7 Non-Traditional Pies to Try This Holiday Season

This past Thanksgiving was far from traditional for my family, and the week before Thanksgiving found me perusing Whole Foods for ingredients for Chicken Corn Chowder rather than preparing for a turkey feast with extended family. While there, I decided to pick up dessert, and as I scanned the table of pre-made pies, I spotted a “Scarlet Pie.” Unsure what it was, I did a quick Google search on my phone and landed on a post from Whole Food’s Instagram account, which described the pie as, “filled with pear, apple, figs, and cranberries then topped with a crispy walnut streusel.” The Scarlet Pie proved to be a delicious as it sounds, and while I enjoyed it, I got to thinking about pies.

The only time I really eat pies is during the holidays, and they are almost always the traditional pumpkin, pecan, or apple pies. While I am a big fan of all three, I must admit that whenever someone brings something a little bit different to a holiday gathering, I’m eager to dish out something that I haven’t already had at every other holiday celebration. So, I decided to compile a list of some of our favorite non-traditional pies: 

Derby Pie

derby pie

Years ago, I was having some health issues, so a church friend brought us dinner and dessert. Dessert was a Derby Pie, and it was the best pie I had ever had! It is basically a chocolate-walnut pie that comes out looking like a big chocolate chip cookie. Even my husband, who is not a huge chocolate fan (nobody’s perfect!), loves this pie. My go-to recipe for Derby pie comes from The Spruce Eats.

Coconut Cream Pie

When my husband and I first started dating, he invited me over for Thanksgiving with his extended family. It was my first real exposure to a typical Southern holiday celebration, and I have to admit, I was taken aback by the fact that everything seemed to be some sort of casserole dish. It was also the first time I tried Coconut Cream Pie. I’m not a huge fan, mostly because I don’t like coconut, but it is one of my husband’s favorites and is always the pie he pretends he’s going to keep all to himself. This recipe from All Recipes is really easy and doesn’t require me to attempt a meringue.

Shoofly Pie

Shoofly Pie

While I might not have grown up with Coconut Cream Pie as a staple for holiday desserts, there are two pies that always remind me of home. The first that always reminds me of home is Shoofly Pie. This is a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch molasses pie. Not everyone will love this pie – it has a Fig Newton-like taste and texture, but it is actually a pretty traditional dessert where I grew up, and it always leaves me feeling nostalgic. It’s also really easy to make. Check out this recipe from Food.com.

Peanut Butter Pie
Fluffy Peanut Butter Pie

The other pie that always reminds me of home is Fluffy Peanut Butter Pie recipe. I have no idea what magazine my mom originally found this recipe in, but it is a crowd-pleaser. She usually makes it with a pre-made Oreo pie crust.

Oreo Pie

Speaking of Oreos – another pie that is always a hit is Oreo Pie. My fellow New Orleans Mom shared this quick and easy recipe:


  • Oreo crust
  • 2 packages of chocolate pudding
  • 5 cups milk
  • Cool whip
  • Oreo cookies


  1. Mix milk and pudding
  2. Put pudding in crust, refrigerate an hour or two
  3. Top with cool whip and crushed Oreos

Chess Pie

Another easy non-traditional pie is Chess Pies. Basic Chess Pie is just eggs, flour, sugar, and butter in a pie crust, but you can zhuzh it up in many different ways, like Chocolate Chess Pie or Lemon Chess Pie with blueberry topping. I really like the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for Chess Pie, but full disclosure, I use a pre-made pie crust.

Fruit Pies

Fruit pies that aren’t the traditional Apple Pie are also a great way to shake up your holiday desserts. Of course, you can always do a Cherry Pie or Blueberry Pie as though it was the 4th of July, but these recipes for Blackberry Pie and Strawberry Pie, also recommended by a fellow New Orleans Mom, can make our warm winters a little more refreshing.

Kelly Vollmer
Kelly first moved to New Orleans to attend Tulane University, from which she earned a B.S. in Psychology and English and an M.A. in English. She quickly discovered New Orleans was the place where she had always belonged, and her high school sweetheart, Jeff, soon followed her here. They have now been married for 16 years and have two beautiful girls, Emma Jane (11) and Hannah (6), and 4 year-old pup named Ember. Kelly is a lover of all things nerdy, a proud fangirl, and she is a passionate high school English teacher.


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