How to Blind Bake Pie Crust

How to blind bake pie crust on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I’m sharing a new recipe for lemon meringue pie this week (pictured below!). But before we get there, let me teach you how to blind bake pie crust. Blind baking is an integral step in many pie recipes and a basic technique to have in your back pocket. Which is why I’m filling this post under my Baking Basics section.

Blind baking, or pre-baking, does not mean that you’re baking with a blindfold on. Rather, it’s baking pie crust without a filling. Your eyes are open the whole time. 😉

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

Lemon meringue pie on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Why Blind Bake?

Why would you bake pie crust without a filling? There are a few instances, actually. When you’re making quiche, no-bake pie, custard pie, pumpkin pie, cream pie, pudding pie, or simply want an extra crisp pie crust.

FULL BLIND BAKE / PARTIAL BLIND BAKE

If your pie recipe calls for a baked pie shell, you want to fully bake it. And I teach you how in this blog post. But some recipes require a partially baked pie crust and those recipes will typically include “pre-baking” or “partially baking” the crust in the instructions. I teach you how to do that too. 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.

  1. Fully blind bake a pie crust if you’re making no-bake pie. We obviously don’t want to eat unbaked pie dough.
  2. Partially blind bake a pie crust if your pie filling requires a shorter bake time than the pie crust. 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 Blind Bake Pie Crust

While the process 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!

How to blind bake pie crust on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to Dock Pie Crust

Since it’s covered with weights, the bottom of the pie crust doesn’t really cook. That’s an easy fix. 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. I always worry that the bottom of the crust will puff up, so I use a fork to prick holes in it. This allows steam to escape and prevents lots of puff. Pricking holes in pie crust is also called “docking” the pie crust.

Some bakers simply dock the pie crust instead of using pie weights. I never have luck this way! The sides of my pie crust still shrink down. So I always use pie weights, remove them after the edges turn brown, dock the crust with a fork, then return it to the oven so the bottom cooks. The remaining oven time depends on whether you want a partially blind baked pie crust or a fully blind baked pie crust. In some cases, you can pour the filling right in after you remove the pie weights, like we do with pumpkin pie.

How to blind bake pie crust on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 shape around the pie dish. And you can too!

THESE 2 TRICKS SOLVED EVERYTHING

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

Chilling the pie shell before blind baking doesn’t need much explanation, so let me show you how I create thick edges. You can watch me do this in the video below too!

DOUGH STRIP TECHNIQUE

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

How to blind bake pie crust on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to blind bake pie crust on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to blind bake pie crust on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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

How to blind bake pie crust on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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!

That was a lot of information thrown at you, but I promise it’s manageable. In fact, let me SHOW YOU how manageable. Watch me roll out the pie dough, fill the pie dish, use my dough strip technique, and complete the whole blind baking process in this video.

Now go blind bake like a boss!!

Print

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

How to blind bake pie crust.


Ingredients


Instructions

  1. Make the pie dough: Prepare my pie crust recipe through step 5.
  2. Watch the video above to see how I work through each of the following steps.
  3. Roll out the chilled pie dough: On a floured work surface, roll out one of the disks of chilled dough (keep the other one in the refrigerator). 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.
  4. 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 disk 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 both crusts together. What you’re basically doing here is adding another layer of crust to just the edges. Flute the edges. They should be nice and thick now! Wrap any leftover pie crust back up to use for next time. Freeze it for up to 3 months.
  5. Refrigerate or freeze: Chill the 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.
  6. While the crust is chilling, preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).
  7. 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. Make sure the weights are evenly distributed around the pie dish.
  8. Bake: Bake until the edges of the crust are starting to brown, about 15-16 minutes. Remove pie from the oven and carefully lift the parchment paper (with the weights) out of the pie. Prick holes all around the bottom crust with a fork. Return the pie crust to the oven.
  9. If you’re making a no-bake pie like banana cream pie and 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 (like if you’re baking the pie crust once it is filled like a quiche) bake until the bottom crust is just beginning to brown, about 7-8 minutes.
  10. If you’re making a no-bake pie, let the baked crust cool completely before adding the filling. 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.

