Celebrating Pi Day: How to Make Pie Count

Celebrating Pi Day: How to Make Pie Count

March 14 is the intersection of math and dessert! We're celebrating Pi(e) Day with a celebration of both, plus 51 sweet and savory pie recipes.

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Pi Day (aka Pie Day) is a magical day — it’s one on which both number nerds and pastry eggheads rejoice. At Yummly, that means everyone is in an excited state of reflection about pi... over pie. And since the official birthplace of Pi Day the San Francisco Exploratorium museum is just up the San Francisco Bay from the Yummly offices, we feel it’s our duty to give you an edible ode to numbers in the form of a short guide on pi(e), with ideas for celebrations and plenty of pie recipes.

What Does Pi Day Mean?

Before we get into how to make math delicious, we should explain what Pi Day is. In addition to being Albert Einstein's birthday, Pi Day happens every March 14 which, written numerically in the United States, is 3/14. In mathematics, pi (or 𝛑) is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter: The circumference of any circle is approximately 3.14 times its diameter (I say approximately because we typically only see 𝛑 in shortened numerical form as 3.14, but it’s actually never-ending).

That means the circumference of the 4 1/2-inch honey buttermilk pie that’s cooling on my kitchen counter right now is 14.13 inches (4.5𝛑 = 14.13 or 4.5 x 3.14 = 14.13). And the cookie butter pie setting in my refrigerator with a circumference of 28.6 inches is in a 9-inch pie plate (28.6 ÷ 3.14 = 9 or 28.6/𝛑 = 9).


We use the Greek letter 𝛑 (pi) as the symbol for this irrational number because it is the first letter in “perimetros” or perimeter, a synonym of circumference. We also get pie from the Greeks (though the ancient Egyptians did eat something similar). Pie as we know it started showing up on Greek tables around the 14th century. After that, this culinary concept spread to the Romans, then to the rest of Europe and beyond.

The Shape Of Pi(e)

With Greek influence coming at pi(e) from all angles, you might be wondering: Does pie have to be round? The answer is no, pie does not have to be round. A round pie might be expected on Pi(e) Day, but we like to think of it as an excuse to enjoy pie in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and flavors.

Slab Pies

A slab pie is just a rectangular pie, but it's great for serving a crowd (think: Fourth of July cookout). The dough is pressed into a sheet pan, filled, and baked or chilled. The filling is spread out a bit so it’s not as thick as a regular round pie, but it’s just as delicious. Slab pies are very easy to make if you’re not using supermarket pie dough. (Those are pre-cut into circles, so it wouldn’t work in a sheet pan.) If you want to know how to make perfect pie dough from scratch, you can check out our guide on how to make pie.

Peach Slab Pie RecipePeach Slab Pie Recipesliced peaches, pie dough, cornstarch, brown sugar, lemon juice and 4 more
Snickers™ Slab Pie RecipeSnickers™ Slab Pie Recipeheavy whipping cream, snickers, cream cheese, chocolate flavor syrup and 3 more


The tart is the more elegant form of our favorite confection (it is French, after all). Tarts are pies that have a shallow shell so you have a more even crust-to-filling ratio (more ratios!). However, tart crusts can vary. Some bakers use a simple pâte brisée (regular pie crust), others use a pâte sucre crust (a sweeter shortbread crust), or even a chocolate cookie crust. A traditional French tart is filled with pastry cream (or crème anglaise if you want to say it in French), topped with fresh berries, and brushed with an apricot glaze, but you can fill it however you want.

Blackberry Tart RecipeBlackberry Tart Recipeblackberries, butter, tart crust, lemon zest, fresh lemon juice and 3 more
Whipped Mocha Tart RecipeWhipped Mocha Tart Recipeheavy cream, salt, milk chocolate, coffee granules, tart crust and 1 more
Lemonade Tarts RecipeLemonade Tarts Recipelemon juice, lemon zest, shells, egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk and 2 more


Galettes are freeform pies that have a rustic look. If you don’t happen to have a pie pan on hand, you can make one of these — it’s also probably the easiest way to make a pie if you’re into imperfect style: You roll out the dough into a disheveled circle, pile on the fruit and roughly fold up the edges for a country confection. Gallettes work well for fillings that aren’t particularly gooey, because they’re not as deep as conventional pies. Also, IMHO, they’re great for berry pies (especially blueberry) which in the form of a traditional deep-dish pie can be overwhelmingly fruity.

