How to Blind Bake a Pie Crust
I will show you just how easy it is to blind bake a pie crust! This means pre-baking the empty crust to fill later with cream filling or fresh fruit filling. There are a few important details you need to know to avoid a bottom crust that bubbles up, and edges that stay tall and firm instead of slumping down into a sad mess. Chilling the crust and using pie weights are essential!
Blind baking a pie crust without making a sad mess eluded me for years! Does anyone else have this issue??
Even with pie weights, my edges were always sagging. So sad! Nobody wants saggy pie!
So I finally sat down to research it, baked a whole buncha pie, and came up with these great tips so that I never have to deal with slumpy pie crusts again. Bring on the pie!
How to blind bake a pie crust
It’s really easy to do! There are just a few things to remember:
- chill your pie dough before baking
- fill with pie weight to prevent bubbling, and to keep the edges from slumping down
- double bake. This means bake once, remove the weight, then finish baking
Start by rolling out your pie dough and transferring to a pie pan. You can use my recipe for homemade flaky pie crust or you can use store bought crust. (If you make my recipe, be aware that it makes enough for two blind baked pies. Make two pies, halve the recipe, or freeze the second crust for later!)
Tuck the edges of the dough underneath itself so that it lines up with the pie pan. Lots of people will tell you to trim the pie crust, but why waste delicious crust? Just fold it under! If it is crumbly, smooth the dough together with your fingers. Dip in ice water if necessary.
Next, use your fingers or knuckles to flute the edges of the pie crust. You can also crimp with a fork if you prefer!
Chill your pie crust
Next, freeze your pie for at least a half hour. A full hour is better. Cold cold pie dough going into a hot hot oven is the way to get those flaky layers you want!
Fill your pie with weights for firm edges that don’t slump
Once your crust is cold, crumple up some parchment paper or foil to make it smooth and layer it on top of your crust. (You don’t want any jagged edges tearing your crust. Make sure it’s large enough that you will be able to lift out the weights later.
Next add in your weights. Not using enough weights is why I had saggy pie crusts for so many years. I would add pie weights, just like all the recipes say, but not enough. I was focused mostly on keeping bubbles from coming up on the bottom. But the pie weights also serve the purpose of adding weight and structure for the edges of the pie, so that they don’t melt downward. You can see that I used 2 and 1/2 pounds of beans here for this pie. Don’t be skimpy! Fill ‘er up!
What can I use instead of pie weights?
- pie weights are nice if you bake a lot of pies. But not really necessary. You can also use:
- loose change
- dry rice: you can use the rice after you use it as weights. It will have a nice toasty flavor!
- dry beans: set aside the beans you use and designate them your pie weights. Beans get a weird chalky thing going on after you bake them a couple times. I’ve been using the same beans to weigh down my pies for probably 7 or 8 years!
- sugar: sugar fills out your pie very evenly. It will lightly caramelize the sugar, you will see just a little browning. You can still use the sugar! It will have a slight caramel flavor. How could this be bad?
- or anything that won’t be bothered in the oven.
How long to blind bake pie crust
Bake your pie crust at 375 for about 15-20 minutes, until the edges are just starting to turn light golden. Take it out of the oven and lift out the pie weights. The center of the pie crust will look shiny and raw, that’s okay!
Use a fork to prick the bottom of the crust so that it doesn’t bubble up.
At this point, I like to cover the edges with a crust shield to make sure the edges don’t get too brown. This is optional, especially if you like a very crispy crust.
Double bake your blind baked pie crust
Pop it back in the oven for another 12-20 minutes. How long you bake it the second time depends on what type of pie you’re making. For any pie crust that’s not going back in the oven again (cream pie, fresh fruit pie, French Silk Pie), you will want to bake it until the bottom is a nice golden color to make sure it’s nice and crispy.
If you are pre-baking your pie but the filling needs to bake for a while in the pre-baked crust (like for Lemon Meringue Pie where you need to put it back in the oven to bake the meringue), you just need to make sure the edges are golden and the center of the crust is matte and not shiny.
This Butterscotch Pie with Meringue Topping goes back in the oven after filling, to bake the meringue. I didn’t blind bake the crust quite as long, the center was not browned.
I made sure to blind bake the crust for this Fresh Strawberry Glace Pie until it was nice and brown in the center, because it’s not going back in the oven once the fresh strawberries are added.
Can I blind bake a pie crust without weights?
The answer is yes, but there are risks. The way to do it is by “docking” your crust, which is a fancy way to say that you prick it all over with a fork.
Can you see how I pricked it all over, even the edges?
