Elderberry Pie Recipe

If you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary you can’t go wrong with this Elderberry Pie recipe, especially if you have a neighbor with an elderberry bush in season! If you’re looking for a tasty elderberry recipe, using either fresh or dried elderberries, you can’t go wrong with this tasty pie!

If you love elderberry recipes, be sure to check out these elderberry muffins too!

A slice of elderberry pie on a plate sits in front of another slice and the rest of the pie in the background.

It’s a dilemma. You’ve got a beautiful elderberry bush, just brimming with elderberries, but what do you do with them? Is there some elderberry dessert you can create with those berries? Or do you leave the berries on the bush for the birds to enjoy?

I recommend doing a little bit of both — leave some for the birds and pick some for you too!

If you’re wondering specifically what to do with elderberries, I recommend making a pie. More about that in a minute. First, let’s discuss the nutritional benefits of elderberries.

I wrote recently about the benefits of this special berry in my post, Elderberry Muffins recipe. But with elderberries in season, I thought it would justify one more post about this tasty and healthy berry. Although the elderberry is small, my neighbor’s bush yielded a lot of berries; enough even for me to make a pie. The results were heavenly.

Benefits of Elderberries

Before I go on though, I do want to point out that the elderberry does have a somewhat unique flavor. It’s similar to a blueberry but with an earthy twist. There’s a certain zest to it that distinguishes it from other berries.

Being distinguished can be a good thing. Especially if you’re a berry in a pie.

Elderberries are known for the following nutritional elements:

  • Vitamin A
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin C
  • Folate
  • Calcium
  • Iron.

And that’s just to name a few!

Next, let’s talk about how to make this recipe for elderberry pie!

Two hands reach in with a blue kitchen towel, to grab a freshly baked pie.

How to Make Elderberry Pie

For this recipe, I used my favorite vodka-infused Vegan Pie Crust. I wonder if the healthiness of the berries counteracts the not-so-healthy attributes of the pie crust?

Elderberry Pies are relatively easy to make and fun because they’re so unique. It begins with a crucial first step, preparing the berries.

Step One: Preparing the Elderberries

Finding fresh elderberries may be the toughest task in making this pie. Assuming you have a bush or farmer with elderberry bushes nearby, then you’re in luck. Otherwise, you may want to plant your own bush and wait for a harvest. We’ll discuss making this pie from dried elderberries too.

Marly’s Tips

As enticing as fresh elderberries may be, do not eat them raw. The seeds in raw elderberries are toxic. We’ll be cooking them for this pie, which makes the seeds edible.

Picking Elderberries

  1. Pick when Ripe — Wait until the elderberries are fully ripe before picking them. Elderberries are typically ripe between mid-August and mid-September.
  2. Elderberry Clusters — Elderberries grow in clusters. I find removing the cluster where it attaches to the stem to be the easiest way to pick elderberries. The cluster will snap off quite easily. Or you can take scissors to do this. Place the clusters in a basket or bag.
  3. Stripping the Berries — You can use a wide-tooth comb to strip the berries from the clusters, but I find it easiest to use my fingers. I hold the cluster over a bowl and gently feather my fingers beginning at the stem and moving toward the berries. It’s tricky because you need to press hard enough to remove the berries, but not so hard as to squish them.
  4. Cleaning the Berries — When you’re done you should be looking at a big bowl of elderberries. Next, you’ll want to pick out and discard any stem pieces (including the feathery looking pieces that attach to the berries) and any green berries. The stems and green berries are toxic.

Quick Fix Tip

You can also freeze elderberries still in their clusters. Frozen elderberries will pop off the cluster stems, making the process of berry stripping much easier!

Looking down on a large bowl full of raw elderberries, including bits of stems and some green berries.

Step Two: Make the Elderberry Filling

Elderberries are actually small berries. Much smaller than a blueberry. That’s why elderberry pie recipes require so many elderberries for the filling. The other troubling thing is that the berries are very juicy and don’t have much pectin which is a thickening agent.

Elderberries also have seeds inside them. Would those seeds distract the texture of the pie? Because we cook the filling, the seeds soften, which makes the seeds much more palatable. In addition, cooking the pie filling first is an important step to ensure that the seeds inside the berries are thoroughly cooked, eliminating toxins.

Marly’s Tips

If you don’t have enough elderberries, you can add other berries, like blueberries or blackberries to the mix.

Looking down on a saucepan full of elderberries and sugar.

To make this filling, place berries and sugar in a saucepan. Then, you’ll mix some cornstarch with cold water and give that a stir.

Marly’s Tips

Elderberries need a boost of sweetness which is why this recipe calls for a bit more sugar than other pie recipes.

