What is the Key Difference Between Pie and Tart?

When it comes to baked desserts, pie, and tart are two of the most popular choices. Both are delicious treats that come in a wide variety of flavors and can be enjoyed at any time of the day. However, there are differences between the two that make each unique. In this article, we will explore the distinctions between pies and tarts and explain the key characteristics that set them apart.

Pies and tarts are both baked desserts that are usually made with a pastry crust and a filling. They are similar in many ways but also have some differences that make them unique. The main difference between pies and tarts is the way in which they are prepared. This article will delve into the differences between pies and tarts, exploring their history, ingredients, and popular varieties.

What is a Pie?

Round sliced pie with cream
Round sliced pie with cream

A pie is a baked dish made with pastry dough and a sweet or savory filling. The pastry dough is typically made from flour, butter, and water, although other ingredients may be added depending on the recipe. The filling can be made from a variety of ingredients, including fruits, meats, vegetables, and cheeses. Sweet pies are often served as desserts, while savory pies can be served as a main dish or as a side dish.

What is a Tart?

baked fruit tart
baked fruit tart

A tart is similar to a pie, but it is usually smaller and has a shallower filling. The crust is typically made from the same ingredients as a pie crust, but it is rolled out thinner. The filling of a tart is usually sweet, although savory tarts can also be made. Tarts are often served in individual portions, whereas pies are usually sliced into portions.

The Differences Between Pies and Tarts

While pies and tarts share some similarities, there are several key differences that set them apart.


The crust of a pie is typically thicker and sturdier than the crust of a tart. This is because a pie needs to hold up to the weight of its filling, while a tart has a shallower filling and therefore does not need as much support. The crust of a pie is also often fluted around the edges, while the crust of a tart is usually left plain or may have a simple design.


Pies and tarts can both be made with sweet or savory fillings, but the filling of a pie is usually deeper and more substantial than that of a tart. Pies can be made with a wide variety of fillings, including fruit, custard, cream, and meat. Tarts are typically made with fruit or custard fillings, but savory tarts can also be made with cheese, vegetables, or meat.

Size and Shape

Pies are usually larger than tarts and are baked in a round or rectangular dish. Tarts are often smaller and are baked in individual tart pans. Tarts can also be made in other shapes, such as squares or rectangles, depending on the size of the pan.

Here are some similarities between the two

Pie and tart are both baked desserts that usually consist of a crust and a filling. Here are some similarities between the two:

  1. Crust: Both pies and tarts have a crust that can be made from a variety of ingredients such as flour, butter, and sugar. The crust is usually baked before the filling is added.
  2. Filling: Both pies and tarts can have a sweet or savory filling, depending on the recipe. The filling can be made from fruit, custard, chocolate, nuts, or any other number of ingredients.
  3. Baking: Both pies and tarts are baked in an oven until the crust is golden brown and the filling is cooked through.
  4. Serving: Both pies and tarts are often served as desserts, although savory tarts can also be served as a main course.

Overall, pies and tarts share many similarities, but the main difference between the two is the shape and depth of the dish used to bake them. Pies are typically deeper and have sloping sides, while tarts are shallower and have straight sides.

What is the Difference Between Pie and Tart
Different Types of Cakes

The History of Pies and Tarts

Pies and tarts have been enjoyed for centuries and have a long and rich history. The first pies were likely made by the ancient Egyptians, who used a mixture of flour, honey, and fruit to make a primitive form of pie. Pies became popular in Europe during the Middle Ages and were often filled with meat, spices, and fruits. Tarts, on the other hand, are believed to have originated in medieval England and were made with a sweet filling and a pastry crust.

Over the centuries, pies and tarts have evolved to include a wide range of flavors and fillings. Today, they are a popular dessert and can be found in bakeries and restaurants all over the world.

Popular Types of Pies and Tarts

There are countless varieties of pies and tarts, each with its own unique flavors and fillings. Some popular types of pies include:

  • Apple pie
  • Pecan pie
  • Cherry pie
  • Blueberry pie
  • Key lime pie
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Chicken pot pie
  • Shepherd’s pie

Some popular types of tarts include:

  • Fruit tarts (such as strawberry or raspberry tarts)
  • Custard tarts
  • Lemon tarts
  • Chocolate tarts
  • Quiches

How to Make a Perfect Pie or Tart

Making a pie or tart from scratch can be a fun and rewarding experience. Here are some tips for making the perfect pastry crust:


To make a pastry crust, you will need:

  • Flour
  • Butter
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Sugar (for sweet pies and tarts)


Here are some techniques for making a perfect pie or tart:

  1. Start by making the pastry crust. Mix the flour, salt, and sugar together in a bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and add it to the flour mixture. Use your fingers or a pastry cutter to mix the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. Add the water to the flour mixture, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a ball. Be careful not to add too much water, as this can make the dough sticky.
  3. Roll out the dough on a floured surface until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Use the dough to line a pie or tart pan, pressing it firmly into the bottom and sides of the pan.
  4. Add the filling to the pie or tart. Be sure to follow the recipe carefully, as different fillings may require different baking times and temperatures.
  5. Bake the pie or tart according to the recipe instructions. Let it cool before slicing and serving.

Tips and Tricks

Here are some tips and tricks for making the perfect pie or tart:

  • Use cold butter and water to make the pastry crust. This will help the crust to be flaky and tender.
  • Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out. This will make it easier to work with and will help prevent shrinking during baking.
  • Brush the crust with an egg wash before baking. This will give it a shiny, golden-brown finish.
  • Use a pie shield or aluminum foil to prevent the edges of the crust from burning during baking.

Serving and Storing Pies and Tarts

Pies and tarts are best served fresh from the oven, but they can also be stored for later. Here are some tips for serving and storing pies and tarts:

  • Serve pies and tarts warm or at room temperature.
  • Store leftover pies and tarts in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • To reheat a pie or tart, place it in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes.


In conclusion, while there are similarities between pies and tarts, there are also significant differences. Pies are typically larger and have a filling that is surrounded by a pastry crust. Tarts, on the other hand, are smaller and often have a shallow filling that is surrounded by a pastry crust. Additionally, tarts are often sweeter than pies and are more commonly served as a dessert.

Regardless of their differences, both pies and tarts are delicious treats that can be enjoyed in a variety of flavors and fillings. Making a perfect pie or tart requires some practice and patience, but with the right ingredients and techniques, anyone can create a delicious dessert that will impress their friends and family.


Can you use the same crust for pies and tarts?

Yes, the same crust recipe can be used for both pies and tarts. However, the size and shape of the crust will vary depending on whether you are making a pie or a tart.

Can you make a savory tart?

Yes, tarts can be made with savory fillings such as cheese, vegetables, and meat.

Is a quiche a type of tart or pie?

A quiche is typically considered a type of tart, as it has a shallow filling that is surrounded by a pastry crust.

What is the difference between a galette and a tart?

A galette is a type of free-form tart that is typically made with a rustic crust and a filling that is spread out in the center. Tarts, on the other hand, have a more structured crust and a filling that is contained within the crust.

Can you make a pie or tart without a crust?

Yes, some recipes call for a crustless pie or tart, where the filling is baked on its own. These are sometimes referred to as custards or baked puddings.

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