How To Make Homemade Pie (Beginners Guide)

Everybody loves pie. I honestly haven’t met one person who doesn’t love it. But eating pie and baking pie are two completely different things. Baking can seem really intimidating for a lot of people. And to be honest, I don’t know many people who are confident enough in their baking skills to attempt a pie from scratch. It’s a lot different than cooking because there’s a lot less room for error. Add too much or too little of something and you could potentially ruin your masterpiece. Baking is more of a science and it takes time and practice to really nail it! But if you can learn how to make homemade pie, you can bake anything, trust me.

I’ve been baking since I was a kid and through years of trial and error, I believe that I have finally mastered the whole pie thing. So, I’m going to teach you how to make homemade pie from start to finish. If you’ve never made a homemade pie before, let alone homemade pie crust, this beginner’s guide will help you every step of the way. I’ll also be sharing all of my tips and tricks of everything I’ve learned throughout my years of baking to hopefully spare you years of agonizing over what you may have done wrong if your pie doesn’t turn out the way you want. 

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Recipes:

how to make homemade pie

10 Tips For Baking The Perfect Homemade Pie

I’ve learned a lot about baking pie over the years. At first, it started out as learning what not to do. Yes, there have been a lot of mistakes. But over time, I’ve learned a lot about what to do instead, or discovered easier, more effective ways of doing things. So with that said, here are 10 tips for baking the perfect homemade pie.

1. Have the right kitchen tools

If you’re going to attempt a homemade pie, spare yourself the trouble and make sure you have these in your kitchen beforehand:

  • Pastry blender—A pastry blender, or pastry cutter, is essential for making homemade pie crust or making a crumb topping. It helps mix hard, thick ingredients (like cold butter or vegetable shortening) with dry ingredients to create an even and crumbly mixture. 
  • Rolling pin—If you plan on making your own crust, a rolling pin is crucial. If you don’t have a rolling pin on hand you can also use a wine bottle! 
  • Dry and liquid measuring cups—Did you know that there are different measuring cups for wet and dry ingredients? Be sure to have them both on hand, as well as a set of teaspoons and tablespoons. 
  • Pizza cutter—A pizza cutter is perfect for cutting into crust. Whether you’re trimming the edges of your pie crust or creating strips for a lattice design, a pizza cutter ensures that your cuts are even and reduces any tearing that can occur. 
  • Cookie cutters—Interested in creating beautiful and intricate designs on top of your pie? Cookie cutters get the job done! Just make sure to dip the cookie cutter into a bit of flour before pressing it into your crust. This keeps the edges of your cutouts nice and clean.
  • Pie pan—Yes, there are special pans for pies! Pie pans have a slightly angled edge to make it easier to serve.
  • Pastry server/cake knife—When it comes to pies, a regular knife or fork just won’t do for serving. A pastry server ensures you’re grabbing the entire slice of pie without leaving any goodies behind.
  • Basting brush—If you want a perfectly golden brown crust, you’ll need a basting brush! 

2. Use the correct oven temperature when baking

Using the incorrect oven temperature or cooking time can be detrimental to your pie. Know beforehand if your oven runs warmer or cooler before finalizing your oven temperature. I’ve learned that if your oven is too hot, your crust can burn, while not enough heat will prevent the crust from browning at all. Generally speaking, an oven temperature of 350 with a cook time of 50 minutes to an hour is a good starting point. 

3. Foil is your friend

Just how using the correct temperature is important for making a perfect homemade pie, so is knowing when to use aluminum foil. Until your pie crust has reached a perfect golden brown color, you should never leave your pie unattended. Baking can be unpredictable and there is nothing worse than spending hours making a homemade pie only to find the crust is burning. Once your pie has reached your desired level of golden brown-ness, use aluminum foil to cover anything you want to stop browning. I typically cook my pie for about 25-30 minutes, or until the pie turns golden brown, cover with aluminum foil, and continue to cook for an additional 25-30 minutes or until the pie filling starts to bubble. 

4. Place a cookie sheet on the bottom rack of the oven

It’s very common for pie filling to spill over during the cooking process. TRUST ME, when I say that taking an extra 10 seconds to put a cookie sheet on the bottom rack of your oven (so that its under your pie) during the cooking process will save you a ton of time scrubbing your oven later. Since pie is usually packed with sugar, any drippage from the pie that spills onto the bottom of your oven will get baked on and turn dark brown. The baking sheet will catch any overflow from your pie and is a lot easier to clean!

5. Chill your pie crust before rolling

Should you chill your crust before rolling it? Yes, you should. Homemade pie crust can be really sticky once everything is blended together. Chilling your pie crust for at least 20 minutes before rolling it allows the gluten to settle and makes it easier to roll out. You should also use cold water and cold butter/shortening when mixing your dough.

