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Petee's Café
Photograph: Victor Garzon

The best pies in the U.S. to devour on Pi Day 2023

Enjoy the best in sweet desserts as you contemplate a mathematical marvel on Pi Day 2023

Scott Snowden
Edited by
Scott Snowden
Written by
Sarah Medina

When most of us talk of "pi" it's usually concerning the kind that's presented on a dessert trolly and follows a mouthwatering main course in a restaurant. However, that's "pie". Granted they're spelled slightly differently, but when you're faced with a scrumptious sweet crust and enticing apple filling—for example—that missing letter "e" is quickly forgotten.  

Pi, or 𝜋, on the other hand, is a mathematical constant defined by the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. It's approximately equal to 3.14159 and was determined by Archimedes of Syracuse, a Greek mathematician, physicist and astronomer, over 2000 years ago. What makes it so intriguing is that no end to the number has ever been found. It's currently at more than 31 trillion decimal places. And today's date is 3-14, you see.

So, we've just blown your mind... how about we now blow your taste buds and why not celebrate this annual excuse to overindulge by picking up one of the best pies in the U.S. and contemplating this fantastic fraction.

You don't have to be in New York or L.A. (or Ronks, Pennsylvania, for that matter) to get your hands on the country’s favorite pies, either—most of these baked beauties can be shipped cross-country, just in time for friends and family to gather 'round this weekend. 

Go old-school with a Southern sweet potato pie from Atlanta, or an early Americana-style shoo-fly pie from Pennsylvania. Dig into regional specialties like Portland's blueberry pie (made from wild fruit harvested in Maine) or try chocolate haupia (coconut) pie from the island of Oahu. Looking for something out of the box? Order up an unexpected creation like Momofuku's famed milk bar pie in NYC, or Spinning J Bakery’s key lime-hibiscus pie in Chicago.

Whether you stick to tradition or start a brand new one, we'll help you follow the sweet scent (virtually, or in-person) to some of the best bakeries in the USA. While you're at it, consider ordering up some sweets from the best chocolate shops in the country, too. We promise neither you or your guests will be able to resist these best pies in America.

Best pies in the US

Lord of the Pies

With its "go big or go home" mentality, it’s no surprise that the Lone Star State is the birthplace of this deep-dish behemoth. Towering over most other pastries, the aptly named Lord of the Pies calls for a whopping 10 whole Granny Smith apples—the fruit’s tart punch is tempered by Emporium Pie’s rich house-made caramel and a generous heap of cinnamon crumb topping. A tender, all-butter crust completes the Texan showstopper.

Blueberry Pie

When it comes to iconic foods, Maine has two: lobster and blueberries. And just like a good lobster roll, a superb blueberry pie relies on the freshness and simplicity of its key ingredient. In the case of Two Fat Cats, a quaint bakery in Maine, this means forgoing bigger cultivated berries for the tinier, wild varieties—the select fruit gives the oozing innards of this rustic double-crust pie a more intense blueberry flavor.


Coconut Custard Pie

The pint-size Lower East Side pie shop opened a charming Clinton Hill café that has become one of our favorite date spots in NYC. Petee’s bakes many sweets we love, like icebox lemon poppy-seed meringue and banana cream pies, but the absolute best is the creamy coconut custard. And if you're looking for a baking project, Petra Paredez recently released her first cookbook, Pie for Everyone.

Ol' Fashioned Sweet Potato Pie

Since "Momma" Lucy Jackson opened Atlanta's Busy Bee Cafe in 1947, it has proudly prepared some of the best Southern soul food around. But their old-fashioned sweet potato pie is a downright masterpiece. Slightly sweet and delicately spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon, its creamy and moist filling is a simple take on a classic Southern specialty.


Double Crust Michigan 4-Berry Pie

Years before Grant Achatz became a food-world luminary, second cousins Dave and Wendy were building a pastry empire in the family’s native Michigan. The self-taught bakers shot to pie-slinging fame with this streusel-topped beauty, available at Achatz Handmade Pie Co. Sweetened with just a touch of sugar, the delightfully tart filling allows the plump, locally-grown blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and cherries to shine.

Key Lime-Hibiscus

Travel back in time (if only for an hour) at this charming Humboldt Park pie and soda shop that's outfitted with old-timey barstools and beautiful vintage accents. Despite its decor, the pies on offer aren't stuck in the past: Diners can choose from imaginative flavors like yuzu-matcha meringue, s'mores, lemon-lavender, and key lime-hibiscus. Order a slice and a house-made soda, hunker down in a booth and transport yourself to simpler times.


Banana Cream Tart

Every so often, a dish becomes such a hit, it’s practically synonymous with an eatery. Such is the case with this pie from Liz Prueitt and Chad Robertson’s award-winning Tartine Bakery. A smear of bittersweet chocolate acts as a barrier between filling and shell, ensuring a flaky crust with every bite and balancing out the sweetness of the banana-studded pastry cream. Chocolate shavings finish the delightfully messy confection. Plus, you can get it from Tartine's Los Angeles locations, too.

Shoo-fly Pie

Dutch Haven's take on the Pennsylvania Dutch specialty, shoo-fly pie, was once named America's best. The ooey-gooey confection is made with simple, always-available-even-in-the-dead-of-Pennsylvania-winter ingredients like molasses, sugar, and shortening. When cooked, its filling and wet bottom crust are reminiscent of a richly sweet, slightly creamy pecan pie—minus the nuts.


Key Lime Pie

Nicole Rucker's pies come brimming with bright pops of acidity and sweetness from the season’s freshest produce—carefully sourced and inspected by Rucker herself—and silken with butter or custard or chocolate. At her stand inside Grand Central Market in Los Angeles, you can find some of her most iconic baked goods (light-as-air key lime pie, anyone?) as well as newer creations such as cookie-crust pies and savory hand pies. 

Chocolate Haupia Cream Pie

Oahu’s top pie purveyor sits on the island’s North Shore, home to some of the Aloha State’s most epic waves. This laidback gem’s custard two-fer is just as legendary as the surf and it’s been a menu staple since Ted’s opened in 1987. A velvety layer of haupia (coconut) pudding infuses a touch of tropical flair into the unconventional chocolate-cream pie.


Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie

Cozy diner Honeypie Cafe proudly reps its Midwestern roots with gussied-up comfort food and desserts. To form her luscious homage to old-fashioned black-bottomed pies, baking guru Valeri Lucks marries two of her bestsellers, layering chocolate and banana custards—both made with Wisconsin milk—atop a crisp graham cracker crust. She crowns the glorious affair with a mound of fresh whipped cream, which every pie-lover knows is an essential addition.

Milk Bar Pie

Christina Tosi’s legendary salty-sweet creation from Momofuku Milk Bar was a happy accident, according to legend. A giant crumbled oat cookie subs in for your standard-issue crust, which is draped in a gooey butter filling shot with vanilla and—surprise ingredient—corn powder. The best part? Now, you can get fresh pie delivery anywhere in the USA.

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