Blueberry Pie used to be at the BOTTOM of my favorite pies list. But since discovering this recipe, all that has changed! Once you know how to balance the sweet blueberries in your pie (with plenty of tang, hello cream cheese!) you will have, seriously, the best Blueberry Pie of your life. No going back, folks. Let me show you how to make it step-by-step!
Guys, we are MOVING. AHH! To a house only 20 minutes away. But still. All the feels. And all the chores, holy smokes. I’ve never sold a house before, and let me just say, this is like a whole new level of adulting over here.
Packing up an entire house is no joke. I had NO IDEA we had so much crap. Like, I think our stuff mated and multiplied in our closets when we weren’t looking over the past 7 years. Now there is an ARMY of random items, lying in wait inside the closets.
We are getting everything ready for the open house, where people will come take a look. We don’t even have to pack up everything yet, we just need to pack enough so that it looks like we don’t live here. You know, magazine style. An artfully arranged vase of flowers on the counter, rather than what it’s usually covered with: loose pieces of homework, bouncy balls, old mail, Nerf guns, etc.
We have already packed up so much. Our garage is completely stacked with boxes, but somehow there is still stuff EVERYWHERE. I’m stepping on Lego men every time I turn around, and somehow my kitchen counter is still covered with paper. Where did we put it all before? I already know the answer: on the floor, under the bed, in between the kid’s mattress and the wall (yes, really, I couldn’t believe the stuff I found in there, kind of like the time Eric found 21 of Charlotte’s socks stuffed into our armchair.)
Why are we moving, you ask? This is exactly why 😂 4 kids. 1300 square feet. You do the math.
Our next house will have more space, and sometimes I delude myself into thinking that the new house will always be clean, because I will actually have space for all the items we own. (Instead of relying on my kids’ drawer-stuffing capabilities, which are nil.)
But I’m no fool. Clutter lives in my very soul. I don’t care if you give me a mansion with 3 kitchens, eventually all of their counters will be covered in old mail. (The same way I’ll always have multiple colors of towels.)
Every day I’m eating my feelings over here. I know everyone moves at some point, so why does it feel like such a huge deal? New schools, new yard, new neighbors. It took me 7 years to acclimate my neighbors to me randomly photographing food on my porch. Now they think it’s normal and just ask for a slice. What are my new neighbors going to think??
Probably they would be on board immediately if I could get them a slice of this pie. I went toe-to-toe with this pie for weeks and finally prevailed, you guys. But first let me ask you:
Why is blueberry pie a classic? (It’s just not that great.)
Blueberry pie has got to be one of the most iconic American recipes, right? Even just saying the name “Blueberry Pie” makes me feel all warm and cozy inside. I see visions of Snow White happily baking a pie in the dwarves’ kitchen, songbirds atwitter. Or your grandma making you something special, even if you never had a grandma who made you pie. Blueberry pie. Can you feel it?
Blueberries are too sweet for pie. I said what I said.
The problem, my friends, is that Blueberry pie, for all its iconic nostalgia, tastes like absolute garbage. No, I’m serious. It tastes like a mushy pile of boring. It’s saccharine to a fault, which is why Blueberry pie is number 254 on my list of favorite pies. (Before this pie was born, anyway.)
Listen, blueberries are just too sweet to be baked into a pie that tastes right.
My brother Nathan encapsulated this sentiment perfectly when I told him I was setting out to find the perfect Blueberry Pie recipe: “Why would you ever make a Blueberry Pie? Adding sugar to blueberries would ruin the perfect balance of their flavor.” I have to say, I agreed with him.
But even so, I was determined. Some classic pies just have to be conquered, you know? ‘Merica.
Cultivated blueberries vs. wild blueberries
The problem is that we are usually working with the plump, grape-sized blueberries you find at the supermarket. These “cultivated blueberries” taste great as a snack, but are much too sweet to make a traditional pie with just sugar and cornstarch. Plus, their water content is super high. Do you want Sugary-Water Pie? No. You don’t.
If we all had access to tart mountain-grown wild blueberries that we foraged ourselves, then sure, your pie would be awesome. The problem is that most of us don’t. (Sometimes you can find frozen wild blueberries! Worth a check)
But good news: I have found a trick for turning your ultra-sweet supermarket blueberries into a perfectly balanced pie.
