Concord Grape Pie

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Nothing says fall in Upstate New York like a grape pie. This grapey Naples, NY confection is fairly new to the world of desserts, but it sure has made an impact. This annual treat is anticipated by many, and for some home cooks like myself worth the time-consuming effort it takes to put one together.  I am not going to lie, it is work to put one of these bad boys together.Upstate New York Concord Grape Pie

The History of The Finger Lakes Concord Grape Pie

Irene Bouchard is universally recognized as the mother of Naples’ grape pies, if not their actual inventor. In the early 1960s, Al Hodges, owner of the Redwood Restaurant, decided to use a novelty dessert to attract customers. Using a recipe he adapted from Irene Bouchard, he added pies made from abundant local grapes to the menu. The Pies were a widely popular success and Irene Bouchard became known as the Grape Pie Queen of Naples, New York. It wasn’t long before other locals started baking grape pies out of their kitchens and selling them at roadside farmstands.

Concord Grape Pie

It is estimated that twenty thousand pies are sold during Grape Festival Weekend alone. That is a whole lot of grape pie! But if you can’t get out to the Grape Festival this weekend I have got you covered with this recipe for Concord Grape Pie. Yes, I did say it was work, but this sweet pie is worth it!

My recipe is an adaptation of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Concord Grape pie from The Pie and Pastry Bible. Unlike Mrs. Bouchard’s grape pie, this version has a little lemon and is thickened with cornstarch.  Grape pie filling is an extremely wet filling, and very easily turns into a big soggy mess. After many, many failed attempts at concord grape pie, I have found I get the best results with this pie when I pre-cook the filling on the stovetop. This added step ensures a perfectly thickened filling and reduces the chances of a soggy bottom crust.  Just be absolutely sure to allow the filling to cool completely before you place it in the pie shell.  If the filling is hot it will melt the bottom crust. Yes, I learned this the hard way:-/

Concord Grape Pie

Concord Grape Pie

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

This annual treat is anticipated by many Upstate New Yorkers, and for some home cooks like myself worth the time-consuming effort it takes to put one together.


  • 1 recipe or your favorite double crust pie dough prepared
  • 1 1/2 lbs of Concord grapes (after removing from stems)
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp (6.0 oz) sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. On a lightly floured work surface, roll 1 half of a double crust pie dough into a 15-inch round. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate, pressing it into the edges. Trim to a 1-inch overhang all around. Cover with plastic wrap; chill pie shell until firm, about 30 minutes. Repeat process for rolling out dough for the top crust. Transfer to a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the pie.
  2. Wash grapes and discard any that are under-ripe, damaged and blemished.
  3. Remove the skins from the grapes by pressing them between your thumb and forefinger. Put the skinless grapes in a medium saucepan. Reserve the skins in a small bowl.
  4. Gently mash the grape pulp in the medium saucepan to release their juice. Cook over medium low heat until grapes come to a full boil, and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Press the grapes through a fine sieve and discard the pits.
  6. In a heavy bottomed pot: combine the grape pulp, grape peels and all the remaining ingredients . (You'll have about 1 1/3 cups of pulp - add everything else and you'll have about 2 cups) Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring continually until the filling is slightly thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400°F with a rack in the bottom third of the oven with a pizza stone or baking sheet on it.
  8. Transfer the cooked filling to the prepared pie shell. Moisten the edges of the pie crust with water and attach the top crust, crimping the edges to seal the crust.
  9. Cut six small slits in the crust to act as vents. Place pie on the pizza stone, protect the edges with a pie ring, and bake for 30 minutes at 400° F and then reduce heat to 375° F and bake an additional 25-30 minutes until the filling is bubbling. Cool on a wire rack for at least 3 hours before cutting.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 221Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 120mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 1gSugar: 16gProtein: 2g

Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimates. Please see my Nutrition Disclaimer for more information.

Homegrown Concord Grapes

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  1. Baked in one of our gorgeous pie dishes from The Wizard of Clay! My husband is from Canadice, and always brings back gifts from The Wizard when he visits his sister and cousins in the area. We’re all going to be in Rochester for the eclipse next spring and certainly The Wizard will be on the itinerary.