This allows steam to escape while the crust is baking. It is essential to chill the crust completely if you want to use this method. Without weights, you always run the risk of your pie crust shrinking and the sides slumping down the edges of the pan. I much prefer using weights, but don’t let some food blogger tell you what to do.
And that’s it! Now let’s make some pie!
How to Make Flaky Pie Crust << here is my favorite pie crust recipe!
How to Make a Lattice Pie Crust << such a pretty way to do a double crust pie.
Pies that use a Blind bake:
- Butterscotch Pie with Meringue Topping << Pudding pies are so amazing on a hot day.
- Lemon Meringue Pie << I need to update these photos, but this is a family favorite!
- Fresh Strawberry Glace Pie << This is one of the best summer pies out there!
- Fresh Blackberry Glace Pie << just like the strawberry version, but with blackberries!
- Cream Pie from Preppy Kitchen
- Coconut Cream Pie from Cooking Classy
- Best Chocolate Cream Pie from Cookie Rookie
These recipes calls for a graham cracker crusts, but they are delicious in a flaky pie crust too!
- French Silk Pie << Can’t beat this chocolatey classic!
- The Best Zesty Key Lime Pie << So, so tart.
- No Bake Cherry Cream Cheese Pie << I love this pie and it’s so easy to make!
- Dulce de Leche Cream Pie << Have you ever made your own dulce de leche? It’s so easy! Turn it into a pie.
How to Blind Bake a Pie Crust
- 1 pie crust, half this recipe or a store bought pie dough
- parchment paper or tin foil
- pie weights, dry beans, dry rice, loose change, etc.
- First do yourself a favor and make a homemade pie crust. (Or a store bought pie crust is fine!) Check out my post for How to Make Flaky Pie Crust. This recipe makes 2 crusts; you can either halve the recipe or make both and save the second one in the freezer for next time (it will keep for several months).
- Roll out your pie crust and transfer it to a 9 inch pie plate. See pie crust post for details on rolling out the crust.
- Gently fold the trim hanging over the edges underneath itself so that it lines up nicely with the pie plate. You can trim it if you want, but I prefer to just fold it under. If your dough is crackly, that's okay. Use your fingers to mold the dough back to a smooth edge., dipping your fingers in ice water if necessary. Pretend it's play dough. Smoosh it together until you have a nice non-jagged edge.
- Use your fingers or knuckles to flute the edges of the pie. See photos. You can also press the edge with a fork. It looks pretty and it's super easy!
- Freeze your pie crust for 1 hour for best results. If you only have 30 minutes, that's okay. If you can't make room in your freezer, chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to one hour. The longer you chill, the colder the fat in your pie crust will be when it hits the hot oven, making a tender, flaky pie crust. I like to drape plastic wrap loosely over the top of the chilling pie so it doesn't dry out.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F for at least 20 minutes, to make sure it's nice and hot. Place a pizza stone or half baking sheet in the oven while it preheats. (Baking on a really hot surface helps cook the bottom edge of the crust.)
- Line the crust. Get a large square of tin foil or parchment paper. Crumple it up so that it is nice and soft, you don't want to tear your pie crust. Smooth it out and lay it in your pie crust. (Make sure there is enough overhang that you will be able to lift the heavy weights out of it when the crust is baked.)
- Fill with weights. You can use pie weights, marbles, loose change, dry rice, dry beans, anything that won't be bothered in the oven. You can even use sugar. Make sure your weights go up the sides of your pie crust. You are not just preventing bubbles from forming on the bottom of the crust; you want to keep the edges of your pie crust from slumping down into a sad droopy mess. You need to hold them up with the weights, so be sure to use plenty. I used about 2 and 1/2 pounds of beans.
- Bake your weighted pie at 375 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, until the edges of the crust are a very light golden color.
- At this point, take it out of the oven and carefully lift the parchment paper or foil to remove the weights. The bottom of the crust will look shiny and raw (because it is).
- Prick the bottom of the pie crust with a fork to prevent bubbling.
- At this point, I like use a pie crust shield to line the edge of the crust so that the edges don't get too brown. Get a square of aluminum foil a little bigger than the size of your pie. Fold it in half, then in half again so that it's in quarters. Then use scissors to cut out the middle section. When you open it, you will have a square of foil with a circle cut out from the center. Mold this around the edges of your pie.
- Place the pie crust back in the oven at 375 for another 15-20 minutes, until the edges are a nice deep golden color.
- If you are making a fresh fruit pie or cream pie and won't be baking the crust again, bake a couple minutes longer until the bottom is a nice golden tan color. If you are filling the pie with custard and baking is again, you can take it out now.
- Remove from the oven and follow the instructions on your pie recipe for filling. Most recipes call for letting the crust cool completely.
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