Team TRH Pie Power Rankings

‘Tis the Season! … FOR PIES!!!

Due to the monumental popularity of last year’s Holiday Power Rankings, the Team TRH Power Rankings have returned. After scientifically proving that Thanksgiving is the the ultimate holiday, we have chosen to tackle a related topic this year. This is a very original topic which has somehow yet to be tackled anywhere else. But never mind all that blind speculation. We are here to definitively prove which pies are the best, using just the hard facts.

Well, actually we already know which pie is the best. And that’s any pie Bob Miller puts in Greg Wyshynski’s face.

Assuming a hall of famer isn’t around to throw your pie into a blogger’s face, there are some important questions to be answered.

Can a seasonal pie be the best pie? … Are there people who actually think graham cracker crust is superior to homemade pie crust? … Is Pecan Pie THE BEST pie or THE WORST pie? … Does cheesecake count as a pie or a cake?

At this point the only thing that we can say for sure is that cake sucks.

Well, all cakes except this one:

Stanley Cake

Before we can tackle the lists, let’s make sure we know what we’re dealing with. Traditional pies breakdown into three main categories:


  • Apple/Dutch Apple
  • Peach
  • Cherry
  • Pecan
  • Mincemeat
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet Potato


  • Strawberry/Strawberry Rhubarb
  • Boysenberry
  • Blueberry
  • Rasberry
  • Lingonberry
  • Olallieberry
  • Marionberry
  • Blackberry

Meringues, Creams, etc.:

  • Lemon Meringue
  • Key Lime
  • Chocolate (Cream/Silk/Mudpie)
  • Coconut Cream
  • Banana Cream
  • Peanut Butter
  • Butterscotch
  • Custard
  • Buttermilk/Chesspie
  • Shoofly

I’m sure your mom made an awesome Oreo cookie-chocolate-peanut butter-mint chip-seven layer pie, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about the classic pies … meat and potato pies here. Well, not literally meat and potato pies … dessert pies. But Team TRH did go off the board for some strong choices.

Be sure to stick around until the end for our final results and a special appearance by our guest analyst, Katie Baker. For now, let’s see what the group has to say.

Team TRH Round-up

The Royal Half

  1. Pecan – Not flashy, but reliable and you can use a Pecan pie in a variety of situations (holidays, birthdays, special gatherings, trips to the South to see the in-laws you can’t stand). Pecan pies are also a classic and have great sustainability during the various trends of pies and other desserts. Basically, Pecan is the Nicklas Lidstrom of pies.
  2. Cheesecake – Probably the only bigger debate than “is Cheesecake a Pie?” happens to be “is Jon Quick elite?” But let’s state some simple facts here and then Jack can spend the rest of this post yelling at me. A cheesecake has a separate crust, a soft filling, an absence of flour (which is a staple of a cake) and is baked in an oven. Pretty much the people that say Cheesecake is not a pie are the same ones who say Eric Lindros doesn’t belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
  3. Key Lime – Generally, things that come from Florida are awful (the 2000 Presidential Election, Carrot Top, the Florida Panthers’ uniforms) but there is no better combination of sweet and tart in my mind than a great slice of Key Lime pie.
  4. Fruit Tart – Seriously, are you really going to turn down some fresh fruit layered on top of custard and crust in favor of a peach pie? I didn’t think so.
  5. Hostess Fruit Pies – When some people think of their youth, they think of high-scoring hockey games and goaltenders in small pads. When I think of my youth I see that plus Hostess Fruit Pies. 
  6. Blueberry – For all of the “Berry” category of pies, Blueberry is my favorite. It’s unique, flavorful and easy to digest because of the smaller size of the fruit involved.
  7. Lemon Chess Pie – Some say that “Chess Pie” got its name from the fact that once baked, these pies were so rich they could be stored in chests at room temperature. In fact, the only thing richer than a Chess Pie is Phil Anschutz.
  8. Pi, the Movie – A surreal, psychological thriller film that launched the career of the director of The Fountain and Noah, Darren Aronofsky.

Ugh, do I really need to do 10? I have a 8 month-old baby for chrissakes. I’m too busy having her pick winners of LA Kings games!

