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Old-Fashioned Vinegar Pies (for pennies!)

1-Vinegar Maple Pie

Guest post from Carissa of Pretty/Hungry

I’m not sure what it was about this recipe that grabbed me as I thumbed through the hundreds in my Grandma’s recipe book. Maybe it was the odd name, Vinegar Pie. (Who ever heard of such a thing?) Or maybe it was the first ingredient listed: a quart of water!

Could Grandma Montgomery be serious? How could this recipe produce an actual, edible pie? An edible puddle maybe… but surely not a pie.


So in the hopes of resolving some of my confusion, I did what any respectable child of the internet-age would do… I posted a pic of the recipe to my Instagram account and asked people to enlighten me! And I was astonished to learn that this recipe was, in fact, legitimate.

One friend even told me that she and her children had recently read in Little House in the Big Woods that Laura Ingalls’s “Ma” would make vinegar pies at Christmastime. They were a perfect dessert for poor farming families who didn’t have access to fancy ingredients like cream. Eggs, water, vinegar, and sugar were always on hand!

That solidified it for me. I love the Little House books, so I had to find out what this pie would taste like! Besides, what did I have to lose? A few eggs and a quart of water weren’t going to break the bank if the recipe failed.

So I tried out the recipe, and color me shocked when this humble method turned out one of the creamiest, most luscious custard pies I’d ever tried! In my opinion, it rivals any custard or cream pie I’ve tasted. And the maple flavoring makes it especially cozy for wintertime.

Vinegar Pie is a dessert every money-saving mom should know about. You can make it when the cupboards are nearly bare!

Here is a recipe with a little more explanation than dear Grandma Montgomery gave me in the little slip of paper above. I hope you enjoy making it and feeling like “Ma” Ingalls, one of our country’s earliest money-saving moms!

Vinegar Maple Pie

Do you make any old-fashioned, penny-pinching desserts?

Carissa is a wife and mother of a sweet 1-year old girl. She loves the Lord, her family, and cooking! In recent years her family has made drastic cuts to their budget in order to start saving to build a home. Carissa blogs at Pretty/Hungry about all her kitchen creations!

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  • Tirzah says:

    On a whim I tried this pie. I used white vinegar and vanilla extract. It has a very strong vinegar and cinnamon taste. We do not like it at all. Hope others have better luck. I thibk this pie won’t be on a menu again.

    • Jessica says:

      White vinegar is not for eating, that is why it was gross. If you try again, try using a culinary vinegar (wine vinegar or Apple cider vinegar) rather than a cleaning vinegar.

      • Harley R. says:

        White vinegar is actually for eating! It’s used heavily in Filipino and other Asian dishes. I think it’s just a stronger vinegar and if you aren’t use to that taste it will just overwhelm your tastebuds. I use it in any dish that requires vinegar but doesn’t specify a certain kind of vinegar.

  • ashley says:

    I made this pie last night. I put it in the fridge around 11 pm and checked on it at 6:30am. Is it suppose to be giggly when its done?

  • Made this tonight. The initial taste (licked the spoon after filling the crust) was good.

    It only filled one pie crust though. Did I do something wrong?

  • Amy says:

    Just made this today for the family. I called it a “custard pie” because I knew they’d never go for vinegar pie!! Everyone loved it. I used white vinegar as well with vanilla extract. It was yummy. I think it took me 20 minutes start to finish.

  • Katherine says:

    So… I can’t get my pie to “set.” I followed the recipe exactly, even left it overnight. When I checked the pie this morning, it was still a liquid. Other recipes call for baking the pie 15-20 minutes. Tried that, too… Still liquid-y. Huh :/

    • Laura says:

      I thought it was hard to know when it was sticking thickly to the back f a spoon. I bet you didn’t cook it quite long enough.

    • Jackie Shadd says:

      Do not throw it away thats the best way to get it. Take white bread and pour it over layer after layer i would kill for it lol

  • Amanda says:

    Made this. I loved the consistency, but the flavor was much less than desirable. I sadly wasted a great pie crust. Maybe I could sprinkle some powdered sugar on top?

    • Judy R says:

      Try adding a half teaspoon of salt. Never make a recipe that doesn’t call for salt. Even desserts need salt.

  • margaret says:

    just created 2 pies from this . results are wonderful


  • James says:

    Don’t need the boiling water and i use 6 or 7 table spoons of dark vinegar.

  • nat.coco says:

    Came out fantastic!
    I prefer your no-bake version to all others I’ve tried. Thanks so much for the recipe, this was a real gem! (I called it “Vinny pie” when I served it haha.)

  • Eve says:

    I had never heard of a “vinegar pie” (sounds very questionable!!) . We went to a new restaurant here yesterday and (bravely) tried their Honey Vinegar Pie… O M G was it delicious! Tasted like creme brûlée on a homemade flaky pie crust! (They served theirs with a homemade vanilla bean whip cream-so good!!!) Had to get on Pinterest and see what I could find! Thank you for sharing! Plan to experiment now as soon as possible! =) Blessings!

  • Lauar says:

    I tried this recipe with lemon flavoring and it was very close to tasting like the bottom of a lemon meringue pie. I did use the 3 cups of water and ended up cooking it for about 8-10 minutes. I also tried it using vanilla flavoring, but liked the lemon better. The vinegar is barely noticeable. It isn’t a pie I would make for the enjoyment of eating, but was a nice experiment and it is kind of nice to understand what people ate years ago.

  • Lubica says:

    Can I ask you , have to prepare ” two pie dishes with a single crust pastry ” ?

    probably it s something everybody knows , but Im from Slovakia and want to try this recipy

    • mary billman says:

      bake 2 separate pie crust shells. this recipe makes 2 pies.
      there are 2 kinds of pies, one type has a pie crust that is filled with a fruit filling and another crust is put on the top of the fruit filling and baked. then the other kind of pie just has a crust on the bottom and filled with a pie filling. In this case, the above vinegar pie recipe. I hope this helps.

  • Kathy Grassley says:

    I would always use apple cider vinegar for anything like this. A note about curdling eggs….if you temper them before adding to the boiling liquid, they won’t curdle. Simply put a tablespoon or two of the hot liquid into the egg mixture before adding to the water will keep it from curdling. I usually will add up to 1/4 cup a tablespoon at a time.
    Try it and see if that doesn’t help.

  • Cheryl Gibbs says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I’m going to try it.

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