Where to Buy Your Holiday Pie


With the holiday season just around the corner, most of us are turning our attention to two things: buying Christmas gifts and planning our Thanksgiving meal. Whether you’re hosting this year or are lucky enough to have someone else take care of the cooking, I think we can all agree that a pie is an important focal point for the Thanksgiving table! It’s the perfect package: a delicious crowd-pleaser of a dessert and the ideal hostess gift.

Whether you love a classic apple pie or prefer seasonal pumpkin, Southern pecan, or something a little more adventurous, there are plenty of options for your holiday table. I love baking, but properly making pies is a time-consuming process! Maybe one day I’ll get back to baking my own, but until then I’m happy to defer to the professionals.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to bake either, I’ve put together a list of shops in and around San Antonio with pies worthy of your holiday table.

 

1. Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop

Nestled off Redland Road and 1604 is a pie paradise! Buttermilk Sky Pie is owned by Barry and Katie Crossland, two Texas-born southern pie lovers who found their calling when a friend used to bring pies home to San Antonio from the Fort Worth outpost of Buttermilk Sky.

Their menu is a complete rundown of the perfect pies for your holiday gathering. From their namesake Buttermilk (Southern Custard) to Nanny’s Pecan and Granny’s Apple pies, there are also a whole host of cream pies (chocolate, coconut, key lime, peanut butter) for a non-traditional pie option. Pumpkin pie is their current seasonal special, and is it a good one! Sweet, creamy, spicy pumpkin filling inside a tasty shortbread crust, topped with an adorable shortbread pumpkin and baked to perfection. It looks as good as it tastes, and that’s saying something!

All of Buttermilk Sky’s pies are available in 9-inch, 4-inch, and 2-inch sizes. The 2-inch option is available by the dozen and is perfect if you want to create your own pie bar (And, um, why wouldn’t you?), gift to neighbors, or cater to the kids’ table. Their 9-inch pies make the perfect holiday centerpiece.

 

2. The Bread Box

Pies aren’t just for the holidays at The Bread Box, a wonderful bakery and lunch spot located in The Alley on Bitters. Key Lime, lemon meringue, and chocolate cream pies regularly grace the cabinet, as well as spectacular icebox pies. But with the holidays comes an assortment of delicious fruit pies, and my personal favorite, chocolate pecan.

The Bread Box hand-bakes each pie with love and a whole bunch of filling! These are hefty, heartwarming pies—the perfect gift for a holiday hostess and ideal to keep in the fridge for those “just one more slice” moments that are inevitable around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Keep an eye on their socials or reach out directly to pre-order your holiday pie for pick-up. You won’t regret it! They may have a few last-minute pies left over to pick up the day before Thanksgiving, but when the pie is this good, you do not want to risk it.

3. Earl Abel’s

A true San Antonio institution that continues to thrive after its relocation to The Pearl, you might know Earl Abel’s for its award-winning fried chicken. However, their dessert cabinet is where it’s at, and they have a huge selection of delicious pies for sale daily (the whole pie or by the slice).

At Earl Abel’s you’ll find all the classics: banana cream, chocolate icebox, lemon meringue, coconut meringue, key lime, apple, pumpkin, maple pecan, cherry, and black bottom pies. And they are glorious! Classics are classics for a reason, and the holidays are the perfect time to gather together and enjoy a slice of pie, a cup of coffee, and reminisce about holidays gone by.

Call Earl Abel’s for custom orders on pies and cakes, or grab a selection of the very best treats (including cream puffs and eclairs—yum) for your holiday table this year. The banana cream is my pick for a lighter pie that really pleases a crowd.

4. Love Creek Orchards

If apple pie is your pick, I promise you won’t find a better one than those made at the Apple Store at Love Creek Orchards. Located in Medina, about an hour outside San Antonio, this is a hidden gem. If you fancy a day trip into the hill country, you’ll find plenty to do in nearby Bandera and an outrageously good lunch at the Apple Store Cafe!

They also offer delivery (This is the perfect option for out-of-state holiday gifting!) and occasional pick-ups at the park-and-ride at the intersection of I-10 and 1604. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for details on the latter!

Back to the good stuff: you’ll find freshly-baked four-pound apple pies, a festive apple and cranberry option, delicious hot apple cider sauce, and a billionaire pecan pie with chocolate and caramel. The Apple Store is a hidden hill country gem.

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5. Bird Bakery

Broadway staple Bird Bakery offers small-size pies in their cake cabinet year-round, but you’ll find family-size, 9-inch options of all your family favorites—pecan, rustic apple, spiced buttermilk, pumpkin, and key lime—available around the holidays.

Keep an eye on their social media or call the nest to place your holiday order. Their pies fly out the door, especially at Thanksgiving, so you’ll want to be prepped and ready if you want a Bird Bakery pie to grace your table.

6. Bakery Lorraine

If you’ve read my posts on European eateries and pumpkin spice treats, you’ll probably already know that my love for Bakery Lorraine is deep and long-established. Not only is it a great place to grab lunch or impeccable patisserie, they also offer holiday pies! (And they now have a new and extra-beautiful location in Boerne.) 

At the time of writing, they haven’t yet unveiled their holiday pie line-up, nor opened up their pre-orders. However, last year they offered four pies, and it seems likely they’ll offer similar options this year. Their pumpkin pie has earthier tones than your regular shop-bought pie, as they roast the pumpkin to bring out more depth of flavor. Dutch apple pie with a crumbly cinnamon streusel topping and a bright cranberry apple pie are your sweet and fruity numbers; with a whiskey pecan pie providing that bittersweet, sticky nuttiness that has you going back for more pie—even when you aren’t hungry anymore.

Keep an eye on their Instagram page and call ahead. Again, they probably won’t have many (if any) extras, so you’ll want to ensure your pie order is in. Looking ahead, you’ll find the same great pie line-up for Christmas preorder, alongside (I hope!) a to-die-for Bûche de Noël—a Black Forest Christmas log filled with vanilla mousse, tart cherries, and boozy Kirsch-soaked cake. Truly the most beautiful and delicious festive centerpiece.

7. Nadler’s Bakery

One of San Antonio’s oldest family bakeries, Nadler’s is the ideal spot to order a variety of pies for your holiday table. Their pumpkin pie is a classic example, with sweet and spicy pumpkin custard baked to perfection in a crumbly pastry shell. You’ll find a bourbon pecan pie, buttermilk pie, and cherry pie among the traditional flavors, as well as tried-and-tested family recipes like Hungarian apple tart and German chocolate pie—all the flavors of sticky German chocolate cake (chocolate, caramel, coconut, pecan) baked into a pie.

If cream pies are more your style, Nadler’s should be your number one destination: their selection is unparalleled. Strawberry, coconut, banana, key lime, and chocolate cream pies are crowd-pleasing options, and they have lemon, coconut, and chocolate meringue pies too. For something a little different with a nod to traditional Thanksgiving spices, try their bread and butter pudding.

Having served the San Antonio area for three generations, I can confidently say that if you happen to forget to order a pie and are scrambling last minute, they will most likely be able to provide you with a tasty pie. You can also pick up delicious bread, rolls, and other pastries for your Thanksgiving table.

8. Bill Miller

Go for the iced tea, stay for the pie! Bill Miller’s pumpkin pie is the stuff of local legend, and it’s back for the season!

This is the quintessential pumpkin pie: orange, fluffy, sweet, spicy, and crowned with whipped cream. Dining in or taking out? You can enjoy a generous slice of pie for $2.75. A whole pie can be yours for just $13.75, making it one of the most affordable pies on this list.

Bill Miller goes big on pumpkin pie—it’ll be available at your local restaurant from October 3 until January 8. So if you like apple pie on Thanksgiving and pumpkin on Christmas (Just like the song!) you’ll be able to get your fix all season long.

9. Annie’s Petite Treats

Known for her cakes, dessert tables, and cake balls, local baker Annie Vu’s Thanksgiving pies have a cult following—and for good reason! Her pies are filled deep and have a mouth-wateringly crisp and melty crust. I think we can all agree that it’s a good crust that makes a good pie, and this has to be one of the best crusts around.

As well as pumpkin pies (full-size and mini, the perfect size to treat yourself over coffee while you watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and silently wonder how you’re going to cook everything in a single oven) there are mini pecan pie bites and apple pie cookies— pies, but not as you know them. Little ones will also love her cake balls that look like pumpkins and turkeys.

Keep an eye on her Instagram for pre-order dates and flash sales. Slots for her pies and other goodies are extremely limited, and once they are gone, they are gone!

10. H-E-B

At Thanksgiving, H-E-B’s bakeries churn out thousands of pies from their tried and true recipes. You’ll find large pies to feed the biggest families, half pies, pie slices, and more.

You can absolutely quote me that their gourmet, scratch-baked pecan pies are some of the very best in San Antonio. My husband and I love their pecan chocolate—delicious dark caramel with huge pecan pieces and melty semi-sweet chocolate chunks—more than pretty much any other pecan pie we’ve ever had. If you love fruit pies (not just apple, but cherry, blueberry, and more) H-E-B has you covered this holiday season.

11. Betty Jane’s Bakeshoppe

Primarily known for their intricate and stunning wedding and celebration cakes, Betty Jane’s on Blanco Road is another local spot ready to cater to your pie whims this holiday. Bakers extraordinaire, Betty Jane’s daughter Peggy Jane and granddaughter Amanda Jane, continue her legacy of delicious baking and always saving room for dessert.

Whether you love your apple pie with a classic pastry topping or cinnamon crumble, your pecans with a hefty helping of bourbon, or your pumpkin nicely spiced, this family bake shop has the perfect pie for you. Alongside the classic holiday flavors, you’ll find cherry, blueberry, strawberry rhubarb, and blackberry pies; cream pies, and meringue pies. It’s a one-stop pie shop, and I don’t care what season it is—a blackberry pie, served à la mode, is always a thing of beauty.

Betty Jane’s Bakeshoppe requires at least a week’s notice on all orders, so call ahead if you’d like one of their delicious pies on your table this Thanksgiving or Christmas.

12. Williams Confectionary Crafts

Located in Live Oak, this scratch bakery and restaurant is full of the heart and soul of Joyce, her husband Ernest, and the whole Williams family. Everything is cooked, baked, and made with love, and the pies are no exception!

You can order your whole spread from Williams Confectionary Crafts, or you can make one (or more) of their pies the jewel in the crown of your table. From classics like buttermilk or coconut chess pies to caramel apple and sweet potato pies, every fall flavor is covered. Fruit pies—blackberry, blueberry, apple, cherry, or mixed berry—are available with a lattice or full crust; and there are meringue pies too.

Holiday cookies, pound cakes, and dessert trays are also available. Pre-orders open a month before each holiday (Thanksgiving and Christmas). Williams is the perfect spot to secure your holiday sweets, and, in the spirit of Joyce Williams herself, gift a few pies to friends and neighbors too.

Photo courtesy Belle & Union

I hope this post has inspired you to create your own pie bar this year! Asking guests to bring their favorite pie is a great way to celebrate Friendsgiving or involve family members in the holiday feast! A pie bar is definitely my idea of a perfect holiday party, and I’ll be adorning my pies with these reusable wooden pie picks from local stationer Belle & Union. Available in trios for holiday pies, cream pies, fruit pies, and berry pies, they are the perfect way to ensure you don’t have to keep telling your guests which pie is which. A win-win! Happy holidays!

Now tell me, what’s your favorite pie and why?

Natalie is a proud Brit, but moved to Texas at the end of 2017 to be with her husband, a native San Antonian. Their son was born in late October 2020, so her entire experience of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum has been under the cloud of Covid-19. She spent the frivolous years of her early 20s pursuing a PhD in Renaissance history, living in Venice, Italy, and teaching students. She pivoted into editing when she moved to the US, but currently has her academic pursuits on hold while she focuses on her son. Despite being in San Antonio for a few years now, she still considers herself a newbie. She loves to find out more about the history and culture of the city, explore new places, and find local businesses to support. A fastidious researcher and lover of lists, she’s always excited to share her finds and experiences with others. Favorite Restaurant: Dough Favorite Landmark: World’s Largest Cowboy Boots Favorite San Antonio Tradition: Riverwalk Christmas Lights