Blueberry Pie needs more acid (tartness)
The reason this is the only version of Blueberry Pie I will eat is because it has an appropriate level of acidity and tartness to counterbalance the sweetness of the blueberries. I realized my quest for increased acidity after reading the chapter on Acid in Samin Nosrat’s book Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat (I love this book! Highly recommend!)
Most of the blueberry pie recipes I found in my research were basically identical to each other: blueberries, cornstarch, white sugar, lemon, maybe some cinnamon. Very little variation in ingredients and amounts.
I knew I wanted a pie with more acidic balance. Here’s how we’re getting it done:
- Use cream cheese in the pie dough for added tartness
- Use brown sugar instead of white sugar in the filling (did you know brown sugar is acidic?)
- Add a heck ton of lemon zest, like at least 2 lemons worth
- And the kicker: spread the bottom of your pie crust with straight up cream cheese before adding the filling. THIS IS A GAME CHANGER!
(can you see it?)
Why this is the only Blueberry Pie I will eat
Once you try a Blueberry Pie with the appropriate balance of tartness, there is no going back. But aside from this, there are a few other things that make this pie next level.
- We are using cornmeal in the pie crust!! I love this addition. Cornmeal crust adds amazing corny flavor and fun texture, more on that below.
- All the cream cheese means no one will be calling this pie too sweet (plus it adds extra moisture, say no to dry pie)
- It is not over baked. The pie filling is full of juicy, mostly-whole blueberries that you get to pop in your mouth. It does not taste like a manufactured store bought, overly cornstarched, jell-ified pie. It doesn’t hold the shape of the slice perfectly when you cut in, and that’s not an apology. Gimme all the juicy slurp.
Cornmeal crust makes blueberry pie next level
Let’s start out by making our crust! You are totally welcome to use a regular pie crust, I have all the info you need on my Flaky Pie Crust recipe. It’s tender, buttery, and perfect.
BUTTTT….if you want to add even more pizazz to your pie, I highly recommend adding a bit of cornmeal to your crust. Corn and blueberries were just made for each other, okay? They should probably get married.
Next secret ingredient: cold cream cheese. Cream cheese has lots of fat (necessary for pie crust!) but also a ton of tangy flavor, the perfect balance for our sweet blueberries. I’m in love with this crust you guys.
Knead the dough together and shape into discs. See my Pie Crust Recipe for a lot more photos of this process. The ingredients are different, but the method is exactly the same. Toss the discs in the fridge for about 30 minutes while you make the filling.
How to make homemade Blueberry Pie
As always, the full recipe is at the bottom of the post, but I want to show you some pictures first. We need a heck ton of blueberries to start with! Fresh or frozen is fine, more on that below.
2 pounds of blueberries is about 6 cups. No need to weigh it, cup measurement is fine.
- Fresh or frozen blueberries, ones labeled “wild” will be more tart.
- Lemon zest and juice, gimme all that flavor
- Brown sugar instead of white sugar, because it is acidic
- Cornstarch, for thickening. Not too much. We like juicy pie!
- Cinnamon and salt, for flavor
- Cream cheese, I’m telling you, a layer on the bottom makes this pie unstoppable. Read on!
Once you have all your filling ingredients in the bowl (not the cream cheese!), mix it together and let sit for about 30 minute to macerate. This softens the skin of the blueberries and starts the process of breaking down the berries so our pie is nice and juicy (this process finishes in the oven.)
Once you’ve rolled out your pie crust, stick it in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes to chill. This makes it less likely to tear. Then take your very very soft cream cheese and spread it over the bottom of the crust. Be careful! If your raw pie crust starts to tear, chill it a little longer so it’s more sturdy.
Add the juicy berries to the pie crust. Chill the whole pie while you roll out the crust.
I love to make a lattice crust for blueberry pie, it’s just so homey. And easier than it looks. I’ve provided some photos here, but see my Lattice Pie Crust post for more details, especially if it’s a new-to-you technique. (Or even if it’s not. You can see my Lattice post pulled up on my phone in the photo above. haha! Lattices are a little confusing okay?? I need visuals every time. Don’t judge me)
Once your pie is put together, freeze it for about 20 minutes while you preheat the oven. Yes, it’s worth taking the time to clear out some space in your freezer, I promise! This step is absolutely crucial for achieving an ultra-flaky pie crust.