A hand holds a small glass bowl full of a cornstarch slurry, pouring it into a sauce pan full of berries.

Pour the cornstarch slurry in the saucepan with the berries. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until mixture thickens.

Then remove the pan from heat and stir in the chia seeds and lemon juice. Allow the filling to cool and thicken a little.

Step Three: Pour Filling into Pie Crust

After the berry filling has cooled a bit, spoon it into the prepared pie crust.

Pie Topping

Here are some options for the top of your pie:

  • Cookie Cutter Crust — I used a flower cookie cutter and cut some pieces of the top crust and placed them over the filling of the unbaked pie. This added some beautiful and tasty crust on top while still allowing the beautiful berries to show through!
  • Lattice Crust — A lattice crust on top works great too. I share more about making lattices on my vegan apple pie recipe.
  • Solid Top Crust — Roll out the second pie dough and place it over the top of the pie, cutting slits to allow for steam to vent. Crimp the edges of the top dough with the bottom to seal the two together.
  • No Top Crust — You don’t have to do a top crust at all. The crust on the bottom is plenty and the flavor, texture, and color of the berries will be showcased in every bite!

Step Four: Bake the Pie

Bake the pie for approximately 45 minutes, until the crust is browned. You should put a pan underneath the pie to protect your oven from any overflow.

Vegan Egg Wash

I did not use a vegan egg wash for my pie and you’ll notice it browned beautifully. However, if you prefer to use one, I make a simple egg wash by combining a tablespoon of soy milk with a teaspoon of melted vegan butter. Brush that over the unbaked crust before baking.

You may want to consider adding a pie shield to prevent the edges of the pie from getting too browned.

Elderberry Pie with Dried Elderberries

We don’t all have an elderberry bush in the neighborhood so if you want an elderberry pie, you may consider using dried elderberries. I was skeptical this would work, but it turned out great! Here are the steps to do this:

  1. Soaking — Soak 3 1/2 cups dried elderberries in 4 cups of hot water for 10–15 minutes. You should notice the berries softening and plumping.
  2. Drain the Liquids — Drain the soaking liquid, reserving 1/4 cup for the next step.
  3. Filling — Use the soaked berries in place of the fresh berries in the elderberry filling, using the reserved soaking liquid in place of the water.

If you don’t have enough dried fruit to make an entire pie, you can always make hand pies or supplement the elderberries with some blueberries too. It’s great to know you can enjoy a tasty elderberry pie even if you don’t have a bush nearby!

What does elderberry pie taste like?

An elderberry pie filling tastes similar to any berry pie, except with some earthy tones in the mix. You can add depth of flavor and texture to an elderberry pie by combining it with other berries, like blueberries.

Can you eat raw elderberries?

While fresh elderberries looks nice and juicy, you should avoid eating uncooked elderberries. About 50% of the berries are seeds, which are toxic. However, once cooked the berries are safe to eat.

Is Elderberry Pie Healthy?

It is important to note that elderberries should be eaten cooked. Beyond that, worrying about your health when eating a slice of pie is like talking about diets on Thanksgiving Day; it distracts from the pleasure of the moment.

A woman holds a stem full of elderberries.
Fresh elderberries off the vine.

More Fruit Desserts

I wish you all were in the neighborhood so I could share with you a slice of this elderberry pie! Of course, if you all came at once, I might have to make more…but it would be worth it!

A slice of elderberry pie sits on a plate. There's another slice behind it and the rest of the pie too.

I hope you love this recipe as we do! Have you tried it? Be sure and leave a comment and a rating of this recipe below and then take a quick photo and share it with me using #namelymarly on Instagram. I love seeing your creations!

A slice of elderberry pie on a plate.

Elderberry Pie

This delicious Eldeberry Pie is made with a flaky crust and rich, full elderberry filling. This classic berry pie will soon be a new favorite.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Elderberry Pie
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 9
Calories: 216kcal
Author: Marly

Ingredients

Instructions

For the Pie Crust

  • Prepare the pie crust according to the directions. When the dough balls are chillded, roll one of the dough balls out. Transfer it to the pie pan and refrigerate to chill.

For the Elderberry Pie

  • Place berries and sugar in a saucepan. Mix the cornstarch with cold water and add it to pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and add the chia seeds and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Set aside to allow the mixture to thicken and cool a little more.
  • Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • If you want a crust topping on the pie, roll out the second dough ball until it's about 1/4 inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out pieces of the dough to be placed on the top of the pie. A small flower cookie cutter works great. Or you can can do a lattice crust as well. See notes for a link with instructions on easy lattice tips.
  • Pour the berry mixture into the pie crust. Add crust over the top in either lattice or cookie cutter form. Crimp the edges of the pie.
  • Bake the pie for 40–45 minutes, until the crust is browned.
  • Use oven mits to remove the pie from the oven. Set aside for it to cool for at least 2 hours. This cooling process helps the filling to firm up. Serve slices at room temperature or warm them slightly before serving. Top with some vegan ice cream for a nice touch!

