From Double-Crust to Tarts to Galettes: Demystifying Seven Common Types of Pie

Plus, we're sharing recipes for some of our favorite examples of each.

five spice pumpkin pie with phyllo crust
Photo: Christopher Testani

Whether it has a single or double crust, a sweet or savory filling, and is made in a pie dish or formed free-hand on a sheet pan, pie is a universally loved dish. It's also a dish that can be enjoyed any time of day. Start your morning off with a slice of quiche, which is filled with a savory egg custard studded with everything from bacon and cheddar cheese to ham and scallions. For dinner, there's nothing more classic than Chicken Pot Pie—try it out with flaky phyllo dough or buttery puff pastry instead of the usual pie dough.

Of course, when most people think of pie, they think of desserts like juicy blueberry, spiced apple, coconut custard, lemon meringue, and chocolate cream pie. So, where does a pear galette or tarte Tatin fit in? Below, we're explaining the differences between a double-crust pie, hand pie, tart, quiche, galette, and crostata so you can feel confident in choosing the right recipe for you.

Classic Pie

From pumpkin pie to lemon meringue pie, this all-encompassing term can refer to so many different varieties and flavors. However, we think of it as a type of pie that does not have a layer of crust on top, allowing you to see a sweet, savory, fruity, or custardy filling on the inside. It also features a buttery crust on the bottom made from basic pie dough or pâte brisée and is made in an eight- or nine-inch pie dish that is approximately two inches deep.

Double-Crust Pie

Whether you keep it simple with a single layer of rolled dough on top or create an intricate lattice top, a double-crust pie means that there is both a base and top layer of crust. Think: chicken pot pie, apple pie, berry pies, and, one of our favorites, a Pear and Sour-Cherry Pie.


This style of pie can be round, square, or rectangle; baked in a tart pan or sheet pan; and be sweet or savory. However, most tarts are made in a specialty pan that is shallower than a traditional pie dish and has a removable bottom so you can pop out the tart all-in-one go, which makes for easier slicing. We recommend the Gobel Nonstick Tart Pan (from $18, Tarts are always open-faced—meaning there's no intricate top crust. Because of the nearly endless possibilities, it's one of our favorite types of pies to make. This recipe for Peach and Blueberry Tart with Cream Cheese Filling is sweet as can be for summer and is made in a square tart pan. Looking for something a bit more rustic? Our Vanilla-Rhubarb Tart is made using a half portion of our Test Kitchen's Favorite Pâte Brisée and is assembled and baked on a rectangular sheet pan.


A variety of a tart, this egg-filled pie is made in a pie (or quiche!) dish with a basic pie crust on the bottom. It's usually filled with a light, fluffy mixture made with eggs, heavy cream, milk, and salt and pepper. Quiches are often filled with meat, vegetables, cheese, and herbs. Try our classic Bacon and Spinach Quiche or our vegetarian Rainbow-Chard Quiche.


This French, free-form type of pie is made with pie dough for the crust and baked on a sheet pan. To make a galette, pie dough is rolled out into a large circle; the filling (think apple slices or jammy berries) is arranged in the center of the dough, leaving at least a three-inch border. The border is then partially folded over the filling, leaving the middle exposed for a peek as to what's waiting on the inside. Savory versions shine—such as our Corn, Tomato, and Zucchini Galette or Mushroom-Bacon Galette—just as much as sweeter iterations.


Nearly identical to a galette, a crostata is also a rustic, free-form pie that has Italian origins. Start by making our Test Kitchen's Favorite Pate Brisée, roll it out into a 14-inch circle, then fill with fresh figs and almonds, apples and apricot preserves, or prune plums with port.

Hand Pies

Hand pies are just a crowd-friendly cousin of a traditional pie. They're easy to eat and grab and go, and you don't have to worry about cutting the perfect slice. They're made with traditional pie dough cut into individual circles; the filling is placed on one half of the dough circle, which is then folded in half and crimped. Try these summery Cherry-and-Cream-Cheese Hand Pies or our Halloween Mummy Pies, another seasonal favorite. For a savory dinner, try our Moroccan Hand Pies with Eggplant and Apricots.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles