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Learn how to make fun and festive pie crust designs that will take your homemade pies to the next level with this easy-to-follow tutorial and video. Get your pie dough ready!

4 baked pies with different pie crust designs on marble counter.

I love making pie. You know this. But I didn’t just wake up one day and know how to make one. My first attempts at homemade pie weren’t exactly cookbook cover-worthy. You want to know the hardest part of making a homemade pie? The hardest part is finding the courage to start. And once you do, you’ll wonder why you didn’t begin sooner. Nothing is more satisfying than making a pie completely from scratch. Until, of course, you eat a slice.

But Sally… you might be saying… my pies will never turn out pretty! To which I say, nonsense! 😉

The pie crust designs on this page look pretty and professional because I’ve practiced so much over the years. We all have to start somewhere, and work our way up to artistic pie masterpieces. All you need is the willingness to practice, and a really good tutorial. If you’re willing to provide the former, I’ve got you on the latter. You CAN do this. Read the step-by-step instructions and watch the video tutorial below, then power up your confidence and flour up your hands.

Here’s What You’ll Find on This Page

  • The Best Pie Crust to Use
  • 5 Success Tips for Pie-fection
  • Tools You’ll Need
  • My 4 Favorite Pie Crust Designs
  • Recipe Card Video Tutorial
  • 3 More Designs Below the Recipe Card

The Best Pie Crust to Use

This is my favorite, tried-and-true pie crust. It’s buttery, flaky, and holds its shape in the oven. But if you prefer an all butter pie crust or want to use store-bought dough, that’s fine too.

Both of the above linked pie crust recipes make 2 pie dough discs, which is enough dough for 2 pie crusts—either for a double-crust pie or for 2 separate bottom crusts (like if you were making 2 pumpkin pies). The pie dough discs need to chill for at least a couple hours, so I always make them a day ahead.

overhead photo of two discs of pie dough on a marble countertop.

Before I show you 4 unique pie crust designs and walk you through the techniques, here are 5 tips that will help you pick up that rolling pin.

5 Success Tips for Pie-fection

1. The hardest part is finding the courage to start.
It’s time for another pie pep talk! Like I mentioned before, the hardest part about working with homemade pie dough is actually mustering up the courage to work with homemade pie dough. It’s easy to resist something if it intimidates you, but something (anything!) has to start somewhere, right? Such is the case with nearly any goal or dream we have. You’ll practice, it will feel daunting, you’ll practice some more, you’ll improve, you’ll succeed. YOU CAN DO THIS!

2. Use a quality pie crust.
You’re ready to begin making pies from scratch, so don’t sabotage your efforts with a lackluster crust. Pie crust is essentially 3 things: flour, fat, liquid. It’s the types of each and the ratios that make a real difference. My beloved pie crust recipe hits the mark. I mix butter and shortening together for the best flavor and texture.

3. Keep everything COLD.
Keeping your pie dough as cold as possible helps prevent the fat from melting. If the butter melts inside the dough before baking, your pie crust will lose shape in the oven. The sides will shrink down and, even worse, the crust will taste greasy instead of tender and flaky. Basically any design you arranged on top of the pie will shrivel up. Remember this: the colder the pie is before going into the oven, the better your pie will taste and the more your pie crust will hold its shape. Keep your filled pie in the refrigerator while you’re rolling out and cutting the dough for the top. You can also place the completed unbaked pie back in the refrigerator before putting it in the oven—a good idea if you’ve taken your time to make an intricate design and the dough has warmed up in the process.

4. Add some sparkle and shine!
An egg wash—a simple mix of milk (or water) and egg—creates that golden sheen we see on bakery pies, and it even gives the crust a little extra-crisp texture. Without the egg wash, the pie crust will brown but will look extremely dull. For a little sparkle, I always sprinkle pies with coarse sugar prior to baking. Gives the top a lovely sweet crunch and looks pretty, too.

5. Take your time and have fun.
Always take your time when working with pie dough. It’s not a race! Treat the dough with a little TLC. You are not angry at the pie dough (but maybe you are LOL). Don’t roll it out too forcefully or rush through a decorative topping. Set aside enough time to really concentrate on it. Put on some music or invite some friends or family to join you, and enjoy the process. I promise it’s worth it!

Here are the 4 pie crust designs I am teaching you today:

4 baked pies with different pie crust designs grouped together in a collage.

Tools You’ll Need

Each of these 4 different pie crust designs require a:

Once you have your tools and your bottom crust filled and ready for a top crust, it’s time for the fun part! These are my 4 favorite pie crust designs, and how I make them. Note: The video shows only the first 3 designs. I just added the 4th design because it’s really easy, yet makes for a show-stopping presentation, especially during the autumn months.