Apple Galette RecipeApple Galette Recipegranulated sugar, all purpose flour, salt, large egg yolk, large egg and 5 more
Strawberry Galette RecipeStrawberry Galette Recipevodka, strawberries, flour, salt, ice water, flour, butter, sugar and 1 more
Very Berry Galette RecipeVery Berry Galette Recipecornstarch, salt, coarse sugar, granulated sugar, ice water, mixed berries and 6 more

Pot Pies

Pot pies like chicken pot pie and beef pot pie are similar to the original pie that the Greeks came up with. It's the American name for savory pies with a sauce. In Australia, they're just called meat pies. They're sometimes called royal pies in the U.K., but they also have pork pies which is a little bit different because there's no sauce or gravy involved — it's minced pork pressed together and wrapped in pastry. But let's not nitpick; whatever you decide to call it, it means you get to eat pie for dinner!

Classic Creamy Chicken Pot Pie RecipeClassic Creamy Chicken Pot Pie Recipe
unsalted butter, large egg, black pepper, chicken broth, small yellow onion and 15 more
Australian Meat Pie RecipeAustralian Meat Pie Recipeyellow onion, egg, beef stock, kosher salt, ground beef, ketchup and 8 more
Pork Pie RecipePork Pie Recipeclove, chicken stock, mace, Dijon mustard, pork belly, pork belly and 16 more

Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s pie is a savory pie made of meat topped with mashed potatoes which acts as the crust. Shepherd’s pie originated in the United Kingdom and is the same thing as cottage pie, however, some use the term “shepherd’s pie” to refer to pies made with lamb and reserve “cottage pie” to refer to pie made with ground beef. They’re eerily similar to casseroles, but we’re going to give these a pass since they’ve been called “pie” since at least the 1800s.

Shepherd’s Pie RecipeShepherd’s Pie Recipedried sage, carrots, butter, filtered water, ground white pepper and 17 more
Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Parsnip and and Potato Mash RecipeVegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Parsnip and and Potato Mash Recipegarlic, onion, olive oil, parsnips, sea salt, black pepper, russet potatoes and 8 more
Foolproof Savory Shepherd's Pie RecipeFoolproof Savory Shepherd's Pie Recipe
nutmeg, celery, unsalted butter, lean ground beef, dried thyme and 20 more

Pizza Pies

We’d have a very narrow definition of pie if we did not include a pizza pie, but we recognize that not everyone would agree with that categorization. In New York City, it’s common to refer to a whole pizza as a pie, though it’s not totally clear how that came about. Some say it’s derived from an ancient Italian tomato pie, others say it’s just because it's round like a pie. I’m dubious about either theory, but according to Harris Insights, it’s America’s second favorite pie (apple pie is THE favorite), so we (happily) had to include it.

10-Minute Skillet Pizza Recipe10-Minute Skillet Pizza Recipefresh parsley, pepperoni, flour, olive oil, mozzarella cheese and 2 more
Stovetop Pizza RecipeStovetop Pizza Recipewater, pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, self raising flour, olive oil
Vegan Caprese Pizza RecipeVegan Caprese Pizza Recipeapple cider vinegar, filtered water, nutritional yeast, pizza dough and 9 more

Hand Pies

Hand pies have a few different names in addition to traditional, American hand pies, so here are a few descriptions and explanations.

Hand Pies There is, of course, the regular ol’ hand pie. Hand pies are made with a standard pie crust, only they’re a fraction of the size of a regular pie (they do have to fit in your hand!). You can cut dough into freehand rectangles and use two pieces to seal in the filling. Or if you’re a perfectionist, you can make them uniform by using a large cookie cutter or biscuit cutter. Either way, you’ve got a sweet hot pocket.

