The 12 Best Pie Shops in America
These are the best places to enjoy what just might be America’s favorite dessert
From coast to coast, these twelve bakeries have the best pie in the country.
Pies are, without a doubt, one of America’s most beloved and iconic desserts. The saying “as American as apple pie” exists for a reason. Here are the 12 best places to get pie in the United States.
12 Best Pies in America (Slideshow)
To find America’s 12 best pie shops, we looked through our list of America’s 75 Best Bakeries and chose those that particularly excelled in pie-making. Then we consulted our more regional and season-specific lists, like Best Places for Key Lime Pie in the Florida Keys and 5 Best Pie-Buying Places for Thanksgiving, to fill out the list.
There’s one pie on this list that is actually three pies; this is not a riddle. To find where you can get a treat like this, keep reading. While some of these bakeries, like New York’s Pie Corps, specialize primarily in pie and even teach pie-making classes, others, like Manderfield’s Home Bakery in Fox Valley, Wisconsin, are famous for their doughnuts, but their fantastic pies are a well-kept secret.
There are great pies to be found all over America, from megacities like New York and San Francisco to a small town in Louisiana. There are some pretty great sweet pies to be enjoyed around the rest of the world, too.
Let us know about any we missed by tweeting @thedailymeal.
Additional reporting by Lauren Gordon.
This article was originally published on July 27, 2015.
The very best pie apples
With apple-picking season hard upon us, it's time to dust off your favorite apple pie recipe, sharpen your crust-rolling skills, and get ready to enjoy fall's favorite dessert: apple pie.
You may be tempted to make your pie from one of the six apple varieties that dominate the domestic market year-round: Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, and McIntosh.
But when fall rolls around, farmers' markets and orchard farm stands offer an abundance of choices.
Like Calville Blanc d’Hiver.
Northern Spy is a classic pie apple, popular in New England and New York since the early 1800s.
And I'll confess ahead of time that my favorite apple is any of the brown-green russets — Golden Russet, Roxbury Russet, et al.
You've probably identified your favorite eating apple. But what about the best pie apples? They're not necessarily the same.
Red and Golden Delicious, for instance, are reliably crisp, sweet eating apples. But when you bake them into a pie, they can become mushy and lose some of their sweetness.
Let's see how to choose ahead of time which of the many apples out there are best for pie.
We'll put six different apples to the test.
I decide to put two of my favorites, Golden Russet and Northern Spy, up against a couple of classic pie apples: McIntosh and Cortland.
I also add Granny Smith because, if there's one ubiquitous, year-round apple, Granny Smith is it. They're like dandelions: if Granny Smiths weren't so pervasive, we'd love them!
Ginger Gold — a Golden Delicious cross with Albemarle Pippin — is another variety that's often available in fall, and a worthy representative of the Delicious family.
OK, I can hear voices ringing from across the land: why don't you test Fuji? Gala? Honey Crisp? [Name your favorite apple]?
Limited time, limited resources — and a pan with space for just six pies, so I'm sure I've left out a lot of worthy contenders. Which simply means you can have fun doing this same test at home with your own favorites.
The first thing I try is making apple mini pies in our pie and burger bun pan.
The resulting pies are totally delicious — but between crust and streusel topping, the apples get lost.
For test #2, I smarten up, simply baking apples sweetened with a bit of sugar.
To mimic apple pie (sans crust), I pile sliced apples high in the pan. Then I bake them in a preheated 425°F oven for 20 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 375°F, and continue to bake the apples until they're bubbly, about 40 minutes.
I had no idea there'd be such significant differences in both texture and flavor.
For example, Russets and Macs are sweetened with the same amount of sugar, bake at the same temperature, for the same amount of time — and offer WAY different results.
Let's sum up the results of our best pie apples test.
The best pie apples
- Texture: very soft bordering on unpleasantly mushy.
- Taste: Distinct apple flavor nice balance of sweetness and tang.
- Texture: Very firm, with pleasant bite and little loss of structural integrity.
- Taste: Mild, unassuming, not overly sweet.
- Texture: Medium firm slices were distinct, yet soft.
- Taste: Sweet, mildly "apple-y." Not much nuance.
- Texture: Extremely soft slices turned to chunky applesauce as soon as I touched them.
