15 Cheap and Easy Pie Recipes


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For home cooks seeking savory fare for dinner or something sweet for dessert, pie is always a tasty choice. Here are 15 pie recipes that are frugal and so easy that they all call for store-bought pie crusts -- but as any pie lover knows, using homemade pastry as the foundation ratchets up the savings.

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To make this classic American comfort food, mix 1 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons flour, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon nutmeg in a large bowl. Add 6 cups peeled and thinly sliced apple, and toss until all slices are lightly coated. Arrange apples in a 9-inch pie crust and cover with a second crust. Cut three or four vent lines in the top and loosely tent with aluminum foil before baking for 35 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack for at least one hour.

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This Southern summer favorite can be made year-round with canned peaches. Drain two 16-ounce cans of sliced peaches (in juice or light syrup), saving one-third cup of liquid. Pour the liquid into a saucepan and add 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons flour, and one-half teaspoon nutmeg. Stir over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat, stir in peaches, and pour the mixture into a 9-inch pie crust. Cover with a second crust and cut three or four vent lines. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes, and let cool before serving.

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This tangy-sweet pie was especially popular back when citrus fruits were a luxury few could afford. Tastes vary regarding the "proper" sweet-to-sour ratio for vinegar pie, but this recipe is easy to alter -- use less sugar if these results are too sweet, less vinegar if too sour. Start by beating four eggs in a large bowl. Add 2 cups sugar, 4 tablespoons melted butter, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and 1 and a half tablespoons white or apple cider vinegar. Blend well, pour into a 9-inch pie shell, and bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes.

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This easy twist on a classic sandwich is best served hot but also can be eaten as a cold lunch the next day. Preheat oven according to the directions on an eight-count can of crescent rolls. Unroll the dough and divide into four rectangular pieces. On two of the rectangles, place a slice of ham, roast beef, or other sandwich meat and one slice of Swiss or cheddar cheese. Cover the meat and cheese with the remaining two pieces of dough, pinching the top and bottom edges together to form a seal. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet or aluminum foil following directions on the can (usually 11 to 13 minutes).

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Historians disagree on how this delicious dessert pie got its name. Some say it derives from the "pie chests" in which it was stored, while others say it flows from the modest insistence that this is "jus' pie." To make, mix one-half cup softened butter with 2 cups white sugar (or 1 cup white sugar and 1 cup brown sugar) and add 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Beat four eggs into the sugar-butter mixture, then add 1 tablespoon fine-ground cornmeal, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, and one-quarter cup evaporated milk. Mix until the ingredients form a smooth paste, then pour into a 9-inch pie shell. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 300 degrees and bake another 40 minutes. Let cool completely before slicing.

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This sweet and crunchy pie also can be made with toasted walnut pieces instead of pecans, whichever is cheaper. Spread 1-and-one-half cups of the nut pieces on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, until the nuts are toasted. In a large mixing bowl combine three eggs, 1 cup white sugar, three-quarters cup corn syrup, 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, and one-half teaspoon salt. Blend well and add toasted pecans. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch deep-dish pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Loosely tent with aluminum foil and bake 35 minutes more, until the pie filling is set. Let cool completely.

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Food historians say this recipe started in the American South as an affordable alternative to more expensive pecan pie. In a large bowl, mix three-quarters cup light corn syrup with a half-cup each of white and brown sugar and a quarter-cup (half a stick) melted butter. Add three eggs, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and a half-teaspoon each of nutmeg and ginger. Blend well, then stir in 1 cup rolled oats. Pour oatmeal filling into a 9-inch pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for an hour, or until a toothpick plunged into the center of the pie comes out clean.

