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9 Mistakes You’re Making When Baking Pie

From forgetting a thickener to overworking the pastry, we'll help you correct these common pie mistakes.

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Sweet Homemade Blueberry Pie Ready to EatBrent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Not adding a thickener

If you’ve ever sliced a fruit pie only to have the filling run out, it’s likely because you forgot to add a thickener. Fruit retains water, and as your pie bakes, some of that water is released. A thickener—such as flour, tapioca, cornstarch or arrowroot—helps the filling bond together so your pie ends up flaky instead of soggy.

Need a pie recipe? We’ve got you covered. Choose from 50 of our all-time favorites.

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Woman kneading dough, close-up photoShutterstock / Alex Tihonovs

Overworking the dough

If you’re making a pie pastry, be careful not to overwork the dough. Kneading, rolling or otherwise working the dough too much will cause excess gluten to build. The end result is a tough, chewy crust instead of one that’s tender and flaky.

Follow these tips to get a perfect pie crust, every time.

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Homemade pumpkin pie spice in a glass jar with ingredientsShutterstock / Elena Veselova

Not using enough spices

There’s nothing worse than a bland pie—except for maybe an over-spiced pie. It can be tricky to find the optimal blend of spices for your creation. We recommend tasting your pie filling before pouring it into the crust to make sure it has the desired flavor. And, when preparing the filling, keep in mind that it’s much easier to add more spice than it is to take out, so use a light hand when adding potent flavors, like cloves, nutmeg or allspice.

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Pecan pies cooling on a rack in front of a windowShutterstock / HG Photography

Not giving the pie time to cool

Remember that thickener you added? It won’t do any good if you don’t give your pie adequate time to rest after coming out of the oven. Avoid the temptation to cut your pie until it’s merely warm—not hot. Plus, you’ll save guests (and yourself!) from the risk of being burned by scalding hot filling.

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Apple pie filling on wooden tableShutterstock / Zivica Kerkez

Using a canned pie filling

It’s almost too easy to accidentally grab a can of pumpkin pie filling rather than a can of plain, packed pumpkin. And if you don’t notice your mistake, you’ll end up with an overly spiced pie. For fruit pies, nothing beats the consistency and flavor of the real deal. If you must use a filling, learn how to make it from scratch.

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Apple Pie KJBevan/Shutterstock

Letting the edges burn

Depending on how thick your pastry is, it’s not uncommon for the edges of your pie to brown more quickly than the top. However, there’s an easy trick to keep the edges from burning. When you notice that they’re starting to darken, cover them with a few pieces of aluminum foil or a crust shield.

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Closeup of a woman taking a fresh baked pumpkin pie from the ovenShutterstock / Steve Cukrov

Forgetting to reduce the oven temperature

Many pies start to bake in a hot oven, then after 15 or 20 minutes, the temperature is lowered. This trick helps the pie pastry bake up flaky instead of soggy. However, forgetting to lower the temperature all but guarantees a burnt pie.

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Making apple pie for autumn baking concept,pie dough in center with dessert ingredientsShutterstock / pada smith

Choosing the wrong fat for your crust

If you want a pie that tastes just like grandma used to make, use butter in the crust. Other fats, like lard, shortening or oil, will oftentimes taste greasy and bland. Don’t believe me? We put the three most popular fats to the test.

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Cooking baking concept. Making rustic American style apple pie, top view on table with ingredientsShutterstock / Irina Meliukh

Overfilling your pie crust

Don’t ruin your perfect lattice with a ton of bubbled-over filling. Instead, make sure that you’re filling your pie plate properly. Aim for filling the pie pan to about ½-an-inch from the top. The filling will reduce as it cooks but shouldn’t boil over. To be safe (and to avoid a huge mess), always place your pie on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Did you forget the last step? That’s OK. Get your oven sparkling clean with these tips.

Katie Bandurski
Katie is an Associate Editor for Taste of Home, specializing in writing and email newsletters. When she’s out of the office, you’ll find her exploring Wisconsin, trying out new vegetarian recipes and combing through antique shops.
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