16 Unique Pies Across The US

It's hard to think of a baked good that's more versatile than pie. Whether you're hungry for something sweet or savory, chilled or warm, crunchy or creamy, fruity or decadent, there's undoubtedly a pie that fits the criteria. It's natural to have favorites and eat them on repeat, but life is too short to miss out on some of the more unique pies out there. From recipes created with basic pantry staples in times of shortages to those that highlight deluxe ingredients, the world of pies is by no means finite.

In honor of Pi Day (that's March 14 if you weren't paying attention in math class), we've compiled a list of pies that deserve more attention. While you probably have some expectations about what can be considered a pie, the variety may be broader than you think. Thanks to diverse climates, agriculture, and cultural influences, there are many creative options to choose from. Here are the unique pies you should seek out or try your hand at baking.

1. Mock apple pie

There's hardly anything special about apple pie. The fruit-laden pie is a token treat at Fourth of July celebrations, and it is even found in the phrase, "as American as apple pie." Aside from the fact that the dessert isn't originally American (the British and Dutch have recipes dating back centuries before the fruit made its way to the States), no one can argue that it doesn't hold a place in the modern American dessert repertoire. However, during the Great Depression, fresh fruit wasn't readily available, so creative recipe developers came up with an alternative that required zero produce.

Ritz crackers might be a supermarket staple nowadays, but the company was only beginning in the 1930s. Crackers with cheese or savory spreads are great, but the folks at Ritz decided to take it further by printing a recipe for a mock apple pie on the box. Aside from the iconic buttery crackers, the recipe consists of cream of tartar, sugar, lemon, cinnamon, a pie crust, and butter or margarine.

The result varies depending on your experience with the real deal, as Jeannine Delwiche, a sensory scientist and psychophysicist, tells The Seattle Times. Thanks to visual and olfactory cues, we build an expectation of what we will taste, and our brain perceives it to be an apple dessert. "Your brain is effectively filling in the missing part, the apple aroma," she explains. While a proper apple pie will probably be more satisfying, it's worth serving a mock pie to your friends to gauge their reactions.

2. White potato pie

Sweet potatoes get all the attention when it comes to home-baked pies. If you're ready to step outside the box (or always ready to eat more mashed potatoes), you'll want to whip up a white potato pie. While the name could probably do with a revamp, fans of the starchy spud will love Maryland's classic dessert. Also known as an Eastern Shore pie, the dish was most likely a thrifty recipe to use up the harvest from hearty potato crops.

Aside from the unusual filling, the rest of the pie contains standard baking ingredients. Eggs, sugar, nutmeg, butter, cream, and vanilla quickly transform a plate of mashed potatoes in need of gravy into a sweet and creamy pie. Lemon and raisins are sometimes added too, offering a range of flavor profiles to suit your taste. If you're a fan of sweet potato pie, then it goes without saying you should try this paler version. And if you've never savored a tuber in a dessert, it's about time you try it.

3. Chocolate haupia pie

There are plenty of reasons to visit Hawaii, and chocolate haupia pie is one of them. True to its tropical promise, the archipelago state is home to an abundance of palm trees. In turn, coconuts are found in the local cuisine in various forms, including haupia. The gelatinous sweet is made with coconut milk and often comes in bite-sized pieces. However, for true haupia fans, a small square doesn't cut it. Chocolate haupia pie is the best way to load up on the stuff, and it's as delicious as you would imagine.

Coconut and chocolate are a natural pairing, and the two are layered together in this delightfully wobbly pie. The typical preparation consists of a flaky pie crust topped with a layer of chocolate pudding covered in a towering heap of haupia. The combination melts in your mouth, begging you to take another bite. Although the pie crust is baked and the filling is cooked in a saucepan, the final result requires no baking and is enjoyed nicely chilled. Whether you're rushing to devour it before it melts under the hot Hawaiian sun or savoring every refreshing bite from the comfort of your kitchen, chocolate haupia pie is a must.

