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Use this page to learn how to blind bake a pie crust, whether that’s fully blind-baking before adding a no-bake filling, or partially baking (par-baking) the crust before returning to the oven with a filling. Many pie recipes require par-baking pie crust and this tutorial provides step-by-step instructions, as well as a helpful video tutorial and plenty of success tips.

pie crust after blind baking

Par-baking (which can also be called blind baking) is an integral step in many pie recipes and a basic baking technique to have in your back pocket. Classic recipes such as coconut cream pie, pumpkin pie, and lemon meringue pie require some sort of blind baking.

Par-baking pie crust sounds pretty intimidating, especially if you’re already nervous about making pie from scratch. I’m here to tell you (and show you!) that blind baking pie crust is simple, and I have a few tips to help guarantee success.

lemon meringue pie in a glass pie dish

Why Par-Bake?

Why would you bake pie crust without a filling? There are a few instances, actually. You need a par-baked or fully baked crust if you’re making quiche, no-bake pie, custard pie, cream pie, pudding pie, or simply want an extra-crisp pie crust. If you’re making a pie that doesn’t require a baked filling, you still need a baked crust. Or if you’re baking a pie with a liquid-y filling that sets quickly in the oven, like pumpkin pie, your crust may need a baking headstart.

Fully Blind Baked vs. Partially Baked

If your pie recipe calls for a baked pie shell, such as banana cream pie, you need to fully bake it. But some recipes require a partially baked pie crust and those recipes will typically include “pre-baking,” “partially baking,” or “par-baking” the crust in the instructions. I’ll show you both methods below.

Whether you’re fully blind baking or partially blind baking pie crust, the process is exactly the same; it’s the bake time that differs. Fully baked pie crusts bake for longer than partially baked pie crusts.

  1. Fully blind bake a pie crust if you’re making no-bake pie like coconut cream pie.
  2. Partially bake a pie crust if your crust needs longer in the oven than the pie filling, such as brownie pie or quiche. And if you want an extra-crisp pie crust for your apple pie, you can partially blind bake the crust before adding the filling.

How to Par-Bake Pie Crust

While the idea of baking pie crust is quite simple, there’s more to it than just throwing pie dough in a pie dish and baking.

Here’s our problem: As the pie dough bakes, the fat melts. This causes the pie crust to shrink down the sides of the pie dish. And as the fat melts, it creates steam. Steam is both good and bad. It creates DELICIOUS layers and flakes, but also causes the pie dough to puff up when there’s no heavy filling weighing it down.

Here’s our answer: Weigh down the pie crust with something so it doesn’t puff up in the center or shrink down the sides. Carefully line the pie dough with parchment paper first, then add some weight. You can purchase special pie weights or you can use dry beans. I’ve also seen the use of granulated sugar and even pennies. I just stick to pie weights. Note: 2 packs of these pie weights is definitely needed!

You’ll bake the pie crust with pie weights until the edges set, or lightly brown, which is about 15 minutes.

two jars of white pie weights on marble counter.
pie weights in fluted pie dough shell ready for blind baking.

Because it’s covered with weights, the bottom of the pie crust doesn’t cook. You have to return it to the oven after the edges have set. But first, dock it with a fork:

How to Dock Pie Crust

Once the crust is brown around the edges, carefully remove the parchment paper + weights, then let the crust cook a little longer on its own. The amount of time the “weight-free” pie crust bakes depends on if you need a partially baked crust or a fully baked crust.

Before returning to the oven without the weights, you need to prick the bottom crust with a fork to prevent it from puffing up. Pricking holes in pie crust is also called “docking” the pie crust.

Some bakers skip the pie weights and just dock the pie crust from the beginning, but I’ve never had luck this way. The sides of my pie crust still shrink down. So I always use pie weights, remove them after the edges begin to turn brown, dock the crust with a fork, then return it to the oven so the bottom cooks.

pricking the bottom of par-baked pie crust with fork.

How Long Does the Pie Crust Bake After Removing the Weights?

The remaining oven time depends on whether you want a partially blind baked pie crust or a fully blind baked pie crust. For a partially baked pie crust, bake until the bottom just begins to brown, usually about 7–8 more minutes. To fully bake a pie crust, bake until the bottom and edges are browned and cooked through, about 15 more minutes.

Partially baked means your crust is just barely brown and the pie will return to the oven with a filling:

par-baked pie crust shell in glass pie dish.

Fully baked means your pie dough is 100% cooked and ready for a no-bake filling:

fully baked pie crust shell in glass pie dish.

Like banana cream pie:

spreading pudding over bananas in a baked pie crust shell.

FAQ: Do I Need to Par-Bake a Store-Bought Pie Crust?

If your recipe calls for a baked or par-baked pie crust, and you are using store-bought pie dough, you still need to par-bake it. For example, if using store-bought crust in this brownie pie recipe, you still need to follow the par-baking instructions in that recipe (which are the same instructions you find below).

FAQ: Can I Add an Egg Wash?

Many pie recipes call for brushing the crust with an egg wash, and typically the recipes will tell you when to do that. If you aren’t sure when, and you need to par-bake the crust, you can brush the crust’s edges with an egg wash after par-baking with pie weights, and before returning to the oven to bake without the weights. This is what we do for my chai pumpkin meringue pie recipe. An egg wash is 1 egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon of milk or water. Use a pastry brush.

FAQ: How Can I Apply a Top Crust to Par-Baked Bottom Crust?

Blind-baking is usually required for custard-type pies, where there generally isn’t a top crust. Adding a top crust, such as lattice pie crust or other beautiful pie crust designs is possible though. I’ve always found Erin McDowell’s tutorial for this helpful. A lot of it is tucking the top dough edges under the par-baked bottom crust edge, and then crimp together.

How to Prevent Pie Crust From Shrinking

Pie weights prevent the bottom crust from puffing up and help prevent the sides from shrinking down, but up until recently, I still had trouble with the sides losing shape. It was so frustrating. I played around with some techniques and now my pie crusts never shrink. I have a nice thick crust with a beautifully fluted or crimped shape around the pie dish. And you can too!

2 TRICKS THAT HELP:

  1. Make sure you chill your pie shell before par-baking.
  2. Make sure you have a thick crust on the sides using my “dough strip” technique.

Chilling the pie shell before par-baking doesn’t need much explanation, so let me show you how I create thick edges.

DOUGH STRIP TECHNIQUE

Roll out your pie crust dough and fill your pie dish. Grab some extra pie dough, cut into strips, and meld the strips around the edges.

pie dough in a pie dish before baking
pie dough in a pie dish before baking

Use your fingers to work the extra strips of dough into the edges.

pie dough in a pie dish before baking

Now it’s all 1 uniform crust with extra thick and sturdy edges. My dough strip technique uses about 1 and 1/2 pie crusts. No big deal since my pie crust recipe makes 2 crusts. You’ll have 1/2 pie crust leftover for the next time you need dough scraps.

fluted pie dough in a glass pie dish before baking

That was a lot of information thrown at you, but I promise it’s manageable! And if you need it, I also have a list of my top 10 pie baking tools.

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fully baked pie crust shell in glass pie dish.

How to Blind Bake Pie Crust

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 pie
  • Category: Pie
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Use this tutorial to learn how to blind bake a pie crust, whether that’s fully blind-baking before adding a no-bake filling, or partially baking (par-baking) the crust before returning to the oven with a filling.


Ingredients

  • pie dough such as homemade pie crust (recipe makes 2 crusts)
  • pie weights (you need 2 packs)
  • all-purpose flour, as needed for rolling out dough

Instructions

  1. Make the pie dough: Prepare and chill your pie dough for at least 2 hours. If using the linked recipe, prepare pie crust through step 5.
  2. Roll out the chilled pie dough: On a floured work surface, roll out one of the discs of chilled dough (keep the other one in the refrigerator until you need it). Turn the dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls until you have a circle 12 inches in diameter. Carefully place the dough into a 9-inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is completely smooth.
  3. Dough strip technique: This step is optional, but will help prevent the sides from shrinking down as well as promise a thick and sturdy crust. Remove the 2nd pie dough disc from the refrigerator. Roll out the same way you rolled out the first one. Using a pizza cutter, slice rounded 1- or 2-inch strips, and arrange around the edges. Use your fingers to meld the dough together. What you’re basically doing here is adding another layer of crust to just the edges. Flute the edges or crimp with a fork. They should be nice and thick now. Wrap up any leftover pie dough to use for next time. Freeze it for up to 3 months.
  4. Refrigerate: Chill the shaped, unbaked pie crust in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 5 days. Or freeze for up to 3 months. Cover the pie crust with plastic wrap if chilling for longer than 30 minutes or if you’re freezing it. If you freeze it, let it thaw for a couple hours in the refrigerator before continuing.
  5. While the crust is chilling, preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  6. Fill with weights: Line the chilled pie crust with parchment paper. (Crunch up the parchment paper first so that you can easily shape it into the crust.) Fill with pie weights or dried beans. I like to push the weights up against the sides of the pie crust to help ensure the sides don’t shrink down.
  7. Bake: Bake until the edges of the crust are starting to brown and appear set, about 15–16 minutes. Remove pie from the oven and carefully lift the parchment paper (with the weights) out of the pie. With a fork, prick holes all over the bottom crust. Return the pie crust to the oven.
  8. If you need a fully baked pie crust, bake until the bottom crust is golden brown, about 14–15 minutes longer. For a partially baked pie crust (if you’re baking the pie once it is filled, like a quiche), bake until the bottom crust is just beginning to brown, about 7–8 minutes.
  9. If you’re making a no-bake pie, let the baked crust cool completely before adding the filling unless your pie recipe states otherwise. For pies that will go back in the oven, like quiche or pumpkin pie, the crust can still be warm when you add the filling. (Again, unless your recipe states otherwise.)

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: You can make pie dough and freeze it for up to 3 months. See my pie crust recipe for details. If you want to shape the pie dough ahead of time, see step 4 above.
  2. Egg Wash: Many pie recipes call for brushing the crust with an egg wash and, typically, your pie recipe will tell you when to do that. If you aren’t sure when, and you need to par-bake the crust, you can brush the crust’s edges with an egg wash after par-baking with pie weights (step 7), and before returning to the oven to bake without the weights (step 8). An egg wash is 1 egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon of milk or water. Use a pastry brush.
  3. How Can I Apply a Top Crust to Par-Baked Bottom Crust? Blind-baking is usually required for custard-type pies, where there generally isn’t a top crust. Adding a top crust, such as lattice pie crust or other beautiful pie crust designs is possible, though. I’ve always found Erin McDowell’s tutorial for this helpful. A lot of it is tucking the top dough edges under the par-baked bottom crust edge, and then crimp together.

Keywords: blind bake pie crust

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Hmm, seems my pie crust didn’t stay down in the middle… I pricked the bottom with a fork after removing the weights, returned to the oven for 12 minutes and it has puffed up in the middle. Is my oven too hot?

    1. Hi Adam, I’m glad to help. Did you prick the fork all the way through the crust? Or perhaps there weren’t enough pricks evenly all around the bottom.

  2. You advise chilling the crust before baking. And you show your crust in a glass pie plate. I would think that a chilled glass plate would crack when put into a hot oven. Your thoughts on this?

    1. Hi Connie, We always use a glass Pyrex pan and have never had any issues with it. But use your best judgement and whatever you are comfortable with!

  3. I’m making 3 pecan pies tomorrow, but they need to be frozen for an event next weekend. I was planning to make the pies and freeze them uncooked. I understand baked pastry doesn’t freeze well, should I still blind bake or freeze the whole pies unbaked

    1. Hi Carol, baked pecan pies freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before serving.

  4. Watched the video but you didn’t use the dough strip technique that you wrote about and your crust still turned out perfect…

  5. Hi. Curious re blind baking, in my old BHG cookbook you heat the oven to 450, prick both the bottom and sides fro 10-12 min. why is this method no longer used. There is some shrinkage but a very nice flaky crust
    I find that using Sally’s method, the crust is tough but is beautiful just like the pictures. I’m an experienced baker so not sure what I’m doing wrong.
    Also I’ve never understood why the BHG cookbook recommends forming the dough into a disc then using the side of your hand and push the dough down slightly a couple times in both directions. Any thoughts?
    Love Sally’s recipes and directions.

    1. Hi Barb, We do find that this method leads to the least amount of shrinkage! Overworking or over-handling pie dough is usually the reason for a a tough textured crust. We are not certain but perhaps pushing the disk down with your hands is simply to flatten it out so that it chills more evenly?

  6. I’ve tried all these techniques but my sides still fall in when I take the weights out. Could it be my butter? Does Canadian butter have more water in it?

    1. Hi David, are you using an all-butter crust recipe, or a butter-and-shortening recipe? Using some shortening helps with structure and stability in the crust, and helps keep it from changing shape when baking.

  7. Hi! Thank you for such wonderful explanations. I do have a question. I have poked holes in the bottom of my pie crust in the past with a pecan pie. It was a disaster because the sugary filling leaked through the holes and burned under the crust. Ugh! How can I par bake and not have that happen again? Thanks

    1. Hi Lynn! We actually do not par-bake with our pecan pie recipe. By baking the whole pie on a lower rack, you can skip the par-baking step and still achieve a flaky crust. Let us know if you give it a try!

  8. Hi Sally! If I am using a store bought pie shell would I do the same amount of time/temp for the Par bake ? I am making your amazing pumpkin pie but with a gluten free pie crust shell and the directions on the pie crust says to bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Is that the pre-baking part ? Sorry for all the questions! Your pumpkin pie filling has made me the designated pumpkin pie maker at holidays!

