How to blind bake pie crust: pre-baking yields perfect results

What does it mean to blind bake a pie crust?

Well, hearkening back to Merrie Olde England, where the term originated, blind baking a pie crust is simply pre-baking the crust, without filling, then adding the filling once the crust is baked.

The pie can then be placed back in the oven for the filling to bake; or the baked crust can be filled with cooked filling, the whole left to cool and set.

Why is it necessary to blind bake pie crust? Can’t you just pour whatever filling you’re using into the crust, and bake everything all at once?

Not always, and here’s why. Some pies are filled with delicate fillings, ones that need a quick simmer on the stovetop at most. Baking this type of pie for the hour or so required to fully bake the crust would over-bake the filling.

How to blind bake a pie crust via @kingarthurflour

Think Chocolate Cream Pie.

Blind baking a crust isn’t quite as simple as it sounds. You don’t just make the crust, pat it into the pie pan, and stick it in the oven. Because you know what happens?

How to blind bake a pie crust via @kingarthurflour

A slumped mess.

(And why, pray tell, is there syrupy residue in the bottom of this crust? Well… to make a long story short, don’t ask!)

OK, that’s the baking fail. Now let’s see how to blind bake a pie crust – successfully.

There are two simple ways to blind bake a pie crust.

How to blind bake a pie crust via @kingarthurflour

1. Bake with weights in the center.

This choice is perfect when you’re making a tall and/or fancy crimped edge.

1.  Place your crust in the pan, and crimp the edge. Line the crust with a parchment round (9″, for a 9″ pie), or paper coffee filter.
2.  Add pie weights, dry rice, dried beans or (as I’ve done here) dry wheat berries, enough to fill the pan 2/3 full. Chill the crust for 30 minutes; this will solidify the fat, which helps prevent shrinkage.
3.  Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 20 minutes.
4.  Remove the pie from the oven, and lift out the paper and weights. Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork, to prevent bubbles. Return the crust to the oven and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until the crust is golden all over.

How to blind bake a pie crust via @kingarthurflour

Like this.

The fat in this crust is more than half butter, so the crimp didn’t hold up quite as well as that of an all-shortening crust.

What’s up with that? Butter’s melting point is lower than that of vegetable shortening, so a 100% butter crust will neither hold a crimp as well nor stand as tall in the pan as an all-shortening (or partial shortening) crust.

At any rate, you now have a baked crust, ready to fill.

How to blind bake a pie crust via @kingarthurflour

Ah, Banana Cream Pie

The second method used to blind bake pie crust is perfect for pies with a flat edge, one where you don’t need the extra height – and aren’t particularly worried about appearance.

How to blind bake a pie crust via @kingarthurflour

2. Sandwich the crust between two pans, and bake it upside down.

This method is absolutely perfect for those of you who’ve struggled mightily with crusts that slump – particularly all-butter crusts.

1.  Place your crust in the pan. Flatten its edge – decoratively, if you wish, though any decoration will probably disappear.
2.  Spray the outside of another pie pan (preferably a duplicate of your bottom pan) with non-stick spray, and nestle it into the crust. If you’re at all worried about the crust potentially sticking to the second pan, line the crust with a parchment round before setting the second pan on top.
3.  Chill the crust for 30 minutes, to solidify fats and prevent shrinkage.

How to blind bake a pie crust via @kingarthurflour

Place the pan upside down on a baking sheet, so that the empty pan is on the bottom. Bake for 20 minutes in a preheated 375°F oven.

Gravity ensures that as your crust slips “down” the side of the pan, it’s actually moving up!

How to blind bake a pie crust via @kingarthurflour

Remove the crust from the oven. Use a spatula to carefully turn the pan over, so its crust side is up.

Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork.

How to blind bake a pie crust via @kingarthurflour

Return the crust to the oven, and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes…

How to blind bake a pie crust via @kingarthurflour to blind bake a pie crust via @kingarthurflour

…until it’s golden brown all over.

How to blind bake a pie crust via @kingarthurflour

This method is ideal for pies where the edge of the pie plays second fiddle to its top – hello, Lemon Meringue!

Now, you may find recipes instructing you how to blind bake a pie crust that differ from this, especially in the oven temperature and baking time.

But however you choose to get there, your goal is a crisp, flaky, golden brown crust, ready for your choice of delicious fillings.

How to blind bake a pie crust via @kingarthurflour

Like Classic Coconut Cream.

Want more? Find a wealth of pie tips, techniques, recipes, and inspiration in our Complete Guide to Pie Baking.

