Homemade Pie Baking Tips

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Homemade Pie Baking Tips

Homemade Pie Baking Tips

If you love baking homemade pies from scratch and have the time to do so, then go for it, but don’t feel guilty if you can’t. There are many ways to get that homemade taste without as much work. For example, say your family loves homemade pumpkin pie but every year you notice that they only eat the filling and leave most of the crust. Then, this year, don’t put your pumpkin pie filling in a crust. Just pour it into a well greased baking dish or pan to bake. This will save you time and calories.

If your family loves homemade apple pie but you don’t have time to make a pie crust then make an apple crisp instead.

For homemade cinnamon rolls: Use frozen dough — most people can’t tell the difference. I’ve told this story before but it is a perfect example of what I mean. My grandmother-in-law made the best “homemade” noodles that everyone fought over and raved about at every family get-together. No one made noodles like grandma’s. One day I decided to ask grandma what her secret was and she took me to her freezer and laughingly, pulled out a bag of frozen egg noodles. Everyone assumed that she had made them from scratch.

Make your life easy and take shortcuts when you can. It is much less expensive to use convenience foods sometimes than to go out to eat.


Here are some more homemade pie baking tips for experienced bakers and beginning bakers:

  • For something different, try serving your apple pie with butter pecan ice cream instead of the usual vanilla and/or top it with a little caramel ice cream topping.
  • Replace 1/4 of the white sugar in your apple pie recipe with brown sugar and/or replace your regular spices with pumpkin pie spice *(recipe below).
  • You can give canned apple pie filling more of a homemade flavor by adding apple pie or pumpkin pie spice* to it.
  • Lime juice works much better than lemon juice to prevent fruits like apples from turning brown.
  • When making fruit pies, microwave the filling for 5-7 minutes before pouring it into the crust. This prevents the crust from becoming overly brown before the filling is completely cooked. In the case of an apple pie, you won’t have to worry about partially cooked apples.
  • When making pumpkin pie: Before you pour in the filling, bake the crust for 2-3 minutes just until it starts puffing a little on the bottom. Watch it carefully because it only takes a minute and you don’t want to totally cook it. This really helps prevent those sometimes very soggy pie crusts.
  • If you like cheese with your apple pie, mix 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese into your pie crust and then layer the apple filling with another cup of grated cheese.
  • If your homemade pies are too runny, add 1 Tbsp. of tapioca to your filling.
  • When making pecan pie, melt the butter in a saucepan until it turns golden brown. Watch it so it doesn’t burn. This adds the most wonderful caramel like flavor to your pie. For my favorite pecan pie recipe, check out page 254 in our Dining on A Dime Cookbook. I received this recipe many years ago from my sister-in-law Mary and have yet to taste one that comes close to it for flavor.
  • When making a graham cracker crust, add a little cinnamon to the mix.


Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipe

1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. cloves

Mix ingredients well. Makes 1 teaspoon. Use in any recipe calling for pumpkin pie spice.

  • When you need to make a graham cracker crust, crush enough crumbs to fill a large container or coffee can. The next time you make a graham cracker crust, you can just scoop out the amount you need.


If you love baking pies from scratch or want to try it, be sure to check out our Very Best Pie Crust Recipe!

Lower Your Food Bill With Food You Family Will Love!

Would you like to serve food that will lower your grocery bill and your family will love to eat?

Click here to get the Dining On A Dime Cookbook, with tasty recipes and great tips to make your life easier and save you money!




  1. Grizzly Bear Mom says

    I don’t bother to toss apples in lemon juice when making pie because the cinamon will turn them brown anyway. I have tossed them in wine for a flavor treat though.

  2. Angie M. says

    I’m still laughing from reading the ‘homemade’ noodle story. So, so true!!!

    I have a ‘homemade’ stuffing story. We always had carry-in Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners at my ex-husband’s father’s house, where everyone brought dishes.

    My ex-father-in-law, had tasted my stuffing more than once when I invited him over to eat in our home. I was always asked to bring stuffing to the holiday meals, even though I wasn’t making the turkey. He loved my stuffing so well that he asked his daughters to not make the stuffing along with the turkey.

    Now, I’m a Stove-Top gal. :) For everyday dinners, I make the Stove-Top according to the package directions. For special dinners when I have family over, or for holiday meals, I add a few ‘twists’. I substitute broth (chicken, turkey depending on what I’m serving) for the water. I add extras: finely diced onion, finely cut celery, mushrooms, finely cut apples, dried cranberries, pecans, walnuts. I get creative and vary the extras. One popular combination is the onions, celery and mushrooms, another is the apples with walnuts or the dried cranberries with pecans. You get the idea… Then for my special dinners, I bake this ‘doctored’ Stove-Top in a baking dish in the oven until lightly crispy on top.

