Fun ways to crimp pie crust: Everyday tools, unique designs

With all of the work that goes into baking a homemade pie, your masterpiece deserves to be finished with a flourish. Skip the plain fork crimping and give one of these fun ways to crimp pie crust a whirl.

After carefully selecting the freshest of fruits, gently cutting the butter into the flour, and the feat that is rolling pie dough into a near-perfect circle, the last thing you want to do is spend another half hour making the top of your pie magazine-ready.

Making a beautiful crust can be easy, fast, and done with tools you already have in your kitchen drawers. Let’s get to playing!

Fun ways to crimp pie crust via @kingarthurflour

Crimp pie crust with a sauce whisk

This flat, spiraled whisk, friend to gravy makers everywhere, is perhaps the simplest and quickest way to add a little fun to your crust. All you have to do is press the lightly-floured whisk tines gently into the dough around the edge. This is great for any kind of crust, including a more delicate gluten-free or oil-based crust.

Fun ways to crimp pie crust via @kingarthurflour

Crimp pie crust with tongs

Until now, tongs have been the nemesis of my kitchen, as they liked to open up and jam the drawer closed when I wasn’t looking. Who knew they had a place in pie baking? My tongs have redeemed themselves.

Beautify your next pie: Crimp pie crust with kitchen gadgets you already have in your drawers. Quick, easy, and beautiful! Click To Tweet

Most tongs have a scalloped edge to aid in gripping whatever meats or veggies you’re flipping. This comes in handy when crimping a pie crust.

Once you have a smooth, trimmed crust around the edge, use one of the tongs’ edges to press your design around the rim.

Fun ways to crimp pie crust via @kingarthurflour

Crimp pie crust with measuring spoons

Measuring spoons, particularly 1/8 or pinch-sized spoons, are another great tool to use on delicate crusts. Press your crust with the rounded side of a flour-dusted 1/8 teaspoon to create circular indents around the edge of your pie.

Fun ways to crimp pie crust via @kingarthurflour

Crimp pie crust with a grapefruit spoon

For a utensil whose name suggests it can only be used for one fruit, this little spiky spoon with its serrated tip really comes through when it’s time to crimp pie crust.

Holding the spoon upside down, press the serrations into the edges of your crust. Press it several times in a line for a scalloped effect, or just once every inch or so.

Crimp pie crust with piping tips

This is for all of my fellow hot-handed bakers out there.

Having naturally hot hands can come in handy when working with fondant, but when it comes to cold butter? Not so much. Pie crust will produce flaky layers if your butter and dough are chilled. Hot fingers can melt the butter in the crust as you crimp, leaving your decorations looking smooshed and sad.

Fun ways to crimp pie crust via @kingarthurflour

Enter piping tips! Use a piping tip to shield your hot finger from the crust as you work. You can even chill the tip in your fridge or freezer ahead of time to make it extra effective.

A piping tip on your finger isn’t exactly the next fashion statement, but it gets the job done!

Press the piping tip around the rim of your pie. Depending on the style of tip you choose, it could leave a unique design or just a simple indent.

Fun ways to crimp pie crust via @kingarthurflour

How to make your design shine

Chill, chill, chill: Have you ever made a lovely design on your pie or pastry, only to find it completely missing on your finished baked good? Chilling your pie in the fridge for 30 minutes before baking can help your designs keep their shape.

How? Because the longer it takes the fat to melt, the more time your design has to set in the oven.

Make extra dough for practicing: If you’re trying out new designs, and want to see how they look before tackling your pie, plan ahead and make a 1 1/2 times batch of your dough. No one will complain if you decorate and bake a few mini pies in ramekins or muffin pans with the extra crust.

For intricate designs, use a recipe with shortening: Shortening has a higher melting point than butter, allowing more time in the oven for the design to set before it begins to melt. This results in a sharper design on your finished pie. To be both beautiful and tasty, recipes that use a combination of fats fit the bill for us, like our Classic Single Pie Crust.

Fun ways to crimp pie crust via @kingarthurflour

Thicken your fruit pie correctly: If a fruit pie filling doesn’t have enough thickener, it bubbles like crazy, usually out of the pan. This bubble-over can cover your crimp designs — not to mention make a glorious mess of your oven. (It helps to line the bottom of your oven with a pan or foil to catch any drips.)

The Pie Filling Thickener Guide in our Complete Guide to Pie Baking was one of my most-shared resources when I worked on the Baker’s Hotline. Consult this little beauty to know how much thickener is needed depending on the fruit you’re using.

Fun ways to crimp pie crust via @kingarthurflour

Even a Gluten-Free Pie Crust can be beautifully crimped.

What’s in your drawer?

Which of your kitchen tools will you use to crimp pie crust? Look for interesting patterns on your tongs while you’re grilling. Take note of the artistic shape on your corkscrew as you open a bottle of wine. You’re sure to create an impressive looking design quickly and with little effort.

Still a fan of the classic crimp?

No problem! It’s a classic for a reason. Check out our video or blog article on Pie Crust Decorating Basics for additional tips and inspiration.

Share your ideas and past experiences using everyday tools to create beautiful pie crusts in the comments below.

Thank you to Anne Mientka for taking the photos for this post.

Annabelle Nicholson
About

Annabelle grew up in New Hampshire and Vermont and attended New England Culinary Institute to study baking and pastry arts. She works on the Digital Engagement Team, and spends her non-baking time playing board games and cuddling her hedgehog.

comments

  1. Barbara hoefling

    I stand them up, closed, over the straight sided container that I use for kitchen tools, like spatulas.

    Reply
  2. Jessie Hill

    Did you know that Oxo makes tongs that can be closed simply by pulling some sort of an assembly at the hinge end? To open the tongs, simply push that assembly in. And the very best part? There is still that beautiful “pie crimping” design on the end of the tongs. Save those cardboard tubes for slice and bake cookie dough that needs to be chilled.

    Reply
    1. Annabelle Nicholson, post author

      I love your cookie dough tip, Jessie! Do you split the tube lengthwise or shove the tube of dough in from the end? I imagine parchment paper or plastic wrap is involved too. I’ll have to try this next Christmas — I always wind up with one side of my cookies being flat from sitting in the freezer! Annabelle@KAF

  3. Laura Stokes

    It said to make extra crust when experimenting with different designs. I always liked it when my Mom made pies and had crust left over we would butter it and add cinnamon sugar

    Reply
    1. Annabelle Nicholson, post author

      I have very similar memories, Laura. My mom always rolled any dough bits in cinnamon and sugar and baked them up into little “pie cookies.” I don’t think extra pie dough could even be a bad thing — it’s too delicious! Annabelle@KAF

  4. Christine Sullivan

    Just a quick comment on your misbehaving tongs in the drawer. Save a tube from a roll of paper towels. Close the tongs and slide into the tube. Put the entire thing in the drawer. That’ll learn them tongs!

    Reply
    1. Annabelle Nicholson, post author

      Thank you, Christine — you’re a lifesaver! Perhaps being in a cardboard jail for a bit will condition them to stay closed. Thanks again for the great tip. Annabelle@KAF

    2. Lorraine Stevenski

      Thanks for the cardboard tip. Although too late for me. My tongs got suck and the drawer would not open. I pulled the drawer too hard and the front of the drawer fell off! Great tip…too late for me though.

    3. Annabelle Nicholson, post author

      Oh dear! I hope your drawer was easily fixable, Lorraine and that Christine’s tip will help protect any future drawers from tong-related injuries. Annabelle@KAF

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