Jersey Brian

  1. Chocolate Pecan Pie from Mama Dip’s in Chapel Hill, NC – A piece of regular pecan pie would rank #3 on the list, but Mama Dip’s chocolate pecan pie was pure heaven – the chocolate and pecan were more like a brownie in a pie crust. I’m drooling thinking about it, and I haven’t had it in about eight years.
  2. Chocolate (Cream/Silk/Mudpie) – As you can see, chocolate clearly effects the rankings for me.
  3. Peanut Butter – If combined, a chocolate & peanut butter pie could challenge for my top spot, but for now, I’m keeping them separate.
  4. Shoofly
  5. Key Lime Pie – These two pies swap places during Fall/Winter & Spring/Summer. So for now, Shoofly takes 4th, but come April, Key Lime will shoot back up.

***Non-Dessert Division***

  1. Pizza Pie
  2. Chicken Pot Pie
  3. Warrant’s “Cherry Pie” video
  4. The “Pie-O-My” Sopranos Episode
  5. 5. Felix Pie

Duke of LA Hockey

  1. Pumpkin – Reminds me of family
  2. Banana Cream – I like bananas
  3. Apple – ‘Merica
  4. Chocolate
  5. Key Lime
  6. Blueberry
  7. Peach
  8. Cherry
  9. Strawberry
  10. Lemon Meringue

Ryan McKenzie

I’ve learned three things from this list: Americans and Canadians have vastly different pallets when it comes to said pie and crust combination, I apparently like terrible pies, and there are a lot of berries available for pies in North America. That being said…

  1. Pumpkin
  2. Banana Cream
  3. Strawberry Rhubarb
  4. Tourtière
  5. Cherry
  6. Coconut Cream
  7. Chocolate
  8. Key Lime
  9. Pecan
  10. Blueberry

If you’ve never had Tourtière I cannot recommend it enough, if savoury pies are your cup of tea.

Indiana Matt

10. American Pie –

american pie

I mean… Nadia, hello!


9.  Boysenberry – I mean…. i think? I can’t remember the last time I had it, but I’d order it if I saw it tonight.

8.  Persimmon – Strong persimmon pie contingent in Indiana, especially southern Indiana.  Also, any fruit that can look like a tomato had sex with a habanero pepper, yet still be pie eligible has a place on the power ranking.


7.  Raspberry Pie – This pie is tart and will always have a place in my heart.

6.  Pumpkin Pie – Most overrated pie in the history of pie. Wanna fight about it?


5.  Cherry Pie 

cherry pie

cherry pie 2

4.  Apple Pie 


3.  Cranberry Sugarcrust Pie – Family secret pie, I’d tell you, but I’d have to kill you

2.  Cheesecake – It’s been well documented by this point, but I would like to throw my hat in the “pie” ring for the Cheesecake: Cake v. Pie debate.  If I need to start calling it Cheesepie, I’m happy to do so.  Its delicious. It has a crust, It’s a pie.  The end.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Matt is wrong. We’ll get to this)

Now before I get to my #1… here’s Iggy Azaela with a word about Cheesecake.

1. Key Lime Pie – Only thing better than the holidays would be Vacations. People from Indiana love vacations and on vacation growing up, I would always eat Key Lime Pie in the Caribbean.


That being said… there is no imitation for the real thing, right Oreo?


Any time, any day, a real slice of Key Lime pie is my #1.

Mike Commito

  1. La Tarte au Sucre – I’m going off the board right away with this French-Canadian staple. The filling for “sugar pie” has just three ingredients: brown sugar, flour, and whipping cream. You have to admire the simplicity, and yes, it’s just as delicious as it sounds.
  2. Blueberry Pie – My hometown, Sudbury, was carved from dense forest and the subsequent regrowth has rendered much of the area a giant blueberry patch. While we have to compete with local black bears for these tiny fruits, there’s nothing quite like fresh blueberry pie.
  3. Pumpkin Pie – I’ll probably get some eye rolls for ranking pumpkin pie so high. Much like eggnog over the Christmas holidays, pumpkin pie is a polarizing treat at Thanksgiving. There’s very little ground for accommodation, you either love it or you hate it.
  4. Strawberry Rhubarb Pie – Rhubarb is rarely thought of as an ingredient that has synergistic qualities, but it does. Strawberry pie filling, not awesome. Strawberry rhubarb, however, perfect combination of sweetness and tart.
  5. Cherry Pie – If you were to look at Pie Power Rankings prior to 1990, I’d bet that cherry pie rarely cracked the top ten. With a huge boost from Warrant, however, this dessert has since become a fixture on all-time pie and innuendo lists.
  6. Pecan Pie
  7. Apple Pie
  8. Coconut Cream Pie – Great for eating and throwing
  9. Banana Cream Pie – Please see above
  10. Chicken Pot Pie – This is the best savory pie out there and I will not listen to counter arguments.