4. Funeral pie

Okay, so the name isn't particularly tempting or descriptive, but funeral pie is well worth indulging in, no matter the occasion. That being said, it originated as an important element of funeral dining in the 1800s among Pennsylvania's Amish and Mennonite communities. It was so prevalent in these settings that people were known to whisper, "There will be raisin pie soon," when death appeared imminent (via Atlas Obscura). If the name is off-putting or you aren't looking to make a dark statement, you can call it raisin pie — no funeral required.

Initially, the lack of refrigeration technology available dictated its contents. Raisins can be procured in any season, and the sweet and sticky pie filling keeps well at room temperature for a few days. If you want to whip something up with pantry staples and are low on fresh fruits, a treat featuring raisins is an excellent choice. 

As with any dessert that stands the test of time, people have recreated the recipe to produce many variations. Basic versions load up on raisins, sugar, butter, lemon, and spices, creating a sticky filling similar to mincemeat, whereas others are more custard-like. Either way, a double crust is key, often with a lattice top to give diners a sneak peek at the goods.

5. Fried pie

If you're already letting loose with a big slice of pie, why not make it fried? Considering the logistics of frying something with a filling, a fried pie is more of a fried pocket. While the tasty treat is common in most states in the South, it is particularly popular in Appalachian areas where the influence of European settlers is notable. Hand pies aren't unique to the South, however, and many cultures worldwide enjoy some version of the snack. A Cornish pasty from England is a fine example; empanadas and other pastry pockets are also common. Although a meat filling is a convenient way to have a meal on the go, it's not hard to see why any cook would make the leap to a sweet version.

Aside from its easily portable format, fried pie is versatile and can be made with an endless variety of fillings (fruit, nut, chocolate, coconut, etc.) and various types of pastries. Crumbly, flaky, thick, or thin, the consistency of fried pie can be made to suit your preferences. If you want to get creative with the preparation, you can fold it into any shape and add a glaze, powdered sugar, or other garnishes. And if you're craving a fried pie but have zero motivation to make it yourself, fast-food fried apple pies are a solid option.

6. Transparent pie

Although the name might evoke images of jiggly gelatinous pies, that's not what you're in for with a slice of transparent pie. The Kentucky specialty is more of a pale neutral color and a favorite at Thanksgiving celebrations, but you shouldn't forget about it during the rest of the year. Magee's Bakery in Maysville is deemed responsible for the pie's buzz and continues serving it after nearly a century. The recipe itself is pretty basic but filled with wholesome ingredients that are at the heart of any good pastry: butter, cream, eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla, and a pie crust.

The components are similar to classic pies from other states but are unique in that they focus on convenience. Sarah Baird, a food historian who examined the pie in her book "Kentucky Sweets," notes that the ingredients are staples that would have been normal for any family to have on hand, particularly outside urban centers (via NPR). There is nothing in it that would require a self-sufficient farmer to go to a grocery store, like chocolate or bananas. The sweet sugary filling is rich, creamy, and delicious whether you serve it at room temperature or slightly chilled.

7. Shoofly pie

The Amish have certainly introduced a number of delicious treats to American cuisine, and shoofly pie is a prime example. Originally, the treat was known as Centennial cake and lacked a crust, making it less convenient to munch on the go. Always resourceful, the Amish transformed the molasses-rich cake into a pie filling encased in a flaky pastry crust. As for the name, a few theories have been offered. A popular molasses brand around the time the pie was created in the 1800s was called Shoofly. Or, a more amusing explanation is that the sticky sweet filling attracted flies, causing diners to shoo the flies away.

Bakers took it one step further and created a wet and dry version; the former with a sticky layer of molasses on the surface of the pie base, and the latter with a brown sugar crumb layer between the crust and molasses to keep the bottom dry. The molasses and brown sugar filling are sometimes flavored with spices or combined with chocolate icing. At the same time, an extra crumbly topping finishes it all off with panache — and let's not forget a generous dose of whipped cream.

8. Frito pie

If your mind always goes to sugary treats when you think of pie, it's about time you sampled Frito pie. The savory dish is of contentious origin, and both New Mexico and Texas assert it's a local specialty, depending on who you ask. Houstonia notes its Texan history dates back to the 1930s, whereas it was only invented in New Mexico in the '60s, but we'd rather not get stuck in the middle.