    Anyway, back to the ‘homemade’ story… One Thanksgiving at my ex-father-in-laws’ home, he just raved about the stuffing. I always love a compliment on something I’ve cooked but just about choked on my meal when he said “I don’t like any stuffing out of a box! I only eat homemade stuffing! Yours is even better than my late wife’s!” Lol! What made matters even worse, is that his late wife had always faithfully made him REAL homemade stuffing each year.

    I can’t tell you how many stories I have heard like these! :)

  3. Bea says

    I found a nice pie recipe for the holidays.
    Apple Butter Cinnamon Pie
    Pastry for a 9 inch pie crust, plus additional strips for lattice
    1/2 cup apple butter
    2 eggs, beaten slightly
    1/2 cup sugar
    1-1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch
    1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
    2 cups milk
    1/4 teaspoon mace
    Combine apple butter, eggs, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and mace; mix well. Add milk gradually, blend well. Pour into unbaked pie crust; top with lattice cut into 1/2 inch wide strips of crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

  4. Mary Jane says

    Pie crusts were not my best baking challenge, though I can handle pretty much anything else. That is until I found a recipe very much like Jill’s. This pie crust is pretty much foolproof, regardless of how warm your kitchen is, or how your flour acts on a particular day. It is and has been my go-to pie crust recipe after years of frustration with other recipes. When my daughter is home, she does the pie crust. From the time she was a young teenager, pie crust came naturally to her. Any recipe seems to work in her hands. She is the Queen of Pie Crusts in our home!

  5. Mrs. D. says

    Cheese in an apple pie? That sounds very interesting! I’ve made a cheese and apple bread before, but never a cheese and apple pie. (The apple butter pie sounds lovely too, Bea.) And I appreciate all the pie tips. I am trying to make more pies these days since they have always been my husband’s favorite. I’m married to a midwesterner, who loves his pie, and I grew up, on the east coast, primarily baking cookies and cakes. Any good raisin pie recipes you all could recommend? Thank you ladies!

    • says

      There is one section of the country that won’t hardly eat their apple pie without a slice of cheese on it. I think maybe it be down south. I grew up eating a slice of cheese on my pie ( I have never had it with ice cream but I know many eat it that way) and can’t hardly eat it without now. I like American on mine but some like cheddar. That is why you will find many apple pie recipes with a cheese crust. Will check into some raisin pies. I have never had them but maybe some of our readers have. : )

  6. Mary in Texas says

    I don’t Pre-bake my pumpkin pie crust, but I always bake pumpkin pies in a glass pan which cooks the crust well and even gets it brown as well. I also hate the semi-raw crust you so often get on them at restaurants.

  7. Marcia says

    Dare I say I often use pie crust mixes?? I often get them on sale at this time of year and it saves all that cutting in of the shortening which is the tedious part to me. It doesn’t seem to cost any more than flour and shortening and I usually have good luck with them. My favorite is my good friend Betty Crocker’s. (Smile!)

    • says

      Had to chuckle at your comment Marcia. We each have our own little thing we dislike doing in different areas of cooking. I say do what ever it takes to make the job more pleasant for you. I don’t mind baking cookies at all but hate washing the cookie sheets (I have to wash mine by hand) so I allow myself the luxury of parchment paper. I guess now that I think about it a small piece of parchment paper doesn’t cost much more then the water and soap I would use to scrub it. Ahhh. That makes me feel less guilty for using it. : )
      PS. I do know about those silicone sheets you can use on one but since they need to be washed most of the time too it defeats the purpose for me and for me they are harder to wash and dry.

  8. Mary Jane says

    Here’s a tip that I use when making pumpkin pie filling from scratch, or any other pie filling that I am afraid will be too soupy. When I am mixing up the ingredients for the filling, I add one envelope of knox unflavoured gelatin (sprinkle over top) for every deep dish pie, stir thoroughly and bake as usual. The gelatin is added when the ingredients are cold or room temperature, it heats up with the pie filling, then helps set the filling when it is cooked and cooled. This works for a lot of pies.

  9. Lesha says

    Ever since I was little my family has always used the left over pie crust to make what we called cracker jacks. I don’t know where the name came from but it was the extra unbaked crust spread with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and then baked until golden brown in a 350 degree oven. They were a wonderful holiday treat.

    • says

      Love pie crust like that. I remember when I was little thinking when I grew up I was going to make a whole pie crust and do it like this instead of just having the scraps to eat. I still haven’t done it. But one day, :)

  10. Lesha says

    I have also substituted a 1/2 almond flour and it added a wonderful flavor to it. The almond flour is the left over pulp when I make almond milk.


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