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. The Baker's Hotline

      Julie, thanks for your question! Dry beans are hardy things, and can be reused for blind baking almost indefinitely. Just make sure you label the container so you don’t confuse them with your beans for making chili! Kat@KAF

  1. Sheryl Kistler

    What about Pecan pie? Would you pre bake your crust?
    For pumpkin pie would you still bake as directed 425 for 15 min. and reducing to 350 for 40/50 min. I would think the crust would be way over browned by then!

    Reply
    1. Susan Reid

      Hi, Sheryl. Par-baking won’t hurt pecan pie; and in the case of both pecan and pumpkin for a par-baked crust skip the early high heat and just bake at 350°F until the filling is set 2 inches in from the outside edge. Susan

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Sharon, it sounds like you might want to check out the article on our blog called how to get pie crust to brown on the bottom. The tips that are highlighted will work for custard pies, fruit pies, pecan pies, etc. Try placing the pie further down in the oven (closer to the heating element) and baking in a metal pie pan, if possible. Check out the post for full details! Kye@KAF

  2. Linda tyrel

    Can you blind bake a crust the add pumpkin and or quiche mixture then bake according to directions then you r really rebaking the crust? I’m sick of white crust on the bottom..

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi, Linda! You can most certainly blind bake your crusts for quiches and pumpkin pies. You’ll find custard pies really benefit from a blind baked pie crust because it keeps the crust from getting soggy and staying lighter in color like you’ve experienced in the past. Happy baking! Morgan@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      They can be reused for future blind baking for a long time, Joan! Keep them in a jar so they’re ready to go and they can be used dozens and dozens of times. Annabelle@KAF

  3. Marie Frances

    Why would you poke a blind pie crust AFTER it’s precooked? Don’t you poke it before you put it in the oven? Thank you.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Good question, Marie! When the beans are pushing down on the crust, prevent it from puffing it up. Once you remove that the dough needs to be pierced to continue allowing the crust to release team without puffing up. It wouldn’t hurt to poke the crust before adding the parchment, but it isn’t necessary. Annabelle@KAF

  4. Beth

    To make tomato pie would you put the crust back into the oven for the additional 15-20 minutes to fully cook pie or put in tomatoes, etc and cook as instructed?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Beth! That would vary depending on the recipe you’re using. If the recipe calls for you to bake the tart after you’ve added the tomatoes, then the way you just mentioned would be correct, and 15-20 minutes sounds right to us! Annabelle@KAF

  5. Nancy

    I blind baked a pie crust by piercing it with a fork. The crust was for a quiche. After baking, filling, and baking again, I discovered the crust was sticking to the glass pie pan. Did the filling leak through the piercings? How can I avoid this?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Nancy, it’s quite possible that the filling seeped through. The easiest solution is to line your pan with parchment paper so that the whole pie/quiche will pop out whether filling as leaked or not. Since quiche filling is usually very much a liquid, piercing more shallow or smaller holes could help with any leakage. Annabelle@KAF

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