Runner Up:

Jurassic Pie

Jurassic Park Pie topped with Barbasol – I still have no idea what type of pie Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight) has his paws on in this memorable scene from Jurassic Park. Cherry? Strawberry? The jury is still out, but what I do know is that even if that is a handful of shaving cream, it still looks like a pretty appetizing pie topper.

Least Favourite Pie: Lemon Meringue – For some, this is a tangy and refreshing treat, but for me, an offering of lemon meringue pie usually means having to lie about how I am too full for dessert.

Brian Rowland

Jack sent us a list of 25(!) pies to consider for this ranking, but to be fair, I’m only going to be ranking pies that I’ve actually eaten.

  1. Apple – If you don’t like apple pie, I don’t know if we can be friends. Just perfect.

1a. Pumpkin – I realize that there’s been a bit of a pumpkin backlash in the past few years, but I don’t care. I love all things pumpkin this time of year and the king of them all is pumpkin pie. I am planning on pounding as many pieces of this pie as possible over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend. Also: This must be eaten with Cool Whip, NOT Reddi-Whip. I will not hear any arguments to the contrary.

  1. Banana Cream – Really underrated, in my opinion. So good.
  2. Cherry – Cue the Warrant video.
  3. Boysenberry – Makes me think of Knott’s Berry Farm.
  4. Chocolate
  5. Strawberry
  6. Coconut Cream – This is good, but who am I, Gilligan? Not good enough to make it into my top 5.
  7. Blueberry – Solid, but its inherent staining properties bump this down a few slots for me.
  8. Peanut Butter – Anything with peanut butter in it is good. Pie is no exception.
  9. Blackberry – Why not?

  1. Pecan – Not a fan. Way too sweet and way too overrated. The smell of it makes me nauseous.


  1. Apple – Keeping it simple and choosing a classic seems like the right move for my first overall #HotPieTake.
  2. Pizza – Is it pie? The reigning authorities on the matter (also known as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) certainly think so – so who am I to argue?
  3. Moon Pie – What a time to be alive!
  4. Lemon Meringue Pie – It’s light, fully, delightful – what’s not to like??
  5. Humble Pie – Once I was the king of Spain…
  6. Sheppard’s Pie – a warm, hearty and delicious meal option
  7. Pumpkin Pie – Pumpkin everything this time of the year, goes great with a Pumpkin Spice Latte
  8. Elderberry Pie –  Every bite a memory of Monty Python: your mother was a hamster…
  9. Blueberry Pie – At least a full berry in every bite!
  10. Blackberry Pie – Tough choice between this and strawberry, but blackberry got the final edge.

Shawnze Kopitar

  1. Razzleberry – Why did the pie go to a dentist, you ask? Because it needed a filling! And there is no filling more superior, more flawless than the Razzleberry blend of raspberries and blackberries. If it is pastry excellence you seek, with an impeccable blend of sweet and tart, look no further.
  2. Chocolate Cream – Chocolate Cream keeps it real. It knows who it is and isn’t walking around Brentwood in Lulu lounge pants trying to get coffee with Gweneth Paltrow. Plus, dessert is not complete until chocolate has made an appearance.
  3. Apple – “I ate another apple pie and ice cream; that’s practically all I ate all the way across the country, I knew it was nutritious and it was delicious, of course.” – Jack Kerouac, On the Road
  4. Pecan – I dare you to find me a more dreamy texture than candied pecans.
  5. Boysenberry – If Razzleberry is the nightclub where raspberries and blackberries get together, meet Boysenberry, the brooding and brambly progeny of their one night stand. I’ll eat this pie late at night alone in my kitchen with nothing but the light of the cracked refrigerator to guide my fork and give no cares.
  6. Strawberry – The flirtiest of all pies. Fresh strawberries mounded high in a rich buttery crust and suddenly he’s smiling at me from across the room and I’m blushing.
  7. Pumpkin – Because I’m a basic bi***
  8. Eskimo – I suppose this doesn’t really count but I can think of exactly zero times when I turned down ice cream coated in chocolate.
  9. Lemon Meringue – I mean, my favorite dessert is a lemon bar so I guess I like this pie too. It may take me a bit to adjust to the texture but overall I think it’s a decent confection.
  10. Banana Cream – Since this is a list of favorite pies and since I am a huge proponent of all things piedom, using this last slot as a platform to declare how repugnant banana cream pie is should be evidence sufficient for my future children when they begin to seek after the truth.

