Get a Head Start on Thanksgiving Desserts

Baking, Cook, Holidays, Learn, Thanksgiving, Tips & Techniques

The key to a fun Thanksgiving feast is planning, and desserts are one of the easiest courses to make ahead. Find out which steps you can complete in advance to make the big day run smoothly — without a soggy pie crust in sight.





Freezing Tip

For best results, freeze the crust and filling separately; this tip will help you achieve a crispy crust once the pie is baked.

Most doughs freeze extremely well. Make a basic pie dough during your down time, and you can keep it in the freezer for up to two months. To freeze, place the dough round on a 12-inch cardboard circle and wrap it well with plastic wrap. Alternatively, use the round to line a pie pan or dish, flute the edge and wrap well.


You can bake the crust according to your recipe while it’s still frozen, though this method may increase the cooking time.



Space-Saving Tip

Live in a cool climate? Once your refrigerator space fills up, consider using a secure back porch, balcony, garage or car for extra storage. Place your baked pie in a box — and watch out for animals!

Most pies can be assembled and baked ahead from start to finish, then stored in the refrigerator for a few days. Reheat in the oven at 350 to 375 degrees, until the crust is golden brown and crispy.


Keep reading for more guidelines on storing different varieties of pie, then scroll down to learn how to work ahead with other types of desserts.


Fresh Fruit Pies
Pies with seasonal fruit fillings like apples and pears can be baked ahead, then frozen for up to two months. Let it come to room temperature before baking and serving.Alternatively, you may freeze un-baked, but you may need to increase the cornstarch or other thickening agent called for in the recipe. In this case, do not thaw before baking.
Pumpkin, Pecan & Custard Pies
Freeze these pies baked for up to two months, but don’t freeze them unbaked. You may also store them in the refrigerator for up to five days; pecan pies will even keep at room temperature for a couple of days.
Chiffon Pies
Ideally, gelatin-based chiffon pies should be stored for up to a few days in the refrigerator before serving. Do not freeze them unbaked, and only freeze them baked if you absolutely must, as the filling can become tough. Serve cold; do not reheat.Note: Any meringue-topped pies should only be frozen baked, without the topping, then topped with meringue and reheated just before serving.




Most cakes may be baked ahead, then covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to four days.They may also be frozen; if you choose this method, freeze the cake and frosting separately (if applicable), thaw, and frost before serving.
Bread Pudding
Bread pudding may be made a day ahead, refrigerated overnight and baked before serving. Alternatively, you can bake it ahead and keep it in the refrigerator for one to two days, then reheat it in the oven. Keep in mind that unbaked bread pudding will become soggier the longer it sits, so it’s not recommended to leave it unbaked longer than overnight.
Tarts should be treated like pies. For fresh fruit varieties, crusts and fillings may be made ahead and frozen separately, or baked in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Nut and custard ones should be baked, then stored in the refrigerator or freezer.


Ready to get started? Check out our picks for Thanksgiving pies and desserts!

3 comments about “Get a Head Start on Thanksgiving Desserts

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