Wavy Lattice With Braided Edge

The pictured pie is my apple cranberry pie.

pie with wavy lattice pie dough, braided pie dough edge, and three apple pie crust shapes on top.

Here’s what you need to make this pie crust design:

The fondant cutter is what you see me use in the video below, but the wavy side of a pastry wheel can do the same thing. A pastry wheel is very handy because you can use the scalloped edge to make a pretty wavy design, or you can use the flat edge for a traditional lattice pie crust. We need both a wavy cutter (for the lattice) and a flat cutter (for the braid strips) for this particular pie design. I also used a pie punch to add apple shapes, but you can use any cookie cutter or pie punch shape.

This topping actually requires 1.5 discs of dough, plus another disc of dough for the bottom crust. I recommend making the full pie crust recipe twice, so you’ll have plenty of dough to work with. If you don’t use it all, the discs of pie dough freeze beautifully, for up to 3 months, so you can save them for a future pie.

one and 1/2 pie dough discs on lightly floured marble counter.

See the recipe card below for detailed written instructions. We’re making a lattice pie crust topping and braided pie crust edge detail. Design the lattice, and then trim excess dough around the edges. Make 2 braids, then press each one around the edge of the pie, pressing them gently into each other to secure. To hide the places where the braids connect, place a dough cut-out shape over them. (Sneaky!) Finish by brushing with egg wash and sprinkling with coarse sugar.

pastry wheel shown with rolled out pie dough strips and another photo showing a pie with some latticed pie dough strips on top.
three pie dough strips connected at the top and another photo showing hands braiding them together.
pie dough braid and another photo showing hands applying the braid around the edge of an unbaked pie.

Here are my in-depth tutorials for how to braid pie crust and how to lattice pie crust.

unbaked pie with wavy lattice pie dough, braided pie dough edge, and three apple pie dough shapes on top.

Baked Cookie Cutter Shapes

This pie-decorating method is different from the others because you’re going to add the decorative pie crust topping to a fully baked and cooled pie, such as brownie pie or chocolate chess pie, rather than an unbaked pie. The pictured pie is my favorite pumpkin pie. Here’s what you need to make this pie crust design:

For the baked cookie cutter shapes design, you can really use any small cookie cutters. You can also look for impression pie punches, sometimes called “plunger cookie cutters,” which make such beautiful designs in the dough. I love using autumn-themed impression cutters to decorate pumpkin pie and sweet potato pie. The exact set I own is no longer available, but there are lots of similar ones, like these fall pie punches. These harvest impression cutters would also make gorgeous pie toppers, and sugar cookies, too!

Unless you want to decorate your baked pie with MANY pie crust shapes, you really don’t need a ton of dough for this. I usually only use 1/2 of a pie dough disc.

1/2 pie dough disc and another photo showing it rolled out with leaves and pumpkins cut out.

See the recipe card below for detailed written instructions. You’ll roll out your pie dough and cut shapes just like you do for gingerbread cookies. Place onto a lined baking sheet, brush with egg wash, and bake at 350°F (177°C) for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove and set aside to cool before decorating pie.

brushing egg wash on pie dough pumpkin shape with other pumpkin shapes and leaves on a silicone mat-lined baking sheet.
pumpkin pie with sugared cranberries and 6 leaf and pumpkin cookie cutter pie crust shapes on top.

If you’d like to make the pictured sugared cranberries, you can find instructions in the pumpkin pie recipe.

Thick & Thin Lattice

The pictured pie is my caramel pear pie.

baked pie with thick and thin lattice pie crust topping.

Here’s what you need to make this pie crust design:

For the thick & thin lattice, you need a pastry wheel or a pizza cutter. 2 pie dough discs is enough for this entire pie (again, my pie crust recipe yields 2 discs). You need 1 disc for the bottom of your pie and 1 for the designed top.

See the recipe card below for detailed written instructions. You’ll cut the rolled-out dough into 10 strips, about 1-inch wide. Then cut every other strip in half, lengthwise, so you have 8 skinny strips and 6 wide strips for your lattice pie crust. Finish by brushing with egg wash and sprinkling with coarse sugar.

pastry wheel cutting thick and thin pie dough strips and another photo showing the strips being latticed on pie.
unbaked pie with fluted edge and thick and thin lattice design.

Autumn Leaves Crust

The pictured pie is my beloved apple pie.

pie with 12 big leaf pie crust shapes arranged on top.

