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Should Pie Be Refrigerated? Can It Be left Out Overnight? (Meat And Fruit Pies)

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Pies are beautiful, delicious little things and they always put you in a good mood. Most of the time they’re sweet and you can’t get enough of them. Sometimes they’re savory and incredibly filling. One thing is clear: pies are loved by all, and they’re a staple for nearly every holiday you can imagine.

So what do you do with the pie, can you make it ahead ? Should pie be refrigerated ? How long does pie last in the fridge ? Is it that bad if you leave it out overnight ? All this and more, coming right up.

pie fridge

Should pie be refrigerated ?

Most pies need refrigeration, especially the ones containing any animal products like dairy, eggs, or meat. A fridge operates at 2-4 C/35-39 F, and this temperature range slows down the development of bacteria and mold spores.

Most pies are fine if you bake them the day of, and leave them on the counter to be served in a few hours. Leaving pies out overnight is a mostly bad move. Then again, your fridge is likely already full and you need some real Tetris skills to pack everything in there.

So let’s see exactly what type of pie you have, and whether it can survive on the counter or not.

Custard and dairy pies

Custard is largely made of eggs and milk or cream, with sugar and possibly a thickener. This type of pie is always going to end up in the fridge, simply because they have so much protein (egg and dairy). Protein can easily break down if left at room temperature.

Read also: Why Are Pies Round ? 

This also applies to pies that have a sort of mousse (dairy based), even pumpkin and pecan pies because they call for milk and eggs. Any pie that is even remotely creamy and/or has butter, eggs, milk, cream in it is going in the fridge.

They can sit on the counter until they cool down (about 2 hours) and then another 3-4, but make sure your room or kitchen isn’t too warm. Maybe open a window and cover the pie lightly.

Fruit and sugar pies

Pies made of fruit and sugar, like peach, apple, cherry, rhubarb, strawberry, and so on are much more likely to be safe and sound even two days on the counter. This is because there is less product that can break down, especially in the filling.

Also, fruit simmered with sugar is pretty much just jam. And as you know, jam can last for a long time if handled and stored properly. So really, as long as your pie is covered to keep dust and lint form getting onto it, you can keep it for two days on the counter. We doubt there’s anything left of it by tomorrow, but still.

After those two days, it’s best to put it in the fridge and keep it for a maximum of another 24 hours.

Meat pies

Meat pies have the same issue as dairy and egg pies. They have a whole lot of protein, and even if it’s cooked, it can and will go bad at room temperature. So make sure you put the meat pie in the fridge about two hours after it’s done cooking.

You wouldn’t leave roast turkey out on the counter, would you ? Neither would we. You can keep meat pie in the fridge safely for 72 hours.

meat pie

Can you make pie ahead of time ?

Yes, you can make and bake your pie ahead of time, up to 48 hours before serving. More than 48 hours and the pie won’t taste as great as fresh.

In the case of prepped but uncooked pies, we don’t recommend this. The uncooked dough will absorb too much liquid and you end up with a soggy pie, no matter how you bake it.

Is it ok to leave the pie out overnight ?

The only pie that is safe to leave out overnight is fruit and sugar pie. Make sure it’s loosely covered to prevent dust and lint from settling onto it, and keep it away from the edge of the counter. Overly curious pets and small children may topple it over.

How long does pie last in the fridge ?

Most pies are fine for 3 days in the fridge. Make sure you’ve covered the top of the pie with plastic wrap, to keep it from sticking. This also prevents cross-contamination form other foods in the fridge.

Keep in mind pies will toughen and change their consistency when subjected to cold temperatures like that. But if you reheat a slice of pie in the oven it should be back to its original texture and consistency.

Never reheat a pie in a metal baking sheet in the microwave !

Can you freeze pies ?

Yes, you can freeze pies for up to three months. Custard pies may lose some of their texture, and develop tiny ice pockets. Fruit pies freeze better than custard.

If you intend to freeze the whole pie, wrap it in plastic wrap, before you put it in a container that is airtight and large enough. And that’s pretty much it about pies. You can and should refrigerate all the pies. Fruit pies are the only ones that may survive on the counter for a couple of days, but don’t let them sit out for longer.

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