  2. The photos look like a deep dish kind of pie, which for me usually requires about 6 cups of filling. Your recipe only calls for 2 cups of filling, so I can’t imagine the pie will be that deep.

  3. Hi! I’m making this for the first time and skimped and am using frozen crust (I’ve already spent 4 hours on this!). Should I thaw the crust first and/or do you reco pre-baking? Thanks

  4. I absolutely love this recipe. I made it a few times already, although uncovered, so just piecrust on the bottom. It’s the way we usually make pies in my region.
    Im trying it covered right now for the first time. Thann you for sharing this recipe!

  5. Glad to see that people are finally realizing how good Concord grape pie is!! We own a Concord grape vineyard in Ohio. I have been making grape pies since I was a little girl with my grandmother. I do have 1 recommendation on the pie recipe, Tapioca! You spoke of the filling being wet. If you add 1 tbsp tapioca into the pulp/skins mixture while you are cooking, it will help to keep shape when cut. Also, sprinkle 1 tbsp into the pie shell it will keep your crust from being soggy. Thank you for bringing such a great unique pie into the light!

    1. @Shellie J, Hi there! I have a question for you about your recommendation. Can you use corn starch if you don’t have tapioca?

    2. @Shellie J, My mother made this – God rest her soul. Everyone always said – ewwww!!! Then they tried it. everyone loved it. Thanks for the recipe. My grapes were really small so the prep took time but with every minute.

  6. I got a recipe for a Naples grape pie from a brochure we were handed at the New York State fair. I follow it every year and it’s easy and turns out fantastic. Instead of including the peels when cooking, just cook the pulp. Then put it through a sieve to get rid of the seeds, and combine it with the peels and let sit for five hours or overnight. Then you bake it in the shell. This avoids the issue of it being hot, and it makes it a lot easier to get rid of the seeds.

  7. Just tried this recipe last night and got to taste the fruits (ha!) of my labor today after letting the pie cool overnight. Wow this came out fantastic! While it was more work than other pies, it wasn’t crazy difficult. I used slightly less sugar (heaping 1/2 cup), and used cheesecloth to strain the pulp / seeds. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe, I’ll definitely be making this again!

  8. Good afternoon Jennifer,
    In reference to the recipe you wrote above for freezing can I use Knox Gelatine as the instant clear gel? I believe they are one in the same.
    Thanks Valorie

    1. Either grate or cut up the butter while very cold or even frozen. Sprinkle the butter on top of the grape filling just before attaching the top crust (or adding a toasted oat crumble – my favorite!)

      Happy baking,

  9. The pie was the first time I’ve made it and have even heard of it. It was absolutely delicious! I did have to brush my teeth right after eating the pie since my teeth looking very hard all of the sudden. haha 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!

  10. This pie is absolutely delicious! I followed the recipe exactly, not to sweet, delightfully tart, and gem of perfection. I t takes a while because of the cooking and cooling steps, but it is not difficult and does not actually take that much work to make. The little bit of effort is so worth it. Try it, you’ll like it!

  11. Hi, Jennifer.
    I’m leaving a comment for you because we have a few things in common. I lived in the Finger Lakes area in the early 90’s. My husband (at the time) and I packed up 4 U-Haul boxes and loaded a Greyhound bus and traveled across country from Washington state to the Elmira/Watkins Glen area. I had my first taste of concord grape pie when we cleaned out a goat barn for a friend’s grandparents. I was instantly in love with the flavor and never forgot about it. I planted a few concord grape vines 4 years ago in some good sized pots. Several people told me that I wouldn’t be able to grow grapes in a container. After 2 years, they produced but I still had to buy roughly a 1/4 of a pound of grapes from a local farmers market to make the pie. This year, however, I have ample enough to make my one pie. I have 2 grape vines and I get one pie a year from them. It’s a win-win situation for me. This year, I’m going to use your filling recipe and freeze it for Thanksgiving. I’m really glad to have found your blog and I look forward to reading more about an area that I happen to have loved living in…even though it was only for a year and a half. I’m back in Washington state now, but will always have fond memories of Upstate NY.