What’s your favorite no-bake pie filling, perfect for a blind-baked crust? Please share in comments, below.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Leslie Anne

    I’ve made blind crusts for the Lemon pies for years without as much fuss as presented here. I do freeze a stack of raw pie shells all rolled out and crimped edges. Usually 4 to 6 at a time and lucky I have that many full XL size glass and pottery pie plates. I wrap each rolled out pie shell in it’s pie plate and crimped edge into a white large food safe plastic bag. (No scented garbage bags like they sell at grocery stores these days.Those bags contain odor masking chemicals you do not want to introduce to your food.) I stack them all together and in the top pie shell I add a 3/4″ pie plate that fits perfectly inside to protect the edges and keep it flat while living in the freezer. Pulling one at a time out as needed I let partially thaw and poke the whole bottom and half way up the sides with a dinner fork. A lot of holes not just a few all over. Place in 375 F. oven and cook until golden brown. Rarely do they bubble up or edges droop or fall inwards. Let cool and add the fillings. I do this also but do not cook till done for custard style pie like pumpkin that will go back into the oven to bake until the filling is done. It prevents soggy and undone crusts by cooking and starting to brown on bottom this way. I have never used pie weights though have thought about them. You can do a Martha Stewart however and keep a canister filled with used and dried beans that is dedicated to be pie weights to be used many times over.

    Reply
  2. Bel

    Every time I use the crust sandwiched between 2 pans method, the edge of the crust falls off. The only part of the crust left intact is the bottom & a little bit up the sides. I am following the directions as written including using the circle of parchment paper between the 2 pans & spraying the empty pan. I am using 2 glass pyrex pans. Do you have any suggestion?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Bel. We hope we can help! Glass pans get quite a bit hotter than metal pans do, so it’s quite possible that it’s drying out the crust giving it a more brittle texture so it doesn’t hold together later on. Next time, try lowering your oven temperature by 25°F. You can check it at the same time, but it will probably take a little bit longer since you’re using a lower temperature. However, a lower temperature allows glass to heat a bit more evenly and can give you more control. Since Pyrex is clear, you can see the crust through it and be able to check it without opening the oven door. We hope the next crust stays intact! Annabelle@KAF

  3. Fran

    I absolutely love your pie crust recipe but I always have huge issues with shrinkage… even when I chill the crust for 30 minutes before baking. Is there anything else at all that I can do?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Have you tried using some shortening in your crust, Fran? Even if you’re a butter-lover, it might be worth it to consider using some in your dough. Shortening helps hold the shape of the dough better than butter, which tends to melt and shrink. Also be sure you’re not working the dough too much when you bring it together. (Try a folding technique.) Working the dough heavily activates the gluten, which acts like an elastic band and can make the crust shrink during baking. It also never hurts to cross your fingers. 😉 Good luck! Kye@KAF

  4. Patricia Accattato

    I also do not believe that the pie crust has to look beautiful – only that it needs to taste crispy and good…..and the inside doesn’t need to be flat…..it can puff all it wants as long as it is DONE…..

    Reply
  5. Arden Allen

    If you put the pie shells on the outside of the pan and bake upside down and then transfer to the inside before filling you get a lovely flat surface on the inside for filling.
    Works best when you have another pie plate to cover it with after baking to flip it to the inside.

    Reply
  6. Lwood

    All of those ‘weights’ work well … but thinking outside the box, have you ever tried white sugar? The benefits are many, but mostly it’s that you can use the sugar more than once without throwing it out, AND after a few times you’ve created a ‘caramelized sugar’, that can be used in almost any recipe. No, it’s not like Brown Sugar. Thanks to Stella Parks @ Serious Eats for teaching this to me, and her Pie Crust recipe’s not bad either!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We just came across the Food52 article about this as well and may need to do some experimenting ourselves. What a tasty idea! Mollie@KAF

  7. Wendy Sheila

    I needed pie weights, but actually didn’t have any of the recommended substitutions: beans, rice, or corn. My husband, though, had a good idea: we have small landscaping rocks in our front yard. They are about 1″ x 2″ for the most part. I took nine of them, carefully wrapped them in foil, and used those as a substitute. They worked just fine, and I have retained them to use again in the future. I made sure none of the outdoor surfaces were exposed, and also used the parchment round under them to further provide a barrier. Creativity!

    Reply
  8. Judy Palmer

    Thank you so much for all the ideas and recipes KAF and bakers! I was once intimidated by piecrust baking, and now make quiches for a local pub through practice, practice, practice, but now i want to master blind bake for my own knowledge. Bless u !

    Reply

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