Not Martha

to make: pies baked in tiny jars

The dessert in a jar thing came at me in a few different ways. First was the mention of cakes baked in a jar over at Angry Chicken, and then with pretty frosting at Super Eggplant. What a brilliant present, an already baked cake all sealed up and ready to eat.

Later I came across these pies baked in jars at LloydAndLauren. Little pies, which you construct in jars and freeze to bake later so you have individual freshly baked pies basically on demand. This is genius. I was overcome with the need to make my own immediately.

Above, just out of the freezer. Below, just out of the oven.

First I bought a box of 4 ounce jars from a Fred Meyer store. I don’t recall what I was originally thinking when I bought 4 ounce jars instead of the more reasonably sized 8 ounce jars that Lauren used, but I think it went something like this: “ooh, cupcake sized pies”. I used Kerr brand, quilted jelly jars. Please note the importance of using jars with straight sides that don’t narrow at the opening, ok, thank you.

I dug out the recipe for Cook’s Illustrated Foolproof All-butter Pie Pastry (listed in the second post there). Next I’ll try the Foolproof Pie Dough that uses vodka, thanks to Smitten Kitchen for typing out the recipe. The all-butter recipe? Yum.

I bought some cherry pie filling in a can because, I will not lie, I am lazy.

Here are a few things I learned:

  • When putting in the bottom crust allow it to stick up over the edge to give you something to turn under and crimp later. I don’t have nearly enough crust in the picture above to do the job right. My second batch, which I didn’t take pictures of, had properly tucked crust and didn’t leak nearly as much. When you do leave enough crust they look more like this (one from my second try):

    photograph by Maggi, thanks Maggi!

  • Put filling in to about 3/4ths of an inch below the top. This way you’ll have enough room to put the top layer of crust on and press the edges together.
  • There is no really good way to get a small disk of pie dough into the jar and press it into place. I sort of made a cone to lower the dough and just smooshed everything into place, trimming a bit off where needed.

  • I used aspic cutters to make tiny shapes in the crust, I did this with the small pies made in muffin tins as well.
  • Fold over and crimp the edges as best you can, it’s pretty difficult in such a small jar. Better yet, use a larger jar.

  • Bake somewhere between 350 and 400 degrees until the bottom of the crust is browning, an advantage of baking in a glass container. The top might pop off or puff up adorably.
  • Putting a Silpat on your baking sheet keeps the little jars from sliding around when you remove them from the oven, they are otherwise frighteningly slidy and hot.
  • Don’t forget to take the lid off before you put them into the oven!

  • If you only put one hole in the crust they might erupt like a volcano.
  • Removal from the jar is a little messy. Just go with it.
  • Cherry held up better than apple as a filling with enough flavor to stand out in such a small amount. I didn’t get a chance to try blueberry. Yet.

  • Update April 2010: You might also like these cobbler baked in jars that I made for a bake sale. Sadly, these cannot be frozen and baked (as the biscuit topping won’t cook properly) but they are great for picnics and bake sales:

    cobbler baked in jars


    275 responses so far ↓

    • 1 megan // Feb 13, 2012 at 1:47 pm

      Jackie – I’m so sorry but I have to say you cannot safely ship these. I’ve heard from food safety people that this is too ideal a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria and it’s not safe enough to ship. My thanks to your brother for his service!

    • 2 Twila Franklin // Mar 8, 2012 at 9:57 am

      I just found your site and I sit here amazed! You are truely awesome. I love the mug houses and the tiny pies in jars leave me speechless and ready to try. Those are the only things I have looked at. What fun I am going to have CASEing your creations. Thankyou for sharing.

    • 3 lizzeh // Mar 8, 2012 at 4:50 pm
      i made them, and it was awesome

    • 4 Emilia Brasier // Mar 9, 2012 at 6:18 pm

      I adore this! My hubby doesn’t eat sugar and pies are the one thing that I really miss! We don’t use substitute sugar either so I need to find a way to make a fruit only pie to make. :)

    • 5 Jennifer // Mar 20, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      How do I pin this?

    • 6 Sharon Markum // May 16, 2012 at 7:08 pm

      Thanks for good info :)

    • 7 Mary Leigh // May 23, 2012 at 2:17 pm

      Fab. why didn’t I discover this years ago?

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    • 11 Lyn // Jul 19, 2012 at 3:20 am

      What an inspiration you are; thank you for sharing. Is there any particular thickness of the jars to be able to bake in the oven? sorry if this has been asked before.
      As I said you are an inspiration.
      Thank yo for your precious time
      from the Human Kiwi from New Zealand :)

    • 12 megan // Jul 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm

      Hello Lyn – The jars here are ones I bought at the grocery store so I’m afraid I cannot say if they were specially thick or not.

    • 13 Mary Newlon // Jul 28, 2012 at 6:55 pm

      Hello-o Lyn: I was wondering how do you get the pies out of the jars like yours are without tearing them a part. Do you put flour and shortening in the jar or it slides out easily when they are baked. I bake for some girls at our local hospital and I thought this would be a neat idea. They are always on the go, and need something they can just grab and eat. This is a really good thing. Thank you

    • 14 Seattle Mom Blogger // Sep 3, 2012 at 1:16 am

      Up until now I didn’t get the whole pie-in-a-jar fad. You gave me a reason to rethink the whole thing – you had me at freeze then bake! I’m going to have to give it some more thought. I’m a huge fan of freezer cooking and pies in jars may have just made the list on next months cooking day.

      Thanks so much!

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    • 16 PJ // Apr 26, 2013 at 11:43 pm

      I have been looking at the different things to bake in jars and have a question you may be able to answer. All of the cake in a jar recipies I found say to seal straight out of the oven. What about frosting? Have you made any with frosting and if so, how did they work out?

    • 17 megan // Apr 30, 2013 at 12:32 pm

      PJ – If you want to preserve the cake for a longer time putting the lid on straight out of the oven will help. But, I don’t intend for mine to last that long. I wait for them to come to room temperature and frost, then put the lid on. Eat within a few days of baking. I hope that helps you out!

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    • 20 Princess // Jul 10, 2013 at 5:19 am

      Hello there ! This is just perfect ! I am a professional princess and I was looking for a new baking theme for the children baking with Snow white lol I was trying to figuremoutnhowmto make it quick and portable and this is it! Thanks soooooo much

    • 21 Tiffany // Oct 12, 2013 at 7:00 pm

      I want to make these and mail them to my daughter she lives in miromar florida and I live in naples florida, Regular mail takes 2 days can i freeze them and send them in regular mail or should i send them overnight? Any ideas? she loves my hommeade apple pie and and was thinking about just mason jar canning the filing and then sending it that way but Im not sure how? any help would be greatly appreciated Thanks,

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    • 25 Kathy G // Dec 29, 2015 at 5:49 pm

      I’m afraid to bake anything in a jar due to risk of shattering. On the Ball jar website is says: “We do not recommend baking in any size or shape of Ball or Kerr canning jars. The glass used for Ball and Kerr canning jars is not tempered for oven use and is not meant to be used in baking projects. The jars are safe to use for home canning recipes, cold or room temperature food storage, crafting, and cold beverages. The jars should not be used as bakeware.” Also, Google “baking in Mason jars”:

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