How to Make a Pie for Any Size Party

Mixed berry pie
Plenty of pie to go around

Pies are a perfect party dessert. Unfortunately, the classic 9-inch pie tin isn’t one size fits all. For small households, there’s a serious risk leftover pie could languish in the fridge—a true tragedy. For large celebrations, one pie just isn’t going to cut it. From parties for one to full-sized crowds; here’s how to make a pie to suit any size gathering. 

How to make a pie for 1-2 people 

strawberry hand pies
Pie for one, please

For a small crowd, hand pies are the way to go. No special equipment is required, and they’re fun to shape. Think of a hand pie like a more sophisticated Pop-Tart, customizable with the filling of your choosing. 

The difference between a hand pie and a traditional pie comes down to shape. Hand pies use classic pie dough and filling, just formed into individually portioned pockets. They’re not difficult to make, but they do require a bit more handwork than a classic pie. To make this process as smooth as possible, it’s best to work quickly. The pie dough is made with butter, and handling it too much will warm it up excessively. If the dough gets too warm, the butter will melt, and the dough can become a sticky mess. By working quickly, you can keep the dough as cold as possible.

As will all stuffed foods, there’s a very fine line between too much and not enough filling. Aim for about a 1/2-inch border around the filling for a pie that’s full of fruit, but not boiling over.

unbaked strawberry hand pie
Ready to fold

Chef Lauren Katz created this strawberry balsamic hand pie recipe with small gatherings in mind. One batch makes two hand pies, the perfect amount of dessert to follow a dinner date. 

How to make a pie for 2-4 people

To make a pie for a slightly bigger group. Chef Lisa Appleton recommends starting with a classic recipe, and cutting it in half, like she did with these miniature key lime pies.

So cute, right?

Chef Lisa used four miniature pie tins to make her family-sized dessert. If you don’t have mini pie tins on hand, you could also use small ramekins, or cupcake tins. Whatever you choose to use, be sure to grease the sides of the pan very well to prevent the filling or crust from sticking.

All dressed up

These miniature Key lime pies with a coconut graham cracker crust serve four. If you want to adapt a different recipe to work in miniature, try halving the recipe and dividing into four equal portions. 

How to make a pie for 4-8 people

For 4-8 people, you’re looking at a classic 9-inch pie pan. Try out one of our favorite crust recipes for extra flaky crust, and go crazy with the fillings. Anything from chocolate pudding to rhubarb will work well in this format. 

9-inch pie
A little fruit overflow won’t ruin the party

No matter what type of pie you choose, there are a few tricks for extracting clean, beautiful slices from a pie tin. First, make sure that your bottom crust is completely baked. That way it will be able to support the weight of the slice. If you’re using a glass bottom pie tin, you can check out the bottom of your crust just by looking. It should be a beautiful golden brown. Second, make sure your pie has thoroughly cooled before slicing. Cooling gives cream and fruit pies time to set, making sure that the filling won’t run out of the pie and all over your plate. 

How to make a pie for 8-12 people

Plenty for everyone

For a crowd of 8-12 people, you’re going to need a lot of pie. Luckily, Chef Claire King is used to cooking for a crowd. For her crew of kids and extended family, she has perfected two different methods of large format pies. 

The first is a slab pie. This rectangular pie is assembled in a baking dish or on a sheet tray.  It can be fruit, pudding, or custard filled. All of the components can be made a day ahead, that way you can really focus on assembly when the time comes. The trick here is making sure you bake the crust thoroughly. It takes a very crispy crust to hold up all that topping. 

One trick for forming the crust? Instead of trying to roll out and transfer a huge rectangle of dough, form two smaller rectangles. Just overlap them and press to seal the bottom of the pie.

slab pie crust
Press down to seal the two halves

Chef Claire’s flag pie is filled with vanilla bourbon pudding, and decorated with strawberries and blueberries. 

The second method is making a deep dish pie. These slices pack a powerful punch. A deep dish pie is made in a springform pan instead of a pie tin. The resulting pie has super tall sides and tons of filling. 

deep dish pie
A true masterpiece

For this one, you’ll need to roll out an extra large disc of dough. If you’re nervous about transferring it, Chef Claire recommends rolling the dough out between two sheets of parchment paper. Once again, it’s essential to make sure the pie is cooked through. A pie this size can take up to an hour in the oven. 

For an extra treat, Chef Claire layered the bottom of her gigantic pie with frangipane, a sweet French almond paste. 

deep dish cherry pie
So many mixed berries

Try your hand at a deep dish cherry pie with this recipe.

Recipe: Strawberry Balsamic Hand Pies

Lauren Katz is a trained pastry chef. These strawberry hand pies honor her childhood tradition of strawberry picking every summer in Ohio. 

strawberry hand pies with cream
What could be better than grab and go pie?

