie!

pie dough divided into two pieces and wrapped in plastic wrap


With the holidays coming up, you may already be thinking about what dessert you want to bring to the big holiday get-together. And that usually includes pie! To combat the stress of the holidays, I thought I would share with you ways you can prepare for the big event in advance.

The wonderful thing about a traditional pie crust is the versatility. You can use my Perfect All-Purpose Pie Crust recipe and fill it with so many things! You can make a Pumpkin Pie, Berry Apple Pie, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pie, Chocolate French Silk Pie, or even a savory filling like Chicken Pot Pie. You can even go ahead and freeze a few pie crusts and decide on a filling later.

Chocolate French Silk Pie with a slice taken out
Chocolate French Silk Pie

How to Prepare Pie Dough in Advance

First thing is first and you have to make the dough. Follow my pie crust recipe here. Think about how many pies you may want to make this holiday season and multiple the recipe by that much. Remember to account for any double pie crusts you may need, like for a traditional Apple Pie.

After you have made the dough, divide it by the number of crusts you plan to make. You can use a kitchen scale to ensure accuracy. Next, you need to let the dough rest. Wrap each dough ball in a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a flat disc. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Even if you want to bake your pie the same day, you still need to let the dough rest. You can not skip this step.

Store the dough in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When ready, move the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for a few minutes before rolling out and assembling.

How to Freeze Pie Dough

If you plan to save your pie dough for later use, there are 2 ways you can do it.

How to freeze pie dough in discs

The first, and my favorite method, is to freeze the dough. Freeze the dough discs wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and place them into a zipper bag into the freezer. You can keep them frozen for up to 3 months! It’s incredibly convenient to have homemade pie crust ready to go. When ready, let the frozen dough thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

How to freeze shaped pie crusts

The second option is to freeze the shaped pie crusts. After resting, roll out your dough and gently place over a pie plate. Shape the edges and place directly into a plastic zipper bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.

This method takes up more freezer space than simply storing the dough in discs. It also ties up one of your pie plates until you use it. I recommend using disposable pie plates if you plan to utilize this method. They also stack pretty well in your freezer.

How to Thaw Frozen Pie Dough

When you are ready to use the dough, move the frozen dough discs into the refridgerator overnight to defrost. It will have thawed enough to roll out the next day.

If you are ready to use one of your pre-shaped pie crusts, you can thaw it in the fridge overnight or you can bake directly from frozen. In fact, it’s a good idea to bake your pie crust from frozen as it will help combat shrinkage from the oven.

PRO TIP: If you plan to bake directly from frozen, use an aluminum pie plate. Ceramic and glass pie plates risk thermal shock when going from cold to hot (like from freezer to oven) too rapidly.

How to Freeze a Whole Pie

Folding the edges of the pie dough together

Freezing a whole pie is a great way to prepare a big holiday meal in advance if you’ve got the time and freezer space. It’s important to know which type of pies freeze well and which don’t. They don’t all react in the same way to harsh changes of freezing and thawing.

Fruit pies tend to freeze very well! The filling remains unchanged after freezing and thawing. So if you’re wondering what to do with that extra apple or cherry pie- freeze it!

What doesn’t work out well in the freezer are custard and cream pies. The filling in these pies tends to separate as it thaws creating a soggy mess and a grainy texture. It’s best to serve your coconut cream and lemon meringue pie fresh from the refrigerator.

The exception to that rule is pumpkin pie. I have had great success freezing a whole pumpkin pie after it has been baked and I do it often!

Remember to use an aluminum pie plate instead of ceramic or glass if you are going to freeze it.

How to freeze an unbaked pie

Fully assemble the pie just as if you are about to bake it. Instead, place the uncovered pie in the freezer and let freeze for a few hours (it doesn’t need to be rock hard). After freezing, tightly wrap the pie in plastic wrap and if it will fit, place it in a large plastic freezer bag. Label it, seal it, and freeze for up to 2 months.

How to bake from frozen

When it’s finally time to serve, bring the pie out of the freezer and remove the wrapping. No need to let it thaw. In fact, I suggest baking straight from frozen otherwise the filling might become too watery. Brush off any ice crystals that may have formed.

Bake the pie as your recipe instructs adding about 30 minutes or so. Keep an eye on it in the oven and add more time if needed. You may need to tent the edges of the crust to prevent over-browning.

How to freeze a baked pie

A baked strawberry rhubarb pie

Bake the pie as directed and let it cool completely. Place the uncovered pie in the freezer and let freeze for a few hours (it doesn’t need to be rock hard). After freezing, tightly wrap the pie in plastic wrap and if it will fit, place it in a large plastic freezer bag. Label it, seal it, and freeze for up to 2 months.

How to refresh a frozen baked pie

Remove the frozen pie from the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove the plastic wrapping and bake in the oven on 350°F/175°C for about 15-20 minutes. You may need to tent the crust with parchment paper or aluminum foil so it doesn’t over-brown.

Some of my Favorite Holiday Pie Recipes