    1. @Laurrie Piland, hi! I enjoyed reading your comment, especially because you said you grew concords in a container! Wow! I grew up with a miniature concord vineyard in the back yard. We didn’t know about Concord pie back then. Mama always made Concord juice. I was mother to five kids before I read about the pie in the local newspaper. We’re growing our own concords now, for juice and pie!. You said you moved to Washington. Did you know Yakima valley provides a mega portion of the nations concords? We live in Prosser, part of the Yakima valley in Washington. In the fall, near the first of November, the air in our neighborhood smells like concord grapes and I lick my chops thinking of Concord pie! If you live in the Yakima valley area I’d love to meet you!

  12. Hi Jennifer,
    I live in south west Ohio . I was lucky enough to pick up about a half bushel of grapes yesterday brought to my favorite roadside stand from up north!
    My Mother learned to make grape pies from her Mother on their farm in Lynchburg Ohio from the grapes they grew. I don’t know how far back the tradition went but that alone would take us into the late 1800’s. We use the same process of separating the pulp for skins and placing in a cone sieve with a crank handle an paddle to separate the seed from
    the pulp, then adding in the skins and cooking. Here’s where the recipes differs. As the grapes cook down we add sugar to taste and that’s all. Before placing in a pie crust we put flour in the bottom of the crust, the add some sugar, stir around to blend evenly and pour the filling on top. Rest of the process is the same. I wish I could tell you how much flour and sugar to use but I’ve alwawys done this by feel! Maybe 1/2 c fllour and a little less sugar…. As you stir it with your fingers it will have a silky slightly sandy feel.
    We have always canned our grape filling and I am wondering if made this way, with only sugar, it would freeze well or would it water down? What do you think? I may sacrifice a cup as an experiment!

  13. I’m in the process of making this pie, so while the pulp is cooling I thought I would send you a question….. could I prepare the filling and then freeze it for later use? I can’t wait to taste this pie.

    1. Hi Becci! I have made and froze this pie filling before! The first time I made it and froze it as written here and had issues with it separating once it defrosted the second time I made it I subbed tapioca starch and it held together well. I will update this layer in the evening with the amount of tapioca I used (I’m out of the house for the day ?
      I hope you enjoy the pie, it is one of my favorites!

      1. Could you please post how you substituted Tapioca starch and is this the same as instant tapioca? This is a great recipe. I’ve made 2 pies which were both great.

        1. Hi Becci,
          I am so sorry, we have been harvesting our silage corn and in all the craziness this slipped my mind !!
          I substituted instant clear jel for tapioca for freezing purposes, instant jel stands up beautifully to both high temps & freezing temps, and creates a filling that’s just as clear and shiny as what you’d expect to get from tapioca I have added a link to the Amazon Product Page so you can check it out, but I suggest getting it at a local Amish or Mennonite Bulk Food Store. I sub half the amount of clear gel for the tapioca called for in the recipe, so about 1 1/4 tablespoon of clear gel per pie. A word of warning this stuff thickens like crazy and it lives up to its name, it happens as soon as it touches liquids, make sure to mix instant clear gel in with some of the sugar called for in the recipe! I just froze up 5 pies worth of filling last night here is a quick rundown of the process I use (and I will create a separate post with pictures for with these instructions) :

          • Wash, remove stems remove the skins from the grapes by pressing them between your thumb and forefinger. Put the skinless grapes in a medium saucepan. Reserve the skins in a small bowl.
          • Gently mash the grape pulp in the medium saucepan to release their juice. Cook over medium-low heat until grapes come to a full boil, and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.
          • Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Press the grapes through a fine sieve and discard the pits.
          • Combine the grape pulp, grape peels,  and lemon juice. In a small bowl whisk together 1 1/4 tablespoons Instant Clear Gel with about half of the sugar called for in the recipe. Add the sugar/Instant Clear Gel Mixture to the Grape mixture, and stir well, slowly stir in the rest of the sugar, if you feel your pie is too runny you can add a half to a teaspoon more to the reserved sugar until the filling reaches the desired consistency. (You’ll have about 1 1/3 cups of pulp – add everything else and you’ll have about 2 cups of pie filling)
          • Pour pie filling into a container, leaving 1/2 –1-inch headspace, or Line a 9-inch pie plate with aluminum foil. Place the concord grape mixture into the foil and freeze until solid, 6 to 8 hours.
            Once the filling is frozen, remove from the aluminum foil and wrap in plastic wrap and store in a freezer bag. Seal, label, and freeze.