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This easy and elegant egg-and-cheese dish keeps well as a next-day leftover. Beat together four eggs and 1 cup cream in a mixing bowl. Add 1 teaspoon each of salt and onion powder and one-half teaspoon cayenne pepper, and beat again. Sprinkle 4 ounces (1 cup) shredded sharp cheddar cheese over the bottom of a frozen 9-inch deep-dish pie crust. Carefully pour the egg mixture over the cheese. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 300 degrees and bake another 35 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

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This traditional autumn favorite makes a healthy and tasty dessert in any season. Lightly beat two eggs in a large bowl. Add 2 cups (16 ounces) canned or cooked pumpkin and either 14 ounces (one can) evaporated milk or 1-and-two-thirds cups light cream. Mix together until smooth, then add 1 cup sugar; 2 teaspoons cinnamon; 1 teaspoon each ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; and one-half teaspoon salt. Pour mixture into a 9-inch pie crust and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake another 40 to 45 minutes. The pie is ready when a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool before serving.

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This sweet dessert contains a surprisingly high amount of protein, thanks to all the peanut butter and eggs. In a small bowl, beat three eggs lightly. In a medium saucepan, combine one-half cup creamy peanut butter and 1 cup dark or light corn syrup over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and add two-thirds cup sugar, one-half teaspoon salt, one-half cup salted peanuts, and the eggs. Mix everything together and pour into a 9-inch pie shell. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. After the pie cools, store in the refrigerator.

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British cooks make this traditional dish with lamb or mutton, but Americans are more likely to use beef. Brown 1 pound ground beef in a skillet with 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce. Remove from heat, drain meat, and mix in 4 cups thawed frozen mixed vegetables and 1 cup beef gravy. Spread the mixture into a 9-inch baking dish. In a separate bowl, combine 3 cups hot mashed potatoes with 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, a dash of salt, and two minced garlic cloves or one-quarter teaspoon garlic powder. Spread the mashed potatoes over the meat-and gravy mixture and bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the potatoes are lightly browned and the mixture is heated through.

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Turn leftover chicken or turkey into a delicious new dish. In a mixing bowl, combine a 10-ounce can of condensed cream of chicken soup with a half-cup of milk, a 12-ounce can of drained vegetables (cook's choice), 1 cup of cooked chicken or turkey cut into small pieces, and 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper. Pour into an unbaked 9-inch pie shell and top with unbaked pie crust. Bake at 400 degrees for half an hour, or until the top crust is a light golden brown.

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This peppery pie makes a filling vegetarian meal with Tex-Mex flavor. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add a half-cup finely chopped onion and 1 cup chopped green bell pepper, and sauté until soft. Add a completely drained 15-ounce can of black beans. Stir in a pinch of salt, a quarter-cup chopped red bell pepper, half a teaspoon each of ground black pepper and chili powder, a quarter teaspoon cayenne pepper, and a third of a cup salsa or drained sweet corn. Simmer over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Spread half the bean mixture into an unbaked, 9-inch pie shell. Sprinkle 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese on top, then layer the remaining bean mixture and another sprinkling of shredded cheddar. Cover with an unbaked pie crust and cut several ventilation slits. Bake at 325 degrees for an hour, and let sit 10 minutes before serving.

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This delicious dessert is often sold in American Muslim bakeries and has been favorably compared to sweet potato pie. Stir together a 15-ounce can of navy or white Northern beans (drained and rinsed), 6 ounces evaporated milk, a quarter-cup melted butter, 1 tablespoon each of sifted white flour and vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon and grated nutmeg. Add a cup and a half white sugar and one egg plus one egg yolk. Combine with a hand mixer or food processor until everything is blended into a smooth paste. Spread the bean mixture into a 9-inch pie crust, then bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake an additional 30 minutes or until the filling sets. Let cool completely before serving, and store leftovers in the refrigerator.

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This rich and creamy custard dish is well worth the effort. In a saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar with 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder and 2 tablespoons cornstarch and mix well. Slowly add 2 cups milk and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick and bubbly. Reduce heat to low and cook another 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir yolks into the mixture. Return to medium heat and simmer for another 2 minutes, then remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Pour the chocolate filling into an already-baked 9-inch pie shell. For the meringue, beat three egg whites until soft peaks form, then slowly add 6 tablespoons sugar. Spread the meringue over the chocolate filling until completely covered. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the tops of the meringue peaks are a light golden brown.