Before you put your chilled pie in the oven, don’t forget to brush with a little milk (or see more brushing options in the recipe) and sprinkle with raw or granulated sugar. This finishing touch makes your crust brown beautifully, and the crunch from the sugar is just perfect.
Bake the pie in the oven for about 15 minutes in a screaming hot oven.
How do you keep pie crust from browning too fast?
The best way to get an evenly browned crust that doesn’t burn on the edges is to bake for about 15 minutes at a high temperature, then turn the heat down. And the most important step: when you turn the heat down, add a pie shield made out of tin foil. This covers just the circular edge of your crust, leaving the center exposed.
They sell pie shields made of metal or silicone, but I prefer using foil. It is so lightweight, there is no chance of crushing the design of your raw crust. (See recipe for details on how to make a foil shield, and my Pie Crust Recipe for photos.)
Once you add the shield and lower the temperature to 350, bake for another 50 minutes.
How to tell when your pie is done
The pie is done when the edges are brown and the center is light golden brown.
Most of the time for berry pies (with a lattice crust), you can rely on the “bubbly filling test” to tell if a pie is done.
However. This pie is a little different. We are not asking all our blueberries to pop. We are not trying to turn our blueberry pie filling into a jellied mass. We just need gently cooked berries, most of which have held their shape even after over an hour in the oven. If you don’t see bubbles happening, that’s okay. Rely on the color of the crust to know if your pie is done.
How to keep your pie from being a soupy mess
Here comes the hardest part: don’t slice into your pie for about 4 hours. I know, I know, it’s tough. But the liquid in your pie needs time to come to room temperature so it doesn’t completely fall apart into a runny mess when you cut into it. You can put it in the fridge to speed up the cooling process if you want. (or the freezer!)
Personally, I like my blueberry pie to be juicy rather than jelly. I’m not interested in a pie that hold it’s shape perfectly when you slice it, because it tastes too manufactured and fake to me. (It’s one of the reasons I never pick blueberry pie when there are pie choices.) This recipe was developed to be rich and juicy, while still being slice-able.
If you want a sturdier pie, cornstarch is the answer. And baking longer. Add an extra tablespoon or two of cornstarch to your berries (up to 5 tablespoons total), and bake until the center reaches 203 degrees F. This is the temperature at which cornstarch is fully activated. (I baked ones of my test pies for over 95 minutes before it reached this temperature. And the resultant pie was NOT great, it tasted gummy and bland to me. Just my two cents.)
If in the end your pie ends up a bit too runny, well, I say just embrace the goodness. Add some vanilla ice cream and spoon the juices over the top. Heaven!
Do you need to refrigerate this pie?
Not for the first day or two! The sugar in the pie acts as a preservative. You can leave it on the counter in the pie plate you baked it in, covered with plastic wrap or one of these handy pie covers. After two days, transfer to the fridge, where it will last another 2 or 3 days.
Frequently asked questions
Blueberry pie filling: do you cook blueberries before putting them in the pie?
No! That would make them mushy sad. Berries are pretty delicate, when compared to other fruits. They break down SO quickly because of their high water content, so it’s best to put them in the pie fresh and let the oven do the only cooking. Nobody wants a mushy pie!
Can you use frozen blueberries?
The only rule is that the frozen berries must stay frozen until they hit the oven. That means you have to skip the macerating step as described in the recipe.
- Add all the filling ingredients except the berries to a large bowl: lemon zest and juice, brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt.
- Add the frozen berries and mix together JUST before you are ready to add filling to the cream cheese bottomed pie shell.
- Add the filling to the pie shell and immediately put the whole pie in the freezer or at least the fridge while you roll out your top crust.
- Bake as usual, no time or temperature changes from what the recipe states.
Should you thaw frozen blueberries before baking?
H to the no. If you are using frozen blueberries, do NOT thaw them first or macerate them! When you put berries in the freezer, the cells start to expand as they freeze, and the high water content of the berries can actually cause the cells to burst. The softening of the blueberry skins (that we are trying to achieve with the macerating step) is already done, and then some!
A pie made with frozen berries will look a lot juicier when you take it out of the oven, but if you wait the appropriate amount of time before slicing into it, it will have roughly the same texture as this pie made with fresh berries.
Flour or cornstarch to thicken up this pie?
