Maybe you want to get a headstart on your Thanksgiving Day timeline. Or perhaps you want to freeze leftovers. After all, even the most delicious pie might not get finished if the entrees and sides you serve are super tasty, too. (That’s why some people always eat their dessert first.) Whatever the reason, you may be wondering if you can freeze pumpkin pie.
You probably already know that freezing food won’t stop bacteria growth; it only slows the growth. But how will freezing a pumpkin pie impact the quality of the pie? It’s a good question. And since no one likes a soggy crust, TODAY Food spoke with three pastry chefs who make hundreds of desserts on a daily basis. Here’s what they have to say about freezing pumpkin pie.
Can you freeze pumpkin pie?
Every expert TODAY spoke with says you can freeze pumpkin pie, even after it’s baked.
“I’ve done it before and the pie comes out great,” says Jürgen David, Director of Pastry Research & Development at the Institute of Culinary Education. Because pumpkin pie is high in fat and sugar, it freezes well and defrosts well. On the contrary, foods high in water content don’t tend to come back to life when they defrost. Obviously, pumpkin pie recipes vary, but most are high in sugar and fat.
“You can also make your filling and portion it out and freeze that so if you ever want to make a pumpkin pie, your filling is already made,” adds Noah Whritenour, Executive Pastry Chef of Stevedore Bakery at Thompson Savannah.
How to freeze pumpkin pie
“The first step is making sure that the pie is completely cool,” says Vincent J. Donatelli, pastry chef at The Green O, a five-star ranch in Montana. “This prevents condensation and ice crystals from forming during the freezing process.” Ice crystals and condensation can make the crust soggy when it thaws. David also recommends removing any whipped cream if you’re freezing leftovers. Since it’s high in water, whipped cream won’t hold its shape and it will only get “weepy” when it thaws.
Next, place a layer of plastic wrap directly on the top of the pie. “Every freezer is different, but this is so that you can remove any water from the top when the pie is defrosting,” explains David. And don’t worry about the plastic wrap sticking to the pie: According to David, there’s enough fat in the filling to prevent it from sticking.
Finally, both Donatelli and David recommend double-wrapping the whole pie in plastic wrap. Whritenour adds that it’s important to label the wrap with the date you’re freezing it so you know how long it’s been in for.
How long can you freeze pumpkin pie for?
Personally, Donatelli says he wouldn’t leave a pumpkin pie in the freezer for more than a couple of weeks, as he feels it would compromise the integrity of the pie. At most, he says, you can probably get away with 30 days. David agrees with the one-month mark and adds, “Once it’s defrosted, keep the pie in the fridge.” Do not attempt to refreeze it.
“Continually thawing and freezing things can let bacteria grow, and it will definitely affect the flavor and quality of your pie,” explains Whritenour. If you think you’re only going to want a portion of the pie, try freezing it in slices (which you double-wrap as well).
How to reheat frozen pumpkin pie
Donatelli recommends taking the pie out of the freezer and storing it in the refrigerator the day before you want to eat it. When it’s thawed out and you’re ready to reheat it, he recommends removing the plastic wrap and heating the pie in the oven at 300 F. “Cover the top with foil,” says Donatelli. “That way it doesn’t take on any additional color on top.”
Whatever you do, do not use the microwave to reheat frozen pumpkin pie — or any frozen pie, for that matter.
“Microwaves produce uneven heat so you might have a part of the pie that is defrosted, another area could be overcooked and another could still be frozen,” explains David. “Microwaving will also make the crust soggy.”