King Tufficult

  1. Sweet Potato – Nothing like getting a little savory after dinner, am I right? I need those carbs to keep getting hyuge in the gym.
  2. Peach – Do I dare eat a peach?
  3. Blackberry – Best berry for staining garments you should never have been eating pie in.
  4. Pumpkin – Every year I forget that I like pumpkin pie, someone forces me to try it, and I begrudgingly act like it’s “OK” (it’s delicious).
  5. Blueberry – Blueberry is such a great berry. It also happens to be my muffin varietal of choice.
  6. Key Lime – Refreshing, light, delicious, and also utterly disgusting by the 10th bite.
  7. Banana Cream – It has bananas. It has cream. It has pie crust. You’d have to really suck to make a bad banana cream pie.
  8. Cherry – Classic, delicious, and I’m going to set the over/under on 80s hair metal band references by other #TeamTRH members for this one at 4.5.
  9. Chocolate Cream – Lest we forget, pie is a dessert. And as we all know, most of the best desserts in this world involve chocolate. This one is a no-brainer.
  10. Apple – Tart, sweet, and flaky. No, that’s not a new nickname for Carter’s line. It’s an accurate description of the only pie that’s like The Half’s twitter feed — even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good.

LA Queen of Meme

  1. Banana Split Pie – BECAUSE MY MOM CAN THROW DOWN SOME PIE! It’s actually better than the thing it’s named after and there are secret, bonus chunks of pineapple in there that you never expected and don’t deserve but get to enjoy anyway.
  2. Apple Pie – BECAUSE AMERICA. And it must the kind of apple pie with that crumble on top. I don’t want it open faced–that’s just gross to see the flesh colored slivers of cut up apples. I don’t want it covered with plain crust topping-that’s just lazy and I’m not impressed that you can cut four slice marks into flat, flavorless crust. For an Apple Pie to be truly excellent it MUST be covered in a cinnamony-sugary crumble. CRUMBLE or GTFO.
  3. Pecan Pie – I go positively NUTS for this sweet, southern delicacy mostly because of the magic that happens when that corn syrup soaks into the crust. The Pecans are ok, but it’s really about that gloopy, sugary, sugary filling. If starbucks came out with “Pecan Pie Goo” as a new seasonal beverage, I’m not ashamed to tell you that I would buy that. A lot.
  4. Pumpkin Pie – It’s the perfect ending to a day of decedance and there’s way too much nostalgia and too many happy memories associated with this pie for me to ever be able to judge it objectively. It might actually be terrible. I just don’t know. I’m usually so happy when I eat I can’t tell.
  5. Chocolate Cream – It is made with both chocolate AND cream, so really, what else do you need?  Phillipe’s has the best if you like standing in line, or you can just order it from their source at Martino’s.
  6. Olallieberry – This is as much fun to say as it is to eat! And if you aren’t eating it at Linn’s in Cambria, you’re doing it wrong!
  7. Key Lime – Sometimes it’s summer and you don’t want ice cream and everything else will clash with your lemonade.
  8. Lemon Meringue – Not on this list for it’s flavor, but for the satisfaction you get pushing it into someone’s face.
  9. Cherry Pie – Warrant ruined this dessert option for me forever.
  10. Marionberry – This pie serves as a reminder that no matter how poor your choices are it doesn’t mean you won’t get re-elected.