- Taste: Very similar to Cortland classic apple taste.
- Texture: Distinct slices, but very soft softer than Northern Spy.
- Taste: Undistinguished not too sweet and little apple flavor.
- Texture: Crisp/tender, a bit firmer than Northern Spy slices held their shape.
- Taste: Medium sweetness with a touch of tang.
So, Granny Smith looks like the best combination of both taste and texture. Does it make the very best apple pie?
Not necessarily. I've baked many pies with this all-purpose apple, especially during the winter when other apples are scarce or pricey. A pie made 100% with Granny Smith apples is a mighty fine pie.
But in fall, when every apple variety in the world is seemingly at your fingertips, why not take advantage of one or two (or more) of your own local favorites?
At the end of the day, choosing the best pie apples is a personal decision. My best apple pie would include a combination of these three: Cortland, for flavor Russet, for texture and Granny Smith, for its combination of the two.
What apples would fill your best pie? Bake your favorite varieties side by side and see what happens the results may surprise you.
Please share your favorite apples for pie — and your favorite apple pie tips! — in comments, below.
"Stopped in here because it was next to a sandwich shop and was glad I did. The slice of pecan pie was fabulous with a very short crust that I know was homemade because I saw the owner in back making it. The filling was loaded with pecans and was not too sweet. They also have savory pies (I wish I would have known that before I bought the sandwich). Highly recommended!" -Mike B.
“Best Pies Ever. Can't get enough of them pies, especially the apple pie. It's so delicious. Their quiches are great too and their beef lasagna is so good every time I serve it, people think it is homemade! YUM! Yum! YUM. " -Lulu B.
“The Pie Gourmet is a unique little bakery that lives up to its name. I have tried a variety of their pies, and both savory and sweet are excellent. Their apple pie is excellent! I would also recommend them for holiday pies if you are not inclined to bake. Call to order to avoid being disappointed. They are exceptionally busy…" -Gadget357
“The crust was dedicate and flavorful. The apple pie had just the right amount of cinnamon and spice. The pie was perfectly baked. Super delicious!" -Mark E.
"Their Marble Brownie is the best in the region. A must have at every visit! -Drider S.
Pie is one of those dishes that so deftly straddles the line between special and down-to-earth, party-worthy yet refreshingly unfussy. Here, we've gathered our top 20 pie recipes, the ones our users return to again and again.
Apple, like the Mile-High Apple Pie shown here, is definitely the favorite type of pie included in this gallery&mdashapple pie recipes make up a quarter of the selection. But there's something uniquely American about each of the pies here. That's because they include regional favorites from across the U.S., and you'll find many of them on the menu on national holidays, from the Fourth of July to Thanksgiving.
Not every pie need be served after dinner main course pies are beloved among cooks for their comforting, one-dish appeal. In this collection you'll find meaty Shepherd's Pie taking first place, but we're also sharing a recipe for Classic Chicken Potpie and a Pork Pie that can be served either warm or cold. Even so, sweet pies dominate the bunch, and what a range there is. There are traditional two-crust fruit pies, including Old-Fashioned Apple Pie and Vegan Apple Pie, there are also one-crust pies that swap in crumbs for the topping (Rhubarb and Peach, we're looking at you).
Other single-crust pies run the gamut, from fall and winter classics such as Sweet Potato Pie, pumpkin pie, and even a Chocolate Pecan Pie, to creamy and fluffy creations, including Lemon Meringue Pie, Banana Cream Pie, and Coconut Custard Pie.
And if pie crust itself doesn't appeal, there are always cookie crust pies, such as a classic Key Lime (made with a graham cracker crust). In this collection of greatest hits, you're sure to find favorites old and new.
America's Best Pies
Pumpkin pie. Few dishes can cement a new memory&mdashwhile also calling up cherished family moments&mdashquite like this one. And few bakers make this famed holiday dessert quite like Maury Rubin, at New York&rsquos City Bakery. This is no postmodern interpretation, just traditional pumpkin pie done especially right: a buttery graham-cracker crust with a well-calibrated punch of spice in the filling.
