How Many Types of Pie Are There? + Examples & Pictures

how many types of pie are there

The world of pie is as vast as it is delicious. Some have a flaky, crumbly crust, some have colorful toppings, and some have intricate designs on top. And let’s not even start talking about the many types of fillings people use. So, just how many types of pie are there?

You can classify 19 types of pie based on their characteristics. Depending on the crust, you have double-crust, deep-dish, tart, galette, and lattice pie. In terms of filling, you get fruit, cream, nuts, and custard pie. Among these types, you have several variations like apple pie, cherry pie, etc.

There are so many pies in the world, each differing in terms of crust quality, design of crust, type of filling, baking method, size, shape, etc. And each type of pie has numerous variations. 

So, in this article, we are going to make an extensive list of all the different types of pies out there by putting them in board categories. We will also discuss the most popular varieties of pies out there. So, let’s get started!

Types of Pie Based on the Crust

For many people, the pie crust is just as important as the filling that goes in, if not more so. An ideal crust should complement the flavor and texture of the filling and remain firm long after baking. Let’s be honest, no one likes a soggy pie.

But you can play around with the crust to give different properties. Some crusts are flaky while others are crispy. Some pies have a thick crust, while others have a thin pastry. Additionally, you can make different designs with the crusts. So, here are different types of pie according to the nature and layout of the crust:

Shortcrust Pie

how many types of pie are there

A shortcrust pie is any pie that utilizes a shortcrust pastry as its crust. This pastry can also be found in many quiche recipes, tarts, etc.

The key thing about shortcrust pastry is the fat-to-flour ratio. Typically, in a shortcrust pastry, you add 1 part fat and 2 parts flour. So, the fat-to-flour ratio ends up as 1:2. Normally, you tear or grate the fat into small pieces and rub it into the flour. Then you loosely bind the mixture with a small amount of ice water and roll it out.

This gives a shortcrust pastry its signature buttery, crumbly texture as it tears apart very easily when you bite it. As there is no leavening agent here, such as yeast or baking powder, the crust does not rise in the oven. So, you end up with a thin crust that breaks apart in your mouth. 

Here are some popular pies that utilize a shortcrust pastry:

  • Chicken pot pie
  • Shortcrust apple pie
  • Chicken and spinach quiche
  • Rustic strawberry tart
  • Caramelized shallot and goat’s cheese galette
  • Vanilla custard pies

Deep-Dish Pie

how many types of pie are there

Similar to the deep-dish pizza synonymous with Chicago-style pizza, a deep-dish pie is where you use an extra deep baking tray. A regular pie dish is 1 inch to 1 and ½ inches deep. A deep dish is at least 2 inches deep, giving the pies their characteristic high edges and long crusts. This also allows you to put more filling in a single pie. 

Some delicious examples of deep-dish pies are listed below:

  • Pumpkin meringue pie
  • Deep-dish salted caramel apple pie
  • Classic pumpkin pie

Crumb Crust Pie

how many types of pie are there

In a crumb crust pie, instead of the usual pastry dough, the crust consists of crushed crackers or cookies. The most common variety of this is called a graham cracker crust, which is made from crushing graham crackers.

This sort of crust is typically sweeter than regular pastry dough and much easier to make. Unlike traditional pie crust, you do not need to bake the dough. It goes especially well with cream pies and cheesecakes. Pies that use a crumb crust are:

  • Cheesecake
  • Banana cream pie
  • Key lime pie
  • Peanut butter pie
  • Lemon meringue pie

Tart

how many types of pie are there

A tart is like an open-faced pie. Instead of the crust covering the bottom and all the sides, a tart only has a bottom crust. You achieve this by baking tarts in a tart pan, which is much more shallow than a regular pie pan. 

But the distinction does not stop there. A classic pie crust is supposed to be crispy and flaky. The crust on a tart, on the other hand, is similar to a shortcrust pastry, which is crumbly and buttery. 

You can view tart as a more intricate, elegant version of the classic pie. A typical pie is humble, wholesome, and rustic. The image of an ideal tart is small, quaint, neat, and tidy. 