Recommended Equipment

Notes

You can depth of flavor and texture by adding other berries to the mix. Try adding a cup of blueberries with 3 cups of elderberries.
For tips on creating a lattice top to your pie, check out this vegan apple pie recipe.
Nutrition Facts
Elderberry Pie
Amount Per Serving (1 slice)
Calories 216 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat 2g3%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 6mg0%
Potassium 202mg6%
Carbohydrates 51g17%
Fiber 6g24%
Sugar 33g37%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 387IU8%
Vitamin C 24mg29%
Calcium 58mg6%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Update Notes: This recipe was originally published in 2012, but was re-posted to include new photos, recipe updates, and tips in 2020.

Enjoy!

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32 Responses to Elderberry Pie Recipe

  1. I have used that same vodka pie crust…and it does wonders! You did a beautiful job on your lattice, and I love the way you used elderberries as a filling. I would be very content with a slice of pie and a mug of coffee tomorrow morning. Too bad I can’t walk on over!

    • Yes, vodka in a pie crust is divine. Makes it nice and flaky. One of these days, my friend, we’ll have coffee/tea. I know it!

  2. Man that looks good! Somehow I’ve managed to go the whole summer without a pie – probably because it’s been so cold here, but now I’m kind of regretting it.

  3. I love Elderberries.
    Made juice out of them in Hungary.
    I didn’t know you could make pie too, dooh,.. 😀
    Thanks for the idea 😀

  4. I confess I have never eaten an elderberry! But I love blueberries…this is beautiful! Your lattice turned out great and your pastry looks so flaky! My Mom (Mama Bear) made the pies in my post – she didn’t weave hers just laid them over each other – I loved them because she didn’t care too much about how they looked – not like us bloggers – and it makes them seem all the more rustic and charming.

    • That pic is deceiving. The lattice is much more abstract than that angle shows. I think that was my goal. Your mom did a great job on her lattice – I agree, it had a very rustic look. I loved it!

  5. OMG this pie looks amazing!!! The photos are fantastic! I have been on the hunt for elderberries but unfortunately haven’t been able to get my hands on any. I would love to try this, can you send me a slice?

  6. Thanks Marly, I’m in heaven with your elderberry pie! Last year I foraged a bucket of elderberries from trees near the trail head where I hike and made cordial, this year I’ll go back to my secret spot to fill up another bucket but this time I’ll make pie for sure, maybe jelly or syrup as well?? I think I’ll head up there now to check on the crop, lol, the trees grow on the side of a deep ravine with a creek at the bottom. It is a two person job to get the berries, one person has to grab the branches, while hanging on for dear life and the other person has to cut off the clusters of berries but it’s worth it to get the goods:) Congratulations on such a beautiful pie!

    • Be careful! Elderberry pie is good, but not worth a broken neck! We made some elderberry syrup too and served it over pancakes. That was by far the most delicious use of the berries I’ve found yet. I would have posted the recipe but we ate it all before I could snap a picture of it!

  7. Niether of mine set up at all…not sure what I did wrong. I’ve made it before, but this time was a total flop! 🙁

    • Hi Leslie. If you want to try to salvage it, you could stir in 1/4 cup ground chia seeds and then let it set for an hour. I’m not sure that will work, but it should. I wonder if these berries were juicier? It’s possible!

    • Hi Dan. Yes, you can use dried elderberries. When using dried berries for baking, soak, covered in hot water for 5-10 minutes to let the berries rehydrate. Drain the berries thoroughly before adding to the recipe. I hope this helps!

  8. My mother always made elderberry pie…I found a bush and tried last year with a different recipe, and it was elderberry soup. Trying your recipe now, After cooking the elderberries, I added more corn starch, I guess my berries were very juicy too 🙂 and its in the oven. Luckily I had the Chia seeds on hand. Last year I made the Elderberry syrup as well, I’d like some jelly, but the whole bag hanging thing is more than I can manage 🙂

    • Hi Teresa. Thanks for your comment. You’re so lucky to have a bush nearby. We moved from our neighbor that had all those elderberry bushes. I had to drive back to my old neighborhood to get some, but it’s well worth the drive! Yes, elderberries are very juicy. I find the chia seeds help a lot!

    • Sounds great, Nancy! I haven’t tried making the jam yet, but it will have to be on my list for next year’s crop!

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