Blueberry Hand Pies RecipeBlueberry Hand Pies RecipeMeyer lemon juice, vegetable oil, water, all purpose flour, fresh blueberries and 11 more
Lingonberries & Cream Hand Pies RecipeLingonberries & Cream Hand Pies Recipecream cheese, powdered sugar, egg, pie dough, jam
Mini Lemon Hand Pies RecipeMini Lemon Hand Pies Recipelemon curd, butter, sugar, white chocolate chips, pie crust, vegetable oil and 5 more

Turnovers Turnovers are slightly different from hand pies in that they are made with puff pastry. The puff pastry is cut into squares, filled, and then folded into triangles before baking (that's the kind of geometry I'm into!). They can be filled with anything, but apple turnovers are probably the most common. Many recipes also call for a drizzle of icing over the top.

Keto Raspberry Cheese Turnovers RecipeKeto Raspberry Cheese Turnovers RecipeSwerve, cheese slices, raspberries, heavy cream, cream cheese
Pear Turnovers RecipePear Turnovers Recipebosc pears, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, vanilla extract, ground ginger and 8 more
Apple and Blackberry Cream Turnovers RecipeApple and Blackberry Cream Turnovers Recipenutmeg, black pepper, demerara sugar, double cream, brown sugar and 17 more

Pop Tarts Technically, “Pop Tart” is a brand of toaster pastry, but there are enough copycat recipes for them that we thought we should make note of them. They are rectangular hand pies with a sweet filling (typically fruit) and icing.

Homemade Pop-Tarts with Grape Jelly Frosting RecipeHomemade Pop-Tarts with Grape Jelly Frosting Recipesprinkles, sugar, whipping cream, all purpose flour, butter, all-purpose flour and 5 more
Homemade Strawberry Pop Tarts RecipeHomemade Strawberry Pop Tarts Recipewater, vanilla extract, butter, salt, sprinkles, water, icing sugar and 5 more
Blackberry Lemon Homemade Pop Tarts RecipeBlackberry Lemon Homemade Pop Tarts Recipegranulated sugar, all purpose flour, unsalted butter, sugar, granulated sugar and 7 more

Empanadas Empanadas are savory, moon-shaped hand pies that originated in Spain but they’re most commonly found in Argentina. The pastry is slightly different from common hand pies in that it calls for an egg mixed into the dough. In cafes around Buenos Aires, you’ll find them filled with ham and cheese, cheese and onion, or just plain cheese, but you can fill them with anything you want. Ground beef and ground sausage (like chorizo) work well.

Beef Empanadas RecipeBeef Empanadas Recipebeef mince, cracked black pepper, fresh oregano leaves, ground cumin and 11 more
Chorizo & Cheese Empanadas with Avocado Crema RecipeChorizo & Cheese Empanadas with Avocado Crema Recipedried pasilla chile peppers, guajillo chili peppers, garlic, avocado and 19 more
Eva's Chicken Empanadas RecipeEva's Chicken Empanadas Recipeonion, kosher salt, garlic cloves, large egg, hard-boiled eggs and 12 more

Cornish Pasties Cornish pasties (pronounced “pass-tees”) are hand pies that originated in Cornwall, England. They’re a bit bigger and denser than the empanada, but the idea is very much the same: meat wrapped in pastry for a portable meal. These particular pastries are filled with beef, potatoes or turnips, and onions. Because they have Protected Geographical Indication status in Europe, the filling can’t be messed around with if you want to call them Cornish pasties.

Cornish Pasties RecipeCornish Pasties Recipeswede, salt, cold water, potato, plain flour, salt, unsalted butter and 7 more
Mini-Cornish Pasty RecipeMini-Cornish Pasty Recipecarrots, yellow onion, all purpose flour, unsalted butter, cold water and 9 more
Vegetarian Cornish Pasties RecipeVegetarian Cornish Pasties Recipelemon, kosher salt, celery root, country dijon mustard, pepper and 17 more

Pi(e) Day Celebrations

At Yummly, we celebrate Pi(e) Day by making and eating pie, of course, but celebrating Pi Day has been a tradition at its birthplace at San Francisco’s Exploratorium since 1988. Physicist Larry Shaw started the party with pie and a parade back then and the tradition continues — there’s even a permanent plaque on the sidewalk outside the Exploratorium to honor the day. The holiday has exploded and expanded exponentially and people now celebrate it in nerdy ways all over the country.

