Don’t let your Thanksgiving pumpkin pie go to waste! Learn the proper way to store leftover pumpkin pie by freezing or refrigerating it.

By Gina Hamadey

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving, you know that making and freezing dishes ahead of time is the key to a successful, low-stress holiday. You know you can freeze pie crusts—that’s where the store-bought ones live, after all—but you might wonder, can you freeze a whole pumpkin pie? The short, happy answer: Yes! As long as you follow our tips.

Does Pumpkin Pie Need to Be Refrigerated?

If you’d prefer to bake your pumpkin pie prior to Thanksgiving day, you might be wondering: Should a pumpkin pie be refrigerated? Absolutely. It’s a custard, and you need to refrigerate pies with egg-based fillings within two hours of baking. (Thankfully, pumpkin pies taste delicious cold!) It’s okay to throw the pie in the fridge while it’s still warm—just cover the pie loosely with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Homemade pumpkin pie will keep for three to four days in the refrigerator.

Commercially produced pumpkin pies often have shelf-stable preservatives, so read the instructions for how long it will stay good at room temperature and in the refrigerator—but do stash a store-bought pumpkin pie in the refrigerator after you cut into it.

Can You Freeze Pumpkin Pie?

Yes. The high fat content of crust makes pumpkin pie perfect for freezing, and custards like pumpkin pie filling freeze well. Whether you are freezing store-bought or homemade, a whole pie or just a slice, follow these suggestions to ensure success.

First, remember to bake the pie in a disposable aluminum pie pan. These thinner pie pans ensure that the pie will freeze faster and therefore avoid developing texture-ruining ice crystals.

Second, cool the pie completely before you freeze it. If you don’t, steam will get trapped below the plastic wrap, and that extra moisture will affect the texture of your crust.

Third, wrap the pie tightly in layers of plastic wrap until it’s tightly sealed. Then, add a just-in-case layer of aluminum foil for extra protection against freezer burn and funky smells. Place on a level freezer shelf, where pumpkin pie will stay good for a month.

The day before Thanksgiving, remove your pumpkin pie from the freezer, strip off the coverings, and defrost in the refrigerator. You’ll want to give the pie at least 12 hours to thaw. (Thawing faster at room temperature causes condensation on the pie, and that moisture will absorb into the pie crust, making it soggy.)

If your pie has any dips or blemishes, remember that whipped cream makes for a delicious cover-up.