The appeal of pie is hard to describe. It&rsquos more than just a delicious dessert. There&rsquos comfort, tradition, and a strong sense of place in every bite. Whether it&rsquos a classic standard or a fresh take with unique ingredients, a standout slice of pie will be forevermore associated with the when, where, and why of its serving.
As a new generation of eaters embraces those American staples on which their great-grandparents were reared, the iconic pie has developed something of an &ldquoit&rdquo factor. From coast to coast, contemporary pie shops are serving nostalgia with a sincere if slightly self-aware wink. At Random Order Coffee in Portland, OR, for example, you&rsquoll find a proper apple pie&mdashmade from scratch, of course&mdashthat would earn your granny&rsquos seal of approval. But it also serves a decidedly untraditional Tahitian vanilla salted-caramel apple number that, besides the apples, has little in common with Grandma&rsquos mainstay.
By no means is the pie revival a city phenomenon. Ten years ago, Maggie Gergen bought an old pie shop in southeastern Minnesota, where she continues to add to her repertoire of seasonal pies. She&rsquos stopped counting but thinks there are somewhere between 30 and 40 varieties. Although no one&rsquos complaining about her pumpkin crumble or chocolate chunk, she&rsquos most proud of her rhubarb offerings. &ldquoWe go through an awful lot,&rdquo she says. &ldquoAll the rhubarb is handpicked.&rdquo
At Gergen&rsquos shop, you can sample her classic rhubarb custard and strawberry rhubarb pies, or break from tradition and try the raspberry rhubarb. Better yet, dig into the Bluebarb. Yes, that&rsquos blueberries and rhubarb together in one pie. The combination yields a gorgeous magenta color and jammy, tangy sweetness in every slice.
If you&rsquore looking for slices of nostalgia or bold new baked goodness, there&rsquos a perfect slice of pie somewhere in America waiting for you. Whether or not to add whipped cream is entirely up to you. &mdashCharlotte Druckman
The 12 Best Pie Shops in America - Recipes
Today's Start-of-day Pie Menu (come early for best selection)
The original Hoosier Mama Pie Shop has EXPANDED!
Enjoy your pie on our patio!
We have a beautiful hidden urban patio with flowers and a burbling fountain right behind our shop. A great place to pause and enjoy your pie and coffee.
We now make a full range of espresso and coffee drinks featuring beans roasted locally by Metropolis Coffee Co. and house made syrups.
Our morning breakfast options now include quiche, savory galettes, fruit & yogurt parfaits, scones, muffins, and turnovers
Pie Shop Notes
1618 Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622
Metered street parking is usually available near the shop, but be warned that the parking is patrolled.
The Pie Dishes
When picking a roster of pie plates to test, we tried to include representatives from all the major categories. Outliers aside, most pie dishes tend to be 8 ½ to 10 inches in diameter (measured from inner lip to inner lip), 1 ½ to 2 inches deep, and fall generally into three material categories—metal, glass, or stoneware/ceramich with their own strengths and weaknesses.
Broadly speaking, metal pie tins conduct heat rapidly and very efficiently, which guarantees a well-cooked bottom crust when making filled pies, such as apple or rhubarb, but can lead to overbrowning and other inconsistencies when working with custard-based pies (like pumpkin or buttermilk) whose fillings may require a longer cook time to set. Inexpensive and shatterproof, the majority of metal pie plates are made of aluminum. These days many are also coated with nonstick surfaces that, while making for neat and easy slice removal, can be easily scratched by sharp knives and serving spatulas.
Disposable foil pie tins may seem like a convenient choice if you are bringing your pie to a school potluck or other community event (or if, like Joanne Chang, who uses them widely at her Flour bakeshops, the pies you are prepping are primarily for sale) but their flimsy construction can lead to uneven baking and provides inadequate support for most fillings. One helpful solution Kate McDermott offered: if you must use a disposable pan, bake it inside a glass or ceramic pan—which will aid with even heat distribution and add stability for handling𠅊nd remove it only once it has cooled and is ready to serve. "I once saw a beautiful, piping hot apple pie baked in a disposable pan fold in half and slump to the floor when the baker took it out of the oven," said McDermott. "And that was a very, very sad sight."