These strawberry hand pies are cute, sophisticated, and easy to eat. They’re the perfect way to make use of beautiful summer produce. The simple filling shows off the flavor of the strawberries, and the balsamic vinegar adds a touch of complexity. 

Strawberry Balsamic Hand Pies 

Pie Dough

  • ¾ Cup AP flour
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 4 Tbsps cold, unsalted butter, small diced
  • Ice water

Pie Filling

  • 4 oz fresh strawberries, small diced
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2-3 tsp granulated sugar, depending on the sweetness of your berries
  • 2 tsp  balsamic vinegar
  • 4 grinds fresh black pepper, optional
  • A pinch of salt


  • AP flour, for dusting
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Turbinado sugar, optional

1. Make the dough. Bowl method: In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the diced butter. Using your fingers, gently work the butter into the dry ingredients until coarse crumbs form. Working 1 tablespoon at a time, add the ice water and mix until a shaggy dough forms (it should take anywhere between 1 and 3 tablespoons).

Food processor method: Place the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until combined. Add the diced butter. Pulse a few times, until coarse crumbs form. Working 1 tablespoon at a time, add the ice water and mix until a shaggy dough forms (it should take anywhere between 1 and 3 tablespoons). 

2. Transfer the dough to a large piece of plastic wrap form into a ball. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. *The dough can be made up to 3 days in advance. 

3. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven, then preheat to 375°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl. Gently mix to combine.

4. Form the hand pies. Lightly flour a work surface. Divide the dough in half and roll each half into a circle, about 7 inches in diameter (it does not need to be perfectly round, a rustic circle will work just fine). If using a cookie cutter, stamp in the middle of one side of each dough round. Transfer to the prepared sheet pan.

shaping strawberry hand pies
Ready to fold

5. Divide the filling between the rounds and arrange in the middle of the unstamped side, leaving 1/2-inch border. Lightly coat the circumference of each round with water, then fold the stamped (or empty) side on top of the filling. Using a fork or your fingers, press the top layer of dough into the bottom layer to completely seal. If not using a cookie cutter, use a sharp knife to make 2-3 slits in the top of the dough.

6. Evenly coat the top of the hand pies with the beaten egg, then the turbinado sugar, if using. 

7. Bake, rotating the sheet pan halfway through, for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Remove from the oven and let stand at least 10 minutes before serving. Top with a scoop of your favorite ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream, if desired. Enjoy!

Recipe: Miniature Key Lime Pies with Coconut-Graham Cracker Crust

miniature key lime pies
Go ahead, have a whole pie

A single serving Key lime pie is an adorable treat. These are perfect for a small gathering, or just to make and freeze for yourself. Making these is a lot like making a full-sized pie, you’re just doing everything in miniature. If you don’t have miniature pie tins, you can bake these pies in ramekins or muffin tins, just be sure to grease the sides of the pan well to prevent the filling from sticking. 

Miniature Key Lime Pie with Coconut-Graham Cracker Crust

Servings: 4

Equipment: 4, 4-inch pie tins


  • 4 graham cracker sheets, crushed (a heaping ½ cup crushed)
  • ⅛ Cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ Cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 Tbsps melted unsalted butter


  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp Key lime zest, from about 2 Key limes 
  • ½ Cup sweetened condensed milk (about 7 oz)
  • ⅓ Cup Key lime juice (juice of about 6 or 7 Key limes)


  • Whipped cream (optional)
  • Toasted flaked coconut (optional)

1. Prepare the crusts. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place graham cracker sheets in the bowl of a food processor or a ziploc bag. Pulse or crush until you have the consistency of sand. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the sugar, coconut, and salt. Stir to combine. Pour in the melted butter. Stir until evenly coated. It should look like wet sand at this point. 

2. Bake the crusts. Place the tins on a sheet pan. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the crust mixture to each tin. Using your fingers and/or the flat bottom edge of a measuring cup, shape the crust into an even layer on the bottom of the tin and up the sides. You may have extra crust. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, or until golden brown. The crust may slump down the sides of the tins while baking. Let cool slightly and, if necessary, use the measuring flat bottom of the measuring cup to carefully push the crust back up the sides of the tins. 

3. Make the filling. While the crusts bake, combine the egg yolks and the Key lime zest in a separate mixing bowl. Whisk until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. It should be almost the consistency of hollandaise sauce. Add the sweetened condensed milk and continue to whisk until slightly thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Pour in the Key lime juice and whisk until just combined. 

4. Bake the filling. Pour the filling into the cooled crusts (you will have extra filling). The filling won’t rise, so you can pour to the top of the crust. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the filling is set on the edges. The center may still be a bit jiggly. 

5. Cool & chill the pies. Transfer the baked pies to a wire rack and let cool completely, then refrigerate until ready to serve. 

6. Serve your pies. If desired, top the finished pies with whipped cream and toasted coconut. Enjoy!

For more pie, check out Blue Apron’s guide to making pie for any size party.