Hrudey Can’t Fail

  1. Dutch apple – When you crumble graham crackers, mixed with sugar and butter over anything, it automatically makes it number 1.
  2.  Cherry – There’s a reason Warrant wrote a song about it. Try and get any guy to argue that they wouldn’t want some cherry pie … I’m mean the pie … really.
  3. Sweet Potato – Let’s face it, while sweet potato and pumpkin are pretty much the same thing, no one is following up good southern home cooking up with pumpkin pie. It’s comfort food, and made with love. And really just tastes slightly better.
  4. Lemon Meringue – Growing up watching my dad make pie, I’ve learned what a pain in the ass lemon meringue pie is to successfully create. So I have somewhat of an appreciation for one that is really well done and looks nice. Plus it’s freaking delicious!
  5.  Cheesecake – We can probably all admit it’s not reeealllly a pie, but anything that pushes Jack A. Wilson’s buttons ends up on my list!
  6.  Lingonberry- It’s not your everyday pie, and the name is just fun to say.
  7.  Key Lime – If you’ve ever had a key lime pie martini, you understand.
  8. Pumpkin – I can’t not put pumpkin on a list of pie. Pumpkin pie equals fall. Thanksgiving, football, cool weather…. Plus it goes really well with half a can of whipped cream!
  9.  Banana Cream – Unless you don’t like banana, or pie, it’s pretty easy to like banana cream pie. Cream, bananas, sugar, butter, sometimes Nilla Wafers! I mean it’s pretty much your childhood after school snack on steroids.
  10. Mince Meat – Really this is pretty much the grossest pie ever, and when you put hard sauce on it, it’s 1000x worse. BUT the people who make real mince meat pie (real as in, with actual meat, not raisins), and are able to make it edible, deserve a few bonus points.

Flubber McGee

1. Chocolate – This is the only correct #1.  This includes French Silk.  But not with regular pie crust.  Graham cracker crust only.  Why the hell does regular pie crust even exist?  Graham cracker crust is far superior.  Get that regular crap out of here.

2. Pumpkin – Like a nice wine.  Acquired taste, probably don’t really appreciate it as a youth, but later you will.  That said, pumpkin beer is unnecessary and gross.  

3. Custard – I don’t know what this is, but it sounds legendary.

4. (tie) Lemon meringue, Key Lime – Whipped topping with a sweet zing!  Load it up with more whipped cream and either of these make a move up the list.

5. Cheesecake – I don’t care what you think about this being pie or not, I would eat this before any other crappy fruit-filled monstrosity.  Keep fruit away from my dessert.

6. Peanut butter – Great until the second bite, and you realize you are eating an entire pie made out of about 3 jars of JIF.  That much peanut butter has to be unhealthy.  I can still taste stale peanut butter for like 2 days after eating one of these.  That said, still better than fruit pie.

7. (tie) “Pies” with normal foods like potatoes or meat or eggs or other crap in it –  Don’t call that a pie. It’s a quiche.

T1,000. fruit pies – Okay, maybe apple is okay.  But only with an assload of whipped cream.  Whipped cream can make quiche taste good.

Jesse Cohen

1. Apple – There is nothing better in this trying world than warm Apple Pie with cold vanilla ice cream. Nothing. Anyone who says different is a liar. Know how good Apple Pie is? People made up the saying “It’s as American as Apple Pie”. Fuck you, other pies. American Apple Pie rules.

2 thru 9. Strawberry, Boysenberry, Boysenberry, Olallieberry, Blackberry, Marionberry, Lingonberry, Blueberry – The Berry Pies are all equally delicious in my mind. With or without ice cream. Warm, piping hot or two days later out of the fridge. If it’s got crust and is full of berries I will eat it with a gigantic idiotic smile on my face, no questions asked.

10. Pumpkin – You can’t have Thanksgiving without Pumpkin Pie. You DO want Thanksgiving don’t you???

Knick Rickle

Note: The rationale behind the following ranking is 75% based on near bi-weekly visits to Bakers Square throughout my childhood. For those unfamiliar with Bakers Square, it’s a terrible Midwestern restaurant chain that is popular among the retired crowd due to their incredibly bland food. Bakers Square is also known for having a giant selection of pie, and started giving away free pie every Wednesday about 10 years ago (probably because they weren’t making money).  This only made my family frequent this establishment even more.

10. Banana Cream Pie – Can’t say I particularly enjoy eating it, but I’m a huge fan of slapstick comedy.

Fozzy Bear

This bear voted Banana Cream Pie #1

9. Cherry/Peach/Blueberry Pie – All classics. All good in a pinch. All are essentially the same and are getting the cold shoulder if any other pie is available.