Here’s what you need to make this pie crust design:

For the autumn leaves crust, you need a medium-size leaf cookie cutter.

See the recipe card below for detailed written instructions. Roll out your pie dough about 1/8-inch thick. Cut out leaves—the number you’ll get will depend on the size of your cookie cutter. Carefully arrange the leaves, overlapping, on top of the pie. Crimp the edges of the crust with a fork. Finish by brushing with egg wash and sprinkling with coarse sugar.

leaf cookie cutter cutting shapes out of rolled out pie dough and hands applying the shapes on top of an apple pie.
unbaked pie with 12 big leaf pie dough shapes arranged on top.

You can arrange these designs on many different types of pies including blueberry pie, cherry pie, apple pie, strawberry rhubarb pie… pick your favorite!

See Your Pie Crust Designs

A few years ago, readers made different pie crust designs as part of a monthly baking challenge. Look at their beautiful work!

collage of pie crust design images
Print
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4 baked pies with different pie crust designs on marble counter.

4 Beautiful Pie Crust Designs

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 1 pie
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Decorating
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Get inspired with these 4 fun, festive, and beautiful pie crust designs! Homemade pie has never looked so stunning on the dessert table.


Ingredients

  • pie dough (I use this homemade pie crust, which makes 2 discs of dough)
  • all-purpose flour, as needed for rolling dough
  • egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon (15ml) of milk or water
  • optional: coarse sugar

Instructions

  1. Note Before You Begin: These designs, with the exception of the baked cookie cutter shapes design (step 3 below), all go on top of an unbaked pie. So start with your pie already filled and ready for a pie dough topping. After topping with your designed top crust, bake according to the pie recipe you’re using, such as this apple pie, apple cranberry pie, caramel pear pie, or other pie recipe.
  2. Wavy Lattice With Braided Edge: Watch the video tutorial below before you start. You need 1.5 discs of pie dough for this top crust design, in addition to the bottom crust (another disc). Start with 1 disc of pie dough (keep the remaining dough, and the filled pie, in the refrigerator until you’re ready for them). On a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the disc of dough into a circle that is about 12 inches (30cm) in diameter. Using a scalloped pastry wheel or fondant ribbon cutter, cut 18 wavy strips. Remove the second disc of dough from the refrigerator and cut it in half. (Save the other half for another use.) Roll it out into a tall oblong shape, close to 14 inches long. With a sharp knife, pizza cutter, or the flat edge of a pastry wheel, cut 6 1/4-inch-wide, 14-inch-long strips of dough. Using gentle force because the dough is delicate, tightly braid 3 strips together. Repeat with remaining 3 strips, so you have 2 braids. Cut 2–3 cookie cutter shapes out of any extra rolled-out dough. Remove the filled pie from the refrigerator and carefully thread the 18 wavy pie dough strips over and under one another, pulling back strips as necessary to weave. Press the edges of the strips into the bottom pie crust edges to seal. Use kitchen shears to trim off any excess dough. Carefully place one braid around half of the pie and press lightly to secure. Repeat with 2nd braid, then attach the 2 braids by pressing one into the other. Lightly press the cookie cutter shapes on top of where the braids connect. Brush it all with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Follow your pie recipe’s baking instructions.
  3. Baked Cookie Cutter Shapes: Watch the video tutorial below before you start. Start with a fully baked pie. You need 1/2 disc of pie dough for these cut-outs. On a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 1/8-inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes. Place the shapes onto a parchment paper- or silicone baking mat-lined baking sheet. Brush with egg wash. Bake at 350°F (177°C) for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow to cool before placing on top of cooled pie.
  4. Thick & Thin Lattice: Watch the video tutorial below before you start. You need 1 disc of pie dough for this top crust design. On a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the disc of dough into a circle that is about 12 inches (30cm) in diameter. With a pizza cutter or pastry wheel, cut 10 strips of dough, about 1 inch wide. Cut every other dough strip in half, lengthwise, so you have 6 thick strips and 8 thin strips. Weave the lattice, alternating 1 wide strip and 2 skinny strips, as shown in the video. You should have 3 thick strips and 4 thin strips in each direction. Trim excess dough around the edges, if needed, then tuck in and flute the edges with your fingers. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Follow your pie recipe’s baking instructions.
  5. Autumn Leaves Crust: This look is not shown in the video (but it’s very easy!). You need 1 disc of pie dough for this top crust design. On a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the disc of dough into a circle that is about 12 inches (30cm) in diameter, about 1/8-inch thickness. Use a leaf cookie cutter or pie impression cutter to cut out leaves. Arrange the pie dough leaves on top of the filled pie, slightly overlapping. Crimp the crust edges with a fork. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Follow your pie recipe’s baking instructions.