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 5 above.
  2. Special Tools: Glass Pie Dish | Pie Weights | Pastry Blender | Rolling Pin | Pizza Cutter
  3. Chill the Crust! The pie crust will shrink if you don’t chill it before blind baking. Chilling in the refrigerator (step 5) is the most important step!

106 Comments

  1. I’m not seeing the video you referred to, which is supposed to show the Dough Strip Technique. Has it been taken down, or am I just not seeing it for some reason?

    1. Do you see the very last picture above the recipe? It has a little triangle in the middle of it – if you click on it it’s the video!

      1. Thanks for responding, Sally. Here’s the thing… I usually use Firefox as my browser, and on Firefox, there is no picture with a triangle in it just before the recipe. So, I opened the page on Chrome, and guess what… there it is, big as life. I don’t know why this happens, but occasionally, I find that certain features don’t work on Firefox. I thought you might want to know that this glitch exists on Firefox, just in case you want to look into getting it corrected. Thanks for the explanation, and I will watch the video on Chrome.

  2. Oh my goodness, thank you so much!!!! You totally saved my chocolate pie from utter failure!!!!! I used white rice for weight but used your method- worked like a charm!!!!

  3. If you are going to have a double crust, how do you attach a top crust to the parbaked bottom crust so that they don’t separate when fully baking? Ive tried crimping together and ive tried tucking the top crust edge under the parbaked bottom crust edge, but both result in the bottom
    Edge cracking off.

    1. Hi Sally! I don’t have a tutorial on this, but I found a very useful one here that should help you next time: https://food52.com/blog/18422-par-bake-your-double-crust-pies-join-the-anti-soggy-crust-crusade

  4. Question about temp for pre-baked pie shell: In reading various recipes for blind pie baking, I have become confused about the baking instructions. You suggest a 400 F oven; whereas, the KAF cookbook suggests 375 F. Another site suggested 450 for 15 minutes and then 375 after removing the weights. I use all lard for for my pumpkin pie that I fill with precooked pumpkin filling and a lard/butter combination for precooked fruit fillings and custard pies. So, are the different suggested temps appropriate for different types of fat used in the dough? Btw, my oven is electric. Thank you.

    1. Hi Susan! I can’t speak for other recipes, but I suggest 400F or even 375F. It’s best to follow what the recipe calls for or even use your eyes to determine doneness, too. I find anything over 400F is too hot. Specific recipes like pumpkin pie, etc, may call for different pre-bake temperatures too.

      1. Thanks for your prompt reply! The problem is that most recipes end with “Bake according to your recipe’s directions.” No oven temp or length of baking is given. Thus, I look up recipes for crusts that do give temps, thus my confusion, and try to apply them, hit or miss, to the recipe at hand.

        I will follow your suggestion, and use the lower temp. I do not want a burned crust. I assume the lower temp will do a good job of setting the crust, right?

        Thanks again!

  5. You show using a pyrex pie plate. Any problem with chilling the crust and then putting the cold pyrex dish directly in a hot oven? Thanks.

    1. Hi Mary, I have never had a problem with my Pyrex dish going right from the refrigerator to the oven and I’ve made hundreds of pies in it!

  6. I noticed that when making a quiche, some say to poke holes in the bottom of the crust before blind baking but noticed you did it after you blind baked. So which should I do? I have had quiche’s come out fine but lately the bottoms are soggy so I guess I’m going to blind bake from now on. Thanks for the tutorial. Love your videos! Rose

    1. Hi Rosemary, I find the best results to poke holes in the crust part way through baking. I bake it for about 15-16 minutes, then remove the pie weights and poke holes at this point, then return the pie to the oven. See recipe step 8!