6. Prick your pie crust before filling (docking)

Have you ever heard of pricking or “docking” your pie crust? This is another one of those simple hacks that can make a huge difference to your finished product. Here’s what to do: once you lay your pie crust in your pie pan, use a fork to prick a few holes in the bottom of your crust. Pricking holes in the dough allows the steam to escape while it’s baking. Without this, the steam would puff up in bubbles and pockets throughout the crust, which would make some parts of the crust cook too quickly and also result in an uneven surface for your filling.

Docking pie crust

7. Glaze your pie crust before baking

Glazing your crust helps create a rich golden brown color with a little bit of shine. I’ve tried a lot of glazes in my day but the best and easiest glaze for browning is either melted butter or an egg wash. For the butter glaze, simply melt 1 tbsp of butter in a saucepan on low heat and use a basting brush to distribute it across the crust. I place it all over the pie or anywhere there is crust. If you’re making a pie with crumb topping, you can skip this step unless you want to add it to the perimeter of the pie. If you prefer a glossier finish, then an egg wash is the way to go. Simply mix one egg or one egg white with 1 tbsp of water and brush all over. You can also sprinkle sugar immediately after glazing your crust for a bit of extra sweetness. 

8. Know how to properly roll pie crust

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve messed up my pie crust because I wasn’t rolling it properly. Here are a few tips for rolling pie crust:

  • Don’t roll it too thin—You should roll your pie crust to be able ¼ inch in thickness. Anything less than that is prone to ripping or tearing when you pick it up or move it around.
  • Don’t pick it up with your hands—Pie crust is very fragile. Picking up up with your hands can cause it to stretch or rip. Instead, use your rolling pin to transfer the crust onto your pie pan. Here’s how to do it: once your crust is rolled out, generously flour the top of the crust as well as the rolling pin. Place your rolling pin on the outer edge of the pie crust and slowly roll the rolling pin toward the center. Allow the dough to roll onto the rolling pin. Add flour on the backside of the pie crust as you’re rolling it up. Once the pie crust has been rolled onto the rolling pin, you can transfer the dough onto the pie pan or on top of your pie by gently unrolling the dough.
  • Roll in an outward motion—Make sure your dough is in a ball and well floured before you start rolling. Always roll in an outward motion, alternating the position of your rolling pin from horizontal, vertical, and at an angle. You should never roll back and forth! This prevents the dough from ripping and also keeps it forming in a circle. 
  • Use your flour generously—Honestly, you can never really use too much flour when rolling your pie crust. Flour prevents the dough from becoming too moist or sticky during the rolling process. If you find that your crust is sticking to your rolling pin or rolling surface, or starts to rip or tear, quickly add some flour and you should be fine. 
How to roll pie crust

9. Use a citrus and spices in fruit pies

Using citrus juice and spices, like lemon juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg, are a great trick for balancing sweetness and tartness while still adding warmth—all the things we love in a good homemade pie.

10. Cut your fruit into small chunks for fruit pies

I personally prefer the fruit in my pies to be very small as opposed to thick chunks or large slices of fruit. Smaller pieces of fruit will not only help the pie cook faster, but it will allow the fruit to absorb more flavor and enhances the overall flavor of your pie. But, each to their own. 

How To Make Crumb Topping For Pie

When it comes to pie, you’re either team crumble or team crust. If you’re team crumble, this is a super simple and delicious crumb topping for pie. You only need five ingredients and a pastry blender.  

Crumb topping recipe

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup cold butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut into the ingredients and mix thoroughly until it becomes crumbly. Drizzle the crumb topping over any pie.

How To Make Decorative Pie Crusts

Adding a design element onto the crust offers something unique to even the simplest of pies. There are a variety of patterns and designs to choose from, from different types of lattices, braids, cutouts, and even twists. There are no rules to what you can and cannot make with your crust designs. Here are some simple ideas for creating a beautiful and decorate pie crusts…

Pie Crust Designs

A. Pinch dough to crimp, then use a fork to mark edge.

B. Use a fork to crosshatch marks.

C. Braid three strips of dough and adhere them with egg wash.

D. Flatten with a fork.

E. Pinch to crimp.

F. Cut tabs and alternate folding forward.

G. Mark twice with an inverted spoon.

H. Cut out leaf shapes, mark veins with a knife, and adhere with egg wash.

What Is The Best Fruit For Pie?

People often ask me what type of fruit I use in my pie. I mean, you can make a pie out of most any fruit. But the key to a really delicious fruit pie is creating a good balance of sweetness and tartness. Here are some tips for finding the best fruit for pies.

Best fruits for baking pie

Fruit makes an excellent filling for pie. Here are some of the best and most popular fruits for baking pie:

  • Apple
  • Strawberry
  • Blackberry
  • Boysenberry
  • Raspberry
  • Blueberry
  • Peach
  • Cherry

Best apples for baking pie

Apple pie is obviously one of the most popular pies out there. I mean, it’s an American favorite. But not all apples are created equal in regards to baking. Here is a list of the best apples for baking pies:

  • Granny Smith
  • Jonathan or Jonagold
  • Golden Delicious
  • Braeburn
  • Gala
  • Honeycrisp
  • Cortland
  • Pink Lady

How To Make Flaky Homemade Pie Crust From Scratch (Step-By-Step)

It’s a common misconception to think that making homemade pie crust is complicated, when in fact, it’s very easy. Many people use butter in their pie crusts, and while this is a great option for crust, it just doesn’t give the right amount of flakiness I think a good pie deserves. Instead, I use vegetable shortening. My simple and flaky pie crust recipe is fool-proof and guaranteed to give you delicious, flaky, and buttery crust (without butter!) 