8. Lingonberry Pie – Same thing as #9, except I really enjoy shopping at IKEA.

7. Pumpkin Pie – I’m always excited for the prospect of having pumpkin pie in the fall, but am rarely more than moderately satisfied after finally eating it. It gets all the anticipation, all the hype but almost always gets  passed up for a better flavor when it’s time for seconds. If all of the pie flavors were drafted, Pumpkin Pie would be picked first overall by the Edmonton Oilers.

6. Key Lime Pie – I only think I’ve had key lime pie two or three times in my life, but each time was great. Not sure what the hell it is or how you make it, but I enjoyed it enough to give it a spot on this list.

5. Chocolate Cream/Mud Pie – Even though it’s basically the same as eating a cup of cool whip, a chocolate bar and a graham cracker simultaneously (if taking the Frank Reynolds approach) it gets the job done. But having more than one slice in one sitting is the accelerated route to the diabeetus.

4. Apple Pie – Not having apple pie in the top five should be grounds for deportation.

3. Coconut Cream Pie – This one’s probably more of a personal preference and I’m ok with that. Coconut is probably the most polarizing of all sweet flavorings. Plus no one ever wants coconut cream pie at Thanksgiving, which left pretty much all of it for me.

2. French Apple Cream Cheese My go-to order after an order of eggs and french toast at 11:45 on a Sunday afternoon. All the goodness of Apple Pie with a layer of cheesecake to appease the deeper level of fat kid in me.

1. Apple Pie A la Mode – The undisputed champion. All the goodness of apple pie with a bowl of ice cream on top to appease the deepest level of fat kid in me. If you start eating the pie before the ice cream melts all over the entire slice, I don’t want to know you as a person.


When Jack A. Wilson, our long-time ombudsman and close personal pal of mine, asked us to rank our favorite pies, I slinked slowly out of the room and watched in horror as everyone told him what a great idea this was. You see, I’m not a huge fan of desserts. The idea of eating anything sugary actually makes my teeth hurt — I even cringed while writing this sentence. So this isn’t easy for me. Hell, I don’t think I’ve even eaten 10 different types of pies on my life. And when Jack edits this for the first time he’ll probably just be mad at me… for more than one reason (which I’m sure at least 3 other members of #TeamTRH have mentioned in their write-ups). That said, I’ll try my damned best here.

**waits an extra 4 days**

demitri pie

  1. Blueberry Pie – The beginning of my list is already a horrible lie. I’ve consulted numerous official pie lists and have determined I definitely haven’t tried 10 different types of pies in my lifetime. I am, however, a big fan of blueberries. So welcome to my Top 10, Blueberry Pie!
  1. Spanakopita – In all seriousness, this shouldn’t even be on my list. I hate Spanakopita – or as Wikipedia calls it: Spinach Pie. But I have tried this terrible combination of spinach, feta cheese, onions and eggs on numerous occasions, each of which was more disappointing than the previous one. You know how it goes, though, you sit down at a Greek restaurant, decide to split an appetizer and talk yourself into something that’s described as a “flaky delight.” I swear I’ve been fooled for the last time.
  1. Banana Cream Pie – Just like the Blueberry Pie, I haven’t tried a Banana Cream Pie before. BUT, this sounds freaking amazing. Thank you, Jack, for exposing me to something that I actually want to try. Up until this, my only point of reference was an obscure Season 2 Family Guy reference.
  1. Strawberry Pie – This is short and simple: Crust, whipped cream, strawberries.
  1. Pecan Pie – Also kind of cheating on this one. I absolutely love picking off the roasted pecans and eating them. The filling? Meh.
  1. Empanada – Wikipedia has Empanadas listed on their Pie page, so that’s good enough for me! This delectable delicacy is defined as “a stuffed pastry, baked or fried and stuffed with a variety of fillings, including meat, cheese, vegetables or fruit.” Yes, please, and thank you.
  1. Pumpkin Pie – We’re finally entering “Pies Pumper has actually eaten on more than one occasion” territory! Pumpkin Pie features the second best type of pie crust available. Pro tip: Cut the pie around the edges for maximum crustability. You’ll need a young child close by to blame this on, but the payoff is definitely worth it.
  1. Chicken Pot Pie – The only pie crust that can possible top it’s pumpkin counterpart is the Chicken Pot Pie. Now I’m sure there are plenty of great pot pies in the world, but nothing will ever top the 40-60 Chicken Pot Pie toppers that I ate in 2nd grade. The ingredients inside tasted terrible and I never actually ate any of them, and my parents hated me for it, but man it was all worth it.
  1. Apple Pie – Once again, fast food rules supreme. And no, I don’t have to defend my grade school eating pie
  1. Cheesecake – Say it with me: A Cheesecake is a pie. I know there’s plenty of anti-Cheesecake-is-not-a-pie propaganda out there corrupting the youth of America, but don’t be blinded by this hatred. Now that we’ve established that, let’s briefly discuss the greatest Cheesecake of all time: The Bernie Nicholls Cheesecake.