Now, here are some examples of popular tart recipes from around the world:

  • Vanilla sable tart
  • Apple tart
  • Bakewell tart
  • Butter tart
  • Crostata 
  • Norman Tart
  • Pasta Flora 
  • Egg tart 
  • Custard tart of flans pâtissier
  • Portuguese custard tarts
  • Treacle tart
  • Chocolate tart

Lattice Pie

how many types of pie are there

The beauty of a lattice pie is less in the nature of the crust and more in the elegant design it features. It is kind of similar to a double-crusted pie. But instead of simply rolling a sheet of crust on top to cover the whole pie, you cut that sheet into long strips and make intricate designs on top. 

We say intricate but the designs can be as simple or as complex as you want. As long as you cover the whole pie and properly space out the strips, your pie will look stunning. You can cut the dough with a sharp knife or a pizza cutter. 

Once you get all the strips ready, put them on one side. Fill the bottom crust with your desired filling. And then gently place each strip according to the design you prefer. Typically, most people go with a weaved design, which results in many windows appearing on the top.

So, here are some amazing pie recipes to go with your eye-catching lattice crust:

  • Classic apple pie
  • Salted caramel apple pie
  • Cherry pie
  • Blueberry pie
  • Strawberry rhubarb pie
  • Peach pie

Double-Crust Pie

how many types of pie are there

A double-crust pie is exactly what it sounds like, it has two crusts – one on the bottom and one at the top. So, it is like the lattice pie but much less stress-inducing and requires less labor. 

You will see this sort of structure commonly in the case of fruit pies. This is because a fruit filling has a lot of juice, which may seep out during baking. The top crust prevents this and keeps the juices intact. Another benefit is that the top crust functions as a lid, cooking the filling similar to a lid-on pot. 

This makes double-crust pies the ideal companion in the summer. Almost all fruit pies have a double-crust version. And here are some of the most popular ones:

  • Apple pie
  • Strawberry rhubarb
  • Blueberry pie
  • Blackberry pie
  • Jumble berry pie
  • Cherry pie
  • Peach pie
  • Blackberry apple pie

Galette 

how many types of pie are there

Now we have perhaps the most free-form pie out there. Galettes do not have a rigid or well-defined structure. It just has to be a round pastry with a filling at the center. This pastry is then cooked in a baking tray, where the filling essentially roasts in the heat. 

Since they are essentially formless, you can make them however you want and not worry that it does not look perfect. And this sort of pastry goes beautifully with a fruit filling. Because the filling gets direct heat exposure, you usually do not need to add any thickeners. The juices will thicken up on their own.

  • Apple galette
  • Apricot galette
  • Galettes campinoises
  • Galette Comtoise
  • Galette Complète
  • Strawberry galette

Types of Pie Based on the Filling

Now let’s talk about the other integral part of a pie – the filling. No matter how good and buttery your crust is, it still needs a delicious filling to make it whole. And there are just so many ways you can fill a pie crust. They can be sweet, they can be savory, they can be salty – they can be all of the above. 

Fruit Pies

how many types of pie are there

The name gives it away. It is a pie with a fruit filling. The perfect dessert during summertime, you can equally enjoy these pies at any time of the year. You can enjoy them hot or with a scoop of ice cream on top. But they taste just as amazing, if not more, the next day as breakfast. You really cannot go wrong with a wonderful fruit pie.

Fruit pies typically feature a top crust. This can be either in a lattice design or a simple, circular sheet. This top cover helps to keep the juices intact. You can use fresh fruits, canned fruits, or frozen fruits in your dessert. You can keep it simple with one kind of fruit or you can mix and match depending on what you have available.

Typically, you need some sort of thickening agent to bind all of the juice that will come out. Otherwise, you are going to end up with a very soupy filling. But if the fruit is naturally high in pectin, then it will do most of the thickening on its own. 

So, here are some ideas for fruit pies to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Pineapple pie
  • Apple pie
  • Key lime pie
  • Strawberry rhubarb pie
  • Blueberry pie with ice cream
  • Blackberry pie
  • Cranberry pie
  • Peach pie
  • Mixed berry pie
  • Applesauce pie
  • Raspberry pie
  • Grape pie
  • Banana cream pie
  • Huckleberry pie
  • Pear pie
  • Cherry pie

Cream Pies

how many types of pie are there

A cream pie is where the filling is some sort of cream. This is invariably a dessert dish and it almost always comes with a whipped cream topping. You can make a filling that bakes along with the crust in the oven. Or you can make a cream filling that does not need baking. You simply pour it into a pre-cooked crust. 

