In search of the best pies in Hawaii


I grew up eating pies.

Apple pie, cherry pie, pumpkin pie, banana cream pie, lemon meringue pie, custard pie and — my favorite — chocolate cream pie. You name it, we had it in our house.

There’s something magical about pies. These 8-inch pans can be filled with just about anything, from sweet strawberries to dark chocolate to chicken-and-vegetables.

But if you think about it, pies aren’t huge in Hawaii, at least not the way they are on the Mainland. The saying, “As American as apple pie,” doesn’t really count here. And here’s why.

• We don’t have the kind of fruits — cherries, blueberries, apples — that are often used in pies here.

• We like our pies sweet — super sweet. So, for example, we tend to prefer the sweetsweetsweet pumpkin crunch dessert over a slice of pumpkin pie.

• We have a potluck mentality. We like BIG desserts — desserts we can share. Unless you buy one of those humongous pies from Costco, pies are too small to share.

• Pies aren’t part of our cultural vernacular. There aren’t really pies in Asian cultures — with the exception of custard pies (Chinese), which local folks love.

At least that’s my assessment.

So starting today, I’m on a mission now to find the best pies in Hawaii. And I’ll post my findings here (of course).

So if you have suggestions for the best pies — apple, custard, anything — let me know. Post it here or on my Facebook page, tweet me, or shoot me an email! I’m all ears!

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18 Responses to “In search of the best pies in Hawaii”

  1. uncleb March 4, 2013 at 9:02 am #

    My absolute favorite pie is the chocolate creme pie with the macadamia nut caramel crust that they have at the Hawaii Prince Hotel. It is so rich that only half a slice is plenty. They call it the Almond Roca pie.

    2nd on the list is the Key Lime pie from Ryan’s.

  2. rayboyjr March 4, 2013 at 10:22 am #

    Hey Cat … I like pies too!!! … yeah, I agree pies aren’t a natural thing in our cultures here in Hawaii … I dunno …

    … what keeps me from ever trying to bake a pie … is that you have to make the damn pie crust too!!! … what’s in a pie crust??? … and then you gotta roll it out … I guess there are ready-made ones that you can get from the store, but maybe not too good …

    … I get the typical pies from the well-known places out of convenience … I like the pumpkin pie at Liliha Bakery, the apple pie from Zippy’s or Napoleon’s, banana cream from Anna Miller’s, and custard pie from Lee’s Bakery in Chinatown …

    … oh yeah, it’s so far away for me … but I love the peach/pear pie from Sunnyside in Wahiawa … and any of the chocolate cream pies from Ted’s …

  3. zzzzzz March 4, 2013 at 11:11 am #

    We just finished a blueberry creme pie from Ted’s over the weekend– so ono!

    I also love Sunnyside’s pies, and Ani’s too.

    Don’t sweet potato pies have Okiniwan origin? And of course haupia pies have local roots, so sweet potato haupia pies are also a local treat.

  4. David Jackson March 4, 2013 at 11:21 am #

    Like I need to give you a reason to go to Agnes in Kailua…

  5. KAN March 4, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    Kane`ohe Bakery Custard Pie. My favorite dessert on earth.

  6. Annoddah Dave March 4, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

    CAT: Are you going to also check the buffet/brunch pies at some of the hotels/restaurants?

  7. Teri K March 5, 2013 at 5:14 am #

    Kay LC in Hilo has the best pies, especially their blueberry cream cheese pie. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.

  8. Paco March 5, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    Sunnyside still one of the best. Ted’s is good too. The best apple pie is the frozen one from Hilo that you have to put in the oven. mmmmm so yummy

  9. Hana March 5, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    Anything from Sunnyside Bakery because their crusts are so flakey. Banana is my least

    favorite fresh fruit but I love their baked banana pie.

  10. Alex March 6, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    I love pie, but hardly ever buy or eat it. I’m a banana person, so if I’m in a certain mood I’ll get a banana cream pie from Zippy’s (though I’d rather have their delicious banana split). May have to try Anna Miller’s based on somebody’s comment (if we go there, we usually get one of their strawberry pies).

    One thing I truly miss is Bob’s Big Boy and eating their pecan pie. That was a marvelous thing. Sorry I’m no help. :)

  11. snow March 6, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    lemon chiffon pie from likelike drive in! i don’t care so much for the crust but it’s so light and delicious!

    the key lime pie from ryan’s that uncleb mentioned is a winner, too!

    i like lee’s custard pie – and kaneohe bakery’s, which i just recently tried! yum!

    holy’s bakery apple pie – with butter – fresh from the oven is soooo good! too bad we can’t get it here anymore!

    pumpkin pie and pumpkin custard pie from deelite/st. germain… it’s our go-to for thanksgiving!

    • Gavin May 13, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

      Holy’s bakery pies can be found at Hawaiian Style (yeah, the surf shop) on Kapiolani Blvd.

  12. Ann March 7, 2013 at 11:13 pm #

    I remember someone bringing a pear pie from holy’s bakery (i think that was the name) on the big island to a potluck. It was some time ago, but it was a great pie. they might have bought it frozen at star market and baked it at home.

  13. Pam March 9, 2013 at 6:12 am #

    Hoku’s bakery apple, peach & pear pies are the bomb! The apple is my favorite. Though Teds chocolate cream is pretty awesome too.

  14. Seal May 15, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

    Whenever I come to Hawaii, my first stop from the airport is Anna Miller’s in Aiea to pick up a whole macadamia nut creme pie to last me during my stay. The best!

  15. Denise Hargrove November 14, 2013 at 11:41 pm #

    The best ones are MINE!! I’d be happy to bring you a slice!!

  16. Denise Hargrove November 14, 2013 at 11:43 pm #

    Read you pie article. The best ones are MINE!! I’d be happy to bring you a slice.


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