Does Leftover Pie Need to Be Refrigerated?

Should you stash your leftover slices in the fridge or on the counter?

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If you’ve found yourself with a few slices of leftover pie, you may wonder whether you should store them in the refrigerator or at room temperature.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, pies containing perishable ingredients such as eggs or dairy must be refrigerated once cool. Fruit pies, however, are food-safe at room temperature for up to two days because they contain plenty of sugar and acid, which slow the growth of bacteria.

But does storage temperature affect texture or flavor? We conducted a simple experiment to find out how to store pie.

Should You Refrigerate Leftover Pie?

In a side-by-side test, we found that it’s not necessary to refrigerate leftover fruit pie—but that if you do, your pie won’t suffer for it.

We made two apple and two blueberry pies and stored one of each in the refrigerator and the others on the counter overnight. The next day, we tasted all four pies at room temperature. 

We expected the crusts on the refrigerated pies to be tough and chewy because cold typically hastens the staling of baked goods—but the pies were indistinguishable. 

Why? The low moisture and high fat content of pie crust makes it resistant to staling in a way that leaner, moister items, such as breads, are not.

The Best Way to Store Leftover Pie

Whether you store your pie in the fridge or on the counter, keep it well wrapped with foil or plastic wrap. Alternatively, cover the pie plate with an overturned bowl—a particularly handy way to protect the pie while leaving its top undisturbed.

How Long Can You Store Pie?

Pie is safe to keep and will maintain its quality on the counter for up to two days. While it’s safe to store it longer in the fridge, it won’t taste as fresh and the crust will lose crispness.

Can I Freeze Leftover Pie?

While you might be tempted to stash the remains of your pie in the freezer instead, we don’t recommend this storage method.

When we froze whole apple, blueberry, and peach pies, we found that the crusts suffered. The thawed crusts were noticeably soggy, and some tasters thought the fillings weren’t as bright-tasting as freshly made pie. 

However, there is one scenario where freezing works well for fruit pie: To make a pie ahead for longer term storage, freeze it before you bake it. In tests, we found pies frozen before baking were indistinguishable from freshly made pies. To learn all about freezing unbaked pie, click here.

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