Our Most Showstopping Pie Crust Designs and Tips on How to Recreate Them at Home

decorative cinnamon sugar stencil double crust apple pie
Johnny Miller

If cookies are synonymous with the holiday season, then pie is a staple dessert on Thanksgiving and Easter. But that doesn't mean you need to save your favorite pie recipes for special occasions—we heartily endorse pie for weekend brunches, birthdays, and "just because" desserts. Still, it's important to remember that a seasonal fruit filling or creamy chocolate custard is just part of what makes a pie stand out; it's just as important to have a flaky, buttery crust. And why should that crust be plain? Take it to the next level with these creative and intricate pie designs.

One of the most classic pie crust designs is a lattice topping. This style, which often tops apple and blueberry pies, is made by weaving strips of dough over and under one another. Not only does it look elegant, but it also creates dozens of small vents, allowing steam to escape and preventing the filling from bubbling over and exploding. That's right, it's not just for looks.

Once you've mastered the basics, feel free to take things up a notch. Our Brown-Sugar Butternut-Squash Pie features not one, but two eye-catching pie crust designs—the pie crust rim resembles a fishtail braid and is made with 15 strips of dough. An assortment of hand-cut leaves, crescent moons, and diamonds crafted from pie dough overlap each other on one half of the dough and are dusted with powdered sugar after the entire pie has baked and cooled. It's absolutely picture-perfect. If you don't feel like you're quite there yet, that's perfectly fine, too—keep things simple by using a small aspic cookie cutter to create cut-out hearts, stars, or circles in an eight- or nine-inch round of pie dough. The results will still be beautiful, even if you're strapped for time or want to keep the design a bit understated.

Ahead, we're sharing some of our favorite pie crust designs to add some oomph to your bake.

01 of 16

Simple Yet Spectacular

pie crust techniques
Nico Schinco

If traditional crimping cramps your style, pick up a paring knife and customize your single-crust pies with these striking geometric motifs. For a really precise rim to work with, give your dough three or four extra pulses in the food processor once your butter hits the pea-size stage; it will hold its shape better without losing much flakiness. We have three clever ideas: checkers, crosshatch, and points.

If you love the checkered look, top, start by making short, straight cuts around the rim of the pie dish at scant one-inch intervals; fold every other piece in toward the filling.

To achieve a crosshatch pattern, bottom left, press the knife blade at a diagonal along the pie's edge, going deep enough to make an indent but not cut through. Repeat in the opposite direction.

Finally, if you like the idea of a crust with many pointed tips, bottom right, simply cut small triangles all the way around the rim. Be sure to leave the tips about one inch apart.

02 of 16

Stencil Pie Crust

decorative cinnamon sugar stencil double crust apple pie
Johnny Miller

While this precise stenciled top crust looks complicated to recreate, it's actually an incredibly easy pie crust design to create using wooden popsicle sticks. They're arranged on top of the dough, which is then sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, leaving thin strips of dough untouched.

03 of 16

Braided Edge

Will Anderson

You'll need your braiding skills for this intricate pie crust design—strips of dough are weaved into three large fishtail braids, which decorate the circumference of this fall pie. As a finishing touch, cut out dozens of stars, snowflakes, and crescents from the pie dough.

04 of 16

Diamond Pie Crust

decorative tile double-crust apple pie
Johnny Miller

Cookie cutters can be used to create serious magic, especially when it comes to creating a pie crust design that will wow. This version is made by stamping out 16 dazzling diamonds from a 13-inch round of pie dough and arranging them on top of a classic apple filling.

05 of 16

Lattice Pie Crust

blueberry lattice pie martha bakes
Mike Krautter

If you want to take your pie crust design up a notch, a woven lattice pattern is the pie topper for you. This particular version is created using both double and single strips of dough, which are laid on top of each other going diagonally across the top of the pie.

06 of 16

Pinwheel Pie Crust

pinwheel cherry pie
Jonathan Lovekin

Create a spinner effect using classic pâte brisée just as we did on this sour cherry pie. Individual strips of pie dough are twisted, then set into a spiral design around and around the top of the pie. It creates a dizzying, dazzling pie crust design.

07 of 16

Peek-a-Boo Pie Crust

You don't need any special equipment to craft this peek-a-boo pie crust design, which is created by using a paring knife to make two-inch slits across the top of the dough.

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Leaf Pie Crust

Will Anderson

While we certainly love creating a buttery pie crust by hand, using store-bought puff pastry is just as delicious (and so much easier!). Use a paring knife to create leaf-like formations in the dough, which will puff up and make the pie crust design even more pronounced as it bakes.

09 of 16

Cut-Out Pie Crust

Will Anderson

Whether you want to keep it simple with small circles or festive with hearts or stars based on the occasion, use a small decorative cookie cutter to create evenly spaced cutouts all around the top layer of dough. The finishing touch? Powdered sugar, of course!

10 of 16

Patriotic Pie Crust

Raymond Hom

Show off your stars and stripes with this trio of red, white, and blue pies. Each is topped with a pie crust design that is cut out with star cookie cutters or a small pastry wheel, depending on what design you fancy.

11 of 16

Linzer Pie Crust

Kate Mathis

Instead of an intricately cut pie crust design, sprinkle part of the crumbly shortbread crust on top, mimicking a lattice pattern. It's an easy, no-fuss design to go along with this low-maintenance sheet-pan pie.

12 of 16

Simple Pie Crust

Kate Mathis

This pie crust design is one of the simpler styles on the list, but it's just as beautiful as its more detailed counterparts. Just cut five leaf-shaped vents in the top crust, insert a cinnamon stick in the center as a stem, freeze, and bake for an autumnal design.

13 of 16

Covered Cut-Out Pie Crust

Jonathan Lovekin

Use a fluted cookie cutter to cut out as many rounds of pie dough as possible and scatter them—delicately, of course—all across the top of this juicy, slightly earthy berry pie.

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Scattered Leaves

Jonathan Lovekin

Pecan pie is usually served unadorned with just a buttery layer of pie dough on the bottom. However, we decided to give our a fall spin by adding one dozen cut leaves across the top of the ooey-gooey-nutty.

15 of 16

Sunburst Pie Crust

Chocolate-Sesame Tarte Soleil
Will Anderson

Once you take a bite of this chocolate-sesame tart, you'll be instantly transported to France. The stunning pie crust is made by cutting the tart into 24 sections, then twisting each strip, which will puff up as the dessert bakes.

16 of 16

Pear-Shaped Cut-Outs

poached pear cranberry pie martha bakes
Mike Krautter

We can't imagine a more apt flavor combination for fall than pear and cranberry, so why not show the filling off by creating a handful of pear-shaped cutouts in the pie crust?

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