Celebrate with numbers (and pie) At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, March 14 has turned into an unofficial holiday when the school lets future admits know they've been accepted, and current students and alumni gather to eat pie.

Recipe for a song Because 𝛑 is a never-ending number, we typically only see 𝛑 written as 3.14 and we usually don’t see any digits beyond the “4.” Some mathletes make it a personal challenge to memorize an additional digit each year, but one guy took that idea a step further and composed a song based on the first 200 digits of 𝛑 (here’s an explanation).

Pi(e) fest At Harvest Middle School in Napa, California, they often treat Pi Day like a carnival, with a pie eating contest, hula hooping contest, a calculating contest, and students create 𝛑 art. It’s hard to tell where the fun ends and where it begins when you’re celebrating circles!

Round runs In Milwuakee, Wisconsin, they hold a 3.14 mile run through the city as a part of the annual celebration. Runners receive pie at the finish line.

Classic Dessert Pies

Those are just a few of the ways people are celebrating, but if you’re going to celebrate Pi(e) Day, we think you should start with delicious dessert pie recipes! And much like 𝛑’s infinite digits, the number of ways to make a sweet pie is infinite and we’ve got a few thousand pie fillings to choose from. So get baking (and don't forget the ice cream or whipped cream).

Old Fashioned Lemon Chess Pie RecipeOld Fashioned Lemon Chess Pie Recipesweet cream butter, all purpose flour, salt, cornmeal, lemons and 5 more
Easy Key Lime Pie RecipeEasy Key Lime Pie Recipelime zest, key lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, graham cracker crust and 1 more
Lemon Meringue Pie RecipeLemon Meringue Pie Recipegranulated sugar, butter, cornstarch, egg whites, water, granulated sugar and 11 more
Oreo Ice Cream Pie RecipeOreo Ice Cream Pie Recipeoreo cookie crumbs, sugar, butter, pecans, vanilla ice cream and 1 more
No Bake Nutella Pie RecipeNo Bake Nutella Pie RecipeOreo cookies, cream cheese, cool whip, butter, Nutella
Salted Butterscotch Pie RecipeSalted Butterscotch Pie Recipebutter, whole milk, cornstarch, dark brown sugar, large egg yolks and 5 more
Caramel Cream Pie RecipeCaramel Cream Pie Recipecrisco, caramel, all purpose flour, heavy whipping cream, granulated sugar and 4 more
Caramel Toffee Crunch Chocolate Pie RecipeCaramel Toffee Crunch Chocolate Pie Recipegraham crackers, Hershey's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, caramel topping and 16 more
Biscoff Banana Cream Pie RecipeBiscoff Banana Cream Pie Recipeheavy whipping cream, large banana, Biscoff Cookies, milk, instant banana cream pudding mix and 2 more
Mamaw Pie {Layers of Fabulousness} RecipeMamaw Pie {Layers of Fabulousness} Recipeflaked coconut, whipped topping, cream cheese, butter, pie shells and 3 more
Coconut Cream Pie RecipeCoconut Cream Pie Recipeshredded coconut, instant vanilla pudding mix, whipping cream and 6 more
Sugar Cream Pie RecipeSugar Cream Pie Recipecinnamon sugar, vanilla, white sugar, butter, heavy cream, butter and 2 more
Buttermilk Pecan Pie RecipeButtermilk Pecan Pie Recipesugar, vanilla extract, butter, salt, eggs, buttermilk, pie shell and 2 more
Frozen Gingersnap Pumpkin Pie RecipeFrozen Gingersnap Pumpkin Pie Recipe
gingersnap cookies, heavy whipping cream, salted butter, all purpose flour and 6 more
Homemade Cherry Pie RecipeHomemade Cherry Pie Recipepure vanilla extract, cherries, large egg, cornstarch, unsalted butter and 5 more
Blueberry Pie RecipeBlueberry Pie Recipefreshly squeezed lemon juice, lemon, cornstarch, pie crusts, large egg yolk and 2 more
Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble Pie RecipeStrawberry-Rhubarb Crumble Pie Recipefresh orange juice, kosher salt, grated orange zest, unsalted butter and 12 more