Cornstarch is best because it is a more powerful thickening agent, and flour tends to have a gritty texture in this pie. Flour can also give the filling a gummy texture, definitely not what you’re going for. If you’ve used canned pie filling, cornstarch is what they use to create that smooth but soft-set texture. We’re going for the same thing in our (more delicious) homemade version.
Can you freeze blueberry pie filling?
Definitely! You can prep the blueberry pie filling with all the ingredients listed (not the cream cheese) and put it in a ziplock bag to freeze. Then place the bag in the pie plate you intend to bake the pie in. Freeze in the pie plate. Once it’s frozen, you can put the clean pie plate back in your cupboard. This will make the berries freeze in the shape of your pie plate. Later, roll out your pie crust, spread with cream cheese, and add the frozen berries on top. Remember to bake it straight from frozen!
How to freeze an entire Blueberry Pie
You can freeze an entire unbaked blueberry pie for another day. Top with the second crust, but don’t brush with egg/milk or sprinkle with sugar. Put the pie in the freezer for an hour to flash freeze, then wrap with plastic wrap, and wrap it again. Then wrap in foil. Make sure it’s sealed as best you can! Freeze for up to 3 months.
Bake it straight from frozen. Brush with egg/milk, sprinkle with sugar, and pop it in the oven according to the recipe. Same temps, same times.
While you can freeze already baked whole pies (cool completely, then follow the same wrapping instructions as above), the crust tends to shrink and the crust will definitely get soggy, so I recommend freezing before baking.
And that’s everything you need to know about blueberry pie, my friends! If you already loved blueberry pie, you are going to love this version even more. If you are a blueberry pie hater like I was, then this is the recipe to change your mind! You have to let me know if you try it out!
More blueberry recipes you will love!
- The Easiest Mixed Berry Cobbler You’ll Ever Make >> 5 minutes to throw together, and amazing EVERY time
- Overnight Blueberry French Toast Casserole >> buttery, blueberry, breakfast-y goodness
- Blueberry Buttermilk Pancake Muffins >> irresistible with a drizzle of maple syrup on top!
- Vibrant Purple Chewy Blueberry Cookies >> from Fresh Flavorful, check out the color on these!
More pie recipes to make!
- How to Make the Best Homemade Apple Pie << It’s a classic for a reason. It really is the best!
- Easy Homemade Cherry Pie Bars << this is one of my absolute favorites.
- Peach Apricot Slab Pie << THIS is what to do with summer stone fruit
- Raspberry Banana Pie << from Taste and Tell, this combo looks soooo amazing!
- Strawberry Glacé Pie << this pie also has a cream cheese layer; it’s where I got the idea for today’s pie. Also try out my Blackberry Glacé Pie!
And just so they are handy, here are two other pie posts that you might find useful:
- How to Make Flaky Pie Crust << allll the details you need to make the perfect flaky crust, every time. You can use this method with the cornmeal ingredients from today’s post, you make it the same way.
- How to Make a Lattice Pie Crust << What’s a pie without a lattice? It’s so pretty, and really not as hard as it looks!
Blueberry Pie Recipe
For the cornmeal crust
- 3/4 cup cornmeal
- 1 & 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 ounces butter, cold (this is 3/4 cup, or 1 and 1/2 sticks)
- 4 ounces cream cheese, cold (half of an 8-ounce package)
- 2 tablespoons beaten egg, half of one egg
- 1/4 cup ice water
For the filling
- 2 pounds blueberries, (6 cups) fresh or frozen, see note
- 1 tablepoon lemon zest, from about 2 lemons
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 3 and 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened (for spreading on bottom of pie crust)
- 1 tablespoon milk, for brushing on pie
- 1 tablespoon raw sugar, for sprinkling on top crust
- vanilla ice cream, or whipped cream, for serving, not optional ;)
- Make the pie dough. If you have never made pie dough, read through my Flaky Pie Crust post. Lots of helpful photos for beginners!*
- In a large bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup cornmeal, 1 and 3/4 cup flour (spooned and leveled), 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.
- Use a knife to slice 6 ounces (this is 3/4 cup, or 1 and 1/2 sticks) of COLD butter into pats. Chop 4 ounces (half a package) of COLD cream cheese into chunks. Add the cold butter and the cream cheese to the bowl with the flour.**
- Beat an egg in a small bowl. Pour half of it into another small bowl, leaving about 2 tablespoons. (Save the other half of the beaten egg for brushing the finished pie, if you want.)