This dessert is always served cold after it has been in the refrigerator for a significant amount of time. You can also mix in tropical or seasonal fruits of your choice. Another common way of serving any cream pie is with a meringue on top.

Apart from eating, this type of pie has another prominent yet silly use. If you wanted to throw a pie at someone, whether it be as a prank or part of a comedic routine, this would be the pie of your choice. 

But strictly for the purpose of consuming, here are some terrific cream pie ideas:

  • Chocolate cream pie
  • Banana cream pie
  • Peanut butter pie
  • Coconut cream pie
  • Key lime pie
  • Lemon meringue pie
  • Vanilla cream pie
  • Cheesecake

Custard Pies

how many types of pie are there

On the surface, custard pies and cream pies may look eerily similar. And sometimes, people will use the term interchangeably. But the key difference between a regular cream filling and a custard filling is eggs. A custard filling is any cooked filling that is usually a mixture of eggs, milk, and sugar, along with other optional ingredients such as vanilla or nutmeg.

Eggs are an optional ingredient in pastry cream. Thanks to the eggs, particularly the egg yolks, custards have a richer, thicker consistency compared to the pastry cream. And because you use raw eggs, you always have to cook the custard filling, whether that be before putting in the crust or baking with the crust.

Similar to cream pies, these desserts often feature a whipped cream or meringue topping. They are also served chilled. People who have not tried making it themselves will probably be caught surprised at the fact that pumpkin pie, one of the all-time classic pies, is actually a custard pie. So, here are some other popular custard pies around the world:

  • French coconut pie
  • Buko pie (traditional Filipino coconut pie)
  • Chess pie
  • Egg pie
  • Rhubarb custard pie
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Sweet potato pie

Nut Pies

how many types of pie are there

Similar to fruits and custards, there are several pies that utilize a nut or a mixture of nuts as their star component. These are always a dessert pie and served chilled. But you can also serve them warm out of the oven. 

The filling of a typical nut pie includes cream or custard in which you mix all of the nuts. This type of dish usually only has a bottom crust. And the top layer is the layer of nuts. 

  • Pecan pie
  • English Walnut pie
  • Mixed nut pie
  • Greek honey nut pie
  • Chocolate walnut pie
  • Butterscotch pecan pie
  • Maple nuts pie

Chiffon Pies

how many types of pie are there

So, a chiffon pie has less to do with the ingredients than the nature of the filling. A chiffon pie is characterized by an especially light and airy filling. It is noticeably lighter than a cream or custard filling. 

The mixture of eggs and gelatin provides the structure for the filling. You can also do this with a custard. Then this custard is folded into a meringue or whipped egg whites, which gives the trademark light and airy texture. 

  • Lemon chiffon pie
  • Pumpkin chiffon pie
  • Strawberry chiffon pie
  • Chocolate chiffon pie

Meat Pie

how many types of pie are there

So far in this list, we have only discussed dessert pies that are semi-sweet to very sweet. But pies can be a vessel for savory flavors just as well as for sweet flavors. And nowhere is this more true than a meat pie.

A meat pie can indicate a wide range of pies that all have one thing in common – they all have meat in their filling. You can use any type of meat you want and pair it with other savory ingredients.

A very common version of meat pies is pot pie. It is particularly prominent in North America and has a filing of poultry, beef, lamb, or pork. The pie features a top crust and a very flaky texture. 

Meat pies are best served warm. Many people prefer to eat them with a side dish such as mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, or baked beans. If the filling is particularly juicy or has a lot of gravy, you would typically make a starchy side dish to soak it all up.

  • Chicken pot pie
  • Shepherd’s pie
  • Clam pie
  • Fish pie
  • Pork pie
  • British pasty
  • Rabbit pie
  • Scotch pie or mutton pie
  • Steak pie

Types of Pie Based on Size and Shape

The main pie variations come in the form of the crust and the filling. But even with the same filling, you can make wildly different pies that differ in terms of size and shape. This could be due to a matter of convenience, choice of cookware, or just because that was the standard in that particular region.