  7. Hi, Sally
    I have a few questions.
    How do you know when a pie needs a full or partial blind bake?
    How long will a partially blind baked crust last if you want to make it ahead of time?
    If you can make a partial ahead of time (2-3 days before baking) how would you store it?

    I’m making a dozen pies for Thanksgiving- lemon meringue, pecan, lattice top apple, and of course pumpkin (all 9″), and I’m newer to homemade crust and blind baking (always used premade dough sheets).
    I just dont want to make a perfect, blind baked crust, and then have the bottom burn when I bake the pie itself.
    Suggestions on blind time and temp would be appreciated!
    Thank you for your time.

    P.s. I am constantly on your site and I love your recipes!

    1. Hi Kelsey! I’m happy to help. 🙂 If a pie filling is particularly creamy and wet, it’s ideal to partially blind bake the crust prior to adding the filling. If the filling is not cooked, for example my french silk pie, you need a fully blind baked pie crust. You can partially blind bake the pie crust ahead of time. Let it cool, cover it, and refrigerate for up to about 3-4 days. You can also freeze it up to 3 months. Thaw, then use as directed in your recipe.

      If you’re using any of my pie recipes, each would instruct you to blind bake the crust if it’s needed. Not all pies require this step!

  8. Hi Sally!

    I love this pie crust; it tastes great! I was just wondering if anyone has any suggestions to help my fluting keep? I freeze the pie crust before I bake it, half of the top melts over the edge! Help! Thanks!

    1. Hi Laura! How long are you freezing it? Try placing it in the freezer for even up to 1-2 hours. (Use a glass Pyrex, awesome quality and safe from freezer to oven.) I know it’s an extra step, but it helps guarantee that crust won’t slip down the sides. Make sure you’re using enough pie weights, too. You want a lot in the crust to help those sides stay intact.

  9. I’m sorry to be so dense! I’ve searched the comments and don’t see an answer, so: If I do a partial blind bake for a pumpkin pie (not a no bake recipe), should I dock or not? Thank you!

  10. Once the crust is baked should I store it in the refrigerator overnight if planning to make pie filling the following day or is it okay to leave out on counter once baked?

    1. You can leave it out on the counter covered tightly. It’s completely fine at room temperature overnight. Of course, it’s also fine to refrigerate too.

  11. I used your all butter recipe for my pie crust and I love it! I do have a question. I am making a pumpkin pie and I noticed the cook times and cook temperatures are different from your pumpkin pie recipe compared to your partially baked pie crust instructions. Which instructions should I follow?

    1. Hi Amelia! Always follow the recipe’s specific instructions. These are general blind baking instructions, but your specific recipe (my pumpkin pie, in your case) may have instructions that are particular to that recipe.

  12. Hello and thank you for all these tips and recipes.
    If you do not have parchment paper, what can be used under the weights? Can a smaller pie dish be place inside instead of weights?

    1. Hi Valerie, you can try a smaller pie dish but I fear the dough would stick. Aluminum foil sometimes works, but it can also stick, so be extra careful peeling it away from the dough.

  13. WOW!! Just WOW!! I’ve run across your website several times but don’t know if I’ve ever made one of your recipes. Today I was looking for a recipe and ran across your pumpkin pie, crust and banana cream pie recipes. I made the crust recipe and just blind baked the one for the banana cream pie. Made some little crackers with the pie dough just to taste them. Layers of flaky goodness!! Oh my word. If the pumpkin pie filling and banana cream filling are as good as the crust I will be in heaven!! Thank you so much!!

  14. Hi Sally – When I blind baked my crust for 10 minutes (per your pumpkin pie recipe) I found the parchment paper stuck to the bottom of the crust and ruined it when I removed the paper. Can you tell me what causes this and how to avoid it in the future? Thanks!

    1. Hi Cody! The dough may have still been pretty doughy. Be careful removing the parchment– or try pre-baking it a few minutes longer next time.

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