That being said, Fritos corn chips — the fundamental ingredient — were invented in Texas in the 1930s by Charles Elmer Doolin. Soon after, the story goes that his mother Daisy created the iconic pie. More recently, however, Charles' daughter Kaleta divulged that the Fritos company designed the recipe to get customers to cook with its chips.

There isn't all that much cooking going on, though. Tear open a bag of Fritos, dump the contents of a beef chili can over the top, and sprinkle chopped onions and shredded cheese over the surface. Take it a notch further by adding toppings like sour cream and jalapeños. The bag is often reinforced with a plate, or the concoction is served straight in the bag, also known as a walking taco.

9. Grasshopper pie

There's no need to be squeamish if someone offers you a slice of grasshopper pie — insects don't feature in the ingredient list. Inspired by the minty green grasshopper cocktail, the pie displays the same green color and minty flavor profile. Granted, it isn't quite as refreshing as a cool drink, but the pie is still a good option to prepare in hot temperatures since it's served chilled with zero baking required.

While the cocktail traces back to New Orleans in the early 1900s, the pie's origins are a little murkier. The author of "The American Century Cookbook," Jean Anderson, found recipes from the early 1960s, but some evidence places it even earlier (via Quaint Cooking). In any case, the pie continued to amass fans throughout the '60s, with recipes featured in newspapers and exchanged among bakers.

The cocktail is made by combining crème de menthe liqueur white crème de cacao and cream. The pie follows the same approach but uses melted marshmallows mixed with whipped cream to create the bulk of the consistency. Traditionally, eggs and gelatin were used with similar results, but marshmallows offer a sweeter taste for less effort. Finally, the wobbly filling is poured over a chocolate cookie crust (Oreos are a popular choice), and the whole thing is chilled until it sets.

10. Peanut pie

Peanuts and pie don't often go together, as pecans seem to be the nutty filling of choice for many bakers. We challenge you to taste a classic Southern peanut pie just once, though. If you're a fan of contrasting sweet and salty flavors, it will become a new favorite. Made with roasted salted peanuts, the pie's contents are simple, yet the result is deliciously complex. For optimal flavor and crunch, Virginia peanuts are your best bet thanks to their notably large size, but any type will do in a pinch. The pie crust is loaded with a sticky filling to hold the peanuts in place, made with corn syrup, eggs, sugar, flour, and butter.

While you can add various ingredients to give the pie your own twist, including chocolate, cayenne, vanilla, bourbon, and even a Coca-Cola glaze, corn syrup is considered a key component. The source of the original recipe is traced to a 1940s advertisement for Karo corn syrup, making the sweetener a fundamental element of the sticky pie. Although peanut pie is often considered a cheap substitute for pecan pie, we're confident that many people would choose it instead. Don't forget to serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

11. Kool-Aid pie

If you live anywhere with consistently warm temperatures, you know the benefit of finding recipes that require very little oven use. Not to mention, eating chilled foods can give you some respite from the heat. That was probably the impetus for developing a recipe for Kool-Aid pie, although its exact origin isn't especially clear aside from appearing sometime in the second half of the 1900s.

If you're already chugging the stuff to feel refreshed, why not turn it into a jiggly pie for dessert? For many adults, the electric-colored drink brings back fond memories of youth, and that might be enough of a push to get you in the kitchen. Whether you choose the Kool-Aid packet based on color or flavor, you'll have a rainbow of options. Given the concentrated sweet nature of the powder, it acts as a flavoring, coloring, and sweetening agent for your filling. The remaining ingredients — sweetened condensed milk, Cool Whip, and a graham cracker pie crust — make this an easy recipe you can whip up in no time.

12. Marlborough pie

Just because the South is known for its numerous pie recipes, offerings from other areas of the country shouldn't be discounted. New England has a hearty tradition of pie making, including its decadent Marlborough pie (aka Deerfield pie). If you're fond of apple pie, you'll love this alternative, made with a stewed apple and custard filling flavored with nutmeg, citrus, and sherry. The original rendition likely began as a basic custard pie and soon came to include apples from bountiful harvests.