Classic Pie

how many types of pie are there

So, a classic pie is one that we are all familiar with. It is 9 to 10 inches wide, 1 and ½ inches deep, baked dish with a flaky, firm crust. Pies have been part of human civilization for centuries. And the picture of a classic pie brings with it a rustic, vintage feel.

Classic pies usually have very wholesome, seasonal flavors. This makes them one of the best comforts to have, be it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Of course, the most classical scenario for a classic pie would be a thanksgiving dinner along with roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy.

Some of the best examples of classic pies are:

  • Pumpkin pie
  • Apple pie
  • Strawberry rhubarb pie
  • Blueberry pie
  • Fresh cherry pie
  • Maple syrup pie
  • Peach pie
  • Apple crumble pie
  • Cranberry walnut pie
  • Banana cream pie
  • Sweet potato pie

Hand Pie

how many types of pie are there

Now we have a group pie born purely out of convenience. And few foods are as convenient as a pie you can eat with just one hand. These are small, mostly double-crusted pies that look like small pockets with fillings. Or they may look like miniature versions of their bigger counterparts. 

The origin of hand pies reflects the sheer utility of such a dish. Initially, the pie was a popular lunch for British TIn miners. They could grab the snack, on one hand, eat the filling, and dispose of the crust without needing to clean their hands. Of course, nowadays, the pastry casing is just as vaunted as the filling.

Hand pies can be either baked or fried. Fried pies are mostly for desserts, filled with a fruit filling. Savory hand pies are often in the form of miniature pot pies. They are very popular during the winter. 

  • Spicy potato hand pie
  • Rhubarb hand pie
  • Rustic greens hand pie
  • Chicken pot pie

Types of Pie Based on the Topping

So, you can make a pie with only a crust and filling and you will end up with a delicious dish. But the beauty of pie is that you can play around to your heart’s content. One of the ways you can make any pie extra special is by putting a rich, unique topping on it. You will normally see this sort of topping on dessert or sweet pies.

The topping can be highly decorative or simply functional. These toppings can offer a nice contrasting texture to the rest of the pie. 

Meringue Pie

how many types of pie are there

A meringue is a confection made from whipping egg whites and sugar. Occasionally, you add a little bit of acidity to the cream such as vinegar, lemon juice, or cream of tartar, which helps to stabilize the cream. Slather this meringue on a pie of your choice and you will end up with a meringue pie.

The key to a good meringue is in the stiff peaks. By whipping the egg whites constantly, usually with a stand-mixer or hand beater, you denature the proteins in the whites and make them hold that shape. This is different from whipped cream as it does not have much fat. So, a meringue is much lighter and fluffier compared to regular whipped cream.

People will most often pair this meringue with a sweet pie filling. Some of the classic examples are:

  • Lemon meringue pie
  • Key lime pie
  • Chocolate meringue pie
  • Cranberry meringue pie
  • Peanut butter meringue pie
  • Rhubarb meringue pie
  • Grapefruit meringue pie
  • Sweet potato meringue pie

Crumble 

how many types of pie are there

So, you will see many varieties of pies, especially at fares and such, that will have sandy, grainy top crust. This top part is not a crust, however, rather it is a crumble. Now, depending on where you are, this topping may be called a crisp, crumbler, or streusel. But they invariably refer to a crumbly coating of butter, sugar, and flour.

The invention of a crumble topping goes back to the early nineteenth century. People would mix butter, sugar, and flour and roll them in between their hands until they became crumbly like breadcrumbs. Modern versions of crumble can also include things such as chopped nuts, rolled oats, etc. along with spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg.

These crumbly, buttery toppings go especially well with fruit pies. The sweetness of the crumble balances the tart of the fruit filling to make for a more well-rounded taste. Plus, the crumble is a nice bit of texture to complement the soft filling.

  • Apple crumble
  • Blueberry crumble pie
  • Peach crumble pie
  • Cherry crumb pie
  • Huckleberry crumble

Types of Pie Based on the Nature of Filling

If you were to look at the type of filling people use in pies, you can pile them into two very broad categories first. You have the savory pies in one hand and on the other, you have pies with a sweet filling that are meant as a dessert.

