If your household is anything like ours, you know that apple pies usually get wiped on the same day, especially homemade ones. Yet, every once in a blue moon, we have to deal with leftovers.
The first time that happened, we had to ask: Does apple pie need to be refrigerated? Can we leave it on the counter for breakfast the next day?
As it turns out, not all apple pies need to be refrigerated right away. The answer depends on the recipe and storage conditions.
In this post, we’ll check when it’s possible to leave the pie outside, how to deal with canned filling, and whether freezing is a valid option.
Store-Bought vs. Homemade Apple Pie: Which Needs to Be Refrigerated?
Let’s jump right in and see how both store-bought and homemade pies do, both inside and outside the fridge:
Store-Bought Apple Pie
Most brands (or grocery stores) that make apple pies have storage recommendations on the label. However, it’s safe to say that most store-bought pies have some sort of preservative, like potassium sorbate or sorbic acid.
This means that they tend to last longer at room temperature than homemade pasties, but it would be better to put them in the fridge if you don’t plan on eating them within a couple of days.
Meanwhile, frozen unbaked apple pies need to be kept at 0°F, and they’ll last up to 8 months.
Homemade Apple Pie
Unless you live somewhere very hot and humid, you don’t have to refrigerate your apple pie right away.
If, for some reason, your platter isn’t wiped clean in 1–2 days, then you’ll have to put the leftovers in the fridge before they spoil.
Why not refrigerate the pie from the get-go? Well, although refrigerating keeps the pie viable longer, it can also turn the crust gummy.
Can an Apple Pie Sit Out Overnight?
Yes, it’s possible to let your pie sit on the counter overnight, provided that you seal it tightly. Double wrap and use air-tight containers if you have to!
The wrapping should keep the crust from catching moisture and protect your dessert from flies all at once.
As for the bacteria, the sugar and acid in the baked apple pie should handle the job.
Sugar is actually a natural preservative that slows down bacterial growth. That’s why fruit pies, in general, can last up to 2 full days at room temperature, not just overnight.
When Is It Wrong to Let an Apple Pie Sit Out Overnight?
Unfortunately, there are a few exceptions to the 2-day counter rule. Here are some situations that call for immediate refrigeration:
- If you’ve topped the pie with whipped cream.
- If the recipe is somehow modified to contain custard or egg-based filling.
- If you’ve used an artificial sweetener rather than sugar.
- If the only free spot on the counter is next to a heat source or exposed to direct sunlight.
So, the fridge is your best bet in these cases.
Before we move on to the nitty-gritty details of refrigerating and freezing, we have to mention that when we say “immediate refrigeration,” we don’t mean putting a fresh-out-of-the-oven pie in the fridge.
That’s a quick way to crack your glass baking dish and run up your electricity bill.
Instead, you’ll have to let the pie dish sit outside for at least 30 minutes.
How Long Does Apple Pie Last in the Fridge and in the Freezer?
Most traditional apple pies can survive 2 days on the countertop and 2 days in the fridge.
After those 4 days, the filling might no longer be safe for consumption. Plus, the flavor and texture will be off-putting at this point.
All in all, we don’t think you’ll have trouble finishing up a well-made pie in 2–4 days
However, if you need more time, consider freezing. It’ll help you preserve the pie for around 4 months.
Does Apple Pie Freeze Well?
If you’ve tried your luck with cream and egg-rich pies, you’ll know that those don’t freeze well. Odds are, the crust will end up too soggy.
The good news is that traditional apple pie is nothing like that; the filling should handle the freezing like a champ.
It’s just not apple pies, either. You can freeze the majority of fruit-based pies without much trouble, especially if you store them unbaked.
That said, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you keep an already-baked apple pie viable for as long as possible in the freezer:
- Don’t try to freeze a warm pie; let it sit outside overnight.
- Freeze the pie uncovered till it’s solid, take it out, wrap it, and put it back again.
- Use multiple layers of plastic film to make sure the pie is covered from all sides.
- Put the wrapped pie inside a sealable freezer bag for extra protection.
- Label the bag with the freezing and best-by dates.
- Avoid placing anything over the pie, especially during the first 24 hours.
- Consider wrapping individual slices/portions if you don’t intend on reheating the whole thing at once.
Does Dutch Apple Pie Need to Be Refrigerated?
The same storage rules that apply to American apple pie apply to the Dutch variation. That means you can let the crumble-topped treat sit at room temperature for around 2 days, then pop it in the fridge for a couple more days.
How Long Does Apple Pie Filling Last in the Fridge?
Many homemade apple pie filling recipes can last up to 4 days in the fridge, but you have to use a clean airtight container.
So, instead of refrigerating the whole pie, you can make your signature filling in advance and use it with store-bought crust later during the week. This way, you’ll save time on hectic weekdays but still get to customize the flavor to your liking.
However, if you want to extend the lifespan, you’ll want to consider canning. There’s more work to tackle, but the beauty of this method is that it preserves the filling for 18 months on a shelf—no refrigeration needed!
Alternatively, some people opt for ready-made apple pie filling cans from the store. Once you open one of those bad boys, you’ll get to keep it for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
How to Reheat Apple Pie
Once you put that pie in the fridge, the crust will never be the same, but it’s still possible to get decent results after reheating.
The key is to forget about the microwave and follow these steps instead:
- Let the cold apple pie sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 350°F while you wait.
- Cover the dish with foil and pop it in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Use a wooden pick to check that the filling is all warm. If not, leave it for 5 more minutes.
For frozen apple pies, you’ll want to move the dish to the fridge for an overnight thawing period first.
You don’t have to refrigerate a traditional apple pie as long as you finish it within 2 days, which shouldn’t be a challenge, anyway!
Regardless, if a couple of days go by and the fruit pie is still there, the fridge can keep it viable for 2 more days. The downside here is that the crust won’t be as pretty as it used to be.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.