- Add 1/4 cup ice water to 2 tablespoons beaten egg. Mix it together.Add the egg mixture to the bowl with the flour. Use a rubber spatula to mix it together, hydrating the flour as much as you can.
- Cover your hands with flour and use your hands to knead the dough, still in the bowl. Press the dough together and keep gathering up the dry bits to incorporate it into the mass. If the dough is not coming together, add ice water sparingly, 1 teaspoon at a time to moisten it. Stop kneading the moment that it has come together and is able to be shaped into a ball. Over-working your dough results in a tough pie crust.
- Split your ball of dough in half and shape each into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes (or up to 24 hours).
- Make the filling while the pie dough chills. In a large bowl, add 2 pounds (about 6 cups) fresh blueberries** (See notes for frozen blueberry instructions).
- Add 1 tablespoon lemon zest (use 2 lemons!) and 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice. Add 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 3 and 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Let this mixture sit to macerate (create its own liquid) for at least 15 minutes, or longer is fine.
- Roll out the pie crust. On a well-floured work surface or pastry cloth, roll out one disc of the pie dough, keeping the other one chilled. Place the rolled out pie crust into a 9 inch pie pan, letting the edges hang over the sides. Place the whole pie pan into the fridge or freezer for about 15 minutes. (You have to chill at this step, otherwise you risk tearing your crust when you add the cream cheese).
- Place 8 ounces of very SOFT cream cheese into a bowl or stand mixer. Beat well until completely smooth; there should be no chunks. Scrape the edges and sides and make sure that it is very smooth and spreadable!
- Use an offset spatula to spread the very soft cream cheese directly onto the bottom of the frozen pie crust. You can go up the sides a little bit too.
- Pour the blueberry mixture into the cream cheese bottomed pie crust.
- Roll out the second pie crust. Make it into a lattice crust if you like, here is my Lattice Pie Crust tutorial. Or you can place the pie crust on top as one whole piece. (If you do this, be sure to use a sharp knife to make a few cuts into the top pie crust. This vents the pie and allows steam to escape.)
- Fold the excess pie dough underneath on the edges, and crimp as desired.
- Place the entire pie in the freezer for 20 minutes, or the fridge for 30 minutes if you don't have freezer space. Chilling makes your crust SUPER flaky.
- Place a baking sheet in the center rack of your oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Let it heat up for at least 20-25 minutes to make sure it’s really hot.
- Right before putting it in the oven, brush the crust of your pie all over with about a tablespoon of milk. Sometimes I like to use 1 tablespoon milk beat together with 1 tablespoon beaten egg that I have leftover from making the crust.*** You can just use milk if you don't have beaten egg lying around. Milk will help your pie crust brown but will stay matte; egg will add gloss and shine to your pie crust.
- Sprinkle the whole pie with 1 tablespoon raw sugar, or regular sugar is fine too.
- Place the chilled pie onto the baking sheet**** in the oven and let bake for 15 minutes. The crust on the edge should be turning light brown.
- Meanwhile, get a square of tin foil that is the same size as your pie. Fold it in half, then in half again. Cut out the center. Open it up again. You should have a square of foil with a circle cut out of the center. See pie crust post for photos.
- Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. Remove the pie from the oven and place the foil on top. Loosely crimp it around the crust on the edge, making sure it's all covered but the center of the pie crust is exposed. This will protect the edges from burning.
- Don’t forget to lower the oven temperature to 350. Place the pie back on the baking sheet in the oven and bake at 350 for 50-60 more minutes. You will know the pie is done when the edges are brown and the center of the crust is light golden brown.
- Let the pie cool on a wire rack for about 4 hours. I know, this is killer. But if you cut into it now, the juices will be lava hot and way too liquid-y. You have to wait for it to cool to room temperature to get the right texture for the filling. Pie! A lesson in patience indeed.
- Once the pie is completely cool, slice and serve! A word to the wise: Blueberry Pie is nothing, NOTHING, without a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Or at least some whipped cream. Treat yoself right.
- Store the pie on the counter for up to 2 days, covered with plastic wrap. After that transfer it to the fridge.