Notes

  1. Special Tools (affiliate links): Rolling Pin | Pie Dish | Fondant Cutter | Pastry Wheel | Pizza Cutter | Leaf Pie Crust Cutters | Leaf Cookie Cutters | Fall Pie Punches | Harvest Impression Cutters | Kitchen Shears | Pastry Brush
  2. Can I Use Store-bought Pie Dough? Yes, you can use store-bought or any homemade pie dough recipe that you prefer. The one linked above holds shape nicely in the oven.

Keywords: pie crust designs

Put your personalized touch on pie crust and make it stand out on the Thanksgiving table. Let your imagination run wild and create some edible art. Here’s even more pie inspiration for you!

latticed pie crust dough with acorn pie crust shapes

Above: I created a simple lattice pie crust with 1-inch strips of dough and added 2 strips of braids on the sides. Braids made from (3) 1/4-inch-wide strips of dough. Here’s how to braid pie crust. I also added some acorns on top using an impression cookie cutter. Braiding requires a lot of pie dough, and to ensure you have plenty, I recommend 1.5 discs of dough for this look.

latticed pie crust dough with leaf pie crust shapes

Above: This is my cranberry almond apple pie. I created a lattice pie crust with 1/2-inch strips grouped into threes. I also added leaf cut-outs all over the top. 1 disc of pie dough is usually enough for this pie crust topping, but again, it’s handy to have extra dough. I always suggest having a couple extra discs of pie dough in the refrigerator when you’re making artistic pie designs.

cherry pie with lattice pie crust before baking

Above: This is my homemade cherry pie. Another lattice using 4 strips 2 inches wide and 4 strips 1 inch wide. 1 disc of pie dough is enough for this topping.

You can do this! I’m cheering for you.

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Such beautiful designs! I’ve never made a pie before, so I look forward to making my first! Thanks Sally!

  2. Hello!
    My question is: how do you avoid the filling of the pie (I baked a blueberries and raspberries pie) to not go over the lattice while boiling in the oven and by doing so spoiling the design of the lattice?

    1. Hi Adele! Unfortunately, I don’t have any secrets to help fix that BUT what can usually work is not using as much filling so they won’t bubble over so high. Sometimes those juices look pretty on a lattice, but certainly not when the lattice is drowning!

  3. Hi Sally, your decorations are beautiful. I have a question about what to do when a pie recipe calls for parbaking the crust before filling – do you decorate on top of the baked crust (like if you were doing a braid) or add in the beginning before parbaking?

  4. Hi, Sally. Love your recipes and I’ve tried a few. Can you please tell me the best way to freeze pies? I need to make about 3 dozen pies for a charity event. Last year I froze them unbaked and baked them before the event which was very stressful and I think some of them might not have been quite baked. I did a test recently where I baked it first then froze it.Gotta say it wasn’t that great. Any ideas?

    1. I’m unsure of which recipes you tried to freeze but baked pies usually freezes well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before serving.

  5. Wow, how many beautiful choices! I am going to bake my very first apple pie and I love your recipes! Great post

  6. Thank you for sharing! I did a cut out of a Christmas tree on a lattice crust but my tree fell off lol Is there a way to keep it on the crust without pressing it down where I’ll ruin shape of the cut out?

  7. I love all of these ideas. I have been practicing different techniques and am getting more creative and better. These are so fun!

  8. We are having a pie contest at work this week – I can’t wait to try some ideas! And then again during the holidays. Thanks for the tips and beautiful design ideas!

  9. Love the ideas and will definitely be trying! I have tried putting cutouts on top of my crust but the get too brown if I bake them as directed. If I bake them ahead they don’t stick to the pie. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Anne, have you been following the instructions in the Notes section of the pumpkin pie recipe? Here are the baking instructions: Place pie crust leaves on a parchment paper- or silicone baking mat-lined baking sheet and bake at 350°F (177°C) for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove and set aside to cool before decorating pie.

      You’ll want to just set them on the pie after it’s fully cooled, before serving. They don’t need to completely stick to the pie. Hope this helps!

  10. I have made the pie crust a number of times and still have a problem with the crust shrinking while it’s baking. I think I have it crimped on the sides and then it shrinks down below the rim. Suggestions?

    1. Hi Lilli, keeping the dough cold before baking and not adding too much water will help the dough hold its shape!

  11. I just found this site and I haven’t tasted my apple cranberry pie yet, but it smelled amazing while baking and your instructions for the crust were a game changer

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