I can’t share the exact recipe with all of you. I’m sorry I just can’t. But I assure you it’s real and it is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. My mom has made this particular Cheesecake every year for as long as I can remember. And it is by far the best PIE ever. Fine, I’ll give you some visual evidence way back from December 1989…




So there you have it, folks, the correct Pie rankings from Pum-PIE-Nicholl … I’m so sorry, Jack.

The Cheesecake Conundrum:

Let’s take a minute to go deeper on something Pumpernicholl touched on. When I asked Team TRH to rank their pies, almost every one of them had the same question. “Is cheesecake a pie?” In fact, Pumpernicholl even tweeted out a poll, asking this very question.

This is a good question, with a very simple answer: No. Don’t be ridiculous. Cheesecake is not pie.

I could just point out the second half of its name: CheeseCAKE.

But here’s the twist. It’s not cake either. It’s CHEESECAKE. I don’t understand the need to classify it as one or the other.

Why must we always try to put these things in a box? Is a brownie a cake? Is a hotdog a sandwich? And now this:

Cheesecake may have its roots in pie, with its crust-and-filling construction, but it has grown beyond that. Cheesecake deserves its own category. I mean, it already has its own restaurant chain. And if you want a great cheesecake recipe, Jersey Brian is your guy.

If you need more practical reasoning, how about this information provided by my personal baking advisor(my wife): cheesecake should be made in a springform pan, while pie is made in a pie tin.

How about some visual evidence? Here is a Pumpkin Pie:

pump pie

Here is a Pumpkin Cheesecake:

pump cheesecake

So enjoy your pie and cheesecake separately, and keep your eyes peeled for Pumpernicholl’s Cheesecake Power Rankings.

Expert Picks:

Due to the importance of this topic, we have asked for an outside specialist to come in and advise us. We called on noted friend of Team TRH, and all-around great writer, Katie Baker. Two crucial factors lead to us asking for Katie’s help: Her last name and the fact that her dog and Anze Kopitar’s dog are doppelgängers.

Here’s how Katie weighed in:

Katie Baker

1. Apple: Because this is America, man. Apple pie is like pizza: even a bad slice is still pretty good. If you doubt the importance of apples to our great nation, I implore you to read this article and then read every single comment. There are more wounded Minnesotans in one place than there were that one year the Wild lead the league in PDO and people got in SB Nation flame wars about it. At any rate, apple varietals sound more and more like strains of marijuana each day. (Side note: “chemical apple pie” is a thing that exists.)

2. Peach: Peaches are probably the fruit that pair best with vanilla ice cream, which is important.

3. Key Lime: Because I’m one of those awful people who always asks waiters and bartenders, when deciding between fancy cocktails and/or desserts, “which one would you say is the most ‘tart’?” Sorry about that.

4. Cheesecake: If key lime is a pie, shouldn’t cheesecake qualify as a pie too? Is this the “hot dog a sandwich” of pastries? Graham cracker crusts may not let you incorporate vodka, but they are also straightforward to make, which means you don’t have to deal with seventeen thousand blog posts written by assholes going on and on about the optimal temperature of their tiny pebbles of butter and their “blind baking” techniques (guess what, “blind baking” is the same thing as “baking,” enough with the lingo) and their silicon pie weights and whatever else. Anyway, cheesecake. Thumbs up.

5. Cherry: High tartness quotient. Approve.

6. Pirozhki: I basically subsisted entirely on these lil meat pies when I went to Russia. Yeah yeah, the crust is probably more of a dough, but Wikipedia says that the word pirozhki is “literally a ‘small pie’” and I know better than to argue with the Russians.

