10 Tricks to Make Store-Bought Pies Look Just Like Homemade

No one will ever know.

Little says "holiday" more than seeing or smelling a homemade pie in the kitchen. But holidays get harried — we've been there! — and it's not as crucial as the roast turkey or prime rib to DIY. For this reason, pie has earned a spot on our list of dishes that are A-OK to delegate on Thanksgiving.

But if no one calls dibs and you're too time-crunched to make pie from scratch, all is not lost. Simply grab a premade pie at the bakery or grocery store, then make it your own with one of these showstopping topping ideas.

Variations of Pumpkin Pie slices side by side

10 Ways to Make Store-Bought Pies Look Fresh From the Oven

No one will ever guess you called in reinforcements when you dress up your purchased pie like this.

1. Whip It Good

Whipped cream from a can or tub is good. You know what's even better? Investing five minutes in a homemade Bourbon Whipped Cream. A dollop will make any dessert — including a grocery store pumpkin, pecan, or fruit pie — feel luxe. All you need to make it: heavy cream, a splash of your favorite bourbon, and a couple spoonfuls of sugar.

2. Say It With Words

Use these Mrs. Anderson's Baking Cookie and Fondant Cutters in Mini Alphabet Shapes to press into refrigerated pie crust or cookie dough to spell out "thankful," "Merry Christmas," or any other phrase that fits the theme. Bake separately on a sheet pan until golden brown, then layer on top of your single-crust pie.

3. Get Saucy

Polka dots or sassy swirls of Oh-So-Easy Caramel Sauce (or Vegan Coconut Caramel if you have any dairy-free guests) are particularly fitting and festive as a semi-homemade addition to a store-bought apple, sweet potato, pumpkin, or pecan pie.

4. Pile on Some Praline

Speaking of caramel, this 20-minute Praline Sundae Topping is essentially that — plus pecans and melted marshmallows for richness. Add a pool atop your favorite pie, or spill some over each slice; you can't go wrong.

5. Go Nuts

If you prefer your nuts sans-sauce, sprinkle on a few Sugar-Coated Pecans. Warm your purchased pie first, then add a handful of these cinnamon-spiced nuts on top, and everyone will think you've been baking all day.

6. Brûlée It

Like Creme Brulee? Channel those crunchy, sugary vibes to your next single-crust pie. Use sugar to dust the top of a custard pie like pumpkin, chess, buttermilk, or chocolate custard, then fire up a kitchen torch (such as Rösle Kitchen Torch) to brûlée the sugar into a golden brown, crispy topping.

7. Add a Shell

For a store-bought pie you plan to serve chilled, channel your favorite scoop shop and cover your dessert in "magic shell" chocolate topping (like Hershey's Chocolate Shell Topping) that solidifies into a rich cocoa crown.

8. Beautify With Berries

Even if it's not snowy outside as you prepare to host your holiday meal, you can pretend like "baby it's cold outside" by adding Frosted Cranberries to your purchased pie for a pop of color and sweet-tart flavor.

9. Layer on a Lattice

If your fruit pie comes with just a bottom crust, glam up the top with this Silicone Perfect Pie Crust Mold. With braided, herringbone, basketweave, and other designs, a few simple strips of crust baked on top of your bakery pie can make a big impact.

10. Make 'Em Mini

If you don't want to add any extra ingredients but do want the pie to look like it didn't just come from the freezer case, simply make the cut! Grab a holiday-appropriate cookie cutter to portion out a mini pie from the larger dessert to plate. With this method, you're just 10 seconds away from a super-Instagrammable dessert.

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