Robert Alexander/Archive Photos/Getty Images

11 Things To Make With Frozen Pie Crust & Change Up Your Dinner Routine

Share

There are a few baking shortcuts that are staples in my kitchen, but my favorite is frozen Pillsbury pie crust. They stay fresh a really long time, bake like a dream, and go beyond your typical pie recipes. Truly, there are some surprising things to make with a frozen pie crust, and it could get your family out of a dinner rut.

Roll-out pie crusts are the most versatile of all the frozen pie crusts because they aren't limited in their shape and use. Yes, frozen pie crusts in a tin are great for any sort of custard-based or shepherd's pie you might want to bake, but you can't de-tin them for other uses. They're a one-trick pony. The rolled pie crust, on the other hand, is really what you want. They can be cut and shaped, and even molded to a point. The butterfat to flour ratio is also delicately balanced so that it will remain stable while baking or frying, but also keep its flaky texture. That's some serious baking wizardry right there.

When you're considering adapting a recipe to use frozen pie crusts, make sure that the crust you are using will fit the occasion. If the dough is sweet, you might not want to use it to wrap up Korma pockets, and if it's really flaky, a very wet filling might seep and make it soggy. These ideas will work best with a Pillsbury-style roll-out dough, but if you make dough ahead and have it in the freezer, just be on the lookout for textural differences.

1. Homemade Pop Tarts

Yes, you could just use jam on the inside, but why limit yourself? How about Nutella and marshmallows, or peanut butter and chocolate chips? For these I suggest stacking the rounds and cutting the dough like a pizza. Then, fill them with a few tablespoons of filling, leaving 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch of edge unfilled so that you might crimp it. Vent the top, brush with egg wash, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for gooey fillings and 325 degrees Fahrenheit for fruit fillings until yummy golden brown.

Other fillings could be:

  • caramelized banana and cashew butter
  • cookie butter
  • cinnamon and brown sugar
  • chopped figs and lemon zest
  • Reese's cups
  • cream cheese frosting and dried raspberries

2. Samosa

I love samosa. They're spicy and sharp, and the crust is *chef's kiss.* They're also a pain to make. Using a frozen pie crust instead of hand rolling the dough yourself really makes things faster. They are good baked or fried, but my favorite way to prepare them is in the air fryer. What an invention.

3. Cheese Straws

I make these all the time. All you have to do is slice the dough into strips, dip them in heavy cream, sprinkle with cayenne (a very little), garlic salt, dried parsley, parmesan crumbles, and shredded cheddar cheese, twist tightly, and then bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until everything is bubbly and lovely. Let cool. I like to dip them in horseradish mayonnaise. Feel free to mix up the cheeses and seasonings as well. If you're feeling Maryland-y, use Old Bay and a really sharp cheddar. Feeling French? Butter, gruyere, and parsley. Just don't use a soft cheese for this. It won't work.

4. Pinwheels

This one is delightfully simple. Roll out one round and layer and cover it with a light schmear of equal parts butter, mustard, and mayo and then top that spread with a smattering of sliced scallion, pressing it into the mixture so that it doesn't slide. Then dash on some chopped garlic. Add a layer of sliced turkey and Swiss cheese, roll it up, slice into rounds, and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit on a cookie sheet until it puffs up and browns. These are great for a party.

5. Empanadas

GMVozd/E+/Getty Images

I love making empanadas. I mix up the filling — sometimes it's potato and chorizo, sometimes it's platano and cheese. My kids love a simple chicken empanada. Traditionally, they're fried, but I just spray them with cooking spray and bake them. They're still yummy.

6. Pot Pie

I love making chicken pot pie, but I hate making the crust. You can make pot pie from leftovers pretty easily, making it a good "use up" recipe. Plus, it's just so soothing and comforting, it feels like a big hug in a bowl. Serve with a strong stout beer for the grownups and ice cold milk for the littles.

7. Quiche

The Washington Post/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Quiche is always an option when pie crust is available, and it's worth it. Eggy and rich, you can add whatever veg and cheese you like to the mixture. I would argue for drained frozen chopped spinach and boursin chive cheese with a kick of hot sauce stirred in for a depth of flavor.

8. Cutout Cookies

This is the perfect kids' activity. Roll it out and give your kids a bunch of cookie cutters and let them go to town. Sprinkle them with sugar and cinnamon or sprinkles, and bake until golden. If you're like me, you can dip them into tinned frosting when they're cool.

9. Savory or Sweet Fried Pie

Simon McGill/Moment/Getty Images

If you've ever been to the American South, chances are that you've had a fried pie. Sweet or savory, they are a staple. These pies are made by cutting pie dough into large rounds and then folding them over with filling inside to form a half moon shape before crimping and frying. They are mouth-wateringly delicious, and a real crowd-pleaser. You can fry them in any oil that can take high heat, like grapeseed, peanut, or even Crisco.

10. Sweet Pinwheels

Making sweet pinwheels are the easiest. They're like savory pinwheels, but you just use cinnamon and brown sugar. They bake fast, they're great with cream cheese frosting, and they don't last more than a few moments.

11. Calzone

No, it's not going to be a traditional calzone, but trust me, it is delicious. You've never had anything like it. As a former Ohioan, I must suggest you try dipping it into ranch dressing.