Sweet Pie

When most people hear the word pie, they likely imagine a classic dessert dish. These are pies that all feature a sweet filling. They can be made out of fruit, chocolate, custard, or cream. The key point is that they have plenty of sugar and are meant to satisfy your sweet tooth. 

These pies are typically served at the end of dinner or a feast. For example, pumpkin pie is one of the best ways to end a traditional thanksgiving dinner. These pies can be double-crusted, open-faced, or have a single bottom crust. They often feature a meringue or crumble topping.

So, here are the most common pies around the world that are of the sweet variety:

  • Apple pie
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Blueberry pie
  • Banana cream pie
  • Apple crumble
  • Banoffee pie
  • Chiffon pie
  • Pecan pie
  • Butter tarts
  • Egg pie
  • Key lime pie
  • Pecan pie
  • Buko pie
  • Cashew pie
  • Chestnut pie
  • Rhubarb custard pie
  • Turtle pie
  • Shoofly pie
  • Lemon meringue pie
  • Strawberry pie
  • Maple syrup pie

Savory Pie

A pie with a savory filling is almost as common as its sweeter counterpart. Typically, people eat these pies as part of their dinner or breakfast. So, the filling is often in the form of a stew or soup. 

You would typically cook these fillings in a pot. But by making pastry casing, you get a temporary cooking vessel that is also edible. So, you get the best of both worlds. The filling often involves some sort of meat. But a purely vegetable filling is also common. 

  • Chicken pot pie
  • Shepherds’ pie
  • Bacon and egg pie
  • Chicken and mushroom pie
  • Pork pie
  • Rabbit pie
  • Steak pie
  • Scotch pie
  • Curry pie
  • Fish pie
  • Steak and kidney pie

Pies That Are Not Real Pies

Within this diverse world of pastry and filling, there exist a few outliers. These baked goods have the word “pie” in their name. But when you classify it in terms of quality, it falls into another category of baked products.

A famous example would be Boston’s cream pie. From every aspect of baking, this product is a cake. It tastes like a cake and is made like a cake. But at the time of its inception, pies and cakes were made in the same pan. So, people used the terms interchangeably. Thus, we ended up with a dessert that is pie in name only.

So, here are a few examples of products that use the name pie in a very loose sense:

  • Lotte choco pie
  • Spaghetti pie
  • Shepherd’s pie (the versions without any pastry casing)

Cheesecake is Also a Pie

Despite what the name suggests, a cheesecake is more of a pie than an actual cake. A cheesecake usually consists of a bottom layer of crust and one or more layers of filling. And the filling is entirely flourless. All of these characteristics make cheesecake a pie rather than cake.

Pies are an integral part of many nations’ cuisines, not least Americas. In almost every home in the US, you will find that at least one particular pie holds a special place. 

According to the American Pie Council, Americans consume around $700 million worth of pie each year. Around 112 million Americans consumed at least one frozen pie, pastry, or muffin in 2022. Through the growth of online groceries, around 3.6 million pies were shipped throughout the country via the online retail store Instacart.

So, here are the most popular pies in the United States:

  • Apple pie – 19% of people who responded to various surveys gave their vote for this classic, which makes for about 36 million Americans. This makes apple pie the clear winner.
  • Pecan pie
  • Cherry pie
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Pot pie

It is hard to determine which is the single most popular pie globally. But we can look at different nations around the world and see which pie is the most popular in that particular region. [1]

  • United Kingdom- Scotch pie (16.9%)
  • Canada – Apple pie (17%)
  • Mexico – Pie de Limon ( lemon pie)
  • Germany- Weimarer Zwiebelkuchen
  • Australia- Meat pies
  • South Korea- tomato pie

To conclude, pies are one of the ultimate comfort foods. And with so wide varieties around the world, you can gift your taste buds a new experience every time.

  • Laura is the owner of Julie's Cafe Bakery. She started this blog with her grandma Julie who introduced her to the amazing world of cooking. She likes to experiment with different flavors, and her favorite flavors combo is chicken with coconut milk, curry and peanuts!