7. Strawberry Rhubarb: Rhubarb is one of those ingredients that is better before you know what it is/looks like in its raw state, so don’t Google.

8. Pecan: I appreciate foodstuffs that I’m not sure how to pronounce.

9. Marionberry: Highly recommend the Marionberry pie from Ikeda’s in Auburn, CA if you’re driving between San Francisco and Tahoe. (Get an apple one too, obv, as well as their dark chocolate covered pretzels and their peanut butter filled pretzels.)

10. Quiche: Is it or isn’t it? IDK, but I’d say it probably doesn’t pair well with vanilla ice cream.

HONORARY DEGREE: I’m not going to try to argue that pizza is a pie, because pizza really deserves its own genre, but boy oh boy is pizza ever delicious.


Thanks to Katie (who normally writes about important stuff, that’s actually worth your time) for participating.

Final Verdict:

I mentioned earlier that there is an objective method that we can use to find a definitive answer. So how does it work? By weighing the most important factors in pie grading:

  • Taste – The simplest and most important factor. Does it taste good? Sorry, but this is bad news for Key Lime.
  • Seasonal Significance – This is a double-edged sword. Pumpkin Pie gets points for its significance at Thanksgiving … but do you want a slice of it on the Fourth of July?
  • Consumption Frequency – The best way to describe this is, “How often do you want to eat this pie.” My father-in-law makes a delicious chocolate-peanut butter pie, but it’s so rich that one slice will hold you for a month.
  • Availability – Is your pie a regional dish, like Shoofly or Chess Pie? That’s going to hurt its score.
  • Universal Likability – Outside of your own feelings, what is society’s general consensus? Sorry, Mincemeat. Good news, Apple.
  • Skill Level – Bonus points if it can easily be whipped up on Sunday afternoon.
  • Attainability – Negative points if you have to drive to Glendale and wait in line to get your hands on it.
  • Presentation – Pumpkin pie, no matter how you feel about its taste, is visually unappealing.
  • A La Mode-ability – Does your favorite pie pair well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream?
  • Crust Partnership – How well does the filling work in union with the crust. If you are advocating for a graham cracker crust over traditional pie crust, you are wrong(Flubber).
  • Branding – Olallieberry’s popularity is definitely tied to how fun it is to say.
  • Versatility – Apple pie has many delicious forms, including Dutch Apple. Some monsters even melt a slice of cheese on top.

If you take all of that into account, and weigh the factors properly, you end up with the correct Pie Power Rankings:

10. Pumpkin – It’s greatness can’t be denied and it is the ultimate seasonal pie. Unfortunately there is a better version of this pie, which we will hear more about later.

9.  Blueberry – You’ll notice a trend with this list which reflects the fact that pie in its purest form is berries baked into a crust. I honestly think this would be higher if it weren’t for an unfortunate scene in Stand By Me.

8.  Peach – Give me one good reason why Peach Pie doesn’t have Apple Pie status. This is the REAL all-American pie.

7.  Cherry – Vanilla ice cream and warm Cherry Pie and choirs of angels singing.

6.  Pecan – It’s a classic, but people seem to either love it or despise it. Thanksgiving with the family is tense enough already. Worrying about the divisiveness of Pecan Pie on top of that is exhausting.

5.  Lingonberry – Lingonberries are a gift from the Viking gods, and they are perfect in pie form. Tip for this Thanksgiving: serve lingonberries as an optional alternative to cranberries. Tell your guests I said, you’re welcome. If they don’t like them, you can put them on your pancakes the next morning.

4.  Apple – Honestly, I think it’s overrated. But I get it. I won’t try to fight this battle.

3.  Boysenberry – If you’re in L.A., go to Pie ‘n Burger and get a slice.

pie n burger

2.  Sweet Potato – If we have this, why does Pumpkin Pie exist?

1. Strawberry – The ONLY debate here is which one is the greatest: Strawberry Pie or Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. Just as with Robitaille and Gretzky, you can’t really go wrong picking either one. Color, texture, flavor, nostalgia … do I need to keep going? Unless your dog was run over by a Strawberry Pie truck, you should have no reason to not love Strawberry pie.

Sure we can argue all day about which pie you believe is best. But why do that when we can spend our time eating pie during these upcoming holidays.

Don’t worry about whether or not you are eating the right pie. Just celebrate pie. And remember that cake sucks.