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. Kayem

    After fussing over blind baking for approximately 40 years, I have come to the conclusion that it is unnecessary, and maybe even makes for a soggier crust. I use a glass pie plate, put the shell in the freezer until it’s firm, fill and bake on a preheated heavy baking sheet in the lower part of the oven at 425 for 15 min, then down to whatever temp the recipe specifies. I also use all butter and egg yolk as the fat. A perfectly browned crisp bottom crust every time! I changed my ways after overbaking (aka burning) a crust for a lemon custard pie, but deciding to use it anyway. Disgustingly soggy! It may be that blind baking dries the crust to the point that it can absorb more liquid than does an unbaked crust. Someday I’ll try a side-by-side trial.

    Reply
  2. Lisa Sinsheimer

    Does it work to make and blind bake a crust the night before filling it? If so, should it be refrigerated/wrapped?
    Thanks,
    Lisa

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Sure, Lisa, no problem. You might want to wrap the completely cooled crust in plastic wrap, but no refrigeration is necessary. Good luck with your pie — PJH

  3. Carol Dorsey

    :

    I have a question concerning a soggy pie crust for pumpkin or apple pie.

    How do I keep the pie crust from getting soggy when baking a pumpkin pie? The baking time for the pie didn’t seem to bake the bottom crust too well.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Carol, since it’s a single-crust pie, you can always pre-bake the crust (either fully or partway) before adding the filling. This will help, as will baking the pie on the bottom shelf of your oven; or setting it on a hot baking stone or into a hot cast-iron pan (pan that’s been preheating in the oven). Just be sure to use a metal pan (not stoneware or glass) for either of these two approaches. PJH

    2. Lolly

      Oops. I’ve been putting my stoneware pan on my hot baking stone on the bottom shelf of my oven. So far so good. Wat am I risking?

    3. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re glad to hear the technique has been working for you, Lolly, but the risk is breakage. Glass and ceramic/stoneware pans don’t tolerate extreme changes in temperature well and are more susceptible to breakage when exposed to extreme heat like that of a preheated cast iron pan or baking stone. Mollie@KAF

  4. Michael S

    OK here’s the best adjunct to baking with pumpkin ever…been doing this for years, always blows my friends away when they taste it. After you’ve baked the pumpkin, after you’ve assembled the scooped out pumpkin, before you puree it…SMOKE the chunks. I have a traeger, typically I’ll smoke for 2 hrs minimum, up to 3. THEN puree it. Use as you would for pie, cheesecake, anything. The volume is only slightly less than un-smoked puree (I’ve done the comparison), so it doesn’t lose that much moisture…but some…so for pie you have to lower the oven temp a bit and go a little longer otherwise it will crack sooner. But other than that…it’s fantastic in every way.

    Reply
  5. PJ

    But…What if you wanted a double crust? Could you blind bake the bottom and then try to adhere the top? Any trick of the trade that would make this work, because I made a meat pie last night that had a lovely top crust and mush on the bottom.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      I think you could blind bake the bottom, add the filling, then lay the unbaked top crust on (probably you couldn’t seal it) and bake on the middle rack of your oven. I suspect the filling would insulate the bottom crust enough that it wouldn’t over-bake. Give it a try — good luck! PJH

  6. Bob Crosby

    I looked thru all the comments and could not find the best solution! I’m a septuagenarian who has shopped at King Arthur Flour for 50 or more years. I once bought a single crust pie pan which I learned out today is no longer offered. It consisted of 2 pieces – a regular bottom and a top pan with holes to ensure even baking. I loved it, but unfortunately I lost it. I urged Linda who answers KAF customer inquiries to bring it back into the catalogue. Nothing was easier, less messy- looking. A real delight to use.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Bob, I miss that pie pan set, too! Chicago Metallic made it. And like you, I used to have one, but lost it in the course of a couple of moves. I’m not sure CM makes it anymore, as when I Google it, all the sources say “no longer available.” These days, I simply nest two solid pie pans, turned over so they’re bottoms up — seems to work just fine for blind-baking, though you do flatten any high crimp in the process… PJH

    2. Mae B

      Having acquired the reputation as a pie expert (only because my recipe calls for 2:1 flour to butter me thinks) I’ve been fortunate in friends finding things at garage sales for pie baking, including the set Bob describes. It doesn’t work as well for ‘taller’ pies–so the parchment with rice worked great, I just made the edge crust thicker and wider, plus froze it for 30 mins.
      Did find this on line, also by Chicago Metallic: http://www.organizeit.com/pie-crust-weight.asp?cmpid=gpa&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI8uOBxoaY2gIViUVpCh3lWAkZEAkYDSABEgIZ6PD_BwE
      This is one of the best baking blogs I’ve read–a real pleasure. Thanks, King Arthur!

  7. Patricia

    I learned a little trick recently while making strawberry pies that you might find useful. If you melt baking chocolate and brush it on the bottom of the baked pie crust , refrigerate and then fill, it prevents the crust from getting soggy. I tried it with a dozen tarts first. I made 1/2 with and 1/2 without. It does make a difference. Who doesn’t love strawberries and chocolate?

    Reply
  8. Florida

    Are there any tricks to BLIND-BAKING a TOP CRUST? I have a husband-approved recipe for chicken “pot pie”, cooked in a skillet on the stove-top. Without a crust, it’s really a chicken and vegetable stew. We like a top crust. While the filling is simmering, I roll out the dough, dock, score into wedges, and bake on a pizza pan until golden. By the time it’s golden, it’s quite crisp (like crackers – which I like). I serve the crust wedges on top of the filling. However, DH prefers his crust not quite so brittle. I’m thinking of rolling two smaller pieces – one regular, one double-thick. ANY OTHER IDEAS?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We love taking the opportunity to bake in a skillet–especially cast iron–whenever possible!

      Instead of blind-baking the top crust, we recommend cooking the chicken stew for less time on the stove top and then finishing the whole thing in the oven at once. This way you can roll out the crust, put it over the skillet, dock it, and bake for about 15-18 minutes or until it’s golden brown. You’ll have to experiment a bit to figure out just how long you should cook the filling beforehand to get perfectly cooked veggies and meat in the end… it’ll be a delicious result! Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  9. Kathi T

    I used the bean technique, described above, today.

    It is ok but needs one important correction.

    Check your pie shell at 8-10 minutes on the second browning bake. I checked mine at 12 minutes and it was already over-baked… way too brown and so brittle, it cracked removing from oven. I pitched it and did a re-do with a shorter second bake… perfect. Wish I could post photos

    FWIW, i don’t use hydrogenated fats at all. I usually make pie crust dough with 100% sweet butter. The edges don’t come out picture perfect..soft and slumpy… but the flavor is incomparable. It’s super hard to do a hand-woven lattice with butter dough because it is a brittle dough.

    I’ve tried using 100% coconut oil (the solid, not liquid). That fat makes a delicious crust that bakes beautifully but that pastry is even more temperamental and brittle to work than a crust made with 100% butter.

    My mom always uses lard… I’ve done that as well but I am not a fan of the heavy taste or its texture.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re sorry to hear your first crust was a bit over-baked. It’s true that if you roll your crust thinner than what’s pictured here, it will take less time to brown thoroughly. There’s always a chance that your oven may be running hot, the pan you’ve chosen will heat up quickly, or your baked goods may be thinner than what was used to determine the time in the original recipe. To beat the odds and achieve the perfect amount of doneness, check early and check often. It’s like voting! Happy baking! Kye@KAF

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