How do you make a store-bought pie look like you made it?

Making a store-bought pie look homemade can be surprisingly easy with just a few simple tricks. While nothing beats a pie made completely from scratch, sometimes it’s just not feasible to make the pie yourself. With a busy schedule or for a last-minute get-together, picking up a pie from the grocery store or bakery is a quick and convenient option. However, no one has to know that store-bought secret if you jazz up the pie’s presentation with some easy homemade touches.

Use a Pretty Pie Dish

One of the biggest giveaways of a store-bought pie is the disposable pie tin it comes in. Ditch the flimsy tin and transfer the pie into a pretty, homemade-looking pie dish. Glass, ceramic, or stoneware pie dishes look especially homey and will elevate the look instantly. If the pie comes in a foil tin, gently lift out the pie and transfer it directly into the new bakeware. For pies in a disposable aluminum tin, you may need to first transfer it to a cardboard bottom so you can remove the tin before placing it in your own pie dish.

Add a Homemade Looking Crust

Even pies with their own crust can benefit from extra homemade looking edges. Use leftover pie dough or puff pastry to decorate the pie crust rim. Cut shapes like leaves, zig-zags, or other fun designs with mini cookie cutters. Brush the edges lightly with milk or egg wash before baking for a glossy sheen. For an over-the-top ornate look, press designer cookie cutters lightly into the top crust before baking as well. Heart shapes or initials make for really personal pies.

Crimp or Flute the Edges

For an easy homemade touch, use your fingers or a fork to crimp or flute the edges of the pie crust. Crimped edges give the crust a wavy, decorative look. Use your index finger and thumb to pinch and crease the dough. Fluting uses a fork: simply press the tines into the outer rim of the crust in a circular pattern. Both techniques add interest and make the pie look like it came fresh from your kitchen.

Add Pie Topper Cutouts

Whip up some pie crust dough or use puff pastry to cut shapes that top your pie and spell out messages. Cut out letters, shapes, or designs with small cookie cutters. Heart shapes for Valentine’s Day, leaves for autumn pies, gingerbread people for the holidays are all creative ways to make the pie feel special. Bake the cutouts until lightly golden and top the cooled pie. For extra sheen, glaze the cutouts by brushing with an egg wash before baking.

Make Cuts in the Top Crust

Turn a dull solid pie crust into something special by decorating the top crust. Use a small knife to cut shapes into the top crust before baking. Simple crosshatch cuts make for a nice homemade touch. For apple or fruit pies, cut out circles or hearts to reveal the fruity filling beneath. Cut a few small steam vents around the top so steam can escape while baking. The vents will close up and turn golden brown while baking but still add that homemade touch.

Add Interest with Lattice Top Crusts

Lattice top crusts may seem intimidating but are actually pretty easy to top your pie with. Use leftover pie dough or puff pastry cut into strips. Weave the strips in a criss-cross pattern over your pie filling, leaving about an inch between strips. For a beginner-friendly lattice top, arrange strips in one direction first. Then lay the perpendicular strips across. Trim off excess dough and crimp the edges to seal. The woven design is eye-catching and most definitely looks homemade.

Include a Cinnamon Sugar or Crumb Topping

An easy way to hide a store-bought pie crust is to load on the toppings. Cinnamon sugar, crumb toppings, streusel, nuts, and dried fruit all help disguise the crust while also adding delicious texture and flavor. Make your own streusel by combining flour, sugar, cinnamon, and butter. For a quick cinnamon sugar topping, combine cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle generously on top of pie before baking for a crunchy sweet layer. Nuts, coconut, or dried fruit also help hide imperfect crusts.

Add Decoration with Whipped Cream

Pretty whipped cream tops say homemade! Use a mixer or whisk to whip some cold heavy cream into smooth, billowy peaks. Sweeten it slightly with vanilla and sugar or spice it up with flavors like cinnamon and nutmeg. Spoon or pipe the whipped cream generously over your pie in swoops, peaks, and dollops. Top with extra pieces of cinnamon sticks or grated nutmeg. Keep whipped cream chilled until ready to serve for best results. The homemade look and taste can’t be beat.

Stencil the Crust

Make a simple homemade crust look extra crafty with some stenciling. Use paper stencils or freehand designs to stencil shapes, letters, or patterns onto the crust before baking. Mix powdered sugar and cinnamon or cocoa powder to sprinkle over the stencil onto the crust. Remove the stencil and bake as usual. The sugar mix will caramelize slightly when baked for a neat embossed look. Pies decorated with initials, hearts, leaves, flowers are great for making your pie look homemade.

Add Fresh Fruit Toppings

A pile of fresh fruit on top is a yummy finishing touch that screams homemade. Arrange sliced fruit like apples, strawberries, kiwi, or cherries in pretty overlapping circles. Brush with a bit of honey or preserves to add some shine. You can also heat up some jelly and brush on fruit to glaze it. For an extra wow factor, use whole berries, edible flowers, mint leaves, sliced citrus, or fresh herbs to embellish your pie. The natural textures and colors make it look perfect for your farmhouse table.

Include Baked On Elements

Make your pie look straight out of the oven with clever add-ons that can bake right onto the crust. Sprinkle coarse sugar or demerara sugar crystals onto unbaked pie crust before baking. The large crystals will sparkle and caramelize slightly. For a streusel effect, try pressing some oat topping or granola into the crust and baking. Employ any of these topper tricks along the crust’s edge or rim for embellishment.

Add Height with Meringue

For mile high pie panache, top your pie with billowing meringue. Even if the rest of the pie is store-bought, a homemade meringue kissed with bronzed peaks impresses guests. Prepare meringue by whipping egg whites and slowly incorporating sugar until stiff, glossy peaks form. Top the pie with meringue and use a spatula to create swoops, peaks, and swirls. Bake until the meringue is lightly golden. Let cool before slicing to show off your picture-perfect pie.

Dress Up the Plate

You’ve embellished the pie, but don’t forget the presentation. Arrange slices on pretty dessert plates, cake pedestals, or stands. Garnish the plates with fresh mint or flowers like pansies, lavender, or rose petals. Ground spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice can also decorate the rim. Serve with berries, chocolate curls, or citrus slices for extra gourmet panache. Your guests will be impressed with the beautiful presentation.


With a clever crust disguise and lavish toppings, even a store-bought pie can take on all the allure of homemade. Getting creative with the crust, piling on fancy fruit toppings, and taking time with an artful presentation are easy ways to elevate pie night from mundane to marvelous. Don’t be afraid to start with a store-bought pie to save time on busy weeknights or holidays. With the right techniques and toppings, you can still have your pie and eat it too by making that store-bought pie look – and taste – like it came fresh from your oven.

Leave a Comment