Flaky pie crust recipe

Flaky Pie Crust Recipe

This homemade pie crust recipe is enough to make two shells. I recommend using one shell for the bottom of your pie and the second to either create a decorative border or use to cover the top of your pie completely. If your going to use one shell for a full cover, remember to add a few slits to the top with a knife. This allows the steam to escape during the baking process and prevents any bubbling.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup shortening (Crisco)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 5 Tbsp water
  • 1 egg (lightly beaten)
  • 1 tsp white vinegar 

Instructions:

  1. Mix together flour, shortening, and salt cutting into the shortening with a pastry cutter.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the water, egg and vinegar.
  3. Add the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until a soft dough forms. Form into a ball.
  4. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap in a ball and let chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  5. When you’re ready to roll your dough, generously flour a smooth, cool surface with flour. Cut the dough ball in half and dust them with flour.
  6. One at a time, begin rolling your crust with a well-floured rolling pin. Make sure to roll in an outward motion starting from the center of the dough adding more flour when necessary. Roll until the dough is about ¼ inch thick. Generously add flour to the dough and rolling surface as necessary.
  7. Use your rolling pin to roll up the pie crust and transfer to the pie pan unrolling carefully. 
  8. Before adding your filling, use a fork to pierce a few holes at the bottom of your pie crust for ventilation.  
  9. Complete the same process with the second half of the dough. Use the dough to cover the pie completely or to create a decorate top or crust. If covering a pie completely, make sure to add a few slits to the top using a knife. This creates ventilation for the steam to escape during the baking process. 

The Best Homemade Apple Pie Recipe

The best homemade apple pie recipe

This homemade apple pie recipe is honestly perfect. It has the perfect combination of sweetness and warmth while still maintaining a slight crispness of the apples. 

Prep Time: 20-30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1.5 hours
Serving: 1 whole pie (8 slices)

Ingredients

  • 6 cups Jonathan apples, peeled, cored, and cubed 
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1 heaping tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg 

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350. 
  2. Peel, core, and dice your apples and place in a large mixing bowl. Toss with 1 tbsp lemon juice.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugars, flour, and spices and then pour onto the lemon juice-covered apples. Using a large spoon, mix and toss the apples until apples are fully covered with seasoning. 
  4. Pour apples into a pie pan lined with homemade pie crust or pre-made crust.
  5. From here, you can cover with the cinnamon crumb topping or use the second pie crust shell to create a lattice or any other crust topping design you’d like. If using a crust topping, remember to glaze your crust with butter or an egg wash. For the butter glaze, melt 1 tbsp of butter in a saucepan over low heat and gently brush along the top of the crust with a basting brush. This will create a nice golden brown crust. For a glossy crust, mix 1 egg or 1 egg white with 1 tbsp of water and brush the crust with a basting brush.
  6. Place the pie into the oven, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes keeping an eye on the crust. You don’t want the crust to burn! Once the crust is golden brown, cover the pie with tin foil and continue cooking for an additional 25-30 minutes or until the filling is bubbly. Cool completely before serving.

Apple Mountain Berry Crumb Pie Recipe

Apple mountain berry crumb pie recipe

This rustic pie recipe is my personal favorite. It has a little bit of everything starting with a gorgeous assortment of berries and cinnamon apples. You can use any combination of berries you’d like but this recipe is absolutely phenomenal with this particular combination of berries and a cinnamon and brown sugar crumb topping. Apple mountain berry crumb pie will easily become you new go-to pie for Thanksgiving, 4th of July, or any other family gathering! 

Prep Time: 20-30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1.5 hours
Serving: 1 whole pie (8 slices)

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups fresh boysenberries (substitute blackberries if needed)
  • 1.5 cups fresh raspberries
  • 1.5 cups fresh strawberries
  • 1.5 cups Jonathan apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 and prepare your pie crust. Place the pie crust along the bottom of your pie pan. Using a fork, pierce a few holes at the bottom of your pie crust.  
  2. Place your fruit into a large mixing bowl and toss in the lemon juice.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, mix together the two sugars, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  4. Pour generously over the fruit mixture, turning and folding with the spatula. Pour mixture into pie pan.
  5. In another bowl, mix all of the ingredients for the crumb topping. Using a pastry cutter, mix the ingredients until it becomes crumbly. Cover the fruit with the topping.
  6. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes keeping an eye on the crust. You don’t want the crust to burn! Once the crust is golden brown, cover the pie with tin foil and continue cooking for an additional 25-30 minutes or until the filling is bubbly. Cool completely before serving.
How to make the best homemade pie

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