The first records of a similar recipe were published by 17th-century British chef Robert May in "The Accomplisht Cook." May's recipe includes 24 egg yolks in the filling, along with cinnamon, sugar, salt, butter, and apples, baked into a pie crust. Over time, the egg count dropped and sherry was introduced, as evidenced by a recipe in "American Cookery" by Amelia Simmons in 1776. If you find yourself overstocked following a weekend spent frolicking in apple orchards, Marlborough pie is an excellent way to put the fruit to use.

13. Millionaire pie

It won't make you a millionaire, nor do you have to be a millionaire to get your hands on this pie, but you might feel like one as you savor every decadent bite. Not to mention, the creamy concoction is rich enough to be on par with a millionaire status. Its name aside, this delightful pie was created in South Carolina and has been around since the 1930s, when refrigerators became more widespread. The pie's contents are minimal, and its no-bake approach keeps the recipe straightforward and refreshing.

Bakers typically use a premade graham cracker pie crust to reduce prep time and avoid turning on the oven. The filling is made with a luscious combination of sweetened condensed milk, frozen whipped topping, cream cheese (only in later recipes), pecans, and crushed canned pineapple. The ingredients are blended together, spread into the crust, and chilled until the pie is set. Some variations introduce other flavors like shredded coconut and maraschino cherries, though these adjustments often heighten it to the billionaire level.

14. Cheeseburger pie

Here's another hearty, savory pie if you're looking for an option that makes an impression. (We'll let you decide whether it's a good or bad one). Cheeseburger pie (aka Impossibly easy cheeseburger pie or Bisquick cheeseburger pie) offers a peek into the convenience foods of the mid-century. Why make individual cheeseburgers for your entire family when you can whip up a pie and serve them all at once? The recipe has since seen many variations, but the original was developed by Betty Crocker and printed on the company's Bisquick biscuit mix box.

The dish consists of a sauteed ground beef and onion base topped with shredded cheese and finished off with a layer of the original Bisquick mix (or a flour-based substitute), eggs, and milk. The meat can be seasoned as desired, and extras like bacon and tomato sauce add complexity to the flavor. The pie is baked until it's warm, bubbling, and ready to serve, making it an impossibly easy dinner option. The Betty Crocker website even recommends topping it with extras like shredded lettuce, bacon bits, avocado, dill pickle chips, and adding condiments as you would enjoy a standard cheeseburger.

15. Spaghetti pie

If you can turn a cheeseburger into a pie, it's well worth trying the same approach with a plate of spaghetti. Carb lovers will rejoice at this starchy delight, and if you're a fan of quirky-looking food, you'll probably enjoy the sight, too. Whether you like your spaghetti creamy and laden with cheese or bright red and tangy from an abundance of tomato sauce, you'll love this hybrid dish. And, of course, if you can't pick between pizza or pasta night, this ingenious preparation is a bit of a combination.

Beginning sometime at the start of the 20th century, spaghetti pie quickly garnered a following as an easy family meal. Aside from the basic pantry staples, some dish elements can be prepared in advance to save time. Cooked spaghetti is mixed with egg and cheese to bind and then squashed into a pie dish and baked. The result is a golden crusty surface with a warm cheesy spaghetti interior. As long as you have the binding ingredients, you can add your choice of ingredients, such as bacon, tomato sauce, or vegetables.

16. Texas trash pie

This pie's name might be a trick the original baker employed to prevent anyone from stealing a slice because there's nothing trash about this delicious concoction. The decadent pie was popularized in the late '80s in the small town of Round Top, Texas, at Royers Café, which now ships its iconic dessert nationwide and to Canada. Bud Royer, the master pie maker, is known as the Pieman by loving fans, and he's certainly earned his title. Once you taste the multilayered treat, you'll understand why people flock from all over the country to get a taste of Royers' Texas trash pie.

The contents are as loaded as they come, including chocolate chips, caramel or butterscotch chips, pretzels, pecans, shredded coconut, graham crackers, and sweetened condensed milk to tie it all together. The ingredients are spread into a pie shell and baked into a gooey delight. Add an extra drizzle of caramel to serve, and don't forget whipped cream or vanilla ice cream to round it off.