    1. Hi Tori, that’s right. If using store-bought crust, you’ll still need to par-bake it if the filling/pie recipe calls for a par-baked crust. And you need a par-baked crust for my pumpkin pie recipe.

      1. I forgot to pre bake the crust for the pumpkin pie, will that affect it any way?

      2. Hi Marissa! The bottom crust of your pie may be underbaked.

  9. My first successful pie crust. I have two questions. I used this crust in a tart pan for quiche. Only issue was that some parts of edge did slide down from the fluted side of tart pan. Any suggestions on preventing this ? To trim edge , I just rolled rolling pin over top edge of crust which gave me the neatest trim. I’m wondering if the way i trimmed caused the side to shrink.
    Also, when I make a pumpkin pie, my crust edge is always too brown due to blind baking. I bake on middle rack in my oven. I do use pie shields too. Should I bake on lower rack instead?
    Thank you so very much for these pie crust tutorials. They are the reason I am attempting to make pie crusts.

    1. Hi Jen, I’m glad to help. Fitting the crust in a tart pan can be tricky because the sides aren’t tall enough to really stay up, at all. Did you use pie weights? I still recommend pie weights even if using a tart pan. For the pumpkin pie, I think lowering the oven rack would help, as well as adding the pie crust shield on a little earlier in the baking process.

  10. Can you partially blind bake the bottom pie crust, then add a lattice on top of the filling? Would the raw pie dough adhere to the cooked pastry?

    1. Hi Kristen! I’m glad to help. Adding a top crust, such as lattice pie crust or other beautiful pie crust designs is possible, though. I’ve always found Erin McDowell’s tutorial for this helpful: https://food52.com/blog/18422-par-bake-your-double-crust-pies-join-the-anti-soggy-crust-crusade

      A lot of it is tucking the top dough edges under the par-baked bottom crust edge, and then crimp together.

  11. Hello, I finished the blind pie. Everything worked well. However, I didn’t see an info about if the dish needs to be greased or not. I didn’t do it because I found this on other cooking sites. For pie weights I used dry rice and it worked ok. Next time I just have to leave the dough in for the first time longer. I have a ceramic dish and the rice probably sealed the dough from faster baking too.

  12. Sally, thank you so much for sharing your recipes and for the amount of detail you give. Everything I’ve made so far has been spectacular and I’m so grateful. Question, Do I need to add weights when blind baking in the mini pecan pie recipe?

  13. I haven’t made this yet, but I would like to ask why the black pepper? I’ve never seen a pumpkin pie recipe with that seasoning. Is it very noticeable? What does it bring to the overall taste? Can I omit it if I choose to and have it not affect the flavor much?

    I like the switch from white to brown sugar, though. This must add a lot of richness to the pie. I don’t normally make pumpkin pie; it’s a fussy confection with a narrow window for success. I usually either purchase from Marie Callender’s or frozen from grocery stores, but MC closed us and the stores are already out of stock, four days before Thanksgiving! My favorite frozen is Claim Jumper’s Pumpkin Pie (apparently, they are no longer in the business of marketing frozen goods from their recipes). It had a richness and such robust flavor that made it a wonderful experience to eat. I think it probably had that luscious brown sugar in place of white that your recipe has, so I am excited to try this!

    I will add a second review after Thanksgiving. Thank-you for sharing your talents! 😀

    1. Hi Rene, We got this tip from the genius kitchen crew over at King Arthur Baking. It definitely lets the other spices pop. Feel free to reduce the amount to a super small pinch if desired.

  14. I am making lemon meringue pie with a store bought crust. How do I keep the crust from being soggy at bottom

    1. Hi Jan, par-bake the store-bought crust just as if you were making the homemade crust above.

  15. I have read every word in this article and watched the video and it doesn’t say anywhere what temperature to bake the crust at is. Can you please provide the temperature the oven should be set to? Thank you. I love your recipes!!!

  16. Hello can I partially back my crust today and fill it with the pumpkin filling and finish baking it tomorrow?

    1. Hi Christi, for pumpkin pie, we recommend pouring the filling into a warm crust and baking soon after. You can see our recipe Notes there for a few make ahead options. Pumpkin pie is great for making ahead, so you could bake all the way through today and it will be perfect for tomorrow!

  17. I partially blind baked my pie crust for pumpkin and pecan pies. I have glass pans and two of them seem to not be browned in the center on the bottom. Any advice?

  18. Great instructions. Used a small side plate in place of pie weights and worked well, fit just right for a pie pan also

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