          As a side note, I just recently found out about Alton Brown’s frozen pie fillings (Peach and Blueberry) I was always told you could not freeze tapioca, but if Alton Brown is doing it, it has to work 🙂 Maybe the secret is not cooking the filling first?? I will be trying this in a couple of days with my recipe but thought I would pass the link on to you in case you can’t get a hold of instant clear jel, and are ok with a little experimenting.

          I am so glad you are enjoying the Concord Grape pies! This and sour cherry pie are my favorites!

        2. @Jennifer Morrisey, I’ve been freezing the pie filling for years and have always done it the way my mom did it. No need to add anything at all to the grapes. After cooking down the pulp then straining out the seeds, add in the skins. Allow to cool then put in a freezer bag and freeze. When ready to make pie, thaw in refrigerator. Add in flour, sugar and lemon juice, pour into crust, top with butter and top crust.

  14. I always wondered why everybody removes the seeds and skin from most fruits when they cook with them. The bible tells us that seeds are our meat. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but you must eat the seeds to make this work. I have recently talked my wife into making pies with the seeds left in. Apple, Pears, Grapes. Its a lot less work, the pies have more nutrition and I get more pies because of the less work. Recently a white concord pie appeared with the seeds left in. It is delicious. The seeds are just like crunchy nuts once it is cooked. People need to research why there is such a high rate of cancer, its because they have removed foods that keep rouge cells in check. Seeds are one of those cancer fighting sources.

  15. Thus looks like a wonderful way to use up my left over grapes from making grape jelly! Same about of labor but probably more delicious! Definitely will be trying this! Thank you!

  16. I am from Upstate NY, now living in New Mexico. My neighbor had a huge Concord grapevine and we spent an afternoon making the filling, just as this recipe is written. I brought a pie to a shared Thanksgiving dinner where there were all the traditional pies – pumpkin, apple, mincemeat, etc. The grape pie was gobbled up immediately. No one had ever had one before. It was a bona fide hit. So, so good.

  17. I used to travel all over Upstate NY for business and once bought a grape pie from a “pie lady” with a table set up along the rural road – somewhere south west of Rochester – not sure exactly where. It was delicious and I wanted to make one but couldn’t find a recipe in any of my dozens of cookbooks. I had forgotten all about it until I saw your Facebook post for the Half Moon cookies…starting browsing and found this. Can’t wait to try it!

  18. LOL! It’s scary how much we think alike. I posted a grape pie recipe a few days before you did. It was my very first time making a grape pie and it won’t be my last. My family originates from the Naples area so I am very familiar with the popularity of grape pies there. Your pie looks delicious Jennifer – let’s have a pie eating contest!!

  19. Hi Jennifer, I’ve never even heard of grape pie let alone tasted it but it looks fantastic! Such a delicious creation! Your pictures are gorgeous as well. Thanks for a great recipe. I saw you over at Jebbica’s and just had to see more! Have a great weekend.

    1. Thank you Robyn! I am surprised the grape pie trend hasn’t traveled beyond Upstate New York! It is a great pie 🙂

      1. Well, Jennifer, I don’t think Concold grapes are nearly as plentiful anywhere else, so it makes sense. They do grow here in Ohio, though, and I just got some (very late crop this year) and skinned 10 pounds of them this evening, to make pies tomorrow. I have two friends who rely on me to make them a pie every year. I thought there was no hope of finding any this year, but my patience paid off.

      2. @Bruce, the grapes are more than plentiful in New England – in Rhode Island and Massachusetts especially, particularly in Concord, where the grape originated.

    1. Naples is so pretty this time of the year! Monica’s does a killer glazed strawberry pie during strawberry season!