4 Ways To Decorate Your Pies Using Leftover Crust

Imagine making the best flaky pie crust and ending up with leftover crust dough and scraps. Before you compost or freeze and forget about them, why not use them to decorate and elevate your next pie? This is also a creative way to minimize food waste in the kitchen and add a fun personal flair to the pie. 

If you're unsure where to start and need ideas on which pies to bake and decorate with leftover crust dough, check out our list of 31 sweet and savory pie recipes. There's bound to be a pie fit for every palate. 

Once you choose which pie to bake, it's time to decorate it with leftover pie crust dough. From decorating the pie with fun and unique cutout designs to cutting out peekaboo holes and windows to creating fancy rims and elegant braids, the possibilities are endless to give your next pie a personalized and creative charm. So, let's begin with creating fun cutout shapes from leftover crust dough. First, grab your favorite cookie cutters because cookie cutters are the secret to decorating pie like a pro

Use cookie cutters for fun cutout shapes from leftover crust dough

While we associate cookie cutters mainly with making cookies, they're useful when adding a fun and creative twist to your pies. Gather scraps of pie crust dough and re-reroll until you get a flat rectangle. The cookie cutter you choose can be any shape or design. Or you can choose depending on your mood, the theme of your bake, or the holiday and season. 

For instance, you can use leaf-shaped cookie cutters to make leaves, representing the fallen leaves of autumn. Or, add some cute pumpkin cutouts atop a pumpkin pie! For Valentine's Day, we can make heart designs. And for Independence Day, use stars. Once you have all your design cutouts ready, it's time to decorate your pie. Arrange the cutouts on top of the pie; how you do it is up to you, so let your inner child loose. You can even layer the designs atop the pie or keep it simple with just a few designs in the middle, or here and there.

Of course, you can also go wild, especially if you're an artist and can design cutout shapes by hand. Whether you use cookie cutters or hand-cut cutouts with a knife, apply a pastry wash, like our 2-ingredient vegan egg wash, before baking the pie.

Peekaboo pies are easy and fun to make

Moving on, you don't have to put your cookie cutters away yet. You can use them to make an impressive peekaboo crust.

Begin with your favorite cookie cutter, which can be any shape you love. You can even use a stencil. Roll out your crust dough on a flat surface. If you're using scraps, be sure they're re-rolled into a smooth sheet first. Use the cookie cutter to make evenly spaced cutouts across the sheet. After you remove the cutouts, you should be left with a sheet of dough full of peekaboo "windows" or holes. 

If using a stencil, position the stencil on top of the crust dough. Trace the design with a knife and remove the excess dough. Carefully transfer the dough sheet over your pie filling. It is a little fragile, granted you made a lot of cutouts. Make sure you can see the peekaboo designs well. Before baking, brush the crust with a pastry wash to give the pie color.

Braid strips of crust dough to decorate your pie

If peekaboo crusts and cutout designs are not what you want, here's another way to decorate your pies using leftover crust scraps or an extra sheet of crust dough. This involves cutting the dough into long, thin strips to make braids.

Once again, roll out your leftover pie crust dough or an extra sheet of crust dough. Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into even, thin, and long strips. For each braid, you want to use three strips. Braiding the strips is like braiding hair. Bunch the top of the three strips together, then start braiding by crossing the strip on the right over the strip in the center, followed by crossing the strip on the left over the new center strip. Continue this alternating pattern — right over middle, then left over middle — until you have a dough braid.

Make more dough braids to decorate your pie, weaved into a lattice pattern. Or, use them to make a beautiful braided rim.

Creative ways to spruce up pie rims with leftover crust

Speaking of rims, there are more creative ways to decorate the edge of the pie in addition to braids. You can use cutouts, like flowers or leaves, and arrange them around the edge for a nature-inspired motif. Letter cutouts from a stencil are a go too. You can even use letters to "write" a message on the rim. 

Riding on the nature-inspired motif, you can also make a "flower garden" rim.  Fashion leftover crust scraps and strips into dough "flowers" to garnish the pie's rim. To create this fun, floral accent, roll a thin strip of dough into a spiral, starting from one end until you reach the other end. This design mimics how rose petals naturally hug each other in a rose. Use a leaf cookie cutter to make leafy cutouts to accompany the dough "flowers." Decorating pies, like our zucchini apple pie, with leftover crusts is fun and rewarding and allows for nearly endless creativity in designing your pie crusts and rims.