Glass pie pans, of which the Pyrex brand is most ubiquitous, are no-frills, affordable, widely available, and oftentimes the plates that many cooks learn on. Indeed, because their clear material lets you see when the bottom crust is firm, browned, and nicely-baked, they can be a boon to bakers of all experience levels. They also conduct heat slowly and evenly, allowing the pie&aposs pastry and filling to cook at the same moderate pace (although this does also mean that they may require a few more minutes in the oven than their metal counterparts). In recent years, consumer websites have reported some alarming stories of glass baking dishes "exploding" after moving from a hot oven to counters and cooling racks (apparently a result of the manufacturers&apos switch from super heat-resistant borosilicate glass to the slightly more fragile material of tempered soda lime). But in our tests (and in our many previous years of baking with glass pie dishes), we never had one shatter on us, nor did any of the experts we queried, or our friends and neighbors.
Weighty in the hand, appealingly earthy, and available in a rainbow of styles and glazes to suit any occasion and mood, pottery and ceramic pie dishes stand out from the pack in terms of aesthetics𠅊nd are sure to win appreciative comments when you present them at table. Like glass dishes, ceramic pie dishes conduct heat slowly and evenly, which helps yield uniformly golden crusts and thoroughly cooked fillings, even when making fruit pies, like apple, that require lengthy cooks to soften down. Some ceramic pans also come with appealing and smartly-designed flourishes, such as ruffled rims that help guide fingers when fluting crusts, or generous handles that make transferring from oven to table a cinch. While they do tend to be pricier𠅎specially the ones made by the three big French makers: Emile Henry, Le Creuset and Staub—when well cared for, most ceramic pie dishes will last a lifetime and are pretty enough that you&aposll want to pass them down. Vintage pottery pie dishes can be quite beautiful, too, but if you stumble on one at a flea market or estate sale, exercise caution: older glazes may contain lead, and when in doubt, it&aposs best to avoid them.
Our be-all, end-all recipe for perfect galette crust works with nearly any fruit (or veg) that’s in season—or within arm’s reach.
Recipes you want to make. Cooking advice that works. Restaurant recommendations you trust.
Sugar Cream Pie
Distinguishing Features: Brown sugar, butter, and cream a simple treat, but one of the most addictive types of pies popular in French and Quebecois cuisines, as well as the Midwest USA, where it is also called &ldquoHoosier Pie&rdquo due to its association with Indiana.
Great Place to Try It: Mrs. Wick&rsquos Pie Shop in Winchester, IN, might be the best place on earth to eat Hoosier Pie&mdashthe Wick family once sold them out of the back of a 1934 Buick.
"One Taste and You're Home"
The Centerville Pie Company is a Massachusetts-based pie company located on Cape Cod. Founded in 2009 by long-time friends Laurie Bowen and Kristin Broadley (“The Pie Ladies”), the local pie shop was thrust into the national spotlight shortly after they opened their doors when they were discovered by Oprah Winfrey. After taking one bite of their signature scratch-made chicken pie, Oprah was raving, naming it one of her favorite things.
As of 2018, our restaurant closed indefinitely. However, you can still swing by our Cape Cod bakery for a bite! We offer fresh breakfast bakery items, salads, sandwiches, soup, and other prepared meals. Variety changes daily. As always, we also have fresh cream and fruit pies, cases filled with frozen pies to go, and even pie delivery.
Even if you can't make it to the Cape, our Online Shop is always open. So whether you’re in the mood for savory chicken pie and shepherd’s pie or sweet pecan and cherry, satisfying your craving is… well, easy as pie.
Kristin Broadley and Laurie Bowen
Hand-peeled mix of fresh apples with cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg
A mix of wild Maine and cultivated blueberries
Lemon curd with baked meringue in our signature crust
Homemade chocolate chip cookie baked in our signature crust
Tart cherry filling with lattice crust
Real key lime in our graham cracker crust
A mix of raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, and strawberries
Chocolate pudding mixed with butter toffee, topped with homemade whipped cream and toffee bits
Hand-peeled mix of fresh apples with sugar and cranberries
Banana pudding and sliced bananas topped with homemade whipped cream
Sliced strawberries and rhubarb (Seasonal)
Fresh, succulent, hand-sliced peaches (Seasonal)
Chocolate pudding, homemade whipped cream and chocolate chips
Overstuffed with slow-cooked, hand-pilled chicken and homemade gravy. One of Oprah's Favorite Things!
Seasoned ground beef with onions and corn, topped with creamy mashed potatoes and parmesan cheese
Vegetarian's delight, our version of the traditional Spanakopita
Slow-roasted pork simmered in sweet barbecue sauce
Seasoned ground beef with onions and corn, topped with mashed sweet potatoes and parmesan cheese
Ground pork and beef with a touch of mashed potatoes and seasoning
Stuffed with slow-cooked, hand-pulled chicken and buffalo sauce
Pie Baking Directions:
Large Pies - Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place frozen pie on baking sheet and bake for 1.5 hours (90 minutes) on the bottom shelf. Small pies bake for 1 hour.
Apple Pies - Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush frozen pie with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar prior to baking. Place pie on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes on the bottom shelf, then reduce temperature to 350 and bake for an additional hour.
The Best of the Best
Oprah calls her Legends Weekend one of the great highlights of her life. During the three-day celebration at her home in Santa Barbara, California, she honored African-American women who have paved the way for others. On Monday, May 22, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, she's sharing the once-in-a-lifetime event during the primetime special Oprah Winfrey's Legends Ball.
Recently, the stars got a sneak peek at the premiere in New York. Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Barbara Walters, Tyra Banks, Alicia Keyes, Tyler Perry and many others were there for the big night. Rapper P. Diddy was especially moved—Gayle says that he got so emotional he said he was "buggin'."
Celebrate Oprah's Legends and the legends in your own life—throw a party to watch the party! Invite your friends over and toast the occasion.
First stop, the Icebox Café in Miami! Before Gayle sits down with owner Robert Siegmann to sample the sweets, she asks for a moment to ogle the divine desserts in the bakery's display case. "Chocolate and cookies and pies, oh my!" Gayle says. "Am I in heaven and don't know it?"
She starts by tasting the cinnamon butter bundt cake. "This is very, very, very good," says Gayle. Other popular cakes at The Icebox include strawberry shortcake, coconut buttercream cake and "The Bomb," a cheesecake brownie sandwiched inside chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling.
Shaq and Shaunie sit down with Gayle in the kitchen to sample the goods, starting with a favorite of Shaq's, strawberry shortcake. The coconut buttercream and "The Bomb" chocolate cakes are also a big hit with the couple. "Oprah, this is the best cake in Miami right here!" Shaq says.
Mr. and Mrs. O'Neal may have the same take on cake. but matters of the heart are another story. Shaunie says the two met when he "stalked" her wearing "an obnoxious white suit with white shoes and white tie."
"And a white hat," Shaq says.
"It was awful, Gayle," says Shaunie. "He sent his cousin over to talk to me for him. How [age] 12 is that?"
Before long Shaq's charms began to work their magic. "He was so funny. He made me laugh," Shaunie says. "And he's just really sweet."
Shaunie says that soon after she and Shaq met, he invited her to have lunch at his house and took her on a very memorable tour. She was shocked to see he'd decorated his bachelor pad with pictures of himself "all over the place". but the biggest surprise came in the bedroom.
The room had a disco ball, smoke machine and computerized light show. When Shaq typed in "Shaunie," her name flashed across the walls. "Which was supposed to impress me!" she says. "Yuck!"
It wasn't game over for Shaq. He and Shaunie, married since 2002, are now celebrating the birth of their fourth child together—a beautiful baby girl named Me'arah Sanaa.
As editor at large of O, The Oprah Magazine, Gayle spends enough time working in New York City to be well acquainted with the town's tastiest sweet spots. There's one legendary place she hasn't tried. until now. Wimp's, located in Harlem, offers cakes "like your grandma used to make."
All the cakes follow the same recipes handed down by Wimp's own grandmother, says his wife, Donna. Wimp creates his sweet confections with the baking basics: real butter, lots of sugar, flour, buttermilk and all the fixins—coconut, pecans and chocolate. "It's not the best for the waistline," Donna says, "but they're definitely wholesome."
Gayle's next delicious delivery is to none other than "The Donald," Melania and baby Barron. Will this cake trump the others?
Wimp's whips up a chocolate cake with chocolate icing for Donald and Melania Trump. The bakery even adds a special birthday message for Melania, who's celebrating a birthday and the birth of her first child, Barron William Trump.
How did the Trumps come up with such a unique name? Donald says he suggested a name that he's always loved, but "never had the courage to use." Melania began calling the baby "Barron" while he was still in the womb, and it stuck!
Donald says it's terrific having a baby in the house again and that his wife is a fantastic mother, while Melania reveals a softer side of "The Donald."
"He's amazing with the baby," she says. "He takes him in the morning when he wakes up. He brings him in his room, and they are watching TV together and reading the papers."
At just five weeks old, Barron is ready for his close-up! Melania and Donald introduce Gayle to their latest addition. who's still a little groggy from his nap.
"I love the noise he makes. I love the smell," Gayle says as she holds Barron. "I want one, Oprah!"
Like the rest of the Trump home, Barron's nursery is warm and inviting. The room is filled with plush teddy bears and stuffed animals—including a giant stuffed frog from Gayle!
Gayle's cake quest takes her from New York City to Nashville, Oprah's hometown! She heads straight to Tennessee T-Cakes, a sweet shop known for their "ultimate Southern confections."
Inside the shop, bakers serve up bite-sized cakes in four flavors— original, chocolate truffle, luscious lemon and key lime. Each batch is baked for exactly 14 minutes, and then the cakes are finished off with a light sprinkle of powdered sugar.
Owner Frances Barkley reveals the secret ingredients that make her T-Cakes so special—flour, butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. "What's so unusual about that?" Gayle asks.
"It's the portions and the brands of things that I use. That makes a big difference," Frances says. "Everything is top of the line in this T-Cake."
Tennessee T-Cakes may have brought Gayle to Nashville, but while she's in the neighborhood, she makes a surprise stop at Vernon Winfrey's barbershop to share these sweet treats with Oprah's dad.
The small shop is crowded with customers, who munch on T-Cakes while waiting for their turn in the barber chair. Vernon, who's hard at work cutting hair, says he told his daughter that he might retire when he turned 70, "but 70 came too soon," he says. "When I get to where I can't make folks look any better, I'll go home."
Gayle's next stop in Nashville is Oprah's childhood home! When she arrives at the modest, two-bedroom brick home—with a tray of T-Cakes in hand—Gayle learns that someone is sleeping in Oprah's old bedroom. After a surprising wake-up call, Gayle gets a look inside the room where Oprah slept as a child. "I wonder how she had it arranged back when," Gayle says.
Gayle takes a peek inside Oprah's childhood closet before saying goodbye to the current residents and wrapping up her Nashville "cakewalk."
Gayle has a sweet treat for Oprah and the entire audience—red velvet cake from Doughboys Bakery in Los Angeles! Oprah says the first time Gayle tried Doughboys' creamy frosting and moist cake, she sent her an e-mail that said, "Lord have mercy!"
"Most [bakeries] get it wrong," Gayle says. "Either it's too dry or the color isn't right, but this, I thought, was really perfection."
Oprah may not be as fond of sweets as Gayle, but even she thinks Doughboys' specialty is "exceptional". especially with a cold glass of milk.
Which cake does Gayle rate number one? She says they were all delicious. but if she had to pick, she'd go with Wimp's Caramel Coconut Cake.
Queen of quick Rachael Ray is known for her 30-minute meals, but her Chocolate Cups dessert is beyond fast! Rachael's take on pots de crème&mdashone of her mother's recipes and a personal favorite of Rachael's&mdashis a five-minute, no-fuss dessert. "It's a knockout," she says.
Simple recipes make great eats and great gifts! Rachael says she likes to transform her favorite recipes into last-minute gifts that are perfect for every occasion.
First, Rachael says to choose a super simple recipe from your collection, and print out the instructions on a recipe card. Then, head to the grocery store and stock up on all the ingredients you need to make the dish. Package all the ingredients in a gift bag or reusable grocery sack, throw in an affordable bottle of wine and your present is complete!
Rachael's go-to gift can also be adapted to suit any budget and recipient. "You can take it to any level," she says. "You can get, you know, really pricey with the bottle of wine. You can even adapt it for children. Buy a nice children's cookbook and put all